Curiosity - what's inside the cube, the long-awaited mobile debut from Peter Moylneux's 22Cans studio is now available on the iOS App Store and Google Play a day ahead of schedule. So what's it all about?
Deconstruct the cube, reveal the secret
The game is essentially the deconstruction of a giant cube that hides an even bigger secret inside. The secret will be revealed to the person who gets to the center first. The cube is made up of over 60 billion individual "cubelets," and tapping on one removes it and reveals another underneath. Until every cubelet from a layer is removed you won't be able to move onto the next. Obviously, 60 billion taps is a bit much for one person to handle, and that's where things get interesting. In competing to get the center of the cube first, you'll be working together, cross-platform, with everyone else that downloads the free-to-play title. So far almost 30,000 people have downloaded the game, destroying more than 47 million cubelets.
There's another layer to the game, though: in-app purchases. Destroying cubelets earns you coins which you can spend on bombs, special chisels, stat sheets, and other power-ups. Most the items have a time limit for use, and none can be used perpetually. While you can feasibly purchase many of the items using the in-game currency, some, such as a Diamond Chisel that is 100,000 times stronger than a regular a regular tap, cost as much 3 billion coins, and will have to be purchased using real-world money (for the record, 3 billion coins will apparently set you back around $80,000). "This is not a money-making exercise, it is a test about the psychology of monetization," says Molyneux. There will be only one Diamond Chisel, and if anyone puts down the cash for it they will have a huge chance of discovering the cube's secret, provided they use it at the right time.
How long will users mindlessly tap away at a cube?
Ultimately, Curiosity should raise some interesting questions: will the winner share the secret with the world, or attempt to sell it to the highest bidder? How long will users mindlessly tap away at a cube, knowing full well they're statistically unlikely to be the first to discover its secret? In the hours since launch there's been another interesting aspect: profanity and censorship. Along with some beautiful artwork, many lewd drawings have been etched out for the world to see, and the cube often displays giant swears. In both cases, some users have obviously taken a dislike to the drawings, and have either removed the surrounding blocks to obscure the drawings, or modified letters (there's an enormous "PUCK" adorning the cube right now).
As a game, Curiosity somehow manages to be both dull and yet addictive. The "gameplay" boils down to little more than tapping on a screen until you get bored. As a social experiment, though, it's far more stimulating, and finding other people's creations and messages keeps you coming back for more. You can download Curiosity - what's inside the cube from the iOS App Store or Google Play now.