The Cave Review
Cart: The Cave
Cab: Xbox 360 / PS3 / Wii U / Steam
Coin: Double Fine Productions, Ron Gilbert
There is a lot wrong with The Cave, the latest game from Double Fine. However, the problems are the kind of things that actually make the experience more endearing and memorable. It sounds like a cop-out, but despite some basic issues, The Cave is a lovely game.
A platform puzzle game with the emphasis on the puzzling, The Cave is a gentle game, and the whole experience, from start to finish, is like a warm blanket covering over the breezy cracks of modern gaming. It has the soul of a traditional point and click/graphic adventure, with many of the puzzles taking the form of item matching quests and fetching things for the various characters that populate The Cave.
Remember when platform games were described as ‘platform and ladders’ games? Well, that is the best way of summing up The Cave, and the multi-character swapping brings The Lost Vikings to mind, although it isn’t quite as clever as that game.
You choose three characters from a cast of seven, and you take them away to explore the cavern’s depths. Each character has a special skill, such as the ability to swing from a rope or to become temporarily invincible, although these abilities are often only there to help traversal slightly. They only really come to the fore in each character’s own special level, which require the abilities to proceed.
You scurry around the stages, with the platforming elements slightly stodgy and stiff, made worse by the fact that there is no punishment for dying. When any of your little band die, they are respawned immediately, but never quite where you expect, which soon becomes a chore.
The thing is, you won’t think about any of this when you look back on your time with The Cave, as you will no doubt just remember The Cave itself, as it is sentient, and is the main character in the game. As he says himself, “Yes I’m a talking cave”.
The Cave narrates your adventures with beautifully dulcet tones in a witty, affecting and often hilarious script. The only problem with the narration is that there is not enough of it, yet when it is there it is so good that I often just stood still as he was speaking to make sure I didn’t miss anything.
The game is best played in three player mode, although the lack of split screen means character switching and puzzle solving is more difficult than it should be, this is still best enjoyed with friends.
The Cave is perhaps one of those games that prove that scoring a review is a waste of time, as all the little issues would see a reviewer docking ‘points’ here, there and everywhere. Luckily, here at VoxelArcade we don’t subscribe to such nonsense. So, I am happy to tell you that The Cave is a warm, witty and endearing experience that does have a few minor gameplay flaws.
The star of the show is the character of The Cave itself, but you will meet plenty of memorable characters along the way, such as a short-lived Princess and a crazy prospector. The lacklustre visuals, annoying quirks and lack of real difficulty are secondary to the experience as a whole, an experience The Cave just won’t let you forget.
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Editor and founder of VoxelArcade and The Smartphone App Review. Favourite games: Uridium 2, Frontier: Elite II, Sensible World of Soccer, Far Cry 3, Zelda: Ocarina, Metroid Prime, Solar Quest, F-Zero GX, Monkey Island 2 and Tetris.