The Walls Are Shifting...
July 5, 2012 11:01 AM   Subscribe

What is Spelunky? Well, it's a game that's "as generous as it is bloodthirsty," with "astonishing creativity and spectacular depth." First appearing as a freeware PC game in 2008, Spelunky (previously) is a hilariously brutal and oddly addicting marriage of roguelike, platformer, and puzzler. A new version was released for Xbox Live Arcade on July 4th, with updated visuals and a warbly soundtrack that recall the days of SNES gaming, as well as a deathmatch mode that's been compared to the mayhem of Bomberman. If you're anything like me, you'll get hopelessly consumed. (Trailer. Original freeware version for PC and Mac.)
posted by naju (40 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Spelunky is one of my favorite games ever. I've lost count of how many hours I've poured into it. Definitely give it a try if you're looking for an addictive platformer.
posted by anaximander at 11:07 AM on July 5, 2012

why do you do this to me
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:07 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, nice. Thanks for the heads up. In related news, I just discovered that Castlevania: SOTN is on Xbox Live. Weeeee!
posted by brundlefly at 11:14 AM on July 5, 2012

Is there any difference from the free version on PC (which I was crazy addicted to) and the Xbox, aside from multiplayer?
posted by blahblahblah at 11:20 AM on July 5, 2012

According to the developer: "It's much more than a port of the original game, and has new graphics, music, zones, monsters, items, traps, and secrets. The controls are much smoother, too, and designed specifically for the gamepad." Having played the original using a keyboard, I can definitely say that the XBox controls are infinitely better.
posted by naju at 11:24 AM on July 5, 2012

I spent an hour just watching this amazing preview of Spelunky yesterday. I am so looking forward to playing the crap out of this game as soon as I get home tonight.
posted by malthas at 11:24 AM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

Also, there's multiplayer, which is new, I think...
posted by running order squabble fest at 11:26 AM on July 5, 2012

The order of events:

1) Sounds neat, I'd like to...
2) Uh oh, "PC and Mac" usually means it's from someone who doesn't even differentiate between "PC" and Windows. Bad news.
3) Wow, they have source code available?!
4) For something called "GameMaker"...
5) ...that only runs on Windows and Mac.
posted by DU at 11:45 AM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

Oh, uh, yeah that's an embarrassing typo. Oops!
posted by naju at 11:48 AM on July 5, 2012

Neat. In philosophy if not gametime it kind of reminds me of 100 Rogues (which I FPPed here), I'll have to check it out.
posted by Artw at 11:52 AM on July 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Spelunky has sucked away all too many hours from me. I'd love to see this improved version ported back to PC.

Also, it's nice to see that they changed it so you could rescue the Damsel in Distress, a male model, or a pug. I remember that some people grumbled about that.

<3 Roguelikes. Especially ones that play with the model of roguelike-dom.
posted by CrystalDave at 11:53 AM on July 5, 2012

Will be trying. Thanks for posting, I need something to break me away from my most recent Angband re-re-re-infatuation.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:58 AM on July 5, 2012

Damn, I was just coming here to link the Giant Bomb quicklook. Oh well, here's a direct Youtube version anyway.

(Somewhat off-topic, but the recent Roller Coaster Rampage QL is not to be missed.)
posted by kmz at 12:06 PM on July 5, 2012

I was wondering what to do with the extra 800 points I had left after I bought an Xbox 360 to play Fez. But it looks like Spelunky is 1200 points. Curses!
posted by zsazsa at 1:22 PM on July 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was wondering what to do with the extra 800 points I had left after I bought an Xbox 360 to play Fez. But it looks like Spelunky is 1200 points. Curses!

Seconded! Curse you Microsoft construed currency system that takes my money from me in crazy, obtuse, and aggravating ways!
posted by RolandOfEld at 1:26 PM on July 5, 2012

2) Uh oh, "PC and Mac" usually means it's from someone who doesn't even differentiate between "PC" and Windows. Bad news.

Seriously? PC gaming means Windows gaming. For instance, Valve lists Portal 2 as available on PC and Mac.
posted by jacalata at 1:29 PM on July 5, 2012 [3 favorites]

It could theoretically mean Linux running on a PC, but I've never seen that in the context of "PC and Mac".
posted by stbalbach at 1:43 PM on July 5, 2012

Dammit, it's going to be at least two months before I can get this.
posted by JHarris at 1:46 PM on July 5, 2012

Having played it several times now, I can wholeheartedly echo Giant Bomb's sentiment that this game is a dick.
posted by davejay at 2:44 PM on July 5, 2012

Is it bad I was on the fence about an Xbox 360 but now that Spelunky is out, I really want one now?

I might still wait for the next price drop, but still...
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:08 PM on July 5, 2012

Oh, also, for people who like games that play with the roguelike formula, there's a fun game called Desktop Dugeons. The alpha is free, and apparently the Beta version is available with a preorder (I just found out about the beta, and I haven't played it).

It's a good game to blow 10 minutes or so on, or an hour if you let yourself get sucked in on repeat rounds.
posted by mccarty.tim at 4:12 PM on July 5, 2012

Desktop Dungeons is great! The beta I pre-ordered back around when that first became possible, and it was being rapidly iterated at the time and even in early stages was a nice improvement over the original (and in its own right really great and playable) free release. It plays like a roguelike distilled down to a puzzle game, so small and short are the playthroughs. Every decision matters. It's fun.

Spelunky is great too, and I have been keenly looking forward to the XBLA release.
posted by cortex at 4:35 PM on July 5, 2012

There is a beta for Desktop Dungeons? That game is already perfect! You do have to calculate constantly how much damage you're dealing, but I've been playing the alpha for ages and didn't even know it was an alpha.
posted by ersatz at 5:28 PM on July 5, 2012

I'm in the Desktop Dungeons beta too. I really desperately wish I had a way to play Spelunky right now. Damn console exclusivity all the way to Extra Hell.
posted by JHarris at 6:12 PM on July 5, 2012

I stopped playing Desktop Dungeons when I started to think of it as more a puzzle game than a roguelike, though it was great while my interest lasted.

Won Spelunky a few times but have to let it go now that it seems there's no interest in continuing development on platforms I have access to (Mac primarily, PC when I can wrest it away from my girlfriend). I second JHarris's bold words re:console exclusivity.

I had to quit Dungeon Crawl: Stone Soup because I was playing it too much, but it will always be number one in my heart.
posted by valrus at 8:41 PM on July 5, 2012

This game is great. I'm a little put off by the casual misogynistic element: throwing the damsel around to set off traps, qualifying her either as "loot" or a "kill" depending on her fate. But maybe it's some sort of metacommentary that I'm missing?
posted by HeroZero at 9:36 PM on July 5, 2012

Oooh, I didn't know there was a Mac port. I had a good time with the original Windows version when I was living with Windows-using boyfriends, now that I'm alone there's just my Mac.
posted by egypturnash at 9:58 PM on July 5, 2012

My god. That game almost ruined me. I remember the first time I got to the final boss and then died on account of trapping him in a deep pit and having run out of rope. I was stuck there, with no enemies left in the game and in direct sight of the exit, but with no way to traverse the distance between.

It's a testament to the game that, rather than call it a victory at that point, I put in the extra two weeeks it took me to win the game properly.

It really is the perfect thing. I suspect that its largest problem is that is appeals solely to people who have, at one point or another, become addicted to both castlevania and nethack. But yeah, that's me.
posted by 256 at 11:53 PM on July 5, 2012

HeroZero, there is an option to switch the rescueable character to a male, or even a dog. And it actually doesn't have to be alive to trigger traps, anything you throw in front of the launcher will set it off. (Assuming it works the same as the prototype version.)
posted by JHarris at 12:49 AM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm suspecting that this version is harder than the original. I'm currently stuck because in order to build a shortcut to World 4, Tunnel Man needs me to bring him a gold key from the mines. That's right, I need to carry a gold key in my arms from World 1 to World 4 without dying...
posted by naju at 7:18 AM on July 6, 2012

I've played the demo on 360 and it seems nice. Can anyone who has played it alot speak to how much the dungeons/mines/whatever vary throughout a complete playthrough? I'm not asking about tiles moving/shifting, I understand that's dynamic and fluid, I'm talking about tile sets/themes or other significantly different rooms if that makes any sense. The edge online review spoke to this a bit, but I would appreciate any comments here on the subject as well.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:22 AM on July 6, 2012

Hmm, well (mild spoilers?) from what I understand there's 4 different worlds (i.e. themes), each with 4 stages in them per playthrough... then there's the unusual tile sets / themes within the worlds, some are very rare and some are more common (seems like there's around a 1 in 6 chance of getting a jungle graveyard, for example.) There's also hidden places that need to be triggered by something you do, but I'm unclear on how to do that. Then there's the City of Gold which is a secret world, and presumably at least one other secret world. I've heard someone mention "challenge rooms" too, no idea what that is... sigh... I've played around 12 hours, but it feels like I've barely scratched the surface.

Was just reading a NeoGAF thread where people were saying only ~30 people worldwide had beaten the game as of yesterday. I believe it...
posted by naju at 8:15 AM on July 6, 2012

I've just started getting into it, the furthest I've made it is World 1-3 or so, and I'm loving it. It's reminding me very much of the previously recommended Binding of Isaac, which has sucked in hundreds and hundreds of hours of my life in tiny unmeasurable bursts of frustration. On the plus side, Spelunky doesn't lead to my kids asking me "So, why do you have to kill your mother at the end?" So....I guess Spelunky gets the edge on kid-friendliness.
posted by nickgb at 8:21 AM on July 6, 2012

only ~30 people worldwide had beaten the game

This confirmed it's my kinda game even if it is exaggerated, the fact that people are actually talking like this means it's right up my alley.

Thanks for the info naju.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:39 AM on July 6, 2012

Ars Technica: Review: In Spelunky, death makes life worth playing:
Punishing difficulty, random level design combine for a platforming masterpiece.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:09 PM on July 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

JHarris: Good to know, but interestingly my free Mac version does not include that feature.
posted by HeroZero at 5:55 AM on July 8, 2012

The free versions are over a couple of years old at this point, and haven't been worked on in some time. They have fewer features than the Xbox version.
posted by JHarris at 6:25 PM on July 9, 2012

It should be noted that, the game being open source, the community has come together to update the game for more recent versions of Game Maker's runner and Windows, and fix some bugs. The new version, which they call Spelunky 1.2, can be downloaded here.
posted by JHarris at 10:10 PM on July 11, 2012

If you got as addicted to this as I did, I highly recommend spoiling all the secrets for the game by reading Spelunky Wikia. It helped me kick the habit.
posted by HeroZero at 4:26 PM on July 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm suspecting that this version is harder than the original. I'm currently stuck because in order to build a shortcut to World 4, Tunnel Man needs me to bring him a gold key from the mines. That's right, I need to carry a gold key in my arms from World 1 to World 4 without dying...

Yeah, that one is a bit ridiculous. The PC version only requires you to give him cash. Lots and lots of cash, but you keep adding to it over time. So it is a nice forgiving mechanic that eventually rewards you for keeping at the game. The downside is tunnel man doesn't show up after the next world until you've fully paid him off. So once you pay him there's a big incentive to just fall on some spikes and start over.

This new system feels like he wants to force you to play the game "the right way". But I can clearly see a future where me and my key are lost to a yeti, and my tv gets thrown out the window.
posted by Gary at 11:42 AM on July 23, 2012

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