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The Cave

by Neil Aitken profile

2020

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Number of Reviews: 8
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
Ambitious , October 6, 2020
by deathbytroggles (Minneapolis, MN)
The Cave has you, a generic adventurer, exploring a generic cave, accumulating statistics and inventory with no easily discernible goal. I reached an ending mostly by clicking on options until I escaped. There are ten rooms, and I explored all of them, leaving possibly a couple of puzzles unfinished.

I think it's important to note something written in the walkthrough to help players make sense of the game:

Under the hood, this game is an alternative way to generate the basic character ability scores for your favorite roleplaying game. Your choices purchase increases in those scores according to a point buy system. In this case, it builds a character according to your preferred actions and reactions to situations. Once you've expended your pool of points, you'll find your way out.

While this is indeed an interesting way to play a game, I am not sure why this isn't told to the player up front. Otherwise, it feels unnecessarily random.

The prose is rough. Nearly every room tells you that you’ve somehow found an “even deeper darkness” and I was beginning to wonder how many levels of darkness existed. The author tries too hard to be cheeky in a game that doesn’t seem to call for it. When you pick up a club, you are told “it’s pretty heavy and probably packs a wallop. It probably can’t pack a suitcase or a lunch.” And when you reach into a puddle you find it “much colder and deeper than you expected. You know people like that. Colder and deeper than expected.” It’s one of many examples of the author alluding to some inner turmoil the adventurer is trying to overcome, except we never really get to know anything about them.

Additionally, puzzles exist but take no real deduction. At one point a choice is given to “push the stone button,” even though the room description never mentions a button. At another point you have the choice to pick a lock; click that and you magically find a bone nearby to pick it.

The background music is alright and there are some cool text effects in spots. I like the ambition from this first-time author and hope future efforts tighten the writing and improve the puzzle structure.

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RadioactiveCrow, October 31, 2020 - Reply
Ok, now it makes more sense. But I totally agree, this should be told to you up front. Would make me like it more for what it is.
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