Peter Molyneux and 22Cans have released their long-awaited app, Curiosity - what's inside the cube. It's not so much a game as it is a social experiment, to see what the power of curiosity can accomplish. So the question is, dear reader --- are you curious?
Curiosity comes to us from Peter Molyneux, the visionary/hype-machine behind games like Fable, Black & White, and Populous. He's tasking players around the world to indulge their curiosity and work together to reveal the mystery of the app's gigantic cube. Only one person will be able to access what's in the heart of cube, after the world has worked together to break through the many layers. Whether or not that person will share what they'll find is the ultimate end-game for this aptly-named app.
When you start up Curiosity, the game lets you know your number in the experiment so you have an idea of how many others are trying to unlock the mystery. You're let loose on the cube, which floats suspended in mid-air in the middle of a very bright, white room.
The surface of the cube features an image on all six of its sides, with the image of the layer beneath becoming more and more visible as the world continues to work together. One tap zooms you in towards the surface, where you'll see that the layers are made out of tiny cubes that resemble 3D pixels.
Tapping on these cubes destroys them, rewarding you with a coin per destroyed cube. A number in the top-left corner of the screen indicates how many cubes you've destroyed successively without touching any empty spaces.
The more cubes you destroy without breaking a streak, the more coin multipliers you get, and the louder the ethereal background music plays. The music might be the best part of the game because it adds an almost trance-like, otherworldly quality to the cube-tapping, almost beckoning you to keep going. If you manage to get rid of all of the cubes visible to you, you'll get a "screen clear bonus" that nets you more coins.
With so many tiny cubes, you may think it would take an incredibly long time to break through a layer, even with so many players working together. Thankfully, you can use the coins you gain to shop for items in the in-game store that help you destroy the blocks faster and more efficiently. These items do cost a lot of money, however, so it's best to use a multiple-finger approach in the beginning. Just make sure you don't activate any of your device's gesture controls in the middle of play.
One interesting thing about this strange little social experiment is seeing how creative people have been with their block breaking. Curiosity's cube layers act as giant canvases for the masses, where one can draw pictures, leave messages, or carve out giant obscenities for the world to see. The game gives you a task, but you're free to complete it however you want and it's cool to see the collective progress after just one day.
Molyneux's been known to be inordinately enthusiastic about his projects but ultimately fail to deliver the experience he promised. I'm not exactly sure what to make of this game/social experiment, but the minimalist gameplay and presentation at least has a calming effect on me. I'm giving this a 5.0/10 because it's hardly a game, yet I find myself very compelled to see the experiment through. It's very possible that we'll be disappointed by what we find in the end, but isn't it worth taking the journey to find out?