I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never played a game by Peter Molyneux. Populous, Black & White, Fable, I’ve never played any of his work. However, I am familiar with Peter Molyneux, the man with really big ideas. What with his lofty expectations for games like Fable and that “Milo” demo he featured back when he worked at Lionhead Studios.
Back in November, his new studio 22Cans had released an iOS/Android game titled Curiosity – What’s Inside the Cube?. The game was rather simple: it was a giant cube with hundreds of tiny “cubelets.” The goal was to clear the cubelets layer by layer to reveal the next layer. Tapping the cubelets gave you gold, continuously tapping would give you a gold multiplier, which you could then use to buy things like picks and firecrackers to tap more cubes faster. You got gold bonuses for clearing the cubes on screen, and a bigger bonus for cracking an entire layer.
The goal was to reveal all the layers – some of which were just typical images or advertisements for 22Cans forthcoming game Godus – and whoever cleared the final cubelet on the last layer would see “something magical,” according to Molyneux.
As I was sitting there bored on a Sunday morning, on an IRC channel dedicated to Sonic Retro was streaming the final few layers of the game through Twitch. Wanting to get in on the action, I downloaded Curiosity for my Galaxy SIII. Eventually we got down to the final layer of salmon pink cubes, and for the next hour and a half I picked away at the cubes diligently like a worker bee amassing honey. Finally, we had tapped all the cubelets. The final layer had been cleared. This is what we saw:
Just a bunch of Twitter comments using the hashtag #whatsinsidethecube. After about 30 minutes of confusion (and people spouting terrible 4chan/Reddit memes in the stream chat), we found out the winner and the forthcoming video he got as a reward.
Alas, I didn’t win, but a certain Bryan Henderson did. Turns out the prize was just related to Godus: He gets to be the first god and gets a cut of the profits made on the game. By now I was familiar with Molyneux’s grandstanding, so I wasn’t expecting anything amazing or life-changing. But Bryan’s now gonna get a small amount of change. Good on him.
Despite the prize being kind of weak, I actually enjoyed the game itself. It’s the simplest game ever, both co-operative and competitive. You clear the cubes to get gold, but to make sure that you do it faster than everyone else. It was an addictive experience, and I hope the gold gets to be used in another 22Cans game. Hell, I’d just be fine with a new cube just to start the experience over again. It’s not the best game ever, but for the mobile phone market, it perfectly fits.
Now that I’ve actually played a game by Peter Molyneux, maybe I should start playing that copy of Fable: The Lost Chapters I still have in the shrink wrap…