Spelunky Review


Super Mario meets Indiana Jones…

Now, this isn’t a review for a brand new game, or one that is particularly innovative. Spelunky has actually been out since 2008 on PC and, much to my surprise, July 2012 on Xbox LIVE. As a PlayStation user I don’t pay too much attention to Microsoft’s exclusive offerings. However the game has made its way over to Sony’s platforms (PlayStation 3 and Vita) and I have taken notice. Read on to find out how I got on with the game!

Game: Spelunky
Developer: Bitworks
Publisher: Mossmouth
Reviewed on: PS Vita

I have been playing Spelunky on the PS Vita, which for me, is the perfect platform to play a game of this style. Spelunky, like previously mentioned, isn’t the most innovative game, but it is downright addictive. It has all the making of a perfect mobile game. Short levels means you can play a few games anywhere without feeling rushed, which is key to having a great roaming title.

The nature of the game is simple, collect treasure and find your way out of the mines, saving damsels and golden statues along the way! But while the nature of the game is simple, the game itself is not so simple. In fact, it is incredibly difficult at times. You start off with three lives, 4 bombs and 4 ropes as well as your trusty whip, but you find these all depleting much faster than you would have anticipated and then you are dead… again. That is pretty much how it went for me after the first few days of playing. However the more I played, the more I learned the intricacies of Spelunky. It’s the little things that count in this game, and as progressing is no easy feat, you need to grasp the little things. Patience is key as well; recklessness will get you nowhere or killed. I finally made it out of the first set of mines and got carried away very quickly, I died and I was right back where I started.

Well… when I say back where I started, I don’t mean that exactly. Every level is randomly generated, keeping things fresh, new, exciting and most of all, a mystery. There is no way to memorise anything making each level just as hard as each other. You can’t die after a few levels and think “okay I will just do what I did last time” because you will have never done the level before, and you will never do it again. Saving damsels in distress earns you extra lives, and you can use treasure to buy weapons, extra bombs or ropes or even a compass to help you find your way through the mines, plus much more.

Graphically the game is simple, but satisfying. Obviously it has come on leaps and bounds since the original in 2008, but it is still a 2D side scroller, which obviously limits it. Having said that, some of the animations provided in the game are really a joy to behold.

The soundtrack is amazing. Right up there with the classic Pokemon tunes. It sets the tone perfectly for each level and really is a joy to listen to during gameplay. I rarely play games without music in the backgrounds but Spelunky took centre stage in this element.

Spelunky is unforgiving, addictive and insanely good fun. Cross saves between the PS Vita and PlayStation 3 mean you can pick up and play when you get home after a session on the train. This is a game that requires complete commitment; if you want to progress through the game you really have to put the effort in to discover the elements that can lead you to success. There are infinite ways to proceed through the Spelunky world, making it have limitless playthroughs, for once continuity will never be an issue!  To go along side that, there are online modes as well, allowing you to play with friends in modes like team death match. These modes are great fun, but I would rather put the time in to progressing through the mines!


It’s a bold statement, but Spelunky is a game that pretty much everyone will enjoy. Even if you never come close to completing it, you will still have a good time trying! The concept of the game and the randomly generated levels provide hours upon hours of fun. So much so that you will find it hard to put down. I certainly did!


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