Double Fine perfects the adventure of spelunking.
The Cave tells the story of 7 explorers and their search for what they desire most in this world. Each story is distinctive and slightly wicked, revealed by finding glowing cave paintings and finishing the game more than once. Players can choose who to play with out of the Knight, the Monk, the Scientist, the Adventurer, the Twins, the Hillbilly or the Time Traveler. (My personal favorite: the Knight). After choosing 3 adventurers, exploration of The Cave begins.
The layout of The Cave changes based on which adventurers have joined the party. It always begins in the gift shop, leading players to the introductory level of the employee’s back entrance. After searching the level for gift shop-worthy trinkets and familiarizing yourself with the basic controls (move, jump, action button and one special ability), The Cave tour begins.
Each adventurer must utilize their special ability to reach new areas, specifically the ones tailored to their individual story (For example, the twins’ mansion or the carnival where the Hillbilly worked). Although the puzzles are not frustratingly difficult, they make players think about their strategy and how to move forward. These types of puzzles keep the game moving at a smooth pace – while still adding the ah-ha! effect of figuring out a solution.
In addition to the entertaining gameplay, interesting plots and stimulating puzzles, The Cave himself narrates the adventure. His humorous clips add even more entertainment to an already intriguing game.
Each individual explorer has a malicious tale to follow with a level designed specifically to tell their story. The levels all have their own design, relating directly to what each individual desires the most. (For example, the Knight desires the sword of Excalibur; therefore his level is designed around the King, Princess and Dragon who all lead him towards retrieving his desired sword). The designs of each of these levels are uniform in style yet are able to represent very different locations.
To complete one playthrough of The Cave, using 3 characters at a time, takes approximately 4 hours. This is assuming you take the time to figure out each puzzle. Later playthroughs take less time since you can remember most of the solutions, but are still indulging. As a side note for those going for achievements/trophies: the game saves automatically; unless you choose to save and exit at a specific spot (so save and exit often if you are trying not to ever die).
Obviously, The Cave is highly replayable because of its changing level layout, multiple characters to play with and interesting plots. A walkthrough may be necessary to unlock all of the achievements/trophies since many of them are secret.
The Cave can be fun whether you are the one playing or just spectating. It makes for an enjoyable adventure game that can be replayed over and over, by yourself or with friends. Gameplay is smooth and the stories are wicked - it is definitely worth the purchase.
The cave is an adventure game available for Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and the WiiU online store.