First impressions of The Cave

Sunday, January 27, 2013 – 94 views

— by jenni

A few people asked about impressions of The Cave once I started playing it a bit. I was able to spend some time with it today so I thought I'd share my impressions so far.

Stop right there: what is The Cave?

The Cave is the newest game by Ron Gilbert of Manic Mansion and Monkey Island fame. According to him the idea for this game has been in his head for 20+ years and now he was finally able to do it. He worked with DoubleFine on the game - the studio owned by Tim Schafer, one of the other guys behind the classic LucasArts adventures. It is now being published by SEGA. The game itself is an adventure, mainly focussing on solving puzzles - if you know Monkey Island, you know what you are in for... There are 7 characters of which you can choose three to take into the cave with you. All of them have a special ability and have something that they desire above all else. The cave itself consists of several areas, with one area being specific to each character, meaning you need to go down three times to see all of the areas of the cave. To solve the puzzles you will have to switch between the characters, using them in different locations at the same time to hit switches or use items in conjunction with one another. The game is narrated by the Cave itself in the style you will be looking for when you know the old adventures by Ron Gilbert.

First going into the Cave

The game is out for basically every system right now: PC, Mac, Wii U, XBox 360 and PS3 (digital download all) and it has a co-op mode. This mode basically means that you solve the puzzles together and everyone gets a character to control - making the multiplay a bit more interactive than a classic monkey island et al which you probably played with two or more people at one point, too, because it is just good fun to play with two players. We sat down with the Wii U version today, using the Game Pad and one Wii Mote (with Nunchuk). We chose the twins, the adventurer and the monk for going into the cave. Right from the start you have to pick up items and find ways to use them - since you do not have an inventory though it is much more manageable than Monkey Island or Sam & Max because you know that your items will have some meaning to what you need to do next. This does not, however, mean that you always know in advance what to do. It will take some thinking for solutions to emerge.

Verdict

We played about 2 hours and got through the first cave part that is always the same and played the level of the adventurer who is searching for lost treasure and her excavation team. for a while here we thought we got stuck in an unsolvable situation but we just didn't realize how to solve it. But one thing you notice during these moments is how incredibly dark the game gets - not due to blood & guts but due to actions and deep desires of the characters, making this a thoughtful and sometimes dark experience. Really enjoyable. Overall I think this is a really, really great game if you enjoy the old Lucas Arts adventures. There is just something to seeing a Grog machine standing in a corner that is deeply satisfying. It especially shines when you play with two or more people solving the puzzles together. This being said though, i should warn you that they are an indie developer with not too deep pockets so the game has some slowdowns in frame rate and sometimes the controls could be better but if you can live with those, it is a really, really great game.


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