The Cave Reviews

  • BigFriendlyGeekBigFriendlyGeek227,894
    03 Apr 2013 03 Apr 2013
    18 0 3
    There are a small number of video game designer/producers who I will follow resolutely. I will track their career and keep dabs on what they're working on, almost to a point to what some might say is to the point of being a fanboy, or even a stalker. BUT THAT JUDGE HAD NOTHING ON ME!

    Ahem.

    Anyway, one of those video game designers is one Mr. Ron Gilbert. Anything that he had his hand in, I will get my mucky hands on. This might seem like a risky strategy to some since what if he comes up with an utter turkey? But when your gaming resume reads games like 'Maniac Mansion', 'Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders', 'The Secret of Monkey Island', 'Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge', 'Day of the Tentacle', 'Total Annihilation' and 'Deathspank' it's a pretty low-risk strategy, y'know?

    The Cave is an adventure-slash-platformer-slash-puzzler and the latest brainchild of Ron Gilbert in collaboration with Tim Schafer's Double Fine Productions (another video game designer whom I follow closely) and the general story is based around a magical talking cave that provides the narrative for the game. A group of seven characters have been pulled from various places in time and space to investigate The Cave and to obtain their most deep-seated desires, but to also ultimately learn something about themselves. These characters are (in no particular order) The Adventurer, The Scientist, The Time Traveller, The Knight, The Hillbilly, The Monk and The Twins (technically two characters but you control them as one.)

    Although there are seven characters, you can only take three through the cave on any one playthrough, and they all have very different abilities that will help you succeed in your journey through The Cave. For example, the scientist can hack into computers that might provide a shortcut through the cave, and the Time Traveller can teleport through doors and other obstructions. As well as their own abilities, each character has their own specific story and custom area that you will encounter in The Cave, which will help provide their backstory as well as aiding in obtaining their heart's desire, like The Knight exploring a castle to win the hand of The Princess, or the Time Traveller exploring between past, present and future versions of The Cave, which I thought was a particularly clever puzzle.

    The gameplay itself is a combination of point & click adventuring and puzzle platforming. The characters have to pick up objects and use them to interact with other objects or the environment in The Cave, as well as performing platforming tasks like pulling levers to open doors and using their unique abilities to navigate around. Sometimes the characters will have to work together at the same time in order to accomplish a task, which does sound like it could become confusing and cumbersome, but it's easy and quick to switch between the three characters, so it's a matter of just getting your timing right in some cases, but you don't need lightning fast reflexes. Plus, your characters cannot die in The Cave - he says it's because of his insurance policy - and they simply respawn a short distance away from where you met your untimely end. The puzzles can vary from relatively straightforward lever-pushing puzzles to quite taxing puzzles that will require a fair bit of lateral thinking and making use of all of the characters and their abilities. The solution will always come after a bit of exploring and experimentation, but some may get frustrated after hitting a road block without any sort of hint system to help guide the way (and, if you ask me, quite rightly as there's too much hand-holding in games these days!)

    It won't take you very long to complete your first playthrough of The Cave. Depending on your puzzle-solving proficiency, you'll run through The Cave in 4 to 5 hours. However, your first playthrough of The Cave shouldn't be your last. The varying stories and puzzles for each character allows for a a lot of replayability, since if you want to see the good and bad endings for each character then you will have to replay through The Cave a total of five times. Thus far I have played through a total of three times and will definitely complete the other two playthroughs necessary. The only downside is that some people may find the game starts to become a bit repetitive after the first couple of playthroughs since, while the individual stories and puzzles do vary things up, you will have to complete the same four generic puzzles on each playthrough as well. But, for me, the narration, the wit, humour and charm of the game, the characters you encounter and the backstory that you uncover by finding cave paintings scattered throughout The Cave, plus little nods towards previous adventure titles like Monkey Island all help to keep the entertainment value as high as possible.

    Overall, The Cave is a breath of fresh air amongst the army of action titles out, and it's an absolute pleasure to play, with genuinely thoughtful and taxing puzzles and the charm, wit and beautiful presentation that we've come to expect from Double Fine and Ron Gilbert. The game may not be to everyone's taste, but if you're a lover of adventures, platformers, puzzlers or simply charming games, then you could do a hell of a lot worse than to explore The Cave.

    Positives

    + Witty and charming humour
    + Superb narrative
    + Great variety of puzzles and challenges
    + Plenty of replay value to get the most out of the game
    + Controls make puzzle-solving a pleasure

    Negatives

    - Subsquent playthroughs could become repetitive
    - Some puzzles may frustrate the less-patient of gamers
    - A single playthrough is quite short

    Verdict: Another charming, unique title from Double Fine that adventurers and puzzlers alike will love.

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    This review can also be found at my video game blog: http://bigfriendlygamer.tumblr.com/
    4.0
    Showing all 3 comments.
    Paully05Nice review, might try this one out.
    Posted by Paully05 on 03 Apr 13 at 14:15
    Skanker irl5/5 from me, but nice review nevertheless.
    Posted by Skanker irl on 19 Jul 13 at 22:18
    ZymoticYou sold me! +1
    Posted by Zymotic on 23 Feb 14 at 06:35
  • Danny Dubs 86Danny Dubs 861,575,977
    17 Feb 2013 19 Mar 2014
    10 0 4
    Originally posted on my blog at http://takeaimandgame.blogspot.com.

    Double Fine’s most recent release, The Cave, certainly embodies their quirky reputation. It has the high production value we’ve come to expect from the company, but by its nature as a puzzle game, it’s not likely to keep gamers entertained for more than a few days. Here’s what it has to offer:

    The Cave is the tale of 7 fortune-seekers (well, 8 really, as one of the seven is actually a pair of twins) who descend into the titular crevasse in search of what they desire most. Each character has a backstory told through cave paintings, the game’s collectibles, and they’re surprisingly detailed and interesting for short series of still images. The game’s narration describing the characters’ quests in the Cave is similarly entertaining, as it is both sharply written and fabulously presented. The overall story is therefore quite impressive.

    And the presentation is incredible. Beautifully animated, the protagonists travel through a variety of gorgeous environments. There are wonderful and subtle details adorning every room and corridor, making for a fantastic journey through the Cave. The sound quality is equally high, with brilliant voice acting all around and sound effects that successfully accentuate the action. The music, although also very good, is usually not noticeable. That’s not entirely a bad thing because the ambient music does a lot to set the tone of each area, but it still would have been nice to get some epic tracks during some of the game’s emotional climaxes.

    Sadly, despite the awesome premise and presentation, the gameplay is little more than ok. The Cave struggles a bit against its genre in this respect. It’s a puzzle game in the style of some old-school adventure titles, so it’s kind of a one-shot deal; once you know all the solutions, there’s not much left to experience. What’s worse, the Cave is much shorter than those classic adventure games that have clearly inspired it because it can be completed within a few hours easily.

    The Cave does mitigate some of those problems with the genre with a clever variability in what the game has to offer. Although there are 7 characters, and each has his or her own puzzle to solve, you may only use 3 of those characters at a time. It’s actually a pretty cool mechanic, as the Cave itself is linear, but you’ll get diverted to avoid some of the puzzles. As a result, the overall experience is different depending on which characters you use.

    Now, this format isn’t without its downsides. There are, for example, a few generic puzzles that you’ll encounter whatever characters you select, resulting in a tedious and time-consuming obstacle in every playthrough. Also, although every character has a special ability, those abilities are really only used in their individual puzzles. There are very few opportunities to use one character’s ability to help with another character’s puzzle, eliminating a chance for interactions for the characters. As such, the specific team makeup doesn’t matter, it’s just a question of which individual puzzles you’ll see.

    My final complaint is that the puzzles themselves aren’t nearly as expansive as their areas might lead you to believe. There’s a ton of backtracking covering large areas, which gets to be very annoying. For the most part, the puzzles aren’t hard to figure out because there are only a few pieces to each. The one really difficult puzzle I found was only difficult because I didn’t do something exactly as the game intended, causing me to go searching for another answer that didn’t exist.

    In the end, the Cave is a decent game with excellent atmosphere and limited replayability. Like most adventure games, the story (and humor) is the driving force, and the puzzles are just there to challenge you along the way. If you’re interested in an amusing tale, it’s worth checking out; otherwise, you’re better off spending your MSP on something else.

    My rating: 6/10 – decent.

    (For more info on my rating system, including overall stats, see http://takeaimandgame.blogspot.com/p/reviews.html)
    3.0
  • Activ3 Rel0adActiv3 Rel0ad275,636 275,636 GamerScore
    30 Dec 2013 30 Dec 2013
    6 1 0
    The Cave
    Seven hero's, three sidemissions, one campaign. The Cave is taking you on a adventure that we haven't seen this far. The Cave is guiding us through a new dimension of solving puzzles and following a storyline. It al begins by chosen your three hero's that join you on your journey through the Cave. Every character in de game has his own story, the cave has a strong storyline and you and your hero's need to make it out alive ofcourse. During your quest, you kinda feel a connection with the hero's you have chosen. Every single character has his own ability, also every charcacter has his own location in the cave. During the character's quest in his own story telling chapter, you have to use his ability to make it through the chapter.

    Aldo that The Cave is a great story telling puzzle/adventure game, the game is a little short. You can rush it up and be finished after an hour of two. That is kinda sad, because these games supposed to be a long storyline to follow. But at the other hand, the game is a strong character showing and fun puzzle elemental adventure game.

    External image


    Characters
    First we have the Farmer called The Hillbilly. He is on a quest to find the love of his life, you travel to the carnaval and going to find his love. During his quest you and your team you are visiting the carnaval.
    Next up is The Knight. He is travelling to the castle of the wonderfull princess and is trying to steal her heart. But here is a problem though, you have to convince her dad the king.
    The brother and sister are travelling to their mansion. Those two, called The Twins, are finding their way to find what happend in their mansion. A scary and dark dimension to walk through.
    The Time Traveller on the other hand is finding her way what happend in the past and also in the future. You and your team are finding a way to pass this test, travel back in time and make it right in the future to reach the end of The Cave.
    After that The Monk will test the ultimatum. Solve the puzzles high in the mountains and travel back to earn the feather. In the meanwhile The Adventurer in finding her way to the zoo and is trying to distract a hugh dragon. While she does that The Scientist is finding a nuclear bomb. If that goes off, that is just a way for finding out by yourself.

    Journey
    You can make your own journey. The journey depends on what characters you take with you during your quest to find a way out of Th Cave. Everytime you start a journey there will be a couple of chapters that you will always find in this quest. It is a fine journey to follow and to learn about each of the seven characters ( eight when you count two for the twins ). The one of the best storytelling but short storyline is a nice game to follow. Become close with the characters and find the exit of The Cave.

    I alreay said it, but the time that you are in The Cave is just short. Long enough to play The Cave more then once. But still we all wanna enjoy a long story to follow. The puzzles make everything alright. I will say the puzzles will make the game more fun, if we hadn't the puzzles in the game, the story would be shorter.

    External image


    Graphics/sound
    The game looks amazing. Details are be showned in everything that you see. The characters and also the environment. No mather in wich chapter you play, it stays in the same layout. The game is playing in a Cave so every location is designed in a Cave layout. Pretty awesome if you asked me though. But still every location has his own style of design, that is amazing to see though, not every game has a different style of art when you arrive somewhere.
    The sounds of the game are also different for each location, the sounds fill up the area where you are at the moment. The mansion from the Twins has a freaky sound effect and the Hillbilly has a nice and sweet carnaval sound on the background.

    Achievements list
    The achievements from this game arn't hard at all, the only thing you need to do that is making it hard to complete this game is you have to finish the game a couple of times. Just before you begin on your journey look at the achievements. Or you will end up playing the game 10 times before you have all the achievements finally unlocked.

    Activ3's opinion
    Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion creator Ron Gilbert, and Double Fine Productions produced a wonderfull game. I loved playing this game, it is a style that I haven't seen before. The story is strong and the characters are wonderfull created. New gamers are gonna love this game and for the achievement hunters out there this would be a nice game in your game list for completing games. The game is on a short hand, but still duable to play a couple of times to finish what you started. Select your team and find a way out of The Cave or get stuck forever. Enjoy!

    -Activ3
    3.5