Spelunky – Review

Spelunky Slider

I thought I’d kick this site off with a review of the game I have probably put the most hours into over the past year: Spelunky.

For a game with such simple mechanics, Spelunky is a game that succeeds in having that addictive game-play which keeps me coming back again and again. The finely-tuned movement and jumping allows the player to really feel in control, and the enemy/trap design means you are always paying attention.

Spelunky was the game which really got me into the rogue-like genre, randomly generated levels (with several constants) make sure the game never grows stale. Each set of levels really have their own feel, which changes even as you start to learn more about the game and experience each environment again and again.

Level variety means the game is always changing

Level variety means the game is always changing

This is a game where you are meant to die, some deaths are entirely your fault, others are just the game telling you that it was your time to go. But the thing I love about Spelunky is that you can learn something from almost every death, if you can walk away from a game saying “Well, I won’t do that again”, you are one step closer to beating it. Although the learning curve can be steep, I find that if you approach the game with the expectation of dying it becomes a lot more fun.

Where I really think this game separates itself from other rouge-likes is in the co-op mode. Whether you are playing with a seasoned veteran or a newcomer to the game, there are always laughs to be had. I rarely have ever felt as tense as I have while inching our way through Hell at the end of a 30 minute run (only to collapse on the floor after we met our inevitable demise)

Spelunky Hell

We were so close…

 

Not to mention the mistakes where everyone just sits quietly afterwards and lets it sink in:

Pythagean

Pythagean

Head Designer at The Video Game Forum

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Summary

Spelunky is a very well designed game, it knows exactly what it is trying to do, and accomplishes it brilliantly. There are not many games that are seemingly so simple, yet have such a huge depth to them that you can still be learning 100-200 hours in. It is a game that I imagine I will continue to come back to for years to come.

4.5