How would you like to be metaphorically slapped across the face again and again for being hasty and rash in your decision-making? Most people would say no thanks to something like that, but there’s a crowd in the video gaming community that relishes in this type of punishment and Spelunky dishes the slaps in such quick succession that it will leave you cursing and throwing controllers in no time.
I’m not saying it’s a bad game. In fact, it’s quite good. The control is snappy and, most of the time, the fault is nothing but your own when you die by the many hazards on your journey through the caves. Whether it’s a giant spider and spikes in the Mines, exploding frogs and piranhas in the Jungle or a giant yeti in the Ice Caves, each world has enough ways to kill you that you can be sure there’s an entry for you a Darwin Award book somewhere.
The randomly generated dungeons add to that challenge as well, keeping the gameplay interesting and leaving you wondering what will appear next. You’ll encounter characters such as the Tunnel Man who will ask you for various items to create shortcuts to worlds you travel through. Of course, this goes from being a fairly easy task to something that takes the skill, endurance, and patience of a Buddhist monk. The only thing I don’t like about Spelunky is the randomly generated dark level where you can’t see anything except your character on the screen. This almost always results in the death of your character, which can be one of the most frustrating events to happen when you’re taking a certain key to the Tunnel Man. I found myself muttering under my breath, “Please, no dark level. Please, no dark level. PLEASE!”
If you’re a fan of XBLA games with a high degree of challenge like Super Meat Boy and Limbo, then you’ll probably like this as well. Between the adventure mode and the local co-op deathmatch mode, I believe this game is well worth the money. But, if you have a cursing jar in your house, prepare to fill it with a lot of change. A lot!