The Best Mobile Game Is Actually Two Games in Which You Have to Marry As Many People As Possible

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Six months ago, I married my first wife. Then I married thousands more. As of today, I have married more than one quadrillion wives. That’s the idea behind the insidious, absurd app 10 Billion Wives and its sequel 10 Billion Husbands.

10 Billion Wives is just one of many games in the “clicker” genre. A clicker is essentially a game that plays itself. Maybe the most well-known is Cookie Clicker.

Here’s how clickers work: There is a counter that increments at a regular interval. At the start of the game, it increments slowly — you are automatically accruing currency. You can then spend this in-game currency on things that bolster that counter, so it increases at a faster rate. Maybe instead of one unit per second, it goes up to 100 or 1,000 units per second. Then you go back and spend those units on items that cause the counter rate to increase even further. When properly balanced, you can get stuck in this loop forever.

The thing I love about 10 Billion Wives is that it sounds absolutely insane when I try to explain it in words. In 10 Billion Wives, the unit of currency is Love. The player’s task is to marry many different wives — CEO Wife, Soldier Wife, International Wife — and level them up. You spend Love to increase the amount of Love that they themselves add to the counter. You can also buy them items that multiply their Love contribution exponentially. I’ve married all of the different wives (the final wife is called, no joke, the Wife of Wives), and I’m currently earning 70,428,556,800 Love Per Second.

I don’t like mobile games. They are rarely my preferred way to pass the time. They eat up battery, their control schemes are generally unwieldy, and they’re just not fun. I only play a few mobile games on my phone when I’m standing around, maybe just before meeting up with someone or waiting for the bus. 10 Billion Wives, however, is perfect. It’s just a thing you tap! It provides all of the tactile feel of tapping around an app without actually accomplishing anything important. Level up a wife, buy them presents, unlock a new wife. Rinse, repeat. It helps that the concept has clearly gotten — if not lost in translation — very scuffed at baggage claim.

I unlocked all of the wives pretty quickly, so I was thrilled when I booted it up last week to discover that its sequel, 10 Billion Husbands, had come out over the summer. It’s even better, for reasons that have nothing to do with misogyny: The counter increments even when the app isn’t activated, which makes it easy to check in with whenever I’ve got time to kill (I had to leave Wives running overnight to gain enough Love for new wives). I haven’t married all of the husbands yet — a few faves: Sportman Husband, Mad Husband, Wild Husband (literally a gorilla) — but I’ve only got four left. What will happen after I’ve married all of the husbands? It’s anyone’s guess.