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The Cave - (Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 3 (PS3), and PC)
Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Available For: PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360
Developer: Double Fine Studio
Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Age: 12 (PEGI)
Since the days of the ancient Greeks, there have been many stories and legends of King Midas and his golden touch. Through the years, the fable has changed like a game of Chinese whispers, and the tale of Double Fine studios could be the modern interpretation. Brutal Legend, Costume Quest, and Stacking were all golden titles, and with their latest offering, the studio and its fans hope they haven't lost their touch.
From the minds behind The Secret of Monkey Island, there's no surprise that whatever lurks within The Cave is spliced with an abundance of jokes and funnies, each capable of splitting the sides of anybody with a shred of humour. It's wacky, it's crazy - it's clearly from the godfathers of video game humour.
Although it's got the comedic value of Monkey Island, play is similar to the side-scrolling levels of LittleBigPlanet. The attention to detail, the lighting, and even some of the puzzles are reminiscent. From the twinkling of metals, through to the quirky character animations – everything in The Cave looks fantastic.
Players begin their quest faced with the selection of three from a motley-crew of spelunkers; The Knight, The Twins, the Adventurer, the Monk, the Hillbilly, the Scientist, or the Time Traveller. Each of the characters have their own special ability, like creating ghosts of themselves, or being able to hold their breath. These abilities help by creating shortcuts to get around some of the many puzzles, although trying to figure out the problems without them provides an extra challenge.
The characters themselves don't speak and the storyline is told through narration - narrated by none other than the cave itself. Although its decor is seemingly welcoming and made to look like a tourist attraction, it wants for nothing more than to see the unsuspecting spelunkers perish within its deep and dark recesses. It's a dark cave - both in terms of being largely void of light as well as having a sinister personality.
The puzzles are the intrepid adventurer’s key to success, and because they can only carry one item at a time, they need to work together to progress through the caverns and crevices. Similarities can be drawn from retro classic Lost Vikings, where play could also be switched between characters at any point.
Multiple characters mean fresh ingredients for multiple playthroughs, although each spelunker or combination of them doesn't offer enough variety to make the second playthrough dramatically different.
The Cave is littered with glimmering treasures and artefacts, and it's a golden treasure in itself. The Midas touch is back.
SCORE: 8 / 10
PROS:Very funny, really good looking, and ever-so puzzling.
CONS: Not much in terms of re-playability, the use of abilities is not crucial.
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