Spelunky Review

By Spencer Pressly on September 18, 2013

Whether you have heard about it or not, Spelunky is an indie game like most that started with very humble beginnings on the PC. Despite only being developed by a two person team at Mossmouth the game ended up being a huge hit and it has since seen releases on additional platforms. This was due to its simple, but charming graphics along with the game offering a new level of difficulty every time due to its randomly generated levels.

You are an adventurer in Spelunky, one of your own choosing. Your objective is to gain as many riches as possible as you explore a mysterious cave. That is all the story you will get and that is fine since the game is not meant to keep you coming back for the story, but the fast and fun gameplay. Once you learn all the secrets of the mysterious cave in the tutorial, the game takes off the leash and lets you have a go at one of the most painfully addictive games out there.

Spelunky will keep you coming back, and that's mainly because of the randomly generated levels. No matter how many times you play a level, it will always be different somehow. This actually helps two of Spelunky's biggest flaws. The first is that the game doesn't actually take that long to beat. The main adventure is split up into four worlds and each of those has four areas for you to clear - that can be done in less than an hour.

The second problem is that the game is surprisingly hard and this can really be a surprise for those new to the roguelike genre. This is only really a problem because it is that kind of extreme difficulty that you either love right away and want to keep getting better at, or just scream at it until you give up. Most people have no real problem with dying if they can understand their own mistake, but playing co-op is a whole different thing. When you're with people who die rather frequently, it takes the fun out of the game.

Adventure mode in Spelunky has you exploring caves and will have you running into many different kinds of dangers such as spike, spiders, snakes and crazy old men. You will quickly find that these hazards can be killed just as easily as you can. Once you die that is it and you will have to start all the way from the beginning. So unless you are someone who loves climbing the leaderboards or being a completionist, Spelunky may seem a bit lacking in the features department.

Now a big thing to point out here is that the PlayStation version of this game includes all the DLC released with the XBLA version, it doesn't include the PC's main new feature and that is the Daily Challenge mode. This mode lets players compete in a dungeon that was the same for everyone and see who could get the most money all in one go. This changes every day and makes every day feel like a new, but still intense challenge as you try to make it as far as possible on your way down the giant cave and up the daily leaderboards.

The game doesn't have any sort of online multiplayer, but as a local multiplayer game Spelunky really succeeds more in its Deathmatch mode when playing with others as opposed to co-op in adventure mode. Deathmatch places up to four players against each other with a list of customizable rules. The amount of different maps to choose from will really keeps you and your friends from getting bored of any one level.

Final Thoughts

For its price, some people may not think Spelunky is worth it. After all, it comes with no online and only two major game modes. On the other hand, players looking to have an incredibly addicting game challenge them at every turn will be suitably impressed. Spelunky is a roguelike that succeeds in breathing new life into the genre.

Random levels help to keep the game fresh.
A new challenge for roguelike fans.
No daily challenge.
No level editor.
No online multiplayer.
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