Now this is, er, curious. This is a free game, for mobile devices (iOS and Android) that has a mystery prize at the end. Created by one of gaming’s biggest names...
Peter Molyneux needs no introduction to hardcore gamers. He’s the legendary developer behind hits such as Populous, Dungeon Keeper, Black and White and the Fable series. Recently he was also an integral part of the Kinect project, back when it was known as Project Natal. When he speaks, the gaming world tends to listen.
Yet again, Molyneux has struck out on his own and founded a new studio – this time called 22 Cans. As usual, they’re based in Guildford. However – they only intend to ever make one game. And that is Curiosity.
What is Curiosity, then? Well, it’s a game that is designed to be played simultaneously by many, many thousands of players. There is a cube. It’s composed of many, many layers. Each layer is comprised of tiny cubelets – there are billions in all. The players must chip away at these, working together to strip back each layer of the cube.
At the centre of the cube is a prize. It’s said to be amazing, surprising – impossible to guess.
That’s the gist of it – the first layer of one side of the cube was dispatched in the first day (it launched yesterday). The iPhone/iPad/iPod versions were live first on the Apple App Store and the Android version of the game is now available to download for Android tablets and phones, courtesy of the Google Play download portal.
The game is free, but there are a few features that can be bought. A bit like Minecraft, it’s possible to upgrade the tools that you use to chip away at the cube. As you chip, you earn coins. These can be collected to buy tools such as steel pick axes, fire crackers, bombs and more.
There is even a diamond chisel for 3,000,000,000 coins. Obviously, these all have varying extra levels of chipping ability – what’s interesting is that at some point soon it will be possible to buy these with real money. The diamond pick axe will go on sale for £50,000…
But, it’s not necessary to spend any real money to play this game. If anyone is crazy enough to buy the diamond pick axe purely to increase their odds of winning the prize in the middle, then I hope the prize is truly worth it.
Peter Molyneux has gone on record, saying “what is inside the cube is life-changingly amazing by any definition” – whatever it is, a video link will be sent to the device of the player that chips away the last cubelet of the last layer. According to the terms and conditions of the game, it will be up to the player what they do with this knowledge, whether they share it publicly on social networking sites or not…
This whole thing has been designed as an experiment. An experiment in the power of curiosity. As a game, there isn’t much to do – chip, chip, chip at a vast cube. But I sure am curious as to what the prize is. I definitely am curious as to how much of the cube has been worn away today. I will be following every development of this little social experiment.
It is a little buggy at the moment; the servers have been overwhelmed at times because of user overload, and this has led to loading errors and lag. These issues aren't entirely unexpected so soon after launch, and fixes are being developed.
So it’s difficult to even give this a score, as it’s only partly definable as a game. I just wanted to use this column to bring this to your attention – if you have an iOS or Android device, download it! It’s free and you can be part of an unprecedented experiment from the master of gaming kookiness.
Curiosity – What’s Inside the Cube? is out now to download for free on iOS and Android devices.