By now you're probably wondering how the camera works in this three player local co-op game. Don't worry , I've got you covered: The camera focuses on one player. All three players can be on the same screen, but the camera will only follow one of them. There is no split screen. Players can kick the camera to each other with the left bumper or they can take control with the D-pad. It's kind of weird, but it works.
Many of the puzzles require two characters to be at different areas of the map, so you'll have to coordinate the camera and your actions. The Scientist may pull a lever on one side of the level, opening a door for The Time Traveler on the other. You'll have to shift the camera between the two of them, since a player will lose control of their character if they're too far off screen. It's awkward at first, but it becomes quite natural.
If you're playing by yourself the camera automatically shifts to whichever character you're using. I made a solo run through the game with The Scientist, The Time Traveler, and The Twins. Even solo, you'll play as three avatars and switch between each one using the D-pad. (If you're playing on the Wii U, you can tap the portraits on the gamepad.) AI will keep the uncontrolled characters close, but you'll be better off with human players. Players can switch characters the same way in two or three player games. You can actually snatch control of someone else's avatar at any point in time, so don't play with jerks.
Overall, The Cave is a very pleasant downloadable title, but it's not without its faults. At times the game's graphics would chug and hitch inexplicably. I experienced occasional frame rate issues, which is baffling for a 2D game with such simple visuals. The mechanics of getting on and off of ladders felt a little clunky. I also came across a bug where all my characters suddenly decided they could no longer use the ladders. I reloaded my game and the problem was solved. I was playing the Xbox LIVE Arcade version of the game, and these issues barely marred the gameplay experience.
You will need to play through the game six times to see everything The Cave has to offer. Each character has their own level, their own back story which is revealed by collecting special icons, and two different endings. Game progress is saved to the first player's profile, but achievements can be earned by all participating players, so remember to have your buddies sign in.
We really enjoyed our time with this game. Upon completion of our first playthrough we immediately started up another game. We wanted to see what fates awaited The Hillbilly, The Scientist, The Time Traveler, and The Twins. Each story is delightfully dreadful, and some of the puzzles are truly challenging. Fans of Doublefine, Ron Gilbert, and adventure games will find themselves captivated by The Cave.
The Co-Op Experience: Two to three local co-op players work together to solve puzzles in this adventure platformer.
Co-Optimus game reviews focus on the cooperative experience of a game, our final score graphic represents this experience along with an average score for the game overall. For an explanation of our scores please check our Review Score Explanation Guide.