Spelunky Reviews

  • RedoduaRedodua219,588
    15 Aug 2012 15 Aug 2012
    27 1 3

    There was a time in which arcade games were made to suck your spare change. They offered challenging gameplay and cheap deaths, just so you could put in that extra quarter for another try. Spelunky revisits this gaming style... in it's own special way.

    The following points will be summarized at the bottom if you want to skip a longish read.

    Story and Gameplay
    You are an adventurer in search for fame and, of course, treasure. You go into a cave that only legends have spoken of, equipped with your reliable whip, four bombs, and four ropes. Once inside, though, you quickly find out that there is no way back, only down. Every time you die, however, you wake up at the entrance to the cave for some strange reason...

    It's not such an engaging story, but it works for the style of gameplay this game offers. You die, you restart from the beginning. It's harsh, but at the same time it makes you want to try again. There is a twist, though. Each level is randomly generated every time you play. This means you never play the same exact level twice. This adds a great amount of replay value to the game.

    The game basically plays out as a 2D adventure platformer. You go down a series of levels collecting treasure for a spot on the leaderboards. On the way you may stumble across secrets and creatures from the depths that haven't seen the light of day in centuries...

    If you're not used to a new area, you meet a certain character that can help you travel to an area without having to start from level one every time, but using these shortcuts doesn't rank you in the leaderboards and won't help you with most achievements. I myself used them to practice.

    The controls are pretty basic. Use LS to move, A to jump, B for bombs, Y for ropes, and RT is used to run.

    The controls are tight and precise. If you die because of a mistake, you can never blame the controls. There is always a way to avoid anything, be it good timing, jumping, throwing, whipping, etc. After dying hundreds of times with the same trap, I think you can get the hang of how to deal with it next time around.

    There are tons of items that spice up the game. You can get upgrades to your throwing, climbing, jumping skills, and more. There are various weapons you can get as well, which means more than just a couple of ways to deal with an annoying enemy. In almost every level you can stumble across crates that give you a random item, or even specialty shops that sell you goods for all the collected treasure. Of course, if you die, you go back to the beginning with no items besides the starting ones.

    There is also quite a lot to discover. Kudos to those that discover all the secrets with no help whatsoever, as some of them can be tricky to find. As long as you let your curiosity take over a few times, eventually everything in the game makes sense. Of course, you will die on the way, a lot.

    Four player co-op is also a great feature in this game. You can throw your friends to higher places, have some extra hands to carry more stuff instead of running up and down, and more! The downside is the occasional "Oops! Sorry!" you get due to friendly fire and thousands of ways to die because of it.

    There is also a multiplayer Deathmatch mode, which can be very fun with the right people. You are in a close quarters area with 3 other players (humans, bots, or a mix of both) and a couple of crates. This means random items for the first one who grabs one, then fire away! With a couple of customizable options and 48 maps, this turned out to be a good afternoon party game with some friends.

    Does it look good, though? It is colorful when it needs to be, and everything looks cartoony and smooth. I am yet to encounter any glitches in the game, so for a platformer, it looks and works just fine.

    Sound and Music
    Everything makes pretty much its own sound, which is great because everything just sounds right. The music can be kind of annoying after a while, even though there are varied tracks in the game.

    It's got a high ratio for a reason. The achievements in this game range from normal to "WHY THE **** IS THIS AN ACHIEVEMENT?" hard. I mean really, complete the game without collecting treasure? The rest are pretty fun to get, though, if you have the patience.

    Pricing and Conclusion
    Of course, 1200 MSP can make you hesitate on buying such a game. Let me help you decide with one simple sentence: If you really want to play and discover all this game has to offer, you should buy it; if you are only interested in the gameplay, wait for a DotW (Deal of the Week).

    Just keep in mind before you buy it, what you will get:
    -Excruciatingly hard and tight gameplay
    -A lot of content to uncover
    -Fun but tedious co-op mode
    -Good Deathmatch mode for an afternoon hangout
    -Cartoonish but smooth graphics
    -Somewhat annoying music
    -High ratio achievements

    Overall, a 4/5 game. Even though personally, I'd give it a 5/5 if I wasn't being objective.
    Showing all 3 comments.
    Big Ell"Use LS to move" What original gameplay! So yeah, if you think it's 5/5, it's 5/5. You are grading it based on what others might think of it?
    Posted by Big Ell on 15 Aug 12 at 14:34
    Boots OrionThumbs down. It'd be thumbs up for sure though if I wasn't being objective. Haha!
    Posted by Boots Orion on 15 Aug 12 at 14:52
    SpyforhireI wish this game's co-op was available for Live! play... I mean, where am I supposed to find someone local who has the patience to sit this game through? Sheesh. Thumbs up on your review though!
    Posted by Spyforhire on 19 Aug 12 at 07:58
  • k0rruptiDk0rruptiD147,547
    10 Mar 2013 14 Mar 2013
    13 1 2
    Do you enjoy a challenging game? Do you enjoy retro-style games? Do you mind dying possibly a thousand or more times just to eventually beat the secret world? (Yes, it took me a thousand plus deaths to finally beat the secret "Hell" world, at the same time i scored 8th in the world for score, yeah I'm bragging you want to fight about it? laugh )

    The story is basic, can be compared to movies like Indiana Jones, and many games like Uncharted on the PS3, Tomb Raider ETC, you are an adventurer looking for treasure, that is pretty much it...you get a whip as well which is obviously a nod to the Indy films, and offer basic protection from the most basic of enemies.

    The standard game is four worlds, each with four levels each, each world also has a secret which you need to perform in all four worlds in a row to get to the secret fifth world titled "Hell", and it sure deserves the name. The game is pretty fast paced and before long in each level (1-2 minutes) a ghost will appear that cannot be killed and will kill you instantly if he touches you, he moves pretty slowly so he can be avoided. The ghost also turns any jewel he touches into the most valuable jewel diamond, this is actually how i managed to score 8th in the world on the score leader board, abusing the ghost.

    Saw a video recently which was a review of the game Fez, and the reviewer made a very important point, nowadays you have huge companies of people all contributing to a games development, all throwing ideas into the melting pot and all leaving a small mark on the end result, but back in the olden days of yonder, when video games were the hot new fad, anyone with the knowledge could make a game and release it, so you had very small teams of people and even one man teams. So each game was unique to the person who made it, it was one persons vision come to reality.

    There is a saying, too many cooks ruin the pot, and it definitely holds true to Spelunky. It is an Indie title which means only a very small team of people worked on it, in fact only one person made the original Spelunky on PC, needed a bit of help for the XBLA remake though. Rarely does a game capture the same feeling, seems to be mainly indie titles but it just proves that huge budgets and huge teams aren't everything and people are starting to notice it.

    As i said before there are four basic worlds, the Mines, the Jungle, the Ice Caverns, and the Temple, all have their own unique visuals/music/set of enemies/design of the level itself etc, and to help keep things even fresher every single level (besides the very final level 4-4) is randomly generated, which honestly can be difficult to do well but Spelunky sure manages it.

    The easiest way to describe a stage in Spelunky is basically a four by four grid of separate rooms, each room being randomly generated and pieced together to make a stage, a stage being one of the four in each unique world, not sure why i mention this but it just helps to know in general for playing the game.

    Do not let the initial difficulty turn you off, if you cannot handle dying repeatedly the game is sadly not for you, because you will die, believe me....you WILL die. Just take every death as a learning experience and move on and hit that instant restart button. Due to the random nature of the game you can never really know what will happen, as all the combinations of different enemies with the random level layouts even random items etc, can sometimes collide with each other in some random way to completely screw you over, so you'll definitely need a bit of luck.

    The game does feature both multiplayer and co-op modes but both are offline only which is always a huge disappointment, i can just imagine the random fun of spelunking online with strangers as we all struggle to get to the end, as the game can be petty hectic alone, with 4 players be prepared for a lot of grief. You can hit other players, and even pick them up and throw each other to help out, if you die in co-op you become a ghost who can blow air to affect the levels like set off traps or blow treasure around which can be a little help. The multiplayer against the bots is pretty insane, and typically ends almost instantly as the levels are tiny and everyone gets bombs/ropes or whatever you set it up as, there are plenty of levels to mess around in so it is a pretty fun mode for offline split screen.

    Everything about the game is just beautiful, but simple words do not do it justice so try it out for yourself, the demo will give you a very small taste but again the demo probably won't do the full experience any justice at all as per the standards of demos in general. The achievement list is pretty tough, and could take a while to complete fully, some of them require a perfect run through the entire game without dying all while completing a sequence of secrets throughout each different world to eventually get to the secret fifth world, a speed run achievement which gives you thirty seconds maximum per level to complete, i believe it has to be under four minutes...even after thousand deaths it is still tough to go that fast and navigate through the random layouts successfully (Good luck speed running in a dark level!), so some of the achievements definitely require a little bit of luck and a little bit of skill.

    I give it 5/5 stars for an arcade game.

    It's worth noting that Spelunky XBLA is a remake of the original Spelunky on PC which can be downloaded and played for no charge at all, so if the 1200msp price tag is a bit off putting try out the free PC version, as the games are very very similar in general. http://spelunkyworld.com/original.html