This is a screenshot of Spelunky. It features a person standing in a cave.

Spelunky Review

Genre | Platformer with Roguelike elements
Developer | Mossmouth
Platforms | PC, XBOX 360,  PlayStation 3, and Playstation Vita

In Spelunky the player controls an explorer who must traverse through randomly generated levels full of deadly traps, collecting treasure and fighting monsters. Frogs, rats, grasshoppers, penguins, and other vermin appear in the game as noncombatants.

Spelunky has four main kinds of levels plus a number of secret levels. Each kind of level lasts for a few floors before the player progresses to the next one. The player has access to items like bombs, ropes, parachutes, shotguns, machetes, and freeze rays. Items are acquired from crates or from shops, or from sacrificing human beings to the goddess Kali. Shops can be robbed. If the player can convince anyone to kiss or lick them, they gain life.

Many find Spelunky to be a challenging game because of the dangerous traps and monsters in the game, which can kill the player’s character very quickly. Every time the player dies and restarts, the levels are different, from the placement of items and monsters to the arrangement of the jumps and the traps. The items also interact in a number of ways that may not be immediately apparent at first. The random nature of the game and the various interactions between systems create a situation where the player tends to acquire knowledge each time they die that can help them survive longer in the next run.

The graphics in Spelunky are hand drawn. The colors vary from one level to the next: the mines are mostly brown whereas the jungles are mostly green, for instance. The music in Spelunky contains a few tracks that do not play very often and some tracks that play very often. The music varies depending on the level the player is in.

Spelunky allows the player to pull off various feats, such as jumping from a piece of land below to one above by reversing direction in midair, draining a pool of water to kill the piranhas inside so as to allow the player to take the golden idol perched above the pool, trapping enemies in spider webs, and luring enemies onto deadly spikes. These various feats depend on the items available to the player and the level that has been randomly generated, which means that a player who is able to successfully plan and execute more of these feats is able to accomplish more things in a wider variety of levels.

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