Game: Cave Bad
Genre: Action, Arcade, Roguelike
System: Nintendo Switch (also on PS4 and Xbox)
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: US $4.99 | UK £4.49 | EU € 4,99
Release Date: March 3rd, 2021
Review code provided with many thanks to eastasiasoft
It’s Dangerous To Dwarf Alone
Cave Bad feels like a Roguelike Light. Roguelike is a game where death means you lose all progress and when you restart you start from scratch the old fashioned way. The only progress you take on your next run is the lessons you learned. Light is a reference to the game’s content. Another way of viewing Cave Bad is a top-down game that looks a bit like the original 8-bit Zelda.
The game is presented in a nice 8-bit graphical style, with an accompanying chiptune soundtrack. It feels a lot like something I would have loved to boot up on my Game Boy Color but Switch presents this fine in handheld and TV modes. You play as the grumpy looking Dwarf Oratio, who is on a quest to save his wife Gwendeline from the demons. Cave Bad is super light on story and throws you straight into the dungeon crawling action. It’s somewhat of a sequel to the game Pity Pit, a 2D platformer also with roguelike elements starring the same character (available on the eShop). But you don’t need any prior knowledge of that title to jump into this experience.
Enter the Dungeon
The game places you in randomly generated dungeons where you move from room to room taking down enemies, looking for upgrades and hunting down the room Boss. A handy little mini-map in the top right corner gives you a hint of the rooms you will enter so you can somewhat strategically make your way through the dungeons. Exploring and upgrading your abilities is generally a good idea before taking down the boss but the choice is yours.
Most enemies seem to magnetically move towards your character draining your health, rather than just wandering around. They can be defeated quickly but it feels repetitive. They certainly don’t follow social distancing rules. This problem also bleeds into the boss fights most of which simply require you to move a safe distance from the big baddies and mash the attack button until their health is fully drained. It’s not to say there isn’t any challenge, but, the lack of variety means there aren’t a lot of surprises so you’ll probably learn all the enemies tricks within a few play sessions. I did kinda love the final boss character of this game though but I won’t spoil that here.
Pick a Fight
The controls are simple and responsive. You can move up and down, smash enemies with your pickaxe and even plant bombs giving the game a sort of Bomberman feel to it. Bombs can also be used to destroy walls and enter secret rooms to explore which seemed to kinda go on endlessly which is weird. On the eShop, the game advertises it has puzzle rooms. After multiple playthroughs of the game, I really didn’t see any rooms that required any mental thought other than hitting enemies with your pickaxe and moving on. But maybe I’m missing something here.
Cave Bad is released at a budget price and it kinda shows. There are not a lot of upgrades in this game. You have the usual health upgrades, damage buffs and very overpowered weapon upgrades. But that’s it. Cave Bad’s main problem though is it’s just far too easy. I managed to complete the game on my second run which is kinda crazy since the soul of a lot of games like this is to make the game just tough enough that it takes you multiple plays to progress and finish.
For me, once I obtained an explosive weapon upgrade I smashed through the levels and bosses with ease by simply mashing the attack button. Winning just didn’t feel deserved like I had used a cheat or something. I guess I could play the game and not grab the upgrades to make it artificially harder. Maybe casual gamers will like this approach but I think a lot of people will see everything they need to see in this game within just a few hours of playtime.
For the most part Cave Bad is a pretty fun rogue-like light game to enjoy if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands or are looking for a nice casual gaming experience. However, for someone that’s played an absurd amount of rogue-like games I did find this experience a little too easy and lacked that incentive to replay it over and over.
It’s got the looks, the sounds and even the ingredients for a cool retro style game but could do with a little more challenge.
Final Verdict: I like it