Spelunky PS3 / Vita review – The sound of the underground
Confession time: I have never made it past the second of Spelunky‘s tricksy four worlds. I have died quite literally hundreds of times. Injury comes thick and fast, and there are plenty of things here that want to make you dead. I’m still having nightmares about all those giant bastard spiders.
The premise is simple: explore your way through mines, jungles and ice caves armed (initially) with nought but your trusty whip, Indy-style. Hoover up loot in the form of gold, jewels and gear, and attempt to survive to the next level. Which means dodging snakes, spiders, bats, spike pits, tiki men, drops, ghosts, zombies, enraged shopkeepers… Die and it’s back to the very beginning. However, manage to scoop up and cart a damsel2 off to the exit in one piece and you win yourself a smooch, replenishing a notch of health.
Spelunky’s game world is fair, even when it feels like it’s being harsh, as it oh-so frequently does
You can’t rely on rote muscle memory to best levels – each is randomly generated. You learn skills and tactics, rather than environments. And thanks to the consistent ‘rules’ in place, it’s possible to do so. Dart traps, for instance, fire off a sharp projectile when you cross them. But they’re also triggered by flung rocks, lured foes and even lobbed damsels. It’s all about making the most of what you’ve got around you. Spelunky’s game world is fair, even when it feels like it’s being harsh, as it oh-so frequently does.
With games often lasting five minutes or less, you don’t feel like you’ve lost a lot when you inevitably cark it. While the familiarity you gain with the opening world does get frustrating – you spend a lot of time there – there’s a one-more-go compulsiveness to Spelunky that leaves you chasing more gold than Jr (they called the dog Indiana).