14th Apr2014

‘Spelunky’ Review (PC)

by Paul Metcalf


Did you ever play a game called Rick Dangerous? The fact I’m asking that probably ages me slightly.  It was a platform games based on Indiana Jones and the controls were horrible.  What Rick Dangerous had though was charm that kept on calling you back, and this is why Spelunky, a very similar character keeps on calling me back.  Even if it is designed to kill you quicker than it had time to even load up.

Spelunky is another of those games based on death, but this time the game lets you know it is all your fault.  If a spider killed you this happened because you walked underneath it and activated it.  If it was a bat…well you woke it up.  All of the traps are set off because you did it, the only thing you have no real control over is the randomness of the levels themselves.

The beauty of Spelunky is that each time you enter a level it is going to be different.  You may feel that the overall design feels similar but that is just to put you at ease before you go and set off a trap, annoy a shop keeper by stealing or even find a secret treasure stash which is being guarded by a psychotic old man.  The randomness of the levels mean that you’ll never truly complete the game, even if you make it to the end (or to the secret end) it’ll still be there in its ever-changing randomness calling you back.

As with all games that addict you, you will hate Spelunky, but you will also love it.  In truth the game is basic and the fact that it wants you to die is just evil, so why do we go back? The simple answer to that is if a game could have charisma then Spelunky has it.  It’s a simple little game where you make progress simply by running as fast as you can and cheating death.  In fact the fact that when you complete a level you are given a distance of how deep you are will help you realise one thing, Spelunky is an endless platformer.

What do I mean by that? I mean that it’s a version of an endless runner game, but dressed up as a platform game.  Luckily enough for the addicted though it won’t give you endless prompts to make in-game transactions.  All you have to do is same the damsel in distress, run away from the giant rock, survive the darkness, explore the alien spaceship, run through the graveyard, make lots of money and try not to annoy some Gods.  Sound easy? Well it’s not.

Spelunky is a small game that really doesn’t ask much from you, and that is why it is so fun to play.  Yes you will die a lot and you’ll have it thrown in your face that you died, before being given the chance to quick-start straight back into the dungeon.  Yes it is a hard game and yes you may swear at the snake or spider that killed you, but you’ll also be straight back into it just to prove that you can make it through that next level.  You can’t let the game beat you can you?

Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek

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