Spelunker Party!

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Spelunker Party! Game Poster Image
Cute but difficult platformer best shared with friends.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Pushes players to think their way through problems, practice teamwork to overcome obstacles.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are relatively generic, interchangeable, without much personality to develop.

Ease of Play

While basic controls are easy to pick up and play, game has a steep difficulty curve. Minor mistakes can cause major catastrophes, late in game; solo players need to be near perfect in platforming skills. Teaming with others can ease difficulty, but it's still punishing to novice gamers.

Violence

Some enemies toss spears, other weapons at player; there are a lot of hazards to navigate, but violence is mild, cartoonish.

Sex
Language
Consumerism

Repackaged version of free-to-play PS4 game Spelunker World includes some minor improvements and additions over the original, while eliminating microtransaction elements.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Spelunker Party! is a downloadable action platformer game available for Nintendo Switch and Windows PC. The game is a commercial remake of the free-to-play PlayStation 4 title Spelunker World, with a few extra features as well as the removal of microtransactions and other free-to-play elements. Spelunker Party! encourages teamwork between players, with some collectibles only accessible by working together. Despite the overly cartoonish style of the game, it's actually brutally difficult and unforgiving. Slight mistakes can end in instant death for the self-proclaimed "Weakest Action Hero."

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What's it about?

SPELUNKER PARTY! follows the adventures of Spelunker, an intrepid explorer with the dubious title of "Weakest Action Hero," as he dives into the underground caverns and lost temples of more than 100 different stages in a frantic chase for treasure. Take on the dangers alone or team up with up to three friends in local and online co-op play as you jump, climb, and crawl your way to hidden riches. Collect and customize your Spelunker with specialized equipment and gear, and even bring a trusty pet along with you to help out with its unique abilities and skills. The risks are high but the rewards are great, as you set out to prove that even the "weakest" of heroes can have the strongest will.

Is it any good?

This challenging platformer is entertaining, but its difficulty is only lightened if you have a lot of friends to help you out; otherwise, its repetition could drive you away. Video games can go through a number of evolutions over the course of their lifetime. In turning the free-to-play PS4 game Spelunker World into the retail re-release Spelunker Party!, changes were inevitable. Spelunker Party! drops the microtransactions in favor of a more self-contained package. It also loses the randomized loot drops and special online events of the original with more deliberate character progression. And even though the game drops from six-player online support to four, it also adds support for couch play via local co-op. Ultimately, it's a give and take deal that manages to maintain a balance that keeps the new version from being much better or worse than the previous game. So, with all other things being relatively equal, the only question left is whether or not Spelunker Party! is fun to play.

There's nothing particularly bad about Spelunker Party!, but there's nothing particularly great about it either. The game's colorful and cartoonish presentation make it look like it's aimed more at younger players, but the punishing difficulty makes it an almost hard-core platform experience that can challenge even veteran gamers. And even with over 100 stages to explore, there's still a certain level of repetition. On the upside, the addition of local co-op play is a lot of fun. The game is much more manageable with friends, and working together can end up being a lot of fun. But when flying solo, or even online where you don't have that couch camaraderie going on, Spelunker Party! is one party you won't necessarily be itching to crash.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about teamwork. What are some good reasons to team up with others, and what are some of the characteristics of a good teammate? Are there times when it is better or easier to work alone?

  • Talk about free-to-play versus paid games. Is it better to buy games outright with complete content, or to play a game for free and pay for extras piecemeal over time?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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