Curiosity: Revolutionary multiplayer game, 'Cube Clicker,' or both?

Peter Molyneux's 22Cans team has released its first game, er, "experiment." Curiosity is a massive multiplayer puzzler that promises to provide an amazing secret to the one (and only one) gamer who penetrates its inner sanctum.

Video game designer Peter Molyneux has a proven track record of successful games (Fable and Black and White are the biggies) and a style unique enough to inspire a hilarious parody account on Twitter. Molyneux was recently the head of Microsoft's gaming division, but left the company earlier this year to form his own game shop, 22Cans. Yesterday, 22Cans released its first game (or "experiment") for iOS and Android: Curiosity, a massively multiplayer puzzler that promises a "life-changingly amazing" secret to the one (and only one) gamer who can make it to the middle of a huge, pixelated cube.

At first glance, Curiosity seems like a cross between Minecraft and Cow Clicker. After installing and launching the game, you'll be presented with some teaser text ("Are you curious?"). Click on through, and you'll eventually get to the game world: a giant, rotating cube that when zoomed in upon, displays millions and millions of pixelated squares. Tapping those pixelated squares, or "cubelets," destroys them, displaying the cube layer beneath. The game started with a black cube. That outer layer has since been completely destroyed since yesterday, showing the full green layer and the next red layer beneath any destroyed green cubelets.

(Credit: CNET)

Since tapping and destroying cubelets is the only actual gameplay involved, it's not surprising that most players have taken the opportunity to use Curiosity as a massive community sketchboard, and since we're on the anonymous Internet here, it's not surprising that several of those images involve genitalia. (Cue the sad panda face.) A Tumblr blog called On the Cube (possibly NFSW) compiles the "best" of them, including one marriage proposal so far.

(Credit: CNET)

Tapping all these coins, especially quickly and in combination, will earn players gold coins, which can then be bartered for special chisels or explosives to destroy cubelets faster. For example, a Steel Chisel (1 million coins) will clear 25 cubelets at a time. That holds no candle to the Diamond Chisel, however. Priced at a whopping 3 billion coins, the Diamond chisel only alludes to its immense power with a taunt: "Surely no one will be curious enough to gain the awesome power of the Diamond?" In an interview earlier this year, Molyneux suggested real prices for powerful chisels, including one for £50,000 that would "explore the psychology of social-media users," but there's nothing to be bought with real money...yet.

(Credit: CNET)

So far, about 250,000 users have tried Curiosity, and there have been numerous reports of servers struggling under the load, but I had no problem running it several times today. I even managed to push a few pixels around to create a most rudimentary Download.com Shuttlecock...which was promptly ruined by the cubelet-smashing hordes. There are still about 63 million cubelets left on the current green level of the cube. Get tapping!

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