Die, die and die again. This is the world of Spelunky where death waits for you behind every cubic corner. This frustratingly difficult yet rewardingly fun roguelike adventure platformer has the capacity to keep gamers coming back for more, time and time again. Employing the ever-addictive nature of “just one more go” Spelunky offers hours upon hours of tomb raiding shenanigans.
These are my top five features that make Spelunky worthy of a place in any game collection.
#5 PvP - Deathmatch
Place up to four spelunkers in a randomly selected map (deathtrap infested room of despair) with randomly generated items and enemies and tell them to kill each other.
With weapons such as bombs, shotguns, machetes and plasma rifles at your disposal (depending on how lucky you get with item generations) there are many ways you can dispose of your foes before they do you. However, being humble in your victories may just be your best bet at winning in a Spelunky Deathmatch, as downed opponents take instant control of a ghost.
These ghostly counterparts of their dead spelunker can float around the map and interact with items and characters by blowing. Anyone familiar with Spelunky Deathmatch will recall many a time where they have looked set to win, only to be blown off a ledge into a pit of spikes by the vengeful ghoul of a fallen opponent.
Bottom line: Only play with friends you’re willing to forgive, as Spelunky Deathmatch’s emphasis on "every man for himself" will most certainly put that friendship to the test. (In the most fun way possible, of course!)
Mines, Jungle, Ice Cave and Temple – the four increasingly difficult worlds of Spelunky. (There is an additional secret world only accessibly by those brave enough to attempt to reach it – but more on that later.)
One of the fundamental building blocks of any game design – start off easy and then get progressively more challenging. With Spelunky, it’s more – start off hard and then get harder – and, yeah, you guessed it, harder still.
With each new world comes an array of new enemies and traps. From the “simple” snakes and arrow traps of the Mines to the frustratingly deadly “homing eye blocks of instant death” of the Temple – the distinctly different worlds offer you a great variety of ways to die that will keep you forever on your guard.
Being a roguelike game, death is final. Once dead you will have to start over from the very beginning of the Mines. This allows the worlds to be used as a marker for how well you did – or, if you’re a “glass half empty” kind of guy – how close to the end you came before you failed… pathetically … by accidentally falling into lava … man, you suck!
You died? Oh well, at least it won’t happen like that again because you remembered where the… oh, no wait, everything is randomly generated… damn it!
Remembering the layout of the levels and positions of the enemies and traps may help in other games, but with Spelunky’s randomly generated level design learning how to deal with any situation is the only way you can survive.
The aim of the game never changes: survive until you reach the end. With a game that can literally be “beaten” in less than 8 minutes (There’s an achievement for this) you’d expect its lasting appeal to be fairly limited. But with a completely different randomly generated world every time, Spelunky offers an incredible amount of freshness and variety.
Players will constantly return to the deadly tombs in the hope that this time, maybe, just maybe, they’ll get the perfectly generated play through.
Why complete the game the “easy” way when you can complete it the hard way? Simple, Treasure! And a hell of a lot more of it! Oh, yeah, and a sense of accomplishment – if you’re into that.
Completing the game is hard enough, but for those looking to complete all of the achievements or to gain high scores, you’ll have to go the long way round.
The worlds of Spelunky are littered with secret items, secret doors and secret levels. In order to complete the full game you’ll have to link many of these secrets together in a specific way (One even involves dying on a specific level).
If you’ve miraculously managed to find all of the required secrets and have gotten to the “original” boss while somehow not dying (Except once) – then all that is left is to kill him in a specific part of the map, jump down onto his head, and walk through the secret door to … Hell!
Those wanting to complete the game the hard way will have to survive the whole new additional world of Hell – a world packed to the brim with deadly enemies (Even Vlad the Impaler makes an appearance) and horribly unforgiving traps. They’ll then have to defeat an additional boss, which can be extremely difficult without the right techniques.
Dying on this final boss has to be one of the most frustratingly “so close, yet so far” moments in gaming history.
#1 Daily Challenge
You think you’re good at Spelunky? You think you can kick it with the big boys? Well okay then! Show us what you’ve got in Daily Challenge.
Your score in Spelunky is determined by how much treasure you collected along the way. However, until Daily Challenge was introduced you couldn’t really compare one person’s score to another’s – as they both completed very different playthroughs.
Daily Challenge creates a randomly generated game once per day – and is available for anyone to try once. Everyone plays the same game, and once they die they are unable to play again until the next one is created. Building on the concept of “just one more go” the feature of Daily Challenge is nothing short of genius when it comes to keeping players interested.
Daily Challenge is the ultimate test of Spelunky-ing skill and your place on the leaderboard is made up from the average of your top 10 scores. Only the best and most consistent players find themselves a top spot on Daily Challenge, and being in the top 20 in the world – I consider myself one of them…
That’s right, in the WORLD! …
THE WORLD! …
Not meaning to toot my own horn or anything but…