Why are all these little Indie and Arcade games so fun?! But dangit, why are they also so hard!? The fun factor however, continues to be high, oh so high. Enter the loosely related roguelike, Spelunky; a 2D platformer paying homage to Spelunker, an infamously challenging game for various personal computer platforms as well as the NES in the mid 80’s. Spelunker did not get a great deal of attention in the US but it was hugely popular in Japan for its sheer ‘badness’.
Spelunky is an equally challenging downloadable game available on XBox Live Arcade. Your clever miner is provided some very basic tools in the form of bombs and rope to navigate to the bottom of various environments, while collecting treasures, damsels, tools, gadgets and other upgrades. You are granted 4 hearts and one single life at the start of each game, but can be healed and increase your hearts through various means as you progress through each of the environments. Should you die, however (and you will) you will start over fresh with no upgrades. Tthe levels are all randomly generated, so don’t think you can go memorizing stuff. Lets see who else has ‘dug’ into Spelunky. Really ‘picked’ it up. ‘Delved’ into its depths. Reviewed it:
Alex Navarro at Giant Bomb says Spelunky is blowin’ up, and hopes he doesn't (4/5): “...packed Spelunky with so much weird hidden content that no two play experiences are ever quite alike. It's frankly insane just how deep Spelunky's rabbit hole goes. “
Tom McShea at Gamespot is venturing forth valiantly (8.5/10): “Spelunky doesn't extend a helping hand when you're down. It doesn't have mercy. And that stubbornness is one of the main reasons it's so hard to pull away from the game.”
Xav de Matos at Joystiq explores the deepest depths of deepness (4/5): “Spelunky, an Xbox Live Arcade revamp of a free PC indie game, straddles the line between insurmountable addiction and a precise extractor of self-hatred. Like other rare indie gems, such as Metanet's N series, Spelunky is equal parts diabolical and ingenious.”