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PlayStation Vita  header logo

 PLAYSTATION VITA PREVIEW

Gamescom '13: Hands-on with randomised PS Vita platformer Spelunky

All mine

Product: Spelunky | Developer: Mossmouth | Genre: Adventure, Platform
For: PS Vita
 
Spelunky PS Vita, thumbnail 1
It's fair to say that I'm a fan of Derek Yu's randomly generated platformer, Spelunky. When the game launched on Xbox Live Arcade last year, I plugged more than 20 hours into the game.

And since it came to PC earlier this month, I'm still playing it today.

So the proposition of Spelunky coming to PS Vita is a strange one for me. The idea of forking out yet another 10 quis for a third copy of one game would be crazy, but at the same time, Spelunky on the move is rather tempting…

I happened to have a go on the PS Vita version Gamescom this week and, as it turns out, I may well end up throwing another £10 at Yu, after all. I'm practically paying for his kids to go to college.

Got Spelunk

Here's the general gist of what to expect from Spelunky: you are an adventurer, trapped in a never-ending cycle of dungeon-crawling, dying, and starting all over again.

Spelunky is a harsh 2D platformer which revels in trial and error. The first dozen times you play the game, you'll barely get past the first world. See, if you die in Spelunky, you're sent all the way back to the start, and have to go through it all again.

It's far from repetitive though, because each level is randomly generated. No two playthroughs are ever the same, and this makes every single run ridiculous fun, no matter how many times you die and hit restart.

Spelunky

But it's the way in which you learn how to tackle each of Spelunky's enemies and traps that really sets the game apart. There are no upgrades to earn over time, or leveling up, or skill trees - you get better simply through your own blood, sweat and tears.

As such, getting further and further (or, more accurately, deeper and deeper) into the game feels hugely rewarding.

That's not to say you don't pick up items along the way. Your bomb and rope stashes are hugely important for navigating the world, while the various shops that you'll come across are brimming with fun and useful items like jetpacks, shotguns, and springy shoes.

You just lose all your stuff when you die. Bummer.

Spelunking on the Vita

So what does the PS Vita version bring to the table? Not all that much you haven't already seen, if you're already a veteran explorer.

It feels perfectly solid on Vita, with no noticeable frame-rate issues or control blips. From the moment I picked the game up to the moment I put it down, it was the same wonderful experience I've played before over and over again.

Multiplayer-wise, if you have friends with Spelunky on Vita, you can each have your own screens and not be confined to sticking together - the Vita version's sole pro point over the other editions.

It's a shame that the excellent Daily Challenge mode seen in the PC version isn't here, mind - in fact, that proves a pretty enormous omission that I'm definitely going to miss.

Of course, standing in a room at Gamescom, I wasn't able to take Spelunky on the bus, and into the palm of my hand while sat on the sofa. The ability to carry it around may well prove a key selling point for some gamers.

For myself, the ability to take Spelunky on holiday with me next month might be make this Vita port the best £10 I ever spent. Expect a full review and some expert guides when the game hits the PlayStation Store next week.
 

Reviewer photo
Mike Rose 23 August 2013
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