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The Cave [XBLA] Review

Posted on January 30, 2013 AT 08:48pm

What happens when seven people go into a talking cave that reveals their inner-most desires? Double Fine Productions and Sega intend to answer that question and a whole lot more with their new title The Cave. Choosing three of the seven characters: The Knight, The Hillbilly, The Scientist, The Adventurer, The Twins, The Time-Traveler and The Monk, the player explores the depths of The Cave through puzzle and platforming adventures that explore the greatest wishes of the characters and the lengths they’ll go to attain them. Created by Monkey Island‘s Ron Gilbert, this game looks less like that title and more like his previous adventure game, Manic Mansion.

The visuals of The Cave are a sight to behold. Not only do the seven characters all have a look of their own, the depths of the cave itself has an incredibly diverse look that is difficult to explain, but awesome to see. The backgrounds are detailed, the environments are varied, and the entire aesthetic of the cave itself creates a unique look throughout the seven individual levels, as well as the surrounding areas that appear throughout the playthrough.

The gameplay is easily the greatest part of the game. The platforming is smooth and responsive, though the characters tend to stick to ropes and ladders a bit too often. The puzzles are incredibly complex and often difficult to figure out (a bit too difficult in some instances, with the clues to finishing the level or puzzle not prominent enough to be recognized in any visible way), but the rewards are worthwhile. Each character has their own level, with the end game of the level getting the character what they most desired. The puzzles require a large amount of teamwork, with many points needing all three characters working in tandem to get past certain points of the level. Also needed to get past certain points are the special powers of each character (the Time-Traveler’s teleporting ability or the Hillbilly’s ability to breathe underwater), each tying into the way the character themselves behave.

Using three different characters at the same time is slightly taxing, but overall, a fun and innovative experience. While having to jump back and forth between certain sections can prolong and even frustrate, seeing it all pay off is definitely worthwhile. Combining the unique abilities of each character with the use of the others makes for a gaming experience that not only should be played multiple times, but to gain the full story, has to be played to get through the levels of all seven characters.

The atmosphere, humor and incredibly complex adventure make this an underrated arcade title that puzzle game fans should not pass up. The Cave is a hilarious and fun platformer that does just about everything right without even looking like its making an effort. Featuring colorful characters, multiple levels and terrific, cartoon-like graphics, The Cave is a game that should not be overlooked by any fans of the signature Double Fine style, puzzle game, platformers, or games that are just fun. The multiple characters and emphasis on teamwork makes it a unique experience, and while not everything works out (the ladders and ropes not always cooperating and some of the more frustrating puzzles), this game is good for at least three playthroughs (to get the stories of the seven characters). The Cave, in one word, is fun. Also hilarious.

  • The Good: Hilarious Narration, Smooth Gameplay
  • The Bad: Characters Stick On Ladders And Ropes, Occasional Frustrating Puzzle
  • The Ugly: N/A

Score: 8.5

Russ Pirozek, known as "Noobcrawler" to some, is a gamer and comic book fan who sometimes gets around to writing for He's also awesome. If someone looked up "awesome" in the dictionary, his picture wouldn't be there, but that's because he's too busy being awesome to pose for a photo.

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