Spelunking Around

While digging around the ol’ Xbox Live Arcade I stumbled upon an adventurous new platforming/treasure hunt game, by the name of Spelunky. The name alone breathes an air of intrigue. My curiosity was sparked by the cutesy art style and retro appeal and I decided to give it a try. After several days and countless hours of gameplay, I only have this to say; “Good luck.”

The easiest way I can describe the experience, would be strange blend of Super Mario Bros, Indiana Jones, and Demons’ Souls. The controls have the incredibly simplistic, retro charm of the Super Mario Bros franchise, the environment creates the same true and invigorating sense of adventure associated with an Indiana Jones film, and the difficulty spikes are nothing short of Demons’ Souls. Despite literally hundreds of deaths and a myriad a ruthless obstacles, I still found myself entranced in the pursuit of treasure. Nothing you obtain in your adventures is remembered when your character perishes. All your treasure, and your level progress, and your items are gone. You are left with nothing at the entrance of a mineshaft and every time you enter, the world is completely different. You are trapped in an endless loop of death and revival, risk and reward.

Beautiful randomly generated maps.

Originally released in 2008 for the PC as a free to play title, the game received a major overhaul for it’s release on July 4th, for the Xbox 360. The classic 8-Bit graphics were completely replaced by beautifully polished sprites. While I did appreciate the original design of Spelunky, I have to admit, that I’m pretty fond of the new art style. In addition to the fancy new moving pictures, a perfectly fitting musical score was added. I’ve found myself humming some of the melodies under my breath at work the past couple of days. The new version of the game also incorporates local multiplayer, including a cooperative mode and a deathmatch mode, depending on how you and your friends are getting along at the time. The gentlemen over of Mossmouth truly did a phenomenal job with the latest version of the game.

Such a major improvement.

If you still aren’t quite convinced, you can go check out the original game at spelunkyworld.com and try it for yourself. I have nothing but great things to say about this title. Trust me, if you are looking for a unique and rewarding challenge, you need look no further than the depths of Spelunky.

Video courtesy Ign.com and Mossmouth.

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