Gaming Magazine

Review: The Cave

Posted on the 30 January 2013 by Findthebluekey @FindTheBlueKey
Review: The CaveIndividuals like Ron Gilbert and Tim Schafer were part of my childhood. Some of the first titles that I cut my gaming teeth on were classic adventure games such as The Secret of Monkey Island and Day of the Tentacle. Even as a youngling, I appreciated the writing and humor that the writers were able instill into their creation. Having played Secret of Monkey Island again recently, I can rightfully say that it has stood the test of time. So, Tim Schafer decided to collaborate and start Double Fine productions, and then collaborate with Ron Gilbert for The Cave, needless to say I was all kinds of on-board.
So yes, I have been looking forward to getting my hands on this game for a good, long while. Coming in the form of a highly anticipated 2D platformer/adventure game, The Cave was promising to be a return to the clever and unique writing and humor I enjoyed as a kid. So how did they do? Well, let's find out!
The Cave begins by giving you a choice of seven(eight, if you count the twins individually) adventurers, each of whom is looking to descend into the depths of a sentient, talking(and rather wry and sarcastic) cave, on quest for something of great value to each of them. One may be looking for love, or another treasure, or perhaps a legendary sword - all of which happen to be in the same aforementioned sentient cave. You are able to choose three of these adventures to start on your quest.
Mechanically, the game is pretty much par-for-the-course as to what you'd expect from a 2D adventure game. Lots of running, jumping and climbing to make the most of the platforming mechanics, and plenty of  puzzles to keep you interested. The puzzles are normally straightforward affairs - consisting mainly of levers, pushing/pulling the environment and combining objects - but the game requires a degree of cooperation between the characters and an awareness of the environment that keeps it from becoming too stale or predictable. If you've ever played a round of Little Big Planet, you'll find yourself right at home with The Cave.

Review: The Cave

Little Big Planet + Fire Breathing Rock Monster

Each character has a unique power that can be utilized throughout the game, though if you actually will use them is another question entirely. Powers like the knight's ability to be invincible, or the time-travelers ability to warp through thin walls certainly seem useful, but the nature of the game means that their powers will never truly be necessary, so much as convenient on certain occasions. Mostly, a character's power will be of use during their specific story area, where much of their exposition takes place.
The mechanics as a whole aren't entirely without issue. The platforming mechanics can seem imprecise at best, with slow response time from your character during jumps and some difficulties controlling your trajectory can make precision platforming difficult. However, with a forgiving ledge hanging mechanic and a lack of sections where exact precision is necessary, the controls are never a deal breaker.
In the end, the mechanics aren't really what you're there for.
What I play any game by Ron Gilbert or Tim Schafer for is not cutting-edge gameplay, but witty dialogue, well realized environments and a genuinely unique experience. All of those things The Cave has in droves. The main speaking role is that of the narrator(ala, the sentient Cave), who will trade time between giving plot exposition, and making wry comments about your adventurers and their actions. The image comes to mind of a man watching everything you do from an armchair with a glass of brandy, genuinely amused at the antics of these strange individuals.
The dialog of the narrator and other NPCs is what kept the experience consistently enjoyable for me, being used to make sarcastic comments and generally calling out tropes of both literary conventions and our preconceptions about video games. "Just because there's a lever, doesn't mean to need to pull it" the narrator jibes, after I bolt like an overeager puppy at the first glance of an object I can use.
Review: The Cave

Some of the greatest humor comes from the self-aware realization of the problems that your adventuring causes the various NPCs inhabiting the cave. Most of your actions have consequences for some NPC(varying wildly on the scale of unfortunateness), that make you increasingly aware that everyone would have been better off had you just not come at all. Not exactly your typical stalwart adventurers.
Though compelling, The Cave does have some issues with replay value, with its structure greatly kneecapping your desire to go back and launch another playthrough upon completion. The first half of the game will take you through the specific areas for your characters, seeing their portion of the quest to completion. The second half is devoted to exploring areas common to all characters and interacting with various NPCs. This makes the first half of the game instantly replayable to see the new character areas and their stories, while the second half could benefit from some time and faded memory to be enjoyable again. These conflicting halves of the game simply make you less eager to start it all over again.
Review: The Cave

On the whole, The Cave is an intelligent, wry and genuinely fun experience, with enough charm to sink a ship. The puzzles are well designed and provide all of that "Ooh, look how smart I am!" satisfaction that make adventure games so endearing. Though control issues may fracture your sense of immersion from time to time, it's never enough to take away from the uniqueness of the experience you are being provided. It could have used some restructuring to benefit the replay value, but if your main complaint about a game is that you couldn't play more of it, then they must be doing something right.
Title: The Cave
Developer: Double Fine
Genre: Adventure/Platformer

Final Score: 7.5/10

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog


By Sohil Memon
posted on 03 February at 13:14
Report spam/abuse

Hello Bluekey! After so much of finding on google I got this best review on the game The Cave. I want to buy it but I was waiting for the review and today I got it! Awesome review and easily understandable! Thanks for it.