I’m gonna be honest, I’ve never played a game by Peter Molyneux. Populous, Black & White, Fable, I’ve never really played any of his work. While I have not played the works of Peter Molyneux, I am familiar with Peter Molyneux, the man with ambitious ideas. The Peter Molyneux filled with lofty expectations for games like Fable, the Peter Molyneux who greenlit a demo for Kinect where people talked to a digital character named Milo. So I’m familiar with the infamy of Peter Molyneux even if I’ve never played a Peter Molyneux game. Until now.
Back in November, his newly formed studio 22Cans 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 these cubelets by touching blocks 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 bonuses for clearing 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 upcoming game Godus, others were just solid colors like the above. Whoever revealed 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 somewhat aging 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 making honey. Eventually, 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…
In the years since, Godus came and went. Bryan Henderson got shafted and didn’t get the opportunity to be the God of Godus, according to a Eurogamer article. 22Cans is still around, hyping up games like The Trail and an upcoming game called Legacy, but they haven’t released much else.
I still haven’t played Fable: The Lost Chapters. Or the other Fable games, despite buying them to specifically play them. I’m still fascinated by Peter Molyneux as a person, but I still haven’t played his games. I think I’m more content with him doing stuff like reviewing iPhone fart apps with Dan Ryckert than actually playing his work, which is alright with me.