The first Candy Box was the best ASCII-driven, browser-powered, candy-based RPG I’ve ever played. It was, in a way, the most interestingly designed game of 2013. Now the sequel is ready, and you can play it now.
Candy Box was started to help its creator, Nathanael Abbotts, learn HTML. It became a surprise hit and according to the game’s stats page, there were 1272914 saves stored as of the 4th of September. Abbotts started work on a sequel immediately.
What made the original so interesting – and this might not be a repeatable experience – was that you never knew the limits of what you were playing. Candy Box begins with a single counter, ticking up the number of candies you possessed at a rate of one per second. From there it kept expanding: after ten seconds, after one minute, and so on, adding feature after feature in a way such that you were never quite sure what was coming, or even what genre of game you’re playing. We think of games as possibility spaces, and by drip-feeding its content at a careful rate, Candy Box seemed for a while to contain endless possibilities. I kept my computer on for nights at a time so I could raise more and more candies.
Whether a deliberate sequel can re-capture that same experience, I don’t know, but I hope there are surprises to be found in its depths. Check it out.