Stick With It: Candy Box Is Loaded With Surprises

By Nathan Grayson on May 3rd, 2013 at 10:00 am.

Oh what a strange and special thing Candy Box is. It reminds me a lot of Frog Fractions in that I absolutely cannot, will not spill its delicious bounty of secrets before the break, because its rapid descent into gloriously elaborate madness is the whole point. So just click the link, and wait patiently as you magically spawn multiple mountains of candy, a candy archipelago, candy kingdoms, candy condominiums – basically, a whole, whole lot of candy. All via a tiny number that counts ever upward – spiraling, dancing with the clouds – so long as you have a browser window open. After that, just sit back and wait for the magic to start happening.

Alright, fair warning: beyond this point lie only SPOILERS.

So stuff starts happening. I mean, right off the bat, you can eat candies or throw them away, but I wouldn’t advise it.  Before long, an ASCII shopkeep shows up, and then you can get a sword and upgrade the sword and turn it into diamond-encrusted chocolate flamecleaver and meet a witch and a frog who is probably also an embodiment of all the universe’s wisdom. He might actually be god.

Basically, Candy Box becomes a hyper-silly, almost parodic RPG, but with random farming elements and increasingly obtuse means of advancing the “plot”. I’ve just sort of had it open in a browser window for the past 24 hours, occasionally flicking over to make some progress in between amassing a candy and lollipop stockpile that can be seen from the other side of the universe.

It’s kind of a wondrous, maniacal thing in that respect, nearly an idealized version of what many “social” games would like to be. Having the option to briefly emerge from your daily grind and create tectonic shifts in this endlessly amusing ASCII kingdom feels wonderful. Rarely do games give you so much for essentially doing nothing.

OK, enough over-analyzing. Mostly, Candy Box is a (subversively smart) dumb thing that made me laugh a bunch. Give it a try. Let it take over your life.

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32 Comments »

  1. RedViv says:

    Can barely comment must plant eternally escalating numbers of lollipops.

    • jesemain06 says:

      If you think Patrick`s story is impressive…, five weaks-ago my son in law earnt $8989 workin 40 hours a month from their apartment and the’re neighbor’s mom`s neighbour done this for 3 months and made more than $8989 parttime on there pc. apply the guidelines on this site wow65.com
      (Go to site and open “Home” for details)

  2. Jonfon says:

    Is that ASCII Tom Baker in the pic?

  3. Nasarius says:

    Now you tell me. I’ve seen a few people link to it on the Twitters, thought it was just a quick joke, smiled and closed the tab.

    Instead, it’s an interactive version of Progress Quest. Excellent.

    • Feferuco says:

      I’d say it is a little more than that, the game is really clever.

      First it hooks you in with this absurd premise of ever increasing candy reserves for no apparent reason, and the player has no idea of what’s going on, then it starts to surprise you with absurd little things. Very few games have such a great hook. It is this big question mark, it feels like watching Lost but without any expectation of a let down.

      When you start questing it presents enough interesting choices for some interesting management, but at the same time you don’t have to care because you know that your resources will go up. You only care if you want to win at your own pace. That’s another great thing it does. The game lets you progress whether or not you want to engage it, it doesn’t force you to play it, and it does in a way that doesn’t patronize the player.

      It manages choices in an entertaining way. So far this game does a better job than a lot of stuff that I’ve played.

      Then there’s the combat, which at first seems completely automatic, once you get enough potions and spells you realize what you can actually do with them, and once again it gets very interesting. Only issue is how insanely fast it goes and how hard it is to use your potions. I’m saying if the pacing was a little slower and the interface a little better the challenging bits I’ve played would give quite a few RPGs a run for their money.

      This game demands very little of you but it delivers a lot. It can actually be challenging if the player wants it to. Or it can be just a parade of little surprises that keep you engaged.

  4. phelix says:

    Can this ‘candy merchant’ fellow be trusted, or is there a van parked just off-screen?

  5. The Sombrero Kid says:

    p0wnd it a couple of days ago, got no work done for 2 days.

  6. Dozer says:

    My internet connection is too rubbish for me to load this – damn satellite connections which fail in rain – but do you take a thing and Throw It On The Ground? If so, I’m not going to be part of your system, maaaan!

  7. SominiTheCommenter says:

    Charlie The Unicorn: The Game?

  8. coffeetable says:

    If you’re impatient like me, candies.js is where CandiesPerSecond is located.

    e: In Chrome, hit F12 to bring up devtools. Go to the Console tab. Type in candies.CandiesPerSecond = 10.

    • thegrieve says:

      I turned to cheating after I accidentally hit F5 after 12 hours without saving :(

      Avert thine eyes if you wish to remain pure – My favourites incantations were:

      candies.nbrOwned = 999999
      lollipops.nbrOwned = 999999
      quest.tired = false

  9. Avinite says:

    I think I beat this game pretty thoroughly…

    Perhaps mild spoilers
    http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/7332/candiesdone.png

  10. stahlwerk says:

    quick question, before I waste any more candy, can the lp/sec rate go higher than 100 by planting alone?

  11. mrd says:

    Well… thanks for putting me onto this. Now i’m stuck, and can’t get away from this stupid game.

    I mean… c’mon. :\

  12. TheBarringGaffner says:

    So, do lollipops actually do anything?

  13. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    This is silly. It’s rather easy not to get to most of the game’s content. Yay, I guess?

  14. Gap Gen says:

    OK so I just played this game all the way from London to Edinburgh on the train. Damn you, RPS. Damn you.

  15. rei says:

    Well this sure turned into an obsession quick. I have things to do! ;(

  16. vivlo says:

    For any french reader there is creator’s voice here :
    http://www.eurogamer.fr/articles/2013-04-25-candy-box

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