By Tom Horan
Spelunky won’t tolerate any of your nonsense.
You won’t blame the game for its brutal pitilessness, you’ll blame yourself for not being worthy of its infeasibly high standards. But somewhere between your 45th and 63rd death, something changes; you actually start to enjoy it.
Everything in the side-scrolling adventure game called Spelunky, wants you dead: snakes, bats, spiders, boulders darts, ghosts, and spikes, vampires, yetis, shopkeepers etc.
Granted, there are few games that aren’t trying to kill you, but few do it with such relish. You start with a mere four lives; lose them and you start the entire game again. No checkpoints or saves, you just start the game again. Later on you can pay for shortcuts which let you skip a few levels, but this isn’t enough to soften Spelunky’s stubborn lack of mercy.
If the only noteworthy feature of this game were its difficulty, it wouldn’t have become so popular. The reason you’ll keep coming back despite the difficulty is the game’s ingenuity. Each level is randomly created; meaning death is never a setback, just a change of scenery. The level randomiser is quite clever too, and produces stages that are consistently fun and equally rewarding to play. Even if the levels weren’t always fair, you can always use your bombs to blow open a new path.
Full review in this week’s Tipperary Star.