Jan 29, 2013

Game Review: The Cave

Rating: 6.5/7 Dark Secrets

The Cave is the latest game from DoubleFine, makers of Psychonauts, which is one of my favorite games, and Brutal Legend, which is not (but it's decent). It lets you delve into a mysterious sentient Cave with seven strange and darkly amusing characters.

The catch? There's more than one, actually.

For starters, you must choose three of the seven to guide through their journey, and that choice is tough considering who you are choosing from: the Knight, the Time Traveller, the Scientist, the Hillbilly, the Adventurer, the Monk, and the creepy Twins. Who you take on your journey not only determines what you can do (as each has a unique power or ability), but also determines which areas of the Cave you can access. There are both shared areas, such as the Zoo and the Gold Mine, which are experienced by all, and also character-specific areas, like the Castle, the Victorian Manor, and the Carnival.

I can probably short-circuit any qualms you might have about this choice by assuring you that the game was easily good enough to entice me to play it through three times, and thus take every character through at least once.

Every area is beautifully rendered, with an art style reminiscent of Psychonauts, albiet a bit less deranged-looking. The Voice of the Cave will also be familiar if you've played that game, as Stephen Stanton voiced Agent Sasha Nein.

My only criticism of this game is really a backhanded compliment: I wish it was longer.

There is certainly replayability -- in fact if you don't replay it at least as many times as I have, you won't even have seen all the areas -- but I would absolutely pay for some DLC if it involved new characters with their own secrets.

If you are going to judge it by a single play-through, I would highly recommend taking the tour with the Time Traveller, the Twins, and the Adventurer. Or the Scientist ... or the Knight ... The Hillbilly is fun, too. And the Monk. ... Yeah. Good luck deciding. Definitely the Time Traveller, though.

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