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The Cave Preview (PSN)

June 7, 2012 Written by Alex Osborn

Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Productions has something very special on their hands with The Cave. This Ron Gilbert crafted side scrolling puzzle adventure game is loaded with bits of humor and charm that really add a lot of personality to this brilliantly designed downloadable title.

I had no idea what to expect when I was first taken behind closed doors to see a developer demo the game, but in just a matter in minutes I was completely captivated by what was happening on-screen. The demo begins with a narrated introduction by the deep and foreboding voice of the Cave as this mysterious landform introduced itself to the player. The developer then shared a bit about the premise of the game, pointing out that the Cave is a place where individuals come to solve their inner problems and satisfy the desires of their heart. Interestingly enough, the Cave is not the enemy here, as its ultimate will is that the adventurers find what they are looking for. Fortunately, that means no punitive deaths, as the ultimate goal here is to solve the puzzles and progress forward.

The game features a total of seven different characters which include the Monk, the Adventurer, the Hillbilly, the Scientist, the Twins, the Knight and the Time Traveler. Each have their own set of motivations for entering the Cave (the Hillbilly, for example, is looking for love) and each brings their own unique power into the mix. At the start of each level you, will be able to select three characters, and as you progress, you’ll begin to see how their stories intertwine. While someone playing solo will be able to swap between characters on the fly, you’ll also be able to play the game with a couple of friends, as up to three players in co-op is supported.

For our demonstration, the developer selected the Hillbilly, the Scientist and the Knight. The game is set up like a 2D side-scrolling platformer, but the developer went out of his way to make it clear that precision based jumps are not a key part of the gameplay experience because The Cave at its core is very much an adventure game. In the demo, we witnessed the trio work together to flip switches, trap unsuspecting beasts and outsmart a fire breathing dragon… well, sort of. You see, the dragon broke free and wreaked havoc up on the castle above. It was at this point that it became readily obvious this isn’t just a cutesy puzzler, as bloody victims littered the floor as the trio rushed up the castle to save the princess only to find her trapped in the mouth of the monster.

This brilliantly designed and gorgeously illustrated twisted adventure game is set to arrive on the PlayStation Network early next year and, from what I’ve seen thus far, this is definitely one to look out for.