Wii U Review: The Cave

Should you delve in this cave?

The Cave is the latest game from Ron Gilbert of Psychonauts fame and it follows the story of 7 people who descend into The Cave, which is full of memories and choices. Oh, The Cave is also a talking cave that narrates throughout the game and is the real star of the show. The characters are clichéd types including The Adventurer, The Scientist, The Monk, The Time Traveller, The Hillbilly, The Twins and The Knight; each has a dark side that results in them killing someone.
You can only take 3 characters with you on your journey and each character has their own special part of the cave to explore that is personal to them, for instance the Knight has to grab Excalibur by winning the love of a princess by stealing a dragon’s gold or going back in time as the Time Traveller and kill a rival’s ancestor to stop him from being born. There are some fairly twisted stories throughout the cave involving murder, love, greed and betrayal but they are better explained in the cave paintings you find throughout the game, with 2 sets of endings for each character depending on whether you choose to leave the cave with the object they desire or return it to the store manager.

A single playthrough of The Cave will take roughly 1-2 hours to complete, which doesn’t sound like a lot. But remember there are 7 different characters and you can only take 3 with you on a single trip, plus you’ll need to go through with each character twice to get their alternative endings. I really enjoyed replaying it once or twice but it did seem to drag after that, especially with areas of the game that aren’t tied to the characters like the Mine where you have to retrieve 3 mine carts for a prospector or the Zoo where you have to lure a beast onto a bridge with a hot dog. The final area is the Island and it’s probably the funniest/cruellest considering you wash up ashore and a hermit is so certain you’ll take him with you when you leave, only to abandon him at the last moment.
The Wii U version offers gamers the ability to switch characters by tapping the character on the Gamepad, but simply pressing the corresponding D pad button on-screen will do the trick too. I personally would have preferred if you could play the game on the gamepad as well, but it’s only a small complaint. There are a few framerate issues with the game but having tried the game on XBLA as well; I can confirm it’s not a fault with the Wii U’s specs and luckily they aren’t that bad or frequent.

Voice-acting is brilliant from The Cave’s monologues, full of cheeky one-liners, sarcasm, wit and malice. The other characters are oddly silent throughout the game, with the exception of characters you come across through the journey, while the music is also pretty good as a whole. Visually, the game is fairly average but it is impressive overall.

The Verdict

The Cave is a brilliant, albeit short adventure that may be priced a little too high for some. But it does offer truly hilarious moments and a good amount of replay value with the exception of the Mine and Zoo areas, which drag on too much. Overall though, it’s priceless and I hope that a sequel or DLC emerges to extend the journey into the depths of The Cave…