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A wonderful and charming game, The Cave, is a challenging puzzle-cum-platformer from the mind of Ron Gilbert, the man who brought you the excellent Monkey Island titles. Presenting you with 7 different characters to take on this adventure, though you must only choose 3. Much like Liam Neeson in Taken, each one has their own special skill, except there is a considerably lower amount of explosions and car chases.
Each skill will help you throughout your journey in some way. For example, if you choose the Adventurer, then her rope swing helps you cross large gaps. Who you choose, also depends on your adventure. Understandably, this is a great gameplay mechanic that encourages a lot of replay value. It’s also really nice to see implemented as it gives you more bang for your buck.
The Cave is an absolutely exquisite puzzling experience blended beautifully with strong platforming elements. Puzzles are made, as such, so when you do finally complete them, the level of satisfaction is unparalleled. This is another ingenious game-play mechanic that causes you to want to complete each puzzle, and can’t be satisfied until you do – even if it means going for a cuppa and some choccy digestives so you can calm down before finally getting the spark of inspiration you needed.
What really makes this game brilliant, however, is the beautifully and masterfully created script. It introduces you into the atmosphere with the narrator’s heart-warming yet ominous voice, throwing humor at you in a bid to help you feel slightly less alone in your puzzle solving adventure.
There is a caveat though, the jump controls feel a little hit and miss – which, sometimes leads to frustration while solving the numerous puzzles in your adventure. Some times you’ll find yourself jumping from one ledge to another effortlessly, other times you’ll inadvertently jump and grasp a lower down ledge. Though, this is obviously a small problem in an otherwise lovely puzzle experience.
If that wasn’t enough, The Cave has a wonderfully cartoony feel that compliments gameplay beautifully, creating an atmosphere that not only brings you into its world, but makes you care about these characters and their back stories. You’ll also learn more about each character through hieroglyphs dotted and hidden about on the walls of the mysterious and daunting cave. Each one is for a specific member of your three-man team and gives you a “cave painting”. These paintings feature quirky little cartoon drawings of one of your characters, depicting either a point in their lives or, what could almost be, a single humorous comic-strip panel.
The Cave really is an absolute joy to play and it’s nailed everything that a successful puzzle game needs. It’s incredibly well crafted and puzzles range from simple to the brain-splittingly difficult. It gives you seven rich and exciting characters to use in your journey, each combination giving you a different experience to the other to coax you back into its world. Essentially it gives you everything you could ever need to navigate your way through, what could have been, a dark, cold and lonely adventure inside the cave.
Audio/Visual – 5/5: A loevly looking game that helps to create a lonely and mysterious atmosphere. Helps that its script is compelling and brilliant.
Gameplay – 4/5: A fantastic puzzle/platformer with some very good puzzles to keep you occupied and pleasingly angry. It is let down a little by the awkward jumping controls.
Innovation – 4/5: It’s different, using a mix of puzzle and platforming elements superbly.
Value – 5/5: Under a tenner to pay for a game that will last you a long time, packed full of great content.
Final Score: 4.5/5
- Jordan reviewed The Cave on Xbox 360 -