Seven tales of greed
In Double Fine's stylish adventure game, the Cave itself is a mystical ancient being, calling travellers to it and offering them the chance to gain what their hearts desire most... if they can navigate its depths. The Cave hopes that its trials will lead to moral lessons for its visitors. However, the search for fulfilment often leads to twisted consequences.
Seven wanderers are lured into the Cave, each with their own motivations. Whether it's searching for enlightenment or an obsession with becoming the "best employee of all time", each of the seven wanderers finds themselves with evil intentions.
Select three characters to play through the game, then find paintings on the Cave's walls to unlock comic book panels that offer insight into their stories plus hints on how to solve specific levels.
A walk in the dark
With its comedy-writing heritage, developer Double Fine sets out to make you laugh. This humour comes through in both the script and visual style of The Cave, with dozens of jokes that will have you giggling with mischievous glee.
The character of the Cave itself is one of the few audible voices within the game, and it has a deliciously wicked sense of humour. Trying to teach each of the characters a lesson in morality, it offers a constantly entertaining commentary on their failure to learn.
To enforce its lessons, the Cave takes its visitors through a variety of diverse areas. From an old family mansion to a desert island, there is nowhere that can't be summoned to help educate the game's characters. While the game visits all manner of locations, it's the details in each that provide the most impact. For example, taking control of the Time Traveller sees you moving between three eras affecting future events by toying with the past. With the characters spread through time, however, you'll come across a little skeleton anywhere you leave behind a companion. These nice little touches scattered throughout The Cave always bring a smile.
Seven deadly sinners
Each of the game's seven cast members has a distinct look and this is reflected in the areas the Cave creates for them. With the Hillbilly, Knight, Scientist, Twins, Time Traveller, Monk and Adventurer to choose between, there is never any shortage of variety.
Each character has their own unique way of moving through the world, with their own specific levels littered through the game. These areas are trapped behind barriers that only the relevant character can navigate. For example, the Monk must use his mind over matter ability to break down barriers, and the Hillbilly can hold his breath to swim underwater.
For all the game's controllable characters, it is the Cave itself that's the real star. Providing all of the game's humour with its witty commentary on each character's progress, these quips leave you eager for more.
Adventuring through the deep
While there are seven characters to choose from in The Cave, only three may venture into its depths at any one time - and once they do, you'll discover a treasure trove of delights. In an early part of the game, after jumping over all manner of obstacles, the characters eventually reach a fragile bridge. The Cave's comically mysterious personality warns that "if you break it, you buy it", but with no other way forward it seems like the only way to progress. Nervously leaving the first character standing on the bridge, you slowly urge the second and third to step on board - and once they're all on the bridge it collapses, plunging your chosen trio into the depths.
These adventure puzzle elements are the core of The Cave. While exploring the various underground landscapes requires skill, finding the solution to the various riddles provides the real challenge. Each character also gets their own personal story, revealing the horrors of their lives.
Remember though, while these tales are personal, none of them can be completed alone. Calling on new-found friends is often the only way to overcome a problem. The Twins prove especially twisted, as the Cave itself points out: "when has there ever been a pair of twins who weren't evil!" With seven characters to enjoy, there's a lot to keep you coming back to The Cave.