Spelunky (Video Game Review)

Spelunky is a charming new platformer from developer Mossmouth. But don't let the cute charm of Spelunky fool you! This game may look harmless, but a crushing difficulty setting can make the casual gamer go crying home to mommy. Still, the combination of Spelunky's addictive gameplay, classic inspirations and irresistible charm make this downloadable title one you won't want to miss.

Storyline is not Spelunky's strongpoint. You're a treasure hunter of sorts, and like any good treasure hunter, you're on a dangerous adventure to find a special treasure that will make you rich, and hopefully, you'll save a few damsels in distress along the way. Attempting to stop you will be dangerous enemies, plenty of booby traps, and sometimes, even other treasure hunters. Spelunky will take you to all sorts of dangerous tombs, caverns and jungles in search of lost treasure, and each stage has it's own theme and is randomly generated to prevent repetitiveness. The game's story mode is only half of the fun you can find in the game though with cooperative and deathmatch multiplayer modes available to play exclusively on Xbox 360.

The one thing that can either sell or completely turn off some gamers is Spelunky's difficulty. The game itself isn't incredibly difficult per se, but the game only gives you one life, and when you die, you have to begin the game all over again no matter how many stages you cleared prior to your death. Some gamers will take this feature as a challenge and love Spelunky all the more for it, but the more casual gamer will probably simply find it frustrating and move on to a simpler title. You do get a set amount of hearts that can be increased as you play the game, but you must be sure to conserve these as much as possible since one bad move could send you spiraling back to the beginning of the game.

Gameplay in Spelunky is simple yet addictive. You're looking for treasure while searching for the stage's randomly generated exit. Of course, Spelunky contains a multiplayer versus mode for up to four players where your objective is to kill your opponents, but players can also team up cooperatively for the main quest's stages as well. To progress through each stage, you'll be allowed to dig, throw bombs and climb rope primarily as you carefully run, jump and otherwise strategically and safely progress past enemies and through traps while aiming towards your ultimate goal. There's also shops where you can spend hard earned cash for replenishable items and upgraded weapons. It's a fun style that never seems to get old and feels vaguely familiar of many classic titles such as Ice Climber and Bomberman.

There's no denying Spelunky has some major appeal. It's bright and colorful stages are begging to be explored, while the game's cute characters and animations will have you laughing even as you regretfully die again. Many of the game's sound effects sound similar to remastered 8-bit sounds as well which help set up an old-school vibe. Spelunky features an amazing soundtrack that matches the game's memorable aesthetics as well. Spelunky's charm seeps into the in-game menus and helpful HUD, and setting up local multiplayer matches is a breeze.

Sure, Spelunky may be a difficult game, but it's far better for a game to be too difficult than too easy. Beating a game feels so much more rewarding when you know you've earned it, and Spelunky's ending is well worth the effort to witness. Spelunky is cute, addictive and offers many hours of gameplay without including multiplayer matches. Spelunky is the best new downloadable title available on any platform, and it arrives just before many more great releases in Xbox LIVE's Summer of Arcade, yet it may end up being the best out of all the titles. Get Spelunky today and play one of the best downloadable titles ever.

For more information on the game, check out the official Spelunky website.

Game Features:
  • Offline Cooperative 1-4
  • Offline Multiplayer 1-4
  • High Difficulty
  • DLC Support
  • Achievement/Trophy Support

  • Game Details:
    Developer and Publisher: Mossmouth
    Rated T by the ESRB for Blood, Crude Humor & Violence
    Available for Xbox 360 (reviewed) & PC
    Release Date: July 4, 2012
    Score: 9 out of 10
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