When I first heard about Double Fine teaming up with Ron Gilbert to create a new adventure game, my interest was piqued. Alright, that is a flat-out lie, my interest was more than piqued, I quickly found myself scouring the internet for any information I could find on the upcoming title. The only way that I survived the leadup to the release of the game was doing my best to brainwash myself into forgetting that it was coming out. I wish that I was joking.
As you can probably glean from reading this, I’m a pretty big fan of adventure games, in fact, I grew up playing those games. Sure, I grew up with Mario and Doom like every other kid of the 80’s and 90’s as well, but the games that engrossed me the most were those crazy adventure games. I can’t even explain the countless hours that I spent trying to slog my way through Maniac Mansion and the sheer frustration of not being able to solve a puzzle followed by the ecstasy of finally figuring the damned thing out.
The Cave picks up where Ron Gilbert left off with Maniac Mansion all of those years ago and makes some adjustments to appeal to modern gamers and to work on modern consoles. Basically, it is not a point-and-click adventure title because in case you haven’t noticed, the concept of point-and-click is sometimes a bit cumbersome on a controller. The Cave takes this into account by opting to combine classic adventure gameplay with platforming of sorts and it works almost without fault. I say almost because there are times when the jumping is far-from perfect, but it is definitely acceptable.
The game, thematically, has a bit of a seven deadly sins vibe going on for it, with the usual light-hearted Double Fine/Ron Gilbert fare mixed in. You’ll laugh a lot as the Cave itself serves as the game’s narrator and as you discover comics throughout your journey showing how each character found themselves in front of that fire ready to explore The Cave. The point is to make you think about materialism, personal gains and everything else all while you have fun exploring the vast Cave system.
Each section of the Cave is a series of puzzles which you are tasked to solve to move on. These puzzles can be as simple as placing all three of your characters onto something to break through it to stuff like breaking items off of objects and placing them in other places. Unlike in past adventure games, there is no inventory system, instead each character can hold one item at a time. Some purists will scoff at this, but it adds new elements into the world of adventure games and helps the game to flow a bit better.
Sure, you won’t have to deal with holding onto items for hours on end and finding some obscure use for them later on, but you still get the same sort of feel of accomplishment when you discover a use for that stupid bone that you found and were not able to find any use for. As a hardened adventure gamer I found myself stuck only a few times in the game, with this usually being remedied by just walking around a bit to explore, but your mileage may vary depending on how familiar you are with these types of games.
The fun part is that each character will have their own special section of The Cave which you must solve puzzles that revolve around their specific powers and it adds to the replay value. To see each character’s story you’ll need to play the game at least three times and you won’t find yourself grumbling about it, either. On top of that, you’ll find yourself finding interesting ways to have your characters interact with their surroundings. The Knight, for example, has this sort of holy shield that is activated and will cushion you during high drops or if someone is attacking you while the Hillbilly can hold his breath for a very long time underwater.
The game looks great and is responsive enough. The music and sound is really what you’d expect from these games, which means fun and sparse. Everything just feels right about The Cave from beginning to end. This won’t be pushing your system to the limits or anything, but adventure games have never truly been about that, they are about pushing your mind further.
For just $15 it is a steal, so don’t pass this one up as it is definitely one of the better games that we’ll see this year. The Cave is available now for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Linux and Mac OS X.
CONTINUE / END?
Continue. Definitely a great game that will leave you entertained, frustrated and fulfilled. At the end of the day, this is the kind of game that I want to see more of.