“A Roguelike Expedition-Sim set in the 19th century.” This is the tagline for the upcoming indie title Curious Expedition, and I’ll be damned if anyone is able to resist a promise like that.
The concept of the Curious Expedition is relatively simple. As an explorer you and your party will venture across the land in search of treasure, knowledge and of course, glory. Mistakes are punished with death or the far more fun loss of insanity amongst your party members. They may kill you all, or run away with your supplies, you just don’t know! See, simple.
If that didn’t sound awesome enough for you, perhaps the choice of explorers will wet your appetite. Since it is an adventure set in the 19th century, it seems only appropriate that your party members could be made up from a myriad of famous icons of the era. Some of these include:
• Charles Darwin
• Nikola Tesla
• Harriet Tubman
• Amelia Earhart
• Mary Kingsley
• Freya Stark
• Marie Curie
• Aleister Crowley
Plus many more!
Be careful who you choose though. Each character has specific strengths and weaknesses that may make or break your potential success.
The tales of Dr. Livingstone and Charles Darwin initially inspired the game. However, in addition to that it has adopted a feel that is reminiscent of Lovecraft. This comes mostly from the importance of sanity and pitfalls that occur when it gets low. Anyone who has played Call of Cthulhu will definitely recognize this aspect of the gameplay. Don’t worry kids; it’s just as fun as it is frustrating. There also seems to be a touch of Steampunk added into the fix, particularly through the character of Tesla. Let’s just say that you may see him running around with a giant gun that is powered up by electric eels. Yeah, I’m excited too.
Curious Expedition is certainly an independent game in truest sense of the word. It’s been a labour of love for Riad Djemili and Johannes Kristmann - two ordinary guys from Germany who have been developing it between their regular 9 – 5 gigs. However, life was made a great deal easier for the pair when they released their devlog on TigSource and subsequently won €50,000 from the German government.
Interestingly, the pair has chosen to make the game available on all browsers through HTML5 and will therefore not require any plugins. Although this move may be considered to be a mistake, there may in fact be a method to their madness. What has interested them most in this endeavor are the immense sharing options that would only really be possible in a browser-based game. For example, wiki links being built into item and character descriptions, and being able to share achievements and high scores directly to your Facebook page. Easy access has also been listed as an attractive draw card for browsers. You could potentially save your game at home and then waste company resources by picking it right back up again at work.
If nothing else, Curious Expedition very well may prove that not all browser games should be assumed to be low quality flash based monstrosities that are designed merely for casual gamers. If this gamble works out for them, it really may prove to be revolutionary. Despite being adamant about providing players with a browser-based core game, they have stated that they aren’t ruling out Steam as a possibility in the future.
In the meantime, all we can do is wait impatiently for this 8-bitesque potential masterpiece to drop and keep our fingers crossed that it will be just as incredible as it promises.