The life of Indiana Jones is a busy one. If he’s not out crawling through ancient tombs, seeking out priceless artifacts, or risking his life in the name of archeology, he’s getting acquainted with the local damsel in distress, impressing her with his manly charm and accurate whipping skills. It’s with Indiana Jones’ exploits in mind that developer Mossmouth Games has created Spelunky; a procedurally generated 2D platformer that pays homage to classic 8-bit video games.
You play as an intrepid cave explorer dressed in Indie’s trademark distressed leather jacket and fedora. Your job is to collect as much loot as possible while avoiding snakes, spiders, and other tomb-dwelling inhabitants. Each level is made up of a series of platforms, over which various treasures, enemies, and other characters are scattered. To aid you on your journey, you have several tools at your disposal; a rope for climbing to hard-to-reach platforms, bombs for blowing stuff up, and a whip for destroying enemies.
The joy of Spelunky lies in its simplicity, making it easy to pick up and play. The classic platforming and adventure elements are kept fresh by the randomly generated levels, which hold a surprising amount of depth; just ask anyone who’s tried to find the hidden lost city of gold. The whole thing is held together by retro-fabulous graphics and a chiptune soundtrack, giving it a slice of 8-bit charm. The best thing about Spelunky? It’s free! Anyone with a PC can check out the game right now, and thanks to the 8-bit graphics, you won’t need a powerhouse computer to do so. Xbox 360 users can look forward to the upcoming XBLA port, which will sport updated HD visuals, audio, and game modes.