While we’re all impatiently waiting for Double Fine’s crowd-funded adventure game to get going, the company has another adventure game cooking, from the mind of Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island creator Ron Gilbert.
Anytime legendary game maker Ron Gilbert’s name is attached to something, it’s a big deal, particularly for adventure gamers. So it’s fitting that his latest developer home is working at Tim Schafer’s Double Fine Studios, as Schafer has a very similar reputation among gaming fans.
Gilbert’s new game, which is based on an idea he’s wanted to pursue for about 25 years, is called The Cave. It’s about a rather Lost-ian mysterious cave, filled with all manner of impossible things, which tests those who explore it and rewards them with some piece of knowledge they desperately desire. The cave itself is alive, you see, and serves as the game’s narrator. In the game, seven diverse characters come to the cave to explore and and find some information they seek. As fascinating as the cave itself is, with its endless trappings to explore — including a medieval castle, underground amusement park, and a nuclear-tipped ICBM(!) — and puzzles to solve, equally captivating is the cast of seven characters. Each one is highly unique, has their own special talents, and follows a story arc all their own.
At the game’s outset, you’ll pick three of these characters to play as, switching between them as you go along in order to take advantage of their varied abilities. Naturally this gives the game big replay value, since you’ll want to see how all seven of their stories play out, as well as the fun results of matching them up in different team configurations. These motley explorers include: the Monk who’s searching for his master, who’s missing; the Hillbilly who’s looking for love; the Time Traveler who wants to make right a terrible mistake; the Adventurer who’s looking for (what else?) an ancient treasure; the Scientist seeking to discover something new; the Knight trying to find a legendary sword; and the creepy Addams Family-ish Twins looking for their parents.
For thousands of years, the cave has been a mythical destination, where journeyers have come to find whatever they need. For its part, the cave tailors the experience an explorer has to who they are and what they seek. In the game, this means that you’ll essentially play seven different games — one for each character. The Knight, for example, will encounter a princess, a dragon, and the aforementioned medieval castle.
With three playable characters per game, solo players will switch between them to solve puzzles, but that’s not your only option. You can recruit another buddy or two to join in for co-op play.
As you can see in the screenshots, The Cave is a side-scrolling adventure game, filled with mind-bending puzzles and fascinating, quirky humor-filled stories built around a mystical, sentient cavern. It sounds a little wacky at first glance, but reports from E3 are that it looks like one of the most original and enjoyable adventure games to come down the pike in a long time.
We’ll get to try it for ourselves early next year when it comes to Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, and Windows PC.