Community Review: Candy Box

I could have made this week's Community Review about a big release or a quirky new Indie game, but let's be real here for a second. Last week we were all playing Candy Box, 'the effin' Candy game', Candies or whatever everyone was calling it. Let's talk about our experiences!

Candy Box is a difficult game to place a value judgement on. Are we getting any real pleasure from playing Candy Box or is it just a really well designed Skinner box? Is it a game that sort of alerts you to the fact that most modern day video games are like really well designed Skinner boxes? Is this whole thing just a strange parody?

For me Candy Box is a game that reminds us of what really defines memorable video game experiences: a sense of exploration, of meted out progress. Modern games tend to dole out new equipment, new areas, new spaces like (ironically) candy. But Candy Box forces you to wait. You have to wait to buy the next upgrade, you have to wait until you're strong enough to beat the Dragon, you have to think about the best way to use the scrolls you've accumulated. If you're dumb enough to continue throwing candy on the ground — tough shit. You won't get them back. And you'll have to stare at a number — how many candies did you waste? That number exists as a constant reminder of your own stupidity.

But what I enjoyed most about Candy Box was the way in which we engaged with one another. It's a twitter game if there ever was one. There was a slow sense of discovery, of community. We shared things, we talked about our experiences. Candy Box was a true shared experience for me. I laughed at the jokes, asked for advice, doled out advice. I shared the game with friends and then lived vicariously through their sense of discovery.

That was Candy Box for me.

What about you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Comments

    I finished it on Sunday. It had some interesting moments, and the lack of hand holding was both nice, and a little dickish. I left my computer running overnight twice, just so I could get more stuff.

    Mostly though, I am glad that it is over, that I never need to touch it again, because holy garbage, that was a waste of time.

      I thought the lack of hand holding was brilliant. I laughed when I sent the link to my partner. Her reply was wtf is this? Are you serious? She was soon silent - counting candies.

        There are limits. At times it was refreshing, making you think about the game, and its mechanics. For instance (spoilers for levels):
        Using a berserk potion makes the castle entrance way easier, an imp summon makes the stairs a whole lot simpler, and the Developper's Garden [sic] requires the use of a turtle potion.
        These are all clever uses of things that you might not initially consider. Conversely (end game spoilers):
        The fight against the Developper [sic] requires you to roll your face across the keyboard (or hand, or whatever), which isn't an extension of game mechanics, it's just a cheap piece of crap. I feel the same way about Hell, which was just mean.

    Love it. An ASCII parody. My only gripe is the 'load' button. I have accidently hit it on my phone a couple of times. Better than sim-city!

    I was somewhere in the castle. I had it open in a browser on Friday afternoon. Then my computer crashed and I hadn't saved for a while. So I've lost loads of progress and have given up.

    Quite relieved, really. I am free of it now.

    I think the initial mystery and complete lack of marketing hype was why it was so intriguing. I mean, how often do you get to play a game nowadays that you knew *nothing* about in advance?

    Left it running over the weekend and still running now. Will continue (I'm just past Hell) when I get home and figure out how to best use my 8,000,000+ candy, 21,000,000+ lollipops and still have my wishing well wish. ;)

    You mean throwing candies on the ground does nothing? Nooooooooo...

    The dragon can go get ******.
    I've left this running overnight a few times but I'm finding the progress slow and annoying.
    I think I'm going to give up soon.
    It was an interesting concept and fun at the start but now I have little interest in finishing it.

    I like it for the same reason I liked Kingdom of Loathing. You can leave it open in a tab and visit it whenever you have a spare moment and do something, then go back to what you were doing. Sure, the game is like the candy it glorifies, a short burst of enjoyment but essentially meaningless in the grand scheme of things and soon it will most likely become an anecdote or a piece of nostalgia, but really, everything is just as temporal and ephemeral. Well, except for The Answer.

    For now though, you should go to the site, it has candy.

    I showed it to my sister and she instantly said, "no, you can't do this. I won't do it. I refuse. What are you trying to do, make me fail uni?"

    The mobile version is inferior. I recommend the PC version.

    ... curse you peer pressure. I've started playing. currently sitting on 16 lollipops planted and saving up for the iron sword so I can take a run at Mount Goblin without dying.

      Keep planting them! NEVER STOP PLANTING! Well. Maybe stop at around 18,000 or something.

        If this ends with me becoming the kingpin of an underground lollipop ring and I get busted, I'm blaming you.

          If you get busted, just bribe them with lollipops. Or keep some candy on hand for hush money.

    I think it's cool what they've done, very creative, but it's not really a fun game to play.

    For me it was the discovery as things unfolded. Not just new content, but entire new mechanics. Also the quiz was especially fun to figure out. There were at least two questions which had me narrowing my eyes suspiciously at it going, "You did not just go there. That is not seriously the answer." My only regret is not enchanting the sword with Life instead of Fire, and blowing my wish early when I should've waited til I had like... a hundred million lollipops.

    Candy Box is mainly a game about backing up your progress and hardware/software stability.

    I used to be a Candy player like you, but then I took a Fez to the knee.

    i cant get past the castle entrance... its driving me nuts.

      I was stuck on that section for a long time too. I'm currently farming it for candies as I type this, hehehe. One of your scrolls is really handy for that level =P

        You've got to push your way forward, otherwise it goes on forever. Figured that out the hard way..

        Or you can just repeatedly murder the whale and leave the PC on for a day or two to brute-force it. ;)

    if you don't feel like waiting days, in chrome / firefox console do
    candies.nbrOwned = 999999999999
    lollipops.nbrOwned = 999999999999

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