What would happen if you mixed Around the World in 80 Days, any Rudyard Kipling Book, and generic English faffery? You would get The Curious Expedition – a beautiful, pixel-art game which combines rogue elements, strategy, turn-based playing, and top-down exploration maps to create a unique experience where (like in real life) everything is either trying to kill you or make you go insane.
My Experience in The Curious Expedition
This is my second time encountering a roguelike game (the first was Ziggurat) that I actually enjoyed. My typical emotional response to any game with rogue elements is “you’re trying way too hard to tap into my nostalgia“. The Curious Expedition sets you in a world with a 19th century backdrop and starts by letting you pick from one of many famous personalities that include (but aren’t limited to) Charles Darwin, Richard Francis Burton, Nikola Tesla, Amelia Earhart, Marcus Garvey, and the character of my choice: Marie Curie. The motivation for each of these characters is to compete against the others in a quest for the most renown. Most in-game elements are either randomly (items) or procedurally (maps) generated ensuring that you will never get the same adventure twice.
I started the adventure with Marie Curie, Mr. Winters (A Donkey), a hunting dog, a nun, and an indigenous translator. After successfully completing two expeditions, I was presented with a hero’s welcome only to have someone in the crowd shout:
“Exploring is man’s work!”
This of course was not enough to deter Marie Curie from traveling to the desert wastelands where she passed away fighting off two tigers so that Mr. Winters and her hunting dog could flee to safety. The game is currently in Early Access which means you are playing a game far from finished; the creators have done their best to push out bi-weekly updates and you would be hard pressed to find yourself thinking “this game is totally unfinished”. If you have a friend who enjoys being frustrated (in a good way) then pick this up for them. I intend to continue playing it well through the holidays.