Sawbuck Gamer

Candy Box

Sugar Rush

Candy Box’s innocent, ultra-low-fi exterior belies an addictive core.

By Matt Kodner • May 8, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

“Life is like a box of candies. You never…ugh…too much candy,” mutters Forrest Gump Jr. Jr. in my screenplay for Forrest Gump 2: The Gumpening. Set approximately one week ago, the film follows a perpetually hunched over Jr. Jr. as his eyes glaze over from staring at a single browser tab for four straight days. “You have 110,000 candies,” the site reads. Jr. Jr., a broken man, whispers, “This ends here,” as he clicks out of Candy Box. The curse is lifted, and he heroically returns to scrolling through Reddit. Fade to black.

I would be remiss not to acknowledge the similarities between Jr. Jr.’s life and my own. It was just last Thursday that assistant editor Matt Gerardi almost singlehandedly brought Gameological HQ to its knees with the introduction of a devious little browser game, Candy Box. Each second, you are given a single piece of candy. You can eat it or throw it on the ground, but doing either gets you nowhere. To really get going, you have to step aside, perhaps into another tab, and let the candies accrue. Slowly, Candy Box fills itself in with borrowed ASCII art and blossoms into something wholly unexpected. The catch is that it doesn’t stop requiring inordinate amounts of idle time between events. Without saying much more (it gets complex), I’d suggest giving it an hour of your divided attention and check in periodically. Within a day, it’ll become abundantly clear just how Jr. Jr. could find himself so far down that rabbit hole.

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113 Responses to “Sugar Rush”

  1. duwease says:

    I really really lucked out in this game in that I accidentally closed the tab about 30 minutes in, and it doesn’t save progress.

    Productivity crisis averted!

  2. PaganPoet says:

    I just love how utterly effervescent this game is about every action.

    “You have eaten 7 candies!”

    I’m not even sure there exists a candy on the planet that I could be that excited about eating. A mango-chili paletero comes close, but that’s not candy.

    • Captain Internet says:

      Interesting observation about this game: it’s only when you stop eating the candies that it truly starts making you sick

      • Enkidum says:

        Does eating candies or throwing them on the ground actually do anything? I gave up once I realized you could hoard them and make them do stuff. Maybe I should…

        • Citric says:

          Eating candies gets you more HP.

        • Chum Joely says:

          Well, I just started my first game by throwing 150 candies on the ground, 10 at a time, and yes, there is a minor but slightly amusing reaction.

        • EmperorSeth says:

           Oh God Damnit, I feel like an idiot now. Not as much as the writer of this article who thought eating candy got you nothing, mind you. Thanks, Citric

  3. Captain Internet says:

    Oh no, not again

    • His_Space_Holiness says:

      Candy Box is coming for you all. It is everpresent, everpatient, and everhungry. You think you are consuming candy, but the box in turn consumes you. Your free time. Your attention. Your very soul. We are all candy, and the box will not be satisfied until we fill it.

      We cannot.

      • PaganPoet says:

        Is it enough to even topple the space pope!?

        • His_Space_Holiness says:

          NEVER!

          But like Xenu and compound interest, I respect its dark power.

        • Effigy_Power says:

          Give it a moment, I am sure His Holiness will find a way to make a buck off it.

        • Aurora Boreanaz says:

          *pours pile of candy on the ground, arranges into mosaic of Virgin Mary*
          *Charges $5 admission to see miracle*
          *Profit!*

  4. Yeah, I have this currently accruing candies and lollipops for the past week or so at work. In another few days I’ll get back into finishing it up. Grinding without grinding: the best kind of grinding.

  5. George_Liquor says:

    Sweet Jeebus, this time sucker has been running on my laptop since last week’s Comment Cat. There damn well better be a Gummi Venus De Milo waiting for me at the end!

  6. caspiancomic says:

    I, too, have felt the bite of the Candy Box (SPACEMONKEEEEEEEY!!), and I’ve had the bastard running quietly in another tab for several days now. I’ve hit a bit of a wall, though- can’t beat Hell so far. Took me forever to beat the dragon.

    Oh God…. oh God this game… this game…

  7. ItsTheShadsy says:

    I played this for about 2.5 until I had a sudden moment of clarity and regret about what was happening. “No, this is not acceptable,” I said to myself before throwing my computer in a firey chasm and abandoning Candy Box forever.

    I had just read about Cow Clicker for the first time that day, so that probably helped.

  8. POTENTIAL MILD SPOILER

    Once you earn the cauldron, the game actually becomes quite strategic.

    POTENTIAL MAJOR SPOILER

    There is a definite end to the game, thankfully.

  9. Enkidum says:

    So… at the risk of being SPOILERY, how far are people along in this? I still haven’t been able to win the Hell level, which I’m assuming is the end?

    I guess the strategy is to use the invicibility potion and try and jump around demons? Or the superman potion or something? Shit, I dunno, it took me like 30 tries to beat the castle keep. 

    The fact that I bothered to try 30 times suggests that I’m a fucking moron.

    • HeyHeySpaceman says:

       The “last” level is not Hell, actually…

      Try dodging demons/going invincible to get to the wall, once you teleport back to the left, dive to the bottom and send an imp out to soak up the ghosts. Go invincible to break the second wall. Teleport back and imp your way to the Devil, go invincible, and kill him (w/ teleporting back and healing as needed)

      • Matt Kodner says:

        I found the best way to deal with Hell is to go invincible, teleport back, and then plant a seed to wait for the cooldown. 

        The seeds are a good way to keep your wits about you as things get excessively frantic. 

      • Enkidum says:

        So does throwing candies on the ground actually do anything?

    • Zack Handlen says:

      I’m stuck in the castle, and was close to giving up. However, I didn’t realize eating candy gave you HP, so now I’m back in. Sigh.

    • aklab says:

      Right now I’m stuck on *SPOILER* Chuck Norris. 

  10. aklab says:

    I’m not an early adopter. I tend to play games, hear music, and watch movies at least a year or two after everyone else does.
    So it felt pretty good to be involved in the viral contagion of this game. I got at least a couple people hooked!  

  11. Fluka says:

    GAME OF THE YEAR

  12. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    *peers at screenshot above, narrows eyes*
    “Buy” a lollipop for 60 candies?  Unless the damn lollipop is the size of 60 candies, that’s a REALLY crappy deal.  No thanks.

    • Chalkdust says:

      You plant the lollipops on your lollipop farm to grow more candies!  Don’t you know how agriculture works?

      • Chum Joely says:

        It was definitely worth it, man. I bootstrapped so hard off that shit, my farm is now cranking out 100 lollipops a SECOND.

  13. Brainstrain says:

    I’m still trying to move past Mount Goblin. How do you unlock the scrolls?

  14. The_Helmaroc_King says:

    Welp, I started playing this game shortly after Spacemonkey Mafia posted it. It’s fun and light at first, but after a few hours total the rush wore off and the grind set in. That is when I decided to cheat, and how!

    As far as I can tell, about 90 to 99% of the game is entirely within JavaScript. Impressive! It also means that you can flagrantly cheat if you know how to use your browser of choice’s developer tools. You, too, can gain 999,999,999,999 lollipops in an instant and destroy your enemies with a Sword of Liflamesummoning while their attacks bounce off of your invincible body, all with the magic of JavaScript!

    Unfortunately, that was a few days ago, so I’ve forgotten most of the commands I used, but if anyone wants to escape the grind, experiment!
    setNbrOwned

    • DrKumAndGo says:

      In Chrome:
      1. Go to Menu>Tools>Developer Tools
      2. Click on the “Console” tab
      3. Type, for instance,
      “lollipops.setNbrOwned(2)”
      or
      “candies.setNbrOwned(10)”

      to give yourself 2 lollipops or 10 candies.

      The author writes nice, clean, easy to understand classes, so it’s very easy to cheat basically however you want, if you’re so inclined.

  15. Chalkdust says:

    Two Sawbuck Gamers in one day?  Candy Box breaks all the rules.

  16. The_Misanthrope says:

    The mystery that haunts me dreams and stabs at my very soul:  Why does the candy merchant look like the 4th Doctor?

    • Tyler Mills says:

      Some questions are better left unanswered,  and some are unanswerable.

      All aspects of Candy Box are both types at the same time.

  17. Django Zeaman says:

    Hunh. Definitely enjoyed the first hour or so…but not after that. Closed it of my own free will.

    The cauldron was tedious.

  18. Xenomorph says:

    I am hopelessly hooked on this game. As I have to have my browser open all day every day, this game is perfect in that once every few hours (because I’ve gotten quite far in and therefore have to accumulate A LOT of candies and lollipops to progress) I can upgrade stuff, make potions, and hopefully complete a quest; even if I fail said quest, I just have to wait a bit longer. Normally I can’t stand the waiting in, say, pretty much every game on Facebook, but for some reason I find it very tolerable in this game. I think maybe because it’s not a tactic to try and make me spend cash to progress.

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  81. Portal LeveiMulta says:

    Yeah, I have this currently accruing candies and lollipops for the past week or so at work. In another few days I’ll get back into finishing it up. Grinding without grinding: the best kind of grinding.
    Como recorrer multa