2D platformers were becoming a thing of the past until the sudden surge of games flooded the Arcade and Indie market and there was a sudden interest in the old platformer genre. The Cave, is a new breed of 2D platformer and it breathes some new life into the genre.
Of course, being created by Double Fine productions and Ron Gilbert obviously didn’t hurt either. With their reputation for humorous games, The Cave had a lot to live up to in that department and they managed it quite spectacularly. This is especially impressive as all the playable characters are mute, with only the NPC’s being able to talk. This doesn’t hurt the game, in fact it actually adds to the entertainment value. The main one that steals the show however is the voice of The Cave, giving the belief that The Cave is actually a sentient living being. The Cave voice reacts to what you are doing within the game, so if you are taking a long time with a puzzle, it starts making references to getting you to hurry up, none of it helpful, but it breaks up the silence as there is little music here. This is actually a plus as well, as it adds to the believability off you actually being in a Cave.
With the characters being mute, there actions are overly exaggerated, which gives each character their own personality as well. For example, with the Hillbilly character, you can hear his feet slapping off of the ground, and it evokes an image of slapstick humour. There are seven characters in total, with you being able to play as three at a time, so once you have completed the game with one set of characters, it’s off to go and do it again with another set. This adds a lot of replayability to the game, as each character has their own special area which only they can access. So if you want to fully experience The Cave you will have to play the game three times to get access to all the areas.
The specific areas each embellish the backstory for the characters as well, going into their reason for being in The Cave. They’re all searching for what they desire most, so for example, with the Knight you are there to retrieve Excalibur and you have the whole Sword in the Stone moment (helped with a cheeky bit of dynamite underneath!)
What makes the game stand out the most however is the artwork, it is big and bold, very much a different prospect than what else is out on the market at the moment. Part of the reason for this is the mute characters needing the bright and bold to exaggerate their movements, but it also makes it fairly unique and charming. It makes it stand out.
If you’re after a quick adventure, this isn’t the game for you. Whilst platforming is a major element, a lot of the game revolves around puzzles, where you need to use all three of your characters to solve them. This can lead to some major head scratching and frustration. The game actually mocks you at one point by giving you the name of a website which has the answer to one of the puzzles. You can easily spend up to an hour just working on one of the puzzles in a single area, which whilst frustrating, when you actually manage to complete it is exceedingly rewarding.
Unfortunately the game isn’t perfect and there are still some bugs around which can make the game infuriating at times, with characters getting stuck on an object and then being unable to move them until you switch characters. Some of the puzzles aren’t explained that well either, as there are some parts where you have to switch characters whilst holding in buttons, which at no point is explained to you. However these don’t detract from the overall experience and are only minor problems in the grand scheme of things.
Overall this is a brilliant arcade game, with hours of replayability and humor to keep you laughing the entire way through. This is definitely worth the 1200 MSP/£9.99.