Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Graham Smith)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

There have been a lot of attempts to find a more modern form for the point-and-click adventure. The Cave has the benefit of being designed by Ron Gilbert, the creator of some of the best, with art and animation from the always-good-at-those-particular-things Double Fine.

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PC Gamer
The Rift Report Elite Dangerous

Every Tuesday Andy straps on the Oculus Rift and dives headfirst into the world of virtual reality in The Rift Report. Is it really the future of PC gaming? Let s find out.

The Rift Report will be taking a break until I get my hands and eyes on the higher resolution DK2. But before I go, here s a list of the games, tech demos, and other oddities I think make the most of the hardware. I ve been using the Rift pretty frequently for a couple of months now, and it still manages to impress me. But the limitations of the original development kit are obvious, so I think I ll wait until the fancypants new model lands on my desk before I continue my virtual reality odyssey.

Elite: Dangerous

I ve put this at the top, because it s my favourite VR game so far. The weighty ship handling and dramatic space battles are fun with just your archaic old eyes, but throw the Rift and a good flight stick into the mix and it s like being in Star Wars, but with fewer Ewoks.


Blue Marble

You re an astronaut, and you re drifting through space, away from the Earth, slowly, until you run out of oxygen and die. That s the setup in this atmospheric and evocative demo that I actually enjoyed more than Gravity. Being able to import your own background music is a nice touch.



You can t move in this demo. You re pinned to a chair in a detailed, stylised room, and it seems like nothing s happening, until you turn around and notice that, outside, Tetris blocks are falling from the sky. It s like some surreal dream, and the lack of movement doesn t diminish its impact.


Spirited Away Boiler Room

Someone has recreated a key set from Studio Ghibli s brilliant, beautiful Spirited Away the bath house boiler room and it s a very weird experience to wander around a 3D version of a 2D environment you know so well from an animated film. Its creator is doing My Neighbour Totoro next.


Solar System Explorer

Another of my favourite demos. This sees you flying around an almost to-scale replica of the solar system. Distances between planets feel vast, and there s some incredible scenery, from sun flares, to the rings of Saturn, to Jupiter and its icy moons. A remarkable experience.


VR Cinema

This amazing demo simulates the experience of being at the cinema. The screen feels genuinely massive, and the lighting in the room dynamically mirrors whatever s on the screen. You can import most video files, including high-def Blu-ray rips. It s like having your own personal 500 inch TV.


The Cave

This is a proof of concept demo that simulates being Bruce Wayne in the Batcave. The holographic UI is really impressive, and I can see this being implemented into mission briefings for games. There s a batmobile in the cave, but you can t drive it, sadly. Just stare at its shiny bodywork.


Euro Truck Simulator 2

The genuinely, unironically good Euro Truck Simulator 2 works brilliantly with the Oculus Rift, especially if you have a force feedback wheel. The detailed 3D cabins give a good sense of depth as you look around, and the realistic handling makes for a satisfying sim experience.



Only a single room of this cyberpunk adventure game is currently available, but a Kickstarter campaign will ensure we see more if it s successful. It s a bit like being in Deckard s apartment in Blade Runner, and the view of a futuristic city out of the window is particularly impressive.


RedFrame Environment Demo

This is probably the most realistic Rift demo I ve seen yet. It s not exciting or interactive, but the quality of the modeling and lighting makes this bedroom (a sample environment from an adventure game) an eerily convincing and uncanny space to explore in VR.

Announcement - Valve
Save 50% on The Cave during this week's Midweek Madness*!

Assemble your team of three from seven unlikely adventurers, each with their own unique personalities and stories, then descend into the mysterious depths to explore locations including a subterranean amusement park and a medieval castle, not to mention a fully armed and ready-to-launch nuclear tipped ICBM. The Cave awaits!

The Cave is a new adventure game from Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion creator Ron Gilbert, and Double Fine Productions, the award-winning studio behind Psychonauts and Brütal Legend.

*Offer ends Thursday at 4PM Pacific Time

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (Nathan Grayson)

Well, this is slightly unexpected. Ron Gilbert’s always kinda done his own thing, but sharing a colorful roof of pure, shining whimsy with partner in pirate-y crime Tim Schafer just sort of, you know, made sense. It is, however, like they say: all good things must come to an end. Also, The Cave was actually only kind of all right, so maybe this is for the best. But what’s next for the man they call “RonnyG” (and I guess also Grumpy Gamer)? Solve a series of increasingly obtuse puzzles to get past the break for more. Hint: the first one involves clicking. And also a rubber chicken with a pulley in the middle.


PC Gamer
The Cave

Legendary game designer Ron Gilbert has announced his departure from Double Fine Productions, following the release of The Cave. Gibert made the announcement in a blog post earlier today, posting that there are "so many games left to be designed". He's currently working on "another iOS side project" with Clayton Kauzlaric called (take a deep breath) Scurvy Scallywags in The Voyage to Discover the Ultimate Sea Shanty: A Musical Match-3 Pirate RPG.

Gilbert joined Double Fine in 2010 at the invitation of the studio's founder Tim Schafer. Gilbert and Schafer collaborated on several titles at LucasArts including Day of the Tentacle - which was a sequel to the Gilbert-created Maniac Mansion.

"I want to thank all the amazing people at Double Fine for all their hard work on The Cave," Gilbert wrote in the announcement. "It was a true pleasure to work with every one of them over the past two years. So much fun. I miss them all. And of course to Tim for creating the opportunity to come there and make The Cave." Gilbert rounded out his announcement with the promise of more "behind the scenes pictures" for The Cave in the coming weeks.

Ron Gilbert will be a keynote speaker at the inaugural PAX Australia, which takes place this July in Melbourne. We wish Gilbert all the best.
Feb 11, 2013
Product Update - Valve
Update Includes:

- Added new, super high quality anti-aliasing – Super Sample Anti Aliasing. Users can enable it by toggling “SSAA” in the visual settings.
- Lots of fixes to various gameplay bugs that could cause characters or items to go missing, especially after loading from saves in certain spots.
- Fixed the bug that could cause the game to very rarely write out garbage/invalid save files.
Jan 30, 2013
PC Gamer

A Knight, a Scientist and a Time Traveller walk into a cave. Somehow, that feels like it should lead to a joke - especially in a game by Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert. It doesn’t, but that’s not in itself a problem. The Cave has a definite dark sense of humour, but it’s not a comedy. Instead, it’s a laidback tragedy about seven sinners on a search for their deepest desires, only to find their fatal flaws waiting for them instead. A series of light morality plays written to educate and entertain.

And, sadly, a really quite dull platform game.

Focusing on that bit feels mean, but it can’t be helped – not least because there’s little that’s more depressing than playing an obvious labour of love that doesn’t pull it off. The ideas behind The Cave are great, it looks delicious, especially in motion, and no creative expense has been spared in charting this allegorical labyrinth. Even with its flaws, calling it ‘lazy’ is to openly summon Gilbert to come slap you in the face – and with good cause.

Nevertheless, The Cave shows no sign of having learned from other side-scrollers like Limbo and Trine or even The Lost Vikings, with its puzzles built on tedious lever pulling and repeatedly backtracking over whole levels with newly acquired items. At one point it even copies a ‘fill this six gallon jug with two other jugs’ sequence from the dusty Book of Elder Puzzles, which is unforgivable in a game committed to imagination - as is then assuming you had to cheat to solve it.

Worse though is how it wastes its characters. For each run through The Cave you get to pick three of the seven, much like the game that made Gilbert’s name, Maniac Mansion. Each has a special skill – the Time Traveller can phase through some walls, for instance – and an otherwise locked-off area. That means three playthroughs to see all the stories, and six to see all the endings (though the Achievement for that should be called ‘Never Heard Of YouTube’).

Except in each character’s own area, their abilities are almost never used. Very rarely there’ll be something like a hook for the Adventurer to swing from, but with no combat, a completely linear path and no choices to make, in practice everyone spends most of the game consigned to trudging along in silence, pulling levers and being ballast for pressure pads. Weighted Companion Rubes, if you will.

Most of the story areas are no more interesting from a design perspective either, with the worst being the three dull ones that you have to replay and are unchanged regardless of your character line-ups. Areas devoted to the characters’ lives are much better, with each telling their story through setting and puzzles, backed up with a series of cartoon stills.

Even so, there’s depressingly little emotional resonance. Much as The Cave as a whole would be more impressive in a world without other puzzle platformers, these would be better in one without Double Fine’s own Psychonauts – a game that used exactly the same tricks to far better effect back in 2005, as well as having more humour and heart. There's nothing as hard hitting as Milla's secret room here, with the stories being just too on-the-nose to blossom into much more than they initially appear.

That’s the biggest disappointment here. The Cave isn’t bad, but it is mystifyingly bland for what it sets out to be – and that ends up being worse than a glorious failure. We need more games like this, with this much love on display. With its actual adventure bits lacking the spark of its concept and artistry though, The Cave ends up sending you on an ill-fated trudge through platform purgatory in more ways than one.

Expect to pay: £10
Release: Out now
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Double Fine Productions
Multiplayer: 3 player co-op

The Characters From The Cave, Now Available In Charming Toy FormThe characters are the highlight of Double Fine's new adventure game The Cave. Seven wanderers, each with his or her own selfish journey to undertake (and lesson to learn), each drawn in the game's groovy art style.

If you're a fan of the game (like Tina came to be when she reviewed it), you might want to check out these Cave toys that Double Fine is selling. You can get one for $5, or a full set for $35.

Here's The Cave creator Ron Gilbert sizing 'em up:

The Characters From The Cave, Now Available In Charming Toy Form

I have enough collectible tchotchkes to last a lifetime, but I wouldn't say no to those creepy twins…


Play The Cave. You'll See Awesome Art Like This.If you've been playing Double Fine's The Cave—and Tina says you probably should be—you'll have noticed the lush cave paintings you come across depicting the game's seven characters.

They're the work of Daniel Krall, and there's so much colour you could drown in it.

You can see more of Daniel's art on his personal blog.

To see the larger pics in all their glory (or, if they're big enough, so you can save them as wallpaper), right-click on them below and select "open in new tab".
Fine Art is a celebration of the work of video game artists, showcasing the best of both their professional and personal portfolios. If you're in the business and have some concept, environment, promotional or character art you'd like to share, drop us a line!

Play The Cave. You'll See Awesome Art Like This. Play The Cave. You'll See Awesome Art Like This. Play The Cave. You'll See Awesome Art Like This. Play The Cave. You'll See Awesome Art Like This. Play The Cave. You'll See Awesome Art Like This. Play The Cave. You'll See Awesome Art Like This.
Jan 24, 2013
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - (John Walker)

We’d strongly hoped to bring you a review of the PC build of The Cave before now. Now the PC version is unlocked, and we’ve finally been able to play it, I’m able to tell you wot I think. And the strangest thing? The PC code is significantly better than the dodgy 360 version, making it all the more mysterious that it was kept from us.>



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