GAME NAME: The Cave
DEVELOPER(S): Double Fine
PUBLISHER(S): Sega of America
PLATFORM(S): Xbox Live Arcade, Playstation Network, Steam, Wii-U eShop
GENRE(S): Puzzle Platforming, Adventure
RELEASE DATE(S): January 23rd, 2013
Seven very different warriors stand around a campfire in dark and devilish woods – a Knight, a Scientist, a Hillbilly, a Time Traveler, an Adventurer, a Monk, and a set of Twins – to their right a large cave closed off from the outside with old wooden beams. As you choose your three adventures from the group of seven and begin to embark on their journey through the cave you’ll be greeted with the voice of an ominous and all seeing narrator – the Cave. Yes, the cave talks.
The narrator is the biggest element of story in The Cave; it provides you with witty and humorous banter that will drive you through your three characters quests for the item they desire most. Each character has a dedicated section of puzzles to go through in The Cave’s three to five hour story, which is surprisingly stronger than one would expect. I went into this game expecting a lackluster story backed up by kick ass game play, but I got both.
The game play in The Cave is what you might expect from a side scrolling platformer, but with amazingly hard puzzle elements thrown in. The Puzzles in The Cave are not for the faint of heart, and they’ll have you thinking for hours. I was stuck in the first puzzle of The Knight for a few hours before I realized how I was missing the simplest thing and figured it out. Some sections took me hours to get past while others I breezed through. As much as I tried not to, I even had to ask a fellow reviewer of The Cave for help in one section (Thanks, Stephen!). But in the end all of the puzzles could definitely be solved without help, given you have some patience. The Cave also features local co-op, which I’m unable to comment on as I didn’t have anyone to play with.
Like I mentioned earlier, the story in The Cave is much better than expected. The story is of a cave that holds every ones greatest desire. As you progress through you uncover hidden cave paintings that reveal the back story to your character – all grimmer than you’d realize by looking at them. As you progress through The Cave you solve each characters scenario and learn more about them as a person, seeing how far they’d go to get the thing they desire most in life – no matter how evil it is.
The game play in The Cave is very easy to figure out, and you’re never actually taught what buttons do what, simply thrown into the world and left to figure it out, which is surprisingly simple; A to jump, X to use, B to pickup/drop, and Y to activate your special ability – on Xbox, at least.
The Cave truly is a mind-bendingly perfect display of creative puzzles and challenges that will keep you playing for hours – I’m on my fourth play through so far, and I’d have to name this as one of the best downloadable titles I’ve ever played.. It’s available tomorrow on Xbox Live, Steam, PSN, and the Wii-U eShop for $14.99.
Reviewed on the Xbox 360