Curious Expedition has finally come to consoles years after its PC release and it’s still as compelling as ever.
With development ramping up on the sequel, getting hands back on with Maschinen-Mensch’s procedurally generated fame simulator has been a joyful reminder of just how good the concept is.
True, it doesn’t have the extensive mod options that’s helped the original stay so timeless, but the core gameplay remains more than enough to keep you glued to your screen.
The aim is to go on expeditions with leading explorers and bring back wealth and riches, outperforming rivals by earning more fame and glory than them.
There are multiple ways to do this, by trading with locals, examing the terrain, searching caves and wrecks, and even looting temples. The latter can be dangerous though, and often has negative connotations and side effects.
You might trigger a volcano, or cause plague and affliction on the island. Perhaps something worse. It’ll be up to you to balance whether that’s worth it to your expedition, as it can cause dissension in the ranks and even affect your fame and notoriety.
I mention dissension as you won’t be alone, of course, and can bring along companions of different profession types. Your ranks can include soldiers, medics and cooks, each one offering your party something unique, serving in different ways. Because of their professions, each of your runs will inevitably be different as a result.
As you gradually open up and traverse the terrain, you’ll see a continued drain on what’s known as sanity points. Once these reach 0, your teammates will be more susceptible to negative thoughts and feelings, and some of these outcomes are downright shocking.
For real, the first time one of my companions actually ate the other and turned into a raging cannibal made me audibly gasp!
And having to kill my Donkey companion because it went feral and bit someone was heartbreaking.
Curious Expedition is a fascinating game, because the whole purpose and aim of it – attaining glory – really shows the player that the consequences usually attached to that can be ugly, cruel, and unexpected. You’ll lose friends, people will get hurt, and most of the time you’ll be scraping to survive.
Planning your journey will be important as you’ll only have a limited amount of inventory slots before you become over-encumbered. Walk around carrying too much and your sanity will drain much faster.
What’s more, you’ll carry over anything you’ve collected between each expedition, so inventory management becomes so much more important as you move from world to world and progress through your adventures.
From start to finish, Curious Expedition is intriguing and exciting. One minute you can be in firm control, far ahead of your competition, and the next minute your whole party can be wiped out by a random attack from a tiger, or an affliction that instils madness.
It doesn’t matter how old the game is, it still runs like a treat and has found a fantastic home on consoles. I’ve already invested a ton of hours on my PS4, and I know I’ll be spending many more in the weeks and months ahead.
Curious Expedition is out now on PS4, XO, and Switch
Tested on PS4
Code provided by Publisher