Standing as the influence for many rogue-like-like games that followed, Spelunky is one of the first examples of the genre. It borrows concepts from the rogue-like genre and is inspired by games such as Rick Dangerous and Spelunker for its visuals, character design, elements in gameplay, and mechanics. Although essentially a dungeon crawl, it takes elements from the roguelike genre such as randomly generated levels and lack of save points. It is also inspired by the 2D platformer genre and includes real-time interactions with enemies. With its creator calling Super Mario Bros. one of Spelunky’s biggest influencers, it is hard to resist calling Spelunky the SMB of its own genre.
Story: The story of the game is simple. There is an unnamed adventurer that you control, known as the spelunker. The player must gather as much treasure as possible while staying alive, avoiding traps, enemies, and pitfalls. If the player dies, they start the game from the very beginning.
Play Style: The player has to explore underground tunnels and gather as much loot as possible. Traps, enemies, and obstacles are to be avoided at all costs. The spelunker can whip enemies, jump on them to kill them, or throw items at them to attack them or set off traps. There are many items in the game that have various abilities, helping the spelunker progress through the game. Levels are randomly generated and grouped into four different areas, each more difficult than the last one. If the player loses all hearts or runs into a sudden-death booby trap, they die and must start from the beginning.
Audience: If you enjoy rogue-like games and 2D platformer games, this is the perfect hybrid for you. The game combines elements from both genres and results in an endlessly enjoyable piece of art. If you are looking to kill time and watch it fly by as you put all your focus to the objective in a game, then you ought to give Spelunky a try. However, this game may not be suitable for players who like to have stories integrated into their games.
Platforms: Spelunky is available on Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and Chrome OS.
Verdict: Spelunky is as easy to hate as it is to love. With its constant sense of discovery and the looming threat of death, you are bound to always try to think two steps ahead and be ready for the next challenge, which is a trait only the best games ought to possess. Spelunky deserves to be in the library of every dedicated game collector!