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Stick With It: Candy Box Is Loaded With Surprises

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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Nathan Grayson

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