The clicker genre has seen a surge of popularity since 2013, with the rise of Cookie Clicker, Bitcoin Billionaire, and a legion of similar carpal-tunnel-inducing time-sinks. Obsessive screen-tapping and oceans of upgrades are hallmarks of the genre, in which gameplay takes a backseat to the instant satisfaction of leveling up. In the case of Turret Fusion, developer Shark Jump Studios has foregone the clicking aspect of the genre, crafting an intensely addictive clicker with the concept of fusion at its core, blending clicker game progression with tower defense tropes.
The game begins in an alien-ravaged desert landscape, with twelve empty turret squares sitting aside an unstoppable torrent of alien invaders. Turrets rain down from the sky into your arsenal, equipping you to pelt away at the alien horde, all the while harvesting the dead aliens’ biomass, which is used as the game’s primary currency. Gameplay is simple, achieved by dragging low-power turrets toward each other, fusing their technology to create turrets of greater power. Combined with the purchase of turrets using biomass, in a matter of minutes you’ll have a powerful arsenal of extraterrestrial-repulsion at your fingertips. As the tiers of progression continue, your war expands to higher levels of warfare, as giant mech-turrets face off against flying stingrays, and spaceships battle against massive alien creatures.
As in Shark Jump’s excellent puzzler Test Chamber, Turret Fusion is filled with charming, well-designed low-poly 3D models. The plot is tied together with dialogue between hand-drawn characters, who unfortunately don’t blend with the rest of the game’s sense of aesthetic. The background music is similarly unmemorable.
However, while the presentation falters a little, the developers’ attention to detail saves the day. Each and every turret is cleverly named, with two Gatlers combining to create a Gatatatler, which in turn creates a Cheese Grater. The dialogue is similarly tongue-in-cheek, with Officer Walter exclaiming his amazement as to the seemingly infinite power of each new turret. The game’s sense of humor makes it all the more satisfying to play, and each upgrade truly feels more powerful than the last.
My only real qualm with the game arises from its use of coin currency. While biomass is simple to harvest and satisfying to spend, certain upgrades require spending coins, which are incredibly slow to harvest. It’s possible to increase your coin income to 3 coins per day, but this upgrade itself costs 4 coins, which could be spent on increasing your drop-pod speed or biomass collection duration. These coin walls can occasionally be skipped by viewing a video, but while playing the game without WiFi, a chronic lack of coins can be very frustrating.
Turret Fusion is pleasant to look at, funny, and incredibly addicting. Aside from its occasionally frustrating monetization structure, Shark Jump’s newest game is an enjoyable, straightforward addition to the clicker genre, and certainly worth the free download.