The Cave Diary: Three Characters in Search of a Master
The interplay within the team is a little limited but interesting
The core structure of The Cave mixes the mechanics of platforming and adventure games, with three characters under the control of a player working together in order to overcome a set of challenges and progress through a predetermined story.I have spoken about the potential character choices before, but once they have been selected, the actual game starts and players will have to understand how collaboration works.
Each character can interact with the environment and with certain items in the world and they move independently across the labyrinthine layout of the titular cave.
Teamwork comes into play during puzzle-solving sections, when characters need to be arranged in certain ways and act in sequence in order to reach a solution and progress.
It sometimes feels a little forced but the setups are mostly interesting and there’s real joy in discovering exactly how the solution finally works.
There’s a certain gracefulness to the way the three-man or woman team acts, although I sometimes yearned for something closer to the three-way tactical puzzles of something like the old Blizzard-made Three Vikings.
There were times when I wanted for the developers to try out something deeper, with more levels of interaction between the chosen characters and more ways for them to influence each other.
But the structure of The Cage simply does not require that because the focus of the story is on space as a way to connect to the past and not on the team that explores the actual landscape.
The truly impressive fact about The Cave is that, regardless of the initial choices that players make, the game is accessible and easy to play.
This shows the impressive commitment of the Double Fine development team and its ability to mix and match elements that would not otherwise exist together.