Caveblazers released back in late May after being on Steam’s Early Access program for about a year or so. It is Rupeck Games debut title, which also caught Yogscast’s attention resulting in a publishing agreement.
In essence, Caveblazers is a dungeon crawler that feels very much like an action platformer. I’ve seen many people compare it to Spelunky and, quite honestly, I think that’s fair, even though I feel that they’re two completely different titles. Caveblazers focuses more on combat and character customization rather than the actual platforming element. Still, the game has plenty of traps lying around that can easily kill you if you’re not careful.
The game starts off with your arrival at this cave, which is said to hold immeasurable riches, but like many legends, this one proves itself to be too good to be true, at least at first glance. Soon enough you’ll be going through the various different stages that make up the game. Still, while their layouts are procedurally generated, the levels are grouped into five different groups, resulting in a total sum of ten different stages. Every two levels you’ll face a boss, from a roster of ten, and these manage to spice up things quite a bit. You’ll have to rely on pattern memorization and your different attacks, abilities and items that are at your disposal in order to beat them.
Besides the standard procedurally generated dungeon crawling experience, the game also offers daily runs, in which everyone will start with the same gear and traits and explore the very same dungeon. Still, there are also challenges that you can complete as you play on your own, offering you new traits and items as a reward for completing them. Traits are certain modifiers that can determine your starting loadout, as well as other stats such as your health or damage resistance. Besides these perks, the game also has another form of permanent progression in the form of cosmetic unlockables.
In any case, the thing that must be kept in mind when you sit down to play this is that, despite the fact that the game looks very much like a platformer, especially given that you have the ability to do things such as wall and double jump, this is not its strongest focus. Still, the combat and the rather simplistic progression system might be what keeps bringing people back to the game. While these are by no stretch of imagination extremely in-depth and detailed, there’s something about the simplicity of Caveblazers that draws me in. The game does have a fair good amount of weapons, magical items, blessings and other things, that you can get throughout your runs, that change the way the game plays to a certain degree, but the combat still remains very much the same. There’s no weapon combos, special attacks, blocks or dodges, all you have is ranged and melee attacks, as well as the ability to parry, and that’s about it. This doesn’t translate to a bad combat system though, or an unsatisfying one, at least from my perspective, but instead it shapes up to be a much more welcoming game than other games in the genre, which is probably one of the reasons why a lot of people seem to like it.
Still, new people might get easily frustrated with the adventurers that you can find in the caves, whom will do their best to steal your equipment and get in your way. Despite not being able to kill them, you quickly come across a way to disable them, but I find them a nice little addition in case you just want more stuff going on on your runs. Also, while there might not really be a story here, the game does provide a journal which unlocks additional information about areas, enemies, items, amongst other things, as you uncover them.
Overall, while I find the lovely pixel art style to be really pleasing to the eyes, I find that this is a game that’s best played in short bursts of time, play a few runs and then come back on the next day. While it’s a good game as a whole, the potential is certainly here in order to expand it to become something more. With that said, don’t expect anything groundbreaking, expect something very competent and simple that’s good for a few hours of fun, and you most certainly won’t be disappointed with Caveblazers.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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