Review – Curious Expedition

Curious Expedition is an exploration roguelike that has you looking for fame and fortune, exploring the world for golden temples while racing against other fellow explorers. Given how I consider myself a big fan of the roguelike genre, can this one live up to its premise?


Finishing an expedition unlocks a reward for your next one.

In order to finish the game you will need to complete six back to back expeditions in a single run. Each time you complete an expedition, the next one gets much harder. Curious Expedition does a fairly poor job of explaining all of its mechanics, and for that I would highly recommend having a quick look at the wiki before starting out. Sanity is your main resource in the game and pretty much everything revolves around it.

Scattered across the hostile worlds are a number of temples and villages to interact with. Temples are filled with riches but if you disturb them disaster will strike. Flooding the nearby area or burning everything in sight. Plundering these temples is a massive risk and you must be prepared to run in case things turn for the worst.  It’s a risk vs. reward system, as your loot could prove useful in a future expedition.

As you explore the vast game worlds in search for golden temples, your sanity will start to degrade. As this happens, a variety of ailments will affect your ability to progress and may even cause conflict in your expedition group, in true Oregon Trail fashion. Depleting your sanity meter can result in the craziest of situations, with even cannibalism among your group being a possibility. It’s an interesting mechanic that requires planning and preparation to get around and can lead to some stressful moments, where you are lost in the jungle with no nearby settlements, with hostile wildlife near you, and no viable resting places available. Finding that golden temple just feels like a massive relief.


There’s a level of risk vs reward.

Curious Expedition is a very difficult game and you will die a lot. Keeping your explorers’ sanity up is one thing, but having to deal with native reputation and resolving conflicts within your current group of survivor makes things a lot more complicated. None of this is helped by the awful dice rolling combat that is just incredibly unsatisfying even if you do get the hang of it. I’ve lost a few good runs due to this combat system. I can’t help but to feel that the combat needed to be entirely reworked or removed and more focus should have been placed on just the environment. 

Now onto the roguelike elements. After each expedition, you will return with the loot that you have and the choice of one of three perks to carry with you for the rest of the run. You can return from an expedition at any moment if you feel like you won’t survive, but at the cost of no reward. If you die, you go back to the very beginning. Things get more difficult as you progress and the game really opens up. Unfortunately I was never hooked onto this game and I found myself getting bored too easily. It can be overly repetitive and doesn’t offer enough interesting mechanics. The perks do very little to engage you.

Visually, Curious Expedition goes for a pixel art approach. Whilst decent enough to look at, there is also nothing special about it. It doesn’t really have a personality of it’s own. The same goes for the sound design actually, there’s just not a lot to talk about here. As a whole for the sound and visuals there’s nothing here that is off-putting and it’s very much down to personal preference. 


The world map provides the most enjoyment.

Curious Expedition has some good ideas but most of them don’t quite land thanks to the overly repetitive gameplay that gets boring after a few short runs, as well as its terrible combat system. Hopefully the upcoming sequel can improve on these issues, if it ever comes out.


Graphics: 6.5

Whilst decent enough to look at, there is also nothing special about it. It doesn’t really have a personality of its own.

Gameplay: 6.0

Exploring the game’s worlds is fun but the gameplay loop can get rather repetitive very quickly. The combat mechanics are also very lackluster.

Sound: 6.5

This is a very similar story with the graphics. None of it is bad but doesn’t really add anything of substance to the overall experience.

Fun Factor: 6.5

Curious Expedition has some good ideas but is a lackluster roguelike experience. It’s repetitive and it relies too much on RNG for everything.

Final Verdict: 6.5

Curious Expedition is available now on Switch, PC.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Curious Expedition was provided by the publisher.