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Video Game / Reactor Idle

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Reactor Idle is an Idle Game about managing power plants, created by the same developer who made Factory idle. You set up power plants and sell the power they generate - and use the funds they generate to unlock more content.

The game can be played here.

This game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Averted with the generators, but played straight with upgrades purchased with cash - especially since they don't carry over in between islands.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • Unlike with Factory Idle, the reactors you can buy will expire after a limited number of ticks; however, you can research managers that will automatically replace them, and you can also purchase upgrades that increase their lifespan.
    • The player has a limited power supply that, at first, they must manually sell. However, they can research batteries and offices that will respectively increase the size of said power supply and automatically sell off some of the power.
    • Any building that isn't a reactor won't expire after a certain number of ticks.
    • Although reactors don't give a refund if sold, all other buildings do.
    • If you place multiple generators directly in contact with 1 reactor, the heat produced by said reactor will be spread out among said generators, meaning that you don't have to wait until you've upgraded the heat conversion rate for a generator before you can start using a new reactor.
      • Similarly, once you research the right tech, you can use water to cool off the generators, allowing you to exceed their heat capacity.
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    • The upgrades that increase the generator heat conversion rate, research points produced, and power sold apply to all buildings that serve said purpose, not just the first one unlocked.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: Much like Factory Idle, quitting the game entirely will reward you with "bonus ticks" which can be used to fast-forward when you return.
  • Boring, but Practical: Wind Turbines. They are very self-sufficient (they don't require a generator or heat sink), and only have to be replaced manually until you can afford their manager. They also explicitly supercede the heat mechanics, and much like batteries, they cannot burn down or explode from heat; any empty space near a generator that'd otherwise go to waste can be easily filled by Wind Turbines. Lastly, their inexpensive nature means that even though you're likely to ditch them as soon as you can afford better generators, you can easily fall back if it doesn't work out. Their one downside? They're too weak to matter much once you reach late-game, as much of the space they could fulfill is usually spent on batteries.
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  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: You can purchase additional ticks like in Factory Idle.
  • Disaster Dominoes: With the exception of Wind Turbines, all reactors produce heat which needs to be converted into power by generators, otherwise the reactors will explode. However, each generator has a limit to how much heat it can covert per tick, meaning if you place a generator right next to a reactor whose heat projection exceeds the generator's conversion rate, it'll cause the generator to explode after hitting the heat limit, and immediately afterwards, the reactor will follow suite.
    • If you upgrade a reactor's heat output so that it exceeds the generator's conversion rate, a similar situation occurs. In fact, if upgrading the heat output for any generator other than Wind Turbinesnote , you'll get a prompt asking if you're sure you want to the first time.
  • Green Aesop: Zig-Zagged - the two most eco-friendly reactors (wind turbines and solar cells) are the earliest reactors the player will use, and will likely be ditched in favor of fossil fuel burners as soon as possible (not to mention that hydroelectric power and geothermal power are non-accessible). However, the fossil fuel burners themselves are also some of the earlier reactors, and after unlocking the various titular nuclear reactors, you'll likely be abandoning those too.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: There's no official game over screen, but if you somehow manage to have $0 without having any power to sell (or buildings/upgrades to sell), you'll get one. Presumably, this is why wind turbines cost $1 each.
  • Not the Intended Use: Since your funds and research points are shared between the stages, it's pretty common for players to use the first zone for the sole purpose of generating research points by filling it with labs once they can afford a few power plants in the second (and same goes for the second after unlocking the third, and so on).
    • Since batteries and wind turbines don't actually follow the heat mechanics at all (they do not blow up when exposed to heat), they make excellent filler if you have some extra space near a generator, and can't stick anything else nearby.
  • Power Creep: All puns aside, once you unlock a new reactor or building, this will come into play for the previous tier of said building as soon as you can afford to replace it. This is especially true with Wind Turbines, which might seem like they'd avert this trope because don't produce heat and have such a cheap cost, but can't match the power output of reactors that produce heat paired up with generators without upgrades.


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