Mar 292009

Spelunky - free, fun, evil and insanely difficult

Spelunky - free, fun, evil and insanely difficult

A free roguelike platform game with snakes, spikes, traps and other evil.

Spelunky is a game of cave exploration (the clue’s in the name). You play a familiar whip-wielding, hat-wearing explorer character who has to delve deeper and deeper into increasingly dangerous caves in search of loot and secrets.

 Spelunky is one of those rare finds: a game that’s free, fun, addictive, and one I’m still playing more than 10 minutes later. Mostly that’s because it’s incredibly hard and quite frustrating, but in a way that doesn’t stop me coming back for more punishment.

It’s a lot like Dungeon Crawl (and/or Stone Soup) in that regard, and for one of the same reasons: the game map changes each time you play.

I could probably bang on about procedurally generated levels or something, but I won’t because I don’t understand the technology. All that matters is that levels are different every time you play (strictly speaking it’s like all Roguelikes in that regard, but Crawl in particular for me in terms of style and deadly humour).

However, while the level layout changes for every game, the aim of the game and the insane, old-school difficulty remain the same.  It looks a plays just like the platformers I dimly remember from my 8-bit days. It has simple, functional, retro graphics; even more retro sound, creating using the very funky sound generator, SFXR; and very retro gameplay. It was made using Game Maker from YoYo Games.

There are a few issues (it’s still in Beta) and the control scheme isn’t quite perfect, although to be fair neither is my joypad. Regardless, Spelunky is a cute, compelling, evil gaming experience that reminds me  just how fecking difficult games used to be. Best of all it’s free, so go play it and worship the author, one Derek Yu.

Get Spelunky here:

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  One Response to “Spelunky: free game review”

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