Excerpt: You drop off a ledge, your hands nervously gripping a flickering torch, which is your only source of light in these deadly, trap-filled corridors. For a split second, your mind wanders back to the encounter with a gargantuan reptilian creature that left you severely wounded. That split-second distraction proves to be fatal: a giant spider falls from the ceiling and delivers a deadly bite. You didn’t react in time.
Pros: Everything about it, The constant sense of discovery, Learning how to challenge your limits
Cons: Everything about it if you’re short-tempered, No online co-op, You will have to go to bed and stop playing at some point
Excerpt: Most platformers are won or lost by memorisation. Learn the controls and study your terrain and you'll eventually end up on top of the flagpole or through the spinning golden ring. In Spelunky's procedurally generated world, however, the comforting familiarity of muscle memory is nowhere to be found - the fun, if you will, comes from conquering the unknown. Yet despite this inherent randomness, Spelunky's world is one of mechanical precision.
Conclusion: It's worth noting that Spelunky XBLA is a remake of the original Spelunky on PC which can be downloaded and played for no charge at all, so if the 1200msp price tag is a bit off putting try out the free PC version, as the games are very very similar in general.
Summary: Spelunky is a brilliant 2D cavern explorer that reminds us of the old days of gaming, where one foul move spelled the end of that run and the complete restart of the game that you had worked so hard on. It isn't for everyone though, the difficulty can be infuriatingly hard and means that some players won't ever make it to the later levels.
Pros: Beautiful 2D graphics, Difficulty will be welcomed by fans of hardcore gaming experiences, Multiplayer deathmatch is very fun
Cons: I WANT TO KILL THIS GAME SOMETIMES, Spelunky can be extremely frustrating, Multiplayer is local only, there's no online
Conclusion: Spelunky is a strong candidate for the game of 2012. It is arguably a perfect example of the potential of video games as entertainment – an easily understood, rapidly-learned set of rules which govern a game which can only be improved at by practice and mastery of those rules. The utter rejection of compromise, while still incorporating modern developments like effective tutorials and help files, makes it an ideal modernisation of the hardcore platform game.
Conclusion: Spelunky is a great game. There are no technical issues to hold it back, the controls are solid, the art is awesome, the multiplayer is fun, and the challenge is superb. The game can be really rough when you can’t make progress for hours on end, but overall I think people will find Spelunky to be a great experience. It really is a shame this game wasn’t included in the Summer of Arcade, as it is extremely high quality.
Excerpt: Taken at face value, Spelunky can sound like a waste of money. This XBLA remake of a 2008 PC title has only a handful of worlds, each of which contains four short levels of around 1 or 2 minutes of gameplay. So how on earth have I managed to spend 15 gleeful hours playing it then? Well, Spelunky is hard. Irascibly, obstinately and doggedly so.