A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Spelunky is an extremely challenging platform adventure game available through Xbox Live Arcade that includes a bit of cartoonish violence and a small amount of blood. Its mild combat (against spiders, bats, and cavemen) and high level of difficulty make the experience best suited for older kids of a more persevering nature. However, thoughtful players with a mind for strategy and quick problem solving will be well rewarded as they journey deeper into the game's constantly changing caves.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
Based on an acclaimed freeware PC game of the same name, SPELUNKY is an exceptionally challenging side-scrolling platform game available through Xbox Live Arcade. It puts players in the shoes of an explorer who has found a magical cave filled with treasures and traps. The caverns are magical because they change layout each time the player descends. New paths, hazards, and treasures take shape, ensuring gamers never play the same level twice. The goal is simply to survive long enough to unlock new environmental themes and hazards, which become unlocked after surviving four consecutive levels (about five to ten minutes of play). Players can also explore the caves cooperatively with up to four local players, or go head to head against each other in speedy brawling matches that feel a little like the Super Smash Bros. games.
Is it any good?
Spelunky is a terrific platform gaming experience for those who have the patience to persevere. Its genius shines through in several ways, from extremely tight controls to the satisfying manner in which players can use bombs strategically to break through rock and create new passages and paths. However, the game's greatest strength is the sense of exploration and wonder it conveys. Each time the player starts a new descent he won't know what he'll encounter. He may find darkened areas lit only by torches, pools of water he'll need to drain by blasting through them, golden idols that are booby-trapped, or people who run shops, host mini-games, or are just waiting to be saved. The constantly changing caves eliminate the problem of repetition, making the game a truly never-ending adventure. It's great bang for your buck and can be wonderfully gratifying -- assuming you don't mind doing a whole lot of dying.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about spelunking. What do you think of the hobby of exploring caves? What kinds of dangers are involved? Would you be scared to explore pitch black holes in the sides of mountains?
Families can also discuss perseverance. Some games require players to try, try again in order to be successful. Does this kind of play bother you? Do you feel a greater sense of satisfaction when you are finally successful?
Is going on a virtual adventure important to you? What is it about adventure games that draws you to them?
- Platforms: Xbox 360
- Subjects: Science: geology
- Skills: Collaboration: cooperation, teamwork
Emotional Development: developing resilience, persevering
Thinking & Reasoning: decision-making, solving puzzles, strategy
- Price: $14.99
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Microsoft Studios
- Release date: July 4, 2012
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures
- ESRB rating: E10+ for Violence, Blood, Crude Humor
- Last updated: November 11, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.