To all those people still clicking cookies, I have good news: you can stop. Close that tab, forget about the angry grandmas, don’t even think about the time machines, and put that all behind you. That chapter in your life is closed, just like the one about how you liked to wake up in the middle of the night and eat cold hot dogs without your parents noticing and yelling at you to go back to sleep because you have school in four hours.
Or whatever. The point is that Candy Box 2, the sequel to the progenitor of all other simplified resource-hording games Candy Box, is out now. The first thing to notice is that it is much more self-aware than its predecessor. While you start out the same with slowly collecting candy one piece at a time, the opening options are slightly different. You still can eat all the candies or throw some on the ground, but then you “request a new feature to the developer” for 30 candies.
You keep requesting new features until you have a health bar, can change languages, and finally unlock the map, in which you’ll stumble across your first location in the game: the village. Here you’ll find some houses to explore, a shop to buy stuff, and a forge to buy weapons (and another touch of self-awareness in an in-game RPG arcade game for earning candy). In one of the houses, you’ll find your first quest; the structure of the game appears to be largely unchanged.
However, it also seems to be largely improved in other places. It uses your browser’s local storage API for saving (with multiple slots!). You can leave quests before you die so if you know you can’t beat it, you can get out and save yourself the recovery time. The English no longer appears to be as charmingly broken. And there is a better, more visual sense of progression through the quests as you have to cross a bridge and explore a cave and whatnot.
It’s strange, though, that with the increased focus on having you complete quests, the mystery kind of dissolved into the expanded map. Of course, you’re not going to have the same mystery anyways since you probably played the first Candy Box if you’re playing the sequel, but there you had a stranger and then for some reason a lollipop farm (which makes a return), and then slowly you realized there was more to it. In Candy Box 2, it all seems much more upfront. But I guess you can’t fault it the same way you can’t fault Portal 2 for being the sequel to Portal.
But just the same, I’m still playing Candy Box 2. I can’t help it. It owes nothing to logic or reality and I want to see where it goes. I played Tic-tac-toe with a talking squirrel and fought a monkey wizard. You can’t possibly not be curious after that.