My new favorite idler is about these little guys who hit their heads against a rock

It's hard to argue with a game that sprays particles all over your screen, if you are me, and recently-released indie incremental idler The Gnorp Apologue sprays some particles right good. Starring little things called gnorps, it's about how they smash a rock and bits come off the rock, and then they use those bits to make stuff: Houses, buildings, hot air balloons, guns, bigger guns, rockets, helmets to use when they smash their heads against the rock—you get the drift.

From a humble start you build up gnorp society—gnorpciety—to become ever more efficient at bashing the rock to chip off shards and then using those shards and ever-more-complex resources. Gnorp Apologue's most interesting features are its talent tree and its graphics. The talent tree is pretty nice, allowing you actual variety of how you build and execute your little gnorps between runs. One run might specialize in freezing arrows for peaks of output, while another might make a feedback loop of collected rock shards becoming automated weapons.

The graphics? Those are actually just adorable and fun, whether it's a gnorp bashing its head on the rock or a jumping up and down on the button that launches rock-breaking cruise missiles.

An apologue? That's a moral tale, a fable, ala your Aesop and the like. It's primarily a genre associated with animal tales—like the Tortoise and the Hare—a fact from which I can only conclude that Gnorps are distinctly not human. Perhaps the gnorps will have a lesson to teach us about the assumption that an increase in growth and consumption can be sustained infinitely, or something. I dunno. Seems unlikely.

The last few years have seen an explosion of good idle and incremental games, a long way since the early days of the old-but-still-good ones like Cookie Clicker and A Dark Room. If you're unfamiliar, games like The Gnorp Apologue are outgrowths of that genre from the Cookie Clicker heritage, focused on making "builds" to optimize the growth of your settlement before burning it down for a permanent bonus and starting over.

I'll leave you with a gnorp-defining quote: "As long as we have fewer than infinite gnorps, we need more. As long as we have fewer than infinite shards, we need more."

You can find The Gnorp Apologue on Steam for $7 and on its website.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.