Colossal Cave is a reimagining of an older game from 1976 known as Colossal cave adventure or simply Adventure. While the game does a wonderful job of bringing an older classic to a modern setting, it was a struggle to get through since the opening hours did not do much to draw me in.
The story here involves an unnamed protagonist going through a massive cave system that is filled with puzzles, creatures, and more. Since it departed from its original text adventure styles, you will be required to interact with everything from a first person perspective. The story feels extremely light and going through the cave seems to be the main objective. Things like snakes protecting treasure, Gold hungry dwarves, and a dragon would usually spell for a grand adventure but age has not been kind to this style of game.
SInce this has moved away from the text based adventure, you will explore the caves and handle puzzles in a first person perspective. As you move around, there are a multitude of items and objects to interact with. While the story may be on the lighter side, the game does a wonderful job of making the caves seem mysterious and filled with danger. One of the first encounters I had was with a dwarf who was mining for gold. Once I got closer, he seemed startled and disappeared underground. Since there was hardly any conversation as to why the miner was here and what caused him to disappear, my curiosity started to grow. Colossal Cave relies on the player’s sense of adventure as a way to encourage them to move on. There is a hint system of some sorts but utilizing the system will take points away from the players score and hinders them from getting the max score by the end of the adventure. This is helpful for new players who just want to experience the game or for those who haven’t played an adventure game before hand.
Interacting with certain objects will usually give a small description of the item and may also let you take it with you on your journey. With a small inventory space, it is important to be aware of what may be needed for a puzzle ahead. After a dangerous run in with some snakes blocking my passage, I did some backtracking to find a small bird sitting on a rock. After remembering a broken cage in the entrance of the cave, I was able to combine the bird with the cage and clear up one more inventory slot as well as find a new way to move forward. Colossal Cave does a good job of keeping you on your toes when it comes to finding puzzle solutions but sometimes the solution doesn’t feel like it makes the most sense. Thankfully the game is rooted in a fantasy setting so there is some wiggle room when it comes to solving these puzzles.
Overall, I would say my time spent with Colossal Cave was well spent. It was a fun way to experience an older title brought up to modern times. Unfortunately, the charm is lost on those who don’t have any experience with this style of game and may be extremely off putting for those who like a little more guidance without having to be penalized for using the hint system. This is a wonderful nostalgia trip for many but unfortunately, Nostalgia isn’t enough for everyone.