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Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>
I know the cause of every single one of my thousands of deaths in Spelunky. I died down that snake pit because I frittered away my bombs and ropes, leaving me with no way to escape. I died to that inanimate rock because I drifted down towards it with the jetpack when it was being propelled into the air by a jump pad. I died to that blue frog because I overestimated the extent of its jump.
I died because I am not good enough at negotiating the roguelike platformer’s strict rules. Not yet.
I’ve had a copy of ZZT by Anna Anthropy – a book about the game of the same name – kicking around for six months, but I haven’t yet had the time to read it. That prompted me to almost instantly scroll by news that the same publisher was Kickstarting a second series of books in the same vein: small, independently published, and each focused on a different game.
Then I saw that one of the books in the second series is about Spelunky. And it’s written by Derek Yu, the creator of Spelunky. And the project is already funded anyway.
Spelunky is, I think, better designed than any other roguelike, platformer, or roguelike platformer. It’s not because it’s a work of genre revivalism. It’s not the procedural generation, which jumbles level geometry upon every funny, frequent, fist-shaking demise.
It’s the bats. The bat, found in its opening world, is a dimly flapping lense through which the entire game can be better appreciated.
The original Spelunky – the free, low resolution Game Maker-made Classic version – is open source. That means it can be broadly modified, which is what Ukrainian programmer Vadim has done in Spelunky SD. The project merges features from the polished remake Spelunky HD with the lo-fi original, most notably adding two-player, online cooperative multiplayer.
Oh dear, I’m going to have to buy one of those Xbone pads now that they’re PC-friendly, aren’t I? Too often lately I’ve scowled at a game only to find that it improves immeasurably when played with a gamepad instead. Last week it was Watchunderscoredogs (still a bit dull though, innit?), this week it’s indie Metroid/Spelunky mash-up Crystal Catacombs. All ready to dismiss it, I was, as its core wall-jumping mechanic was a miserable and oft-fatal chore when hung around the space bar, but now I’m rather taken with its odd creatures and caverns and its gently punishing aRPG qualities. … [visit site to read more]
If you’d rather not read spoilers on whether a cool mod exists, you’d better stop reading this sentence right now because – SPOILERS – it does. If you’d rather not be spoiled as to the name of that mod, you’d probably be better off not reading the rest of this post, really. Because – SPOILERS – it’s called the Blue Frog mod. It’s for Spelunky, and it turns every character sprite in that game – the player, plants, bats, exploding frogs, the ghost, everything – into the blue frog sprite. That sounds initially dumb, but actually it’s clever and great. If you don’t want spoilers as to why, you definitely shouldn’t read on.