Sunday, 26 January 2014

Indie Gaming: Spelunky

Some games can be obnoxious, frustrating and difficult to the point of hatred. Spelunky could be considered such a game, except that it manages to do just enough to turn each new death into a learning experience.
Finding the entrance!
Oh dear, this can't be good.

Spelunky is an action-oriented platformer set in a constantly shifting dungeon filled with supernatural monsters and devilish traps. Each experience is slightly different from the last, as the levels are procedurally generated to add to the challenge. You cannot simply learn the path to the end through repetition, you must learn how to navigate past each trap, monster and environment.

Asps... very dangerous. You go first.
Take too long (around 2min30sec) and the ghost will find you.
 The game does love to kill you though, but is quick to bring you back and start you off again. This is crucial, as it means you can swiftly attempt your journey again with a little bit more skill and knowledge than the last time.
Each death provides a learning experience
The Tunnel Man will make shortcuts, for a price
The different environments provide different challenges, from mines and jungles to ice caves and temples. The traps and monsters to be found vary in each, and therefore require you to adapt to each zone. At the end lies Olmec, and killing him is your only way out.

Special event (Jungle zone): Undead. Find an "Ash" gravestone for a special bonus
Special event (Ice Caves): Aliens!
So far, I have made it to the temple (the fourth zone) after an unimaginable amount of attempts, possibly hundreds. How many hundreds more will I need to complete the game? Who knows.

The psychic alien leader. No idea how to kill it.
Even buying items from helpful shopkeepers is not necessarily a solution for an easier game. While the various items can be very useful, there are certain enemies which will be a thorn in your side no matter how well prepared you think you are.
Finally, the temple! Now where...

I have heard tales of hidden levels, of cities of gold, even a gateway to hell, but that is far beyond my reach at the moment.
A golden door?

For now, I try my hand at the daily challenge (see how far you can go in one ironman run each day, and rank on a leaderboard), and make my attempts to reach the end. Wish me luck!

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