After everyone else as usual, I’ve discovered (thanks, Dave!) a new game that I want to share with you all (well, those who don’t already know about it which probably isn’t many but it’s been over a week since I updated this thing and I need something to put here dag-nammit!). Spelunky might have a really stupid name but it’s an excellent concept – a platformer with randomly-generated levels.
Now, randomly-generating levels in videogames is nothing new. This sort of technique is usually associated with roguelikes such as Angband or Nethack but those games are turn-based RPGs (and if the idea of running around randomly-generated dungeons chopping up monsters with “hitpoints” appeals to you then there’s nothing stopping you downloading one of those games and wasting too much of your life playing them – I recommend Angband) and Spelunky is a platformer with a feel somewhere between Super Mario Bros and Rick Dangerous, only without the latter’s infuriating hidden deaths.
Having said that, this game still takes a lot from the roguelike concept in many ways – much of the gameplay is based around collecting treasure (which forms the basis of the scoring system), the player has a small amount of equipment (bombs and ropes) which need to be replenished by finding more in the levels or buying them from shops found in the caves; oh, and it’s pretty unforgiving too in the best traditions of the roguelikes – don’t expect the gentle, hand-holding gameplay of a lot of modern titles.
I can’t really recommend this game enough, the randomly-generated levels mean the replay value is as high as the empire state building and there are dozens of clever little features (such as maidens who need to be rescued and flares our hero needs to carry to light his way in some caves) which are being added to and tweaked all the time thanks to the fact that this is still a game in continuous development. There’s also the ability to design levels so players can create and share their own nasty, spider-filled caves with other platforming chums.
Spelunky has its own wiki site here which includes a link to a download site. Go on.