One of a number of titles available on PS+ this month, Spelunky is a cave exploration game with single player and multiplayer game modes where the aim is to collect as much treasure as possible. “Easy Enough” I hear you say, well, that’s what I thought originally as well and I am glad to say I am wrong. Very, Very Wrong!
As I have yet to play the multiplayer offering here’s my musings on the single player campaign.
You start off with a short cut-scene which leads into the start of a 3 level tutorial to help you get to grips with the controls and feel of the game. Unlike some games however the tutorial is by no means a walk in the park. By the end of the Tutorial alone I had been killed in no less than 7 different ways from simply falling to my death from a great height to unwisely running into a snake infested groove.
Outside of the tutorial dying takes on another problem – upon each and every death the layout of the entire map changes! Found a sweet area of loot? Not any more. Know the position of a roaming horde of bats? Nope, think again.There are a huge amount of amusing ways to die in the game and with the random nature of the maps – running from one problem can often lead you straight into another!
Once the tutorials are done you are plunged deep into the Spelunky universe where there are multiple worlds to explore by successfully completing the previous world and this is where the fun begins properly
The design of the game itself is, whilst not groundbreaking, still a very good looking game with a cartoon-y feel to it which is carried very well throughout all aspects to the game – from character design to level design and even the explosions would feel at home with Adam West style Batman “KABOOM!”, “POW!” and “KERBLAM!” coming out of them.
With a roster of 20 characters in total available there are plenty of avatars available which add to the replayability of the game although not all of them are available from the off so if you want to play as one character in particular you may need to unlock them first. The characters range from an Indiana Jones look-a-like t0 an Eskimo to a Ninja (my personal choice)
The controls, whilst simple enough – sticks for movement, square, triangle, X… they can be a little clunky at times as well – I often found myself hugging the ground and crawling along it if my finger went too low on the stick and bomb placement can also be a little tricky with it either not dropping at your feet or flying off into the direction you had originally planned on running away from the blast (which can lead to your own untimely death… so make that 8 methods of death in the tutorials now I think about it…)
A few minor control niggles aside (which I believe could be rectified in time with a little practice on my behalf) Spelunky HD is a solid game which has become a little gem in a often dull PS4 PS+ experience and is well worth picking up even once it is off the PS+ free list. With potentially unlimited replayability thanks to its random map generation and large roster of characters it will have you exploring the depths for months to come.
Whilst Spelunky has only recently come to PS4 (with PS3/PSVita Crossbuy) it has been around on PC for a while and has steadily evolved into what is affectionately known as Spelunky HD, however the nice folks at Mossmouth have made the 2008 version available For Free! and can be downloaded from the Spelunky Website <–