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Curiosity - what's inside the cube

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

I hope it's a monkey

Product: Curiosity - what's inside the cube | Developer: 22Cans | Publisher: 22Cans | Format: iPad | Genre: 3D, Casual, Multiplayer, Puzzle, Simulation, Virtual Pet/ Toy | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
Curiosity - what's inside the cube iPad, thumbnail 1
I'm the 5,322nd person to download and play Curiosity. I know, because 22Cans's first experimental foray into the App Store tells me when I load it up. It's all part of the smoke and mirrors surrounding the game - another distraction, another line of questions.

Are the 5,321 other people already chipping away at the cube my allies or my enemies? Only one person can find out what's lying in the centre of the black shape that constitutes the entire Curiosity experience, after all.

So I start to dig. It's a simple, repetitive action that rewards me with chimes, and the occasional coin to add to my coffers, all in the name of some far off, probably unreachable goal. And all around me others are doing exactly the same.

Molyneux's box

In a way, then, Curiosity is a game divested of all the frippery that we've come to expect from our digital entertainment. You have a motivation, however far off and spectral it may be, and you have one action.

At first you might stand back and marvel at the shape, hovering there in a white space, its black fascia already eroded by uncountable other fingers. Some have left crude or uplifting missives, or carved glyphs in green that sparkle as you swoop over them. In a way, it's inspiring.

And so you take the plunge and you perform your action. You find a bare space on the cube, somewhere unmarked by the efforts of your invisible foe-patriots, and you begin to chip away at the black blocks that make up the first layer of the structure.

Perhaps you take the scattergun approach to begin with, using as many fingers as you can to hammer at the screen, clearing space in angular pockets rather than a useful, uniform whole. Or maybe you leave your own impermanent mark - a jagged signature or some childlike image drawn on a canvas that will soon be wiped clean.

Cube your enthusiasm

Because that's exactly what Curiosity is right now: a blank space pockmarked with nothings and somethings that, in a matter of hours or days, will be replaced with another blank space, another set of images, words, and neatly cleared tiles.

The coins you unearth can be spent on a variety of tools to enable faster clearing. Bombs, firecrackers, and pickaxes made out of a variety of materials are all available, some for a reasonable price, others for a staggeringly exorbitant one. The fabled diamond pick axe costs 3 billion, for example.

But whether you purchase them or not comes down to that original question - are the other people here, the other people cracking at the shell of this conundrum, allies or enemies? Do you want to be first to the centre, or are you just here to scrape out a groove of cubes that looks a bit like your name?

The cat's still alive

I have no idea what's in the centre of the cube. But, in the end, that nebulous maguffin that lies at the end of our hacking and tapping is a remarkable piece of sleight of hand by Molyneux and the rest of 22Cans.

It's a distraction of the first order, a reason to drop us into an entirely empty space and let us smash it to pieces in whatever way we see fit. Curiosity is a game about compulsion, it's about how and why we play, and, ultimately, it's about impermanence.

Does it matter what's inside the cube? To someone, yes. The rest of us are creating their journey for them, one square at a time.

Curiosity - what's inside the cube
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 6 November 2012
It's difficult to put a numerical score to an experience like Curiosity, but it deserves to be experienced by as many people as possible
Have Your Say
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Oct 2012
Post count:
@arosbooks | 12:44 - 30 November 2012
Pocketgamer's reviews have hit a new low with this and the quality is usually very low.
Oct 2012
Post count:
@arosbooks | 12:42 - 30 November 2012
This is awful - the servers are woefully inadequate and the game just doesn't work. You should mark games on reality rather than on the idea. This is a 1 or 2/10 because it is broken.
Nov 2011
Post count:
Lonely Tylenol | 20:18 - 8 November 2012
mr_bez: it doesn't appear to be so. Mr. Slater has already begun a journal chronicling his time with this game--meaning his five minutes have come and gone, and he's determined to see this one through.
Nov 2011
Post count:
mr_bez | 13:10 - 8 November 2012
Don't think it's stored in the app. The competition rules visible inside the app say that the "winner" will receive a link to a video. I'm guessing they'll wait until it's over, verify on their servers who the last person to remove a cube was, then send the email manually.

My bigger problem is that their servers are incapable of keeping track of and displaying what other people are doing. You can spend ages tapping out a picture then it'll suddenly be replaced by a huge empty space someone else has hacked out. And they probably hacked that out without ever seeing your drawing, and most likely before you even started. I reckon the "last block" will probably be removed by hundreds of people before the servers catch up, so how they're going to determine the winner is beyond me. I guess they'll just pick a name at random.

It's an utter failure from my point of view and I think the 9/10 score is something Harry must be regretting if he's played this for more than 5 minutes after rushing this review out on the morning of release.
Nov 2012
Post count:
mofomoofish | 22:06 - 7 November 2012
isn't it just a matter of time until someone hacks the app and finds what's in the middle then ruin it for the rest of us?
Nov 2011
Post count:
Lonely Tylenol | 00:25 - 7 November 2012
I always figured that this was more of an experiment in how much banality people are willing to put up with before they accept the overwhelming disappointment they've been saddled with--much like the first Fable game was for me (I didn't buy iterative titles).

I think I'll side with TouchArcade on this one as well (this is their first ever 1-star game--a fact that literally caused errors with their system, which was wholly unfamiliar with a 1-star review). I'm more than perplexed by this myself, as I come to PocketGamer to get opinions from a more critical lens--and somehow found the one person on Earth who would rate this higher than Horn, or Infinity Blade II, or... Well, you get the picture.
Apr 2010
Post count:
jeffyg3 | 23:44 - 6 November 2012
Correction...toucharcade gave it a 1/5...which I think is deserving for this game
Apr 2011
Post count:
NotSpam | 23:06 - 6 November 2012
I dunno guys: TouchArcade gave it 2/5 which for them means 1% ie they're usually over-generous. I think I'll stick to my irregular lotto ticket?
Apr 2010
Post count:
jeffyg3 | 22:59 - 6 November 2012
Ugh, this has got to be one of the most boring games I've played in a long while. This is an experiment in boredom me thinks :/