Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Cave

I’ve been waiting for the new Double Fine game for quite a while, although not as yearningly as I waited for Torchlight 2. The Cave promised me a fun game, with puzzles, with several characters to choose from, with the Ron Gilbert humour of one of my favourite games of all time, Day of the Tentacle. (Where, by the way, is the new Special Edition for this one?)

On the 24th, The Cave was released at Steam. After the following weekend, I had played it through with every character twice, once for the bad ending and once for the good ending. I still haven’t gotten all the Steam Achievements, but I had a lot of fun. And I will play it again, soon.
Admittedly, The Cave is by no means a hard game. It’s not overly difficult to understand, it’s very forgiving when it comes to mistakes. The puzzles usually are quite straight-forward and there’s no such thing as completely ruining the game by a wrong move or decision.
But what a game it is! It’s fun and even stays fun after several rounds. The comments of the cave itself, which could be a lot more frequent, are very funny. The several special areas make good use of the characters’ special abilities. The cave paintings tell the stories of the characters.
There are seven (well, eight, if you count the twins as two) characters to choose between at the beginning of each game: the knight, the hillbilly, the time traveller, the scientist, the adventurer, the twins, and the monk. Half of them (knight, hillbilly, monk, one twin) are male, the other half (time traveller, scientist, adventurer, other twin) are female. No matter how you mix up your group, you will always be able to get through the cave, find the objects of desire for all the team members and make your final decisions at the end to have the good or the bad ending. It took me at least three hours for one tour through the cave, even once I had done all special areas and knew what to do where, so if you remember you need at least three games to play every character once and at least five to play every character with both ends, that’s quite a game.
Each character has a story, from the knight who wants Excalibur to the Monk who wants to become the master of his order. Each character has a fitting area filled with puzzles that demand his or her special ability. There are also some areas which you will always cross and can solve with all characters, albeit sometimes with different solutions. The cave is huge and full of strange places like castles, zoos, pyramids, or islands. To cross the various areas, the characters have to use their special abilities and work together. To make it through the cave and collect what they desire most, you have to think and experiment and make use of the characters and their surroundings.
I, personally, like the graphics very much, too. I like the slightly cartoonish, colourful look with the changing lighting and the nice details. Some pros claim it’s not up to date and only hides the technical weakness of the game, but I don’t mind it at all. The game plays well, movements are fluid, there’s no lags or suchlike. For me, the technical side is good enough.

All in all The Cave is what I had hoped it would be: a game for playing several times, a game with a lot of humour, a game with an interesting story (several, in fact). For me, this makes the game a good deal, so I’m glad I got it.

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