Kongregate Developers Blog

Idle Frontier: A Journey into the Wild West of Idle Gaming

Developed in-house, Idle Frontier took the idle gaming community by storm, launching in 2019, and has been a staple of Kongregate’s idle games portfolio ever since.

Unlike many idle games at the time, Idle Frontier utilized an immersive camera view that added depth and authenticity to the game board, making players truly feel like part of the story. Buildings and townsfolk helped to bring the characters and the township to life, and the unique art style had a charming quality drawing you in.

But Idle Frontier isn't just about aesthetics; it's about delivering a well-balanced and engaging gameplay experience. We applied all the learnings we had gathered over the years to create Idle Frontier.

“When we began development on the game, we took a very granular approach into what hooks a player into an idle experience and built around that,” Jorge Gonzalez Ezquerra, Senior VP of Games, tells us.

“We wanted to look at the balance between engagement and fulfillment. How long should a level last? What should the progression curve feel like? How can we structure that progress so it feels rewarding to the players and not just an incremental game where the numbers go up? These were all questions we tackled head-on during production.”

The game's standout feature is the limited-time events, where the theme of the Wild West expands into other genres in a race against time.

“We wanted to add a competitive edge to the inherently solo nature of idle games,” Jorge explains.

“Events introduced leaderboards, allowing players to test their skills against others. But we didn't stop there. We introduced Leaderboard cosmetics - a feature that allows players to customize their nameplates with banners and badges earned through event achievements. The response was phenomenal, with players embracing this customization and striving to stand out among their peers.”

Idle Frontier's success wasn't an overnight phenomenon. Kongregate developers continued to iterate on the game, even after its initial release, focusing on fine-tuning the user interface elements and the overall gameplay experience, ensuring that every player's journey felt seamless and enjoyable.

Idle Frontier continues to perform well, even years later - a real feat in casual incremental games. It became the cornerstone of Kongregate’s idle stack, as seen in the following games from the developer, including Royal Idle, Dragon Idle, and Kongreate’s partnership with Nickelodeon to produce SpongeBob’s Idle Adventures.

“Idle Frontier blazed a trail for these games and others to try something new and broaden the idle game landscape. I’m very proud of that game!”

We are, too, Jorge! 🙂

Jorge Gonzalez Ezquerra is VP of Product at Kongregate. He started 5 years ago as a Product Manager on the idle stack and is now focusing on the Bitverse games.

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