Ron Gilbert could quite easily be considered to be the King of point and click adventure games. Responsible for the legendary series that is known as Secret of Monkey Island. His latest adventure, The Cave has been a good while in the making, but is it everything we all expected it to be?
Being a Ron Gilbert game, you'd expect The Cave to ooze creativity and we can easily say, it certainly does. With The Cave, there's something new around every corner, and that's something we have seen with games like Secret of Monkey Island. However, the problem comes in the fact that, The Cave's shere amount of creativity may have caused other areas to be overlooked quite drastically.
We're not going to say The Cave is a dissapointment from the offset, that's because it really isn't. It is just quite apparent as you play the game that it may have lacked a somewhat large amount of testing and trialing.
Still, there's alot good about The Cave and we will start with that. It's an extremely ambitious adventure, which is something that Double Fine really need crediting for. The Cave presents alot of unique ideas of it's own and we can't say it really tries to mimic anything that came before.
It works like this, at the start of the story, you choose three characters from the seven available. They are quite a mixed bunch, made up of a Monk, a Knight and many more. What's quite interesting here is that the choices you make now will severely change the course of your adventure. For example, if you choose the Knight, you will travel to a castle within the cave and battle a dragon.
That alone is a really nice feature and is one that we don't see too often from games today. It shows that alot of effort was pumped into the constructing of The Cave and is essentially a few games in one. This also adds a large amount of replay ability, considering you can essentially play another complete adventure, after completing one play through.
Storytelling is another key part in The Cave, the story is relatively unclear at first, but you soon start to understand The Cave and it's ways. All information is fed to you through the form of a narrator, whom will accompany you throughout your journey. It soon becomes apparent that The Cave is one big adventure, made up of a large amount of areas.
The other major aspect of The Cave, is puzzles and that is where our problem starts. The Puzzles are unique and interesting, but at the same time, they are just too difficult. Some of the solutions to the puzzles are simply ridiculous and can't be complete without the aid of a walkthrough, and we absolutely hate walkthroughs.
For that reason, The Cave almost immediately loses it's accessibility. We can't help but think this happened because of a serious lack of testing on SEGA and Double Fine's behalf.
Thankfully, the game's art is a much more positive affair. It's an absolutely unique style and it's 2.5D take is quite similar to what we have recently seen with Trine 2. Graphics are key to Adventure games and it's great to see that Double Fine certainly haven't overlooked that aspect. All music and sound effects are also of a good quality and fit quite nicely with The Cave's theme.
In conclusion, The Cave was made with the best of intentions, it presents some both beautiful and unique ideas along with gorgeous graphics and presentation. However, it's let down by a set of puzzles, that are just far too difficult and a shoddy lack of testing on Double Fine's behalf. + Josh Moorcroft-Jones
7/10 - What could have been a great adventure, is let down by ridiculously difficult puzzles.
Review copy provided by SEGA