While squeezing the last bit of life out of our Playstation 3, @ymiris discovered that his beloved Double-Fine had slipped in a downloadable game without our noticing. “But Tim, I backed you on Kickstarter, you know I love you. Why didn’t you tell me this personally?” I could hear the hurt in Ymiris’ button punches, but we couldn’t get it downloaded fast enough. There was some confusion as to the cost; we’re pretty sure it was $10, but Playstation did some sort of magic and we may or may not have paid for it. Have I mentioned my dislike for PSN? Because it is large. In the words of the great Mrs. White “I hated her So much…flames.. FLAMES.. on the side of my face… heaving.. breathless…” but, that’s not the point. If you despise PSN as I do, it is available on Steam, XBLA, and Wii U, which I would have tried, had I known.
The Cave sucks you in the moment you are spoken to by a deep, mysterious, and randomly hilarious voice. The cave is personified, a knowing vessel for telling 3 stories, and exacting a sort of revenge of sorts. You start by selecting which 3 stories you want to learn about by creating a team of 3 out of 7 possibilities, and then using these three and their special abilities to maneuver through the side-scroller cave, solving clever puzzles and mechanisms.
So that’s the basics.. manipulate three people (counting the twins as 1 character) through various puzzles that are the same regardless of the characters, which is pretty fun to figure out and give you little snippets of the characters’ stories. Then, for each character you chose, you get a special puzzle that fleshes out their particular story. These parts are beautifully created, and the real heart of the game. You know how, when you look back on a book you just finished, there was one scene that encompasses the entirety of the book? These puzzles are like getting just that part of three different books. It’s beautiful, and you come to appreciate the characters for their choices. The puzzles are also difficult enough that having a spouse &/or family member close by to point out significant tools (or insignificant ones you just can’t let go of) makes this game great for Couple Gamers. The controls are also Incredibly easy to figure out, so no problem letting one person drive one day, and switching off for the next.
Each character’s story has just as much work put into it, though my favorite was the twins who did not particularly like having to stay where their loving parents wanted them. You then maneuver through a huge victorian mansion in cave-form to solve puzzles and play out what happened in their story. This victorian mansion in cave-form was a work of art that captured the atmosphere of the children and their point of view. It is beautiful, and if you bought this for only this part of the story line, it’s worth it.
But you’re not buying it just for this one story line, you’re buying 7. We played through the Twins, Time Traveler, and Monk, with the first being our favorite, though the Time traveler had some truly unique puzzling and the Monk had a twisted way of solving things. Each storyline puzzles are unique, and fun, but we have not picked up the game again to try the other 4 stories due to the repetition of the 4+ default puzzles. Why will I want to solve the Treasures, Island, Miner, & Zoo area again? We’re hoping to give it a few days and try it again; we’re getting old, maybe the alzeimers will make it feel like the first time. 😀
TL;DR: Go get The Cave and play it with your loved ones.