Developer Maschinen-Mensch has just released a demo for its excellent rogue-like exploration sim Curious Expedition, and you can play it for free in your browser.
Curious Expedition’s pulp-inspired action sees you adopting the guise of a legendary explorer (or, at least, a famous figure with an inquisitive mind, ranging from Charles Darwin and Amelia Earhart to Aleister Crowley and HP Lovecraft) then setting forth across undiscovered lands in search of fame and fortune.
Your ultimate goal each game is to become the most successful explorer in all the world, amassing wealth and renown with every perilous expedition you embark on. Each mini adventure unfolds on a hex-based grid – representing a new, uncharted corner of the world – and your basic aim each time is to gather treasure and find the Golden Pyramid on each map, before hunger, or insanity – or worse – brings your journey to a premature end.
To reach your objective, you’ll need to traverse sun-scorched planes, swamps, thick jungles, and perilous mountains, with each arduous step slowly draining your – and your party’s – sanity. Success requires you to carefully manage your limited inventory and state of mind, pushing as far into the unknown as you dare, while ensuring you’ve ample food and supplies.
On your travels, you’ll encounter cursed shrines that can rend the landscape once disturbed, mysterious ruins, exotic locales, even villages where the locals might choose to help or hinder your progress, depending on your reputation. And confounding your carefully laid plans are the limited resources, the hostile wildlife – which you’ll occasionally fight using a board-game-like dice-throwing system – and your own party, whose positive and negative traits, ranging from strong-mindedness to unfettered racism, will dramatically affect your chances of survival.
All these moving parts add up to a great little adventure which, thanks to the procedurally generated map, with its different layouts, landmarks, and events, is excellent at generating fun new stories, and strategic challenges. The demo version, which you can find online, limits play to two expeditions, but the full game strings together many more, with much greater variety.