The Nintendo Switch is no stranger to Party Games, it is practically designed for multiplayer. However, what happens when you take the classic Spelunker franchise and give it a party makeover? Read on to find out.
While Spelunker Party! takes heavily on its original Spelunker game, the game is an enhanced port of the free-to-play Spelunker World which released 2 years before. Stripped away from Spelunker world is its nasty pay-to-win microtransaction elements and replacing it is good old traditional gameplay.
The gameplay is fairly straightforward as with any platformer, just get to the end of the level to move on to the next stage, next world. Anyone who has played Mario knows how it goes.
However beneath its straightforward exterior is something more punishing. What looks like a friendly and cheerful game is actually harder than most will assume. It is ridiculously easy to die in it that here’s a montage on some of the dumb ways to die in it.
Jump off too steep a slope and you die. Jump off a vine just a tad too high and you die. Jump a bit too high and hit the ceiling, you die. The game does not help you out either by pointing your death out in a diary format. Over the course of the game, you will find yourself getting used to, or, irritated by it.
Still, the game is not in anyway unplayable. As with any game, after you are used to how it works, you will find yourself breezing through it. By world 2, I was able to speed across all of the stages with a certain degree of ease. It also helps that the game is easy to score once if you complete the stage. I find myself scoring a full three stars almost all the time in my first run as long as I complete it.
However, this is Spelunker Party we are reviewing. We had to talk about multiplayer. To me, Spelunker Party’s multiplayer both made and broke the game.
Things get somewhat easier to play when more players are involved, especially when in local multiplayer, where you can easily direct your friends around. Even though the Switch version only supported a maximum of four (down from 6 in Spelunker World), the added bonus of your friends being able to revive you was exceptionally useful when you are just starting out. Controls with just one joy-con were easy as well, unlike some other multiplayer games. Bringing friends along in your platforming journey also allows you to access previously inaccessible areas to collect rare litho-stones to exchange for items or costumes.
That is where the multiplayer kind of broke the game for me. If you are a shut-in introvert who has no friends, there is just no way to 100% the game, sure with enough determination, you can maybe hold two controllers, or try the online co-op, but there is just no easy way to get them. If only there was a way to still get it in single player mode, it would have been much better.
Other than that, multiplayer provides for hours of interesting time with a group of friends.
Don’t expect anything much from Spelunker Party, it is one of those games that craft a story around its gameplay than the gameplay around the story. Play the game for the game, appeasing the angry Earth is a side bonus.
Graphics and Sound
Graphics and sound were mediocre at best but fits well to its theme. The party theme allowed for the lego Duplo liked knee-less characters to venture around well without anyone questioning as to why. There were rare instances of lag, especially during multiplayer, but did not affect the overall experience too much.
Sound wise, the music is a real earworm. It is not fantastic but it’s catchy beat, coupled with your intense focus (to not die), allows the music to subconsciously leak into your head. Maybe it was only me, but I was sure that I could still hear the music as I type this review now.
Spelunker Party provides a content heavy package of more than a hundred stages at a reasonable price. Although the game is playable alone, it shines best when you have another friend to play along with you. When you do play it though, don’t be fooled by its cutesy graphics, there are a thousand and one ways how not to complete this game.
- Large amount of content for price
- Local Multiplayer gameplay was enjoyable
- Can be tricky in the beginning
- Rare items require multiplayer to collect
Verdict: A Big Pot Of Hot Soup That Will Burn Your Tongue Initially, And You Can’t Finish Alone.
A review code for Spelunker Party! was provided by Square Enix for the purpose of this review.