Cave Cover

PAX Prime 2012: Hands on “The Cave” from Double Fine

What is it? Chances are, should you mention Double Fine, the first thing someone might recall is the wildly-popular “Double Fine Adventure.” If that’s the case, then this will come as a pleasant surprise, for DF has more for you in store. The Cave is an upcoming adventure game from Ron Gilbert and the fine folks and Double Fine, coming to XBLA, PC, and PSN. For those keeping score, Ron Gilbert is the creator of other excellent adventure games like Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion. If that has your attention you already love this game, and don’t even know it.

Hands on: The Cave demo was almost too cleverly hidden in SEGA’s space on the expo floor of PAX Prime 2012. Heck, I don’t even remember seeing a Double Fine logo at the display (although, to be fair, The Cave was also set up at Double Fine’s own merch booth some distance away). The booth was literally cave-like, with cool blue and purple hues lighting a space just shy of a 1 car garage. A constant line at the booth piqued my interest, so I waited and waited… and waited. I was not disappointed.

The Cave presents you with an unlikely team of diverse characters, from which you choose 3, and enter a Cave full of challenges, humor, and adventure, of course. In a Maniac Mansion sort of way, each of the game’s seven characters possesses unique abilities, so your approach to certain situations in the game will change based on the composition of your party. All the trappings of a quality Double Fine adventure are there — humorous settings, excellent art and music, and mind-bending adventure puzzles to solve.

 

Gameplay & Control: The demo I played was on the Xbox 360, so the typical point and click controls of adventure games were replaced by typical 2D side-scrolling controls, with movement, jump, and “action” being the only controls needed to play an otherwise complex, challenging game. Once you select your party of three, you switch between them by using the D-Pad.

In the ~20 min demo, players explored the first rooms of the Cave, where the goal was to find a way past a blue-fire breathing crystalline beast (above). This being an adventure game, there is no hacking and slashing here. I had to acquire a key to find the entrance to the Cave, find a power supply to obtain bait for the beast, find gears to make other contraptions work, and use the combination of my well-placed party members to set and spring a trap to remove the beast from my path. You get the idea, it’s awesome.

Nerd Appropriate: I want this game yesterday. It’s Ron Gilbert, it’s Double Fine, it’s got beautiful production, clever writing, and well constructed challenges. Keep an eye out for this game in early 2013. Oh, and did I mention that everyone the played the Cave got a blind box action figure of one of the game’s seven characters? I’m just going to stare at it until I can get my hands on this game again.

Scott

Hi, I’m one of the founders of Nerd Appropriate and the Rated NA podcast. I like good and bad sci-fi films and tv, pho, and the retrofuture. I am primarily an Xbox gamer, but also do some PC and Wii U gaming as well. By day, I am a research scientist, mostly in topics related to human-computer interaction and user experience. Before all this, fellow NA co-founder Matt and I played music together in various bands. I also used to make "comedy" videos for my high school morning news program before there was a place to post them online. Favorite Star Wars character? Admiral Ackbar. Best Bond era? Timothy Dalton (Craig a close second). Game of all time? Maybe System Shock 2. Thanks for being a part of this labor of nerdy love with us.