Spelunky is a unique little freeware game that will make you want to tear your hair out, scream at the computer screen and murder the game designer. Despite the blistering difficulty level (or more likely, because of it) Spelunky is one of the most enjoyable and engaging 2D platformers I have played in years.
Spelunky plays out like a cross between Rogue and any number of treasure collect-a-thon games. You control a brave adventurer tasked with exploring a series of increasingly peculiar caves filled with valuable treasures and dangerous hazards. Your ultimate objective: make it to the final level of the dungeon, defeat a large boss monster and collect the payoff of a lifetime!
One of Spelunky’s main strengths is its ability to kill you mercilessly and without warning. Spikes, snakes, yetis, ghosts and lava are all fair game, and one of the game’s great joys is finding new ways to stave off impending death for just a little bit longer. Each floor is randomly generated when you enter, ensuring that you don’t beat the game through sheer memorization or map-making prowess.
The odds aren’t stacked completely against you though. Items sucks as shotguns, bombs and jet-packs make your journey considerably easier (if you can find them). Careful money and item management is necessary to delve to the game’s lower levels, where some of the game’s more sadistic hazards can make short work of you.
You can download the full version of the game right off the Spelunky website. It is 100% free to play so you really have no excuse not to try it out! Be sure to keep your eyes open for the XBLA version as well, with souped up graphics and additional play modes.