Remember when roguelikes were turn-based (and tile-based, for that matter), nothing happening until you – the player – did something? In a way, The Spooky Cave harkens back to those days, except there are no tiles, and yet… time still doesn’t move until you do. Crazy? Yeah, crazy fun!
Although considering how the game begins with falling rocks laying waste to everyone but you, it’s definitely not equally fun for everyone. But alas, that’s just how it is sometimes. These dungeon delvings are after all dangerous and risky business. Whether it’ll be worth it in the end remains to be seen, as the only way out goes through rooms with all kinds of nasties: from bats to slimes and even creatures that I am having trouble identifying. Ew.
You won’t be going at it with just your wits and however mighty a punch those fists pack though – the game simply won’t allow it. No fighting without first finding and equipping a weapon, be it a bow, sword, mace, hammer or something else entirely. That rusty blade or a half-broken bow you’ll have to make do with early on might not seem overly useful, but remember, you’re able to literally control the time itself.
Well, partially anyway, as your every action causes the entire world to move accordingly (even when you’re checking your inventory). Needless to say, this definitely adds a rather unique and clever layer of strategy to the combat aspect. Even more so, since you’ve got a fancy ‘dash’ move to quickly get out of harms way. Oh and enemies aren’t the brightest bunch, generally speaking, as I often found them getting stuck on doorways, enabling me to line up shots from across the room much too easily. If they weren’t so darn hostile, I might have actually felt sorry for the lot, ya know?
Now, the build I played (version 0.37) is – as indicated by the version number – not the final product. At least I’m hoping it isn’t, because for starters, the game has no sound. None. At all. On top of that, I’m uncertain as to what ‘scrapping’ equipment does. Maybe it breaks stuff down to materials, which then automagically turns into gold? Maybe. Or maybe it’s simply a WIP feature.
Whatever the case, alpha/beta aside, The Spooky Cave is definitely a breath of fresh air as far as roguelikes and dungeoncrawlers go. Looks pretty good too with its pixellated visuals, bits and pieces flying everywhere as enemies get smashed, and… well, the same goes for when your character dies. Which will happen sooner or later, mark my words.
Don’t let that stop you though. Sure, vicious monsters roam the place and death lurks around every corner, but so what? There’s still treasure, adventure and fun to be had, in… The Spooky Cave!