Wot I Think Of Spelunky’s PC Port

By John Walker on August 13th, 2013 at 9:00 pm.

Update: Fantastic news! All the main issues below have now been resolved, so Spelunky is nicely at home on the PC.

First impressions are pretty important. Especially when you come sauntering over to the PC after a year of absence. Spelunky, beginning as a PC game, upped and left for the 360 as an advanced version last July. And it was brilliant. It’s now back, promising an even more advanced version for PC. So how is the transition?

Like I say, first impressions. And they’re not good. I know what’s to come after them – I’ve spent ludicrous numbers of hours playing the game on 360 over the last year, and have absolutely adored it. But since I’ve already got my working 360 version on my nice big telly, finding myself faced with a selection of resolution options that don’t offer my native desktop, fail to include 16:10 options, and don’t offer a windowed mode for anything over 1280×720, smacks of the laziest porting we’re used to seeing from big-name publishers who just couldn’t give a shit. Why would a two-man indie team come across like they don’t give a shit?

It’s hard to think of a game more obviously suited for a windowed mode. It’s a game played in short bursts, a roguelike built of failure, where rather than extended engrossing periods spent buried in its world, you’re much more likely to need to look away every five minutes. Doing that on my machine led to the PC having an epileptic fit as it flailed between resolutions, and after three switches the game gave up entirely. Great.

So instead, I try to run it in the largest window available, and I get THIS on my 2560×1440 display:

Er, brilliant. Does Oculus Rift do binoculars?

Yes, it’s a big desktop (which I got all cheap on Alec’s advice), but even on my more standard 1920×1080 second monitor it still takes up barely a third of the screen. So why wouldn’t I just load up the 360 version on the TV behind me?

Okay, get over it, move on. Let’s set up the PC controls, see what it can offer over the 360 pad.

Oh.

While your mouse will work for menus, it’s not an option when configuring controls, so forget any obvious notions of aiming your whip and thwicking it with the left mouse. Nor just plain using it as your other hand’s basic controls. It’s all keyboard, or all controller. So, the 360 controller then with its obviously vastly superior analogue controls. Again, why is this on PC?

So, run in a miniscule window, using the 360 pad, I’m not exactly getting the PC experience I’d hoped a year of potential porting time would bring.

The tortuously slow opening screens are still unskippable. You’re still forced to play through the tutorial the first time you run the game (or twice through if it crashed the first time).

But then, into the game, and… Am I… am I maybe falling out of love with Spelunky, too? Not because of some lazy porting, but maybe because since my dozens and dozens of hours playing it last year, I’ve experienced Teleglitch, Rogue Legacy, Don’t Starve… Games that run with the same imminence of death, but twist on it, develop it, enhance it. Spelunky, as pure as one could argue it may be, feels particularly retrograde from this year-on perspective. Its deliberately clunky (some say “precise”) platforming feels like the source of too many deaths, and its blank-faced disinterest after failure strikes now as lacking in features. Why not let me try the same set-up again? Why not give me a greater purpose in playing?

Yes, yes, you’re screaming at your monitor now. You’re right – that’s not what Spelunky is intended to be, and there’s no reason why it should have to deliver any of it. I’m a terrible person for even asking. But the reality is, as I’m playing it now, I’m asking.

The big difference between this and 2012′s console version are the daily challenges. It’s a lovely idea – the game randomly generates a series of chambers, and offers it to everyone playing. You get one go at it, and see where you come in that day’s leaderboard. I died in the opening 30 seconds because, as I went to get something to throw in front of a spike trap, I walked in front of another spike trap. I suspect that accounts for about 50% of my deaths in Spelunky. But amazingly, Dan Gril did even worse today.

Okay, so I just spent another two hours playing it. Spelunky still has that. That crazed need to play again, and again, and again. And I’m rusty, and I never got out of the first location today. But I kept going, despite swearing at the bats which are FIXED, FIXED I TELL YOU, and stupidly blowing myself up, and caring only about boomerangs – they are all that matter. Spelunky still has that.

But then the truth is, just as I was back in the swing of it, just as I was accepting that yes, there’s still enough here, I had to switch out to respond to an email. “Error loading texture pack” it informed me when I tried to go back. Yeah, I’ll play it on my 360, thanks.

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242 Comments »

  1. GamesInquirer says:

    It’s a great game. Not particularly better than the original freeware version, but it’s worth buying to have the definitive version with the most content (though I do prefer how menus and stuff were setup on the old version – being even able to climb back up the rope and exit the game was cool – and I don’t consider the graphics better, just different) and to, you know, give a little bit back for the countless hours of fun. They do need to work on the options (although 2D games aren’t at all easy for different aspect ratios without actually affecting the gameplay by allowing you to see more or whatever, so at best I’d expect fancy borders to be added, like La-Mulana did) but I’d hardly claim they don’t give a shit. I find the comparison to completely different games misplaced as well. The problem seems to be you’ve already played the thing to death. Twice in fact, back when it was a freeware PC game (with even less options, but we still adored it) and then on your console box. But that’s all this promised to be, Spelunky. Not even Spelunky 2. It’s not that something better came along to replace it, because that didn’t happen. I suppose I’m lucky enough to not be able to afford that kind of monitor so the 1280×720 windowed mode is about right and I don’t need to wait for a fix, while it has yet to crash for me at any time.

    • Heavenfall says:

      And for me, no high resolution (or even resolution with the right aspect ratio) means a no buy. I remember playing Terraria in low-res and then high-res, and that difference was enough to warrant not picking this up unless resolutions gets patched in.

  2. FurryLippedSquid says:

    “Dan Gril”

    I love how you can’t even be arsed to type his full name any more.

    • qrter says:

      Like Dan Gril himself, probably.

    • Dozer says:

      Dan Griliopoulous. That’s from memory. Did I get it right?

      I was very annoyed when, a year or so ago, I’d just grasped how to spell/pronounce Dan’s name and then RPS renamed him “Dan Griddleoctopus”.

      • Dan Griliopoulos says:

        GriddleOctopus was Kieron’s pet name for me. They had to shorten my name to Dan Gril because it was just too long to fit in the tiny name box at the top of each article.

        • Dozer says:

          The horrible limitations of technology. A shame, I think ‘Griliopoulos’ is an awesome name. Also! I was only one letter wrong that time :)

    • Dan Griliopoulos says:

      I’d like to admit that was the very first time I’ve properly played it – bounced off it when it first came out on PC. But, hey, thanks for the public humiliation, Spelunky.

      *shakes fist*

      *plays some more*

  3. darkmorgado says:

    Oh dear. Such a shame, and it seems odd that other reviews seem to have overlooked this. Why exactly did this take a year again? It sounds like the definition of a poor console port.

    • Grey Poupon says:

      Probably because of the deal they had with Microsoft. Some of the active Spelunky players are enjoying the 60+ fps over the 30 you get with the consoles though, so there’s at least that.

      And how is this game a roguelike? Seems like a platformer with a few roguelike elements to me.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        Unfortunately it’s not really noticeable, seeing as they slowed it down compared to the freeware original.

      • Optimaximal says:

        As discussed by PC Gamer, its a roguelike because it has some features of Rogue, namely perma-death and bastard-hard difficulty.

        Hence, roguelike.

        • Kaira- says:

          But it’s not very much like Rogue, is it now?

          • The Random One says:

            It’s a little like Rogue. That’s why we call it a roguelike and not a rogueidentical.

          • Svardskampe says:

            Spelunky is just a platformer to me though…its indifferent in gameplay to say Mario for example. Maybe add hardcore to the genre to define its difficulty and permadeath feature. Hardcore could be defined as a subgenre spanning other genres, as Dont Starve is a hardcore survival, dayz too and it also fits with the hardcore option in many games like metro, fallout,…

        • Grey Poupon says:

          The traditional meaning of a roguelike is more a clone of Rogue. Why can’t they just make up a new word for games that have these certain features? Then even us who play roguelikes could be happy. To me this game is a platformer, not a roguelike.

      • epmode says:

        I use the term roguelikelike to preempt the inevitable complaint about roguelike.

        • darkChozo says:

          I use the term MOBA for randomly generated permadeath games, RPG for games using the DotA formula, FPS for level-y talk-y games, and romantic comedy for first-person games where you shoot things. I think it makes conversations much clearer.

          • Isair says:

            Personally I find it’s easier if you just assume every known acronym refers to MOBA/DOTA/AOS/LPG/ASDF.

          • identifierad says:

            Har har. I find roguelike-like or roguelite to be fairly useful terms to describe stuff like The Binding of Isaac, FTL or Rogue Legacy. What’s with the somewhat aggressive hyperbole?

          • Acorino says:

            They are useful terms. Some pedantic people just can’t stop being pedantic, I guess. Though I’m not exactly sure what’s so hard to understand about the term roguelike-like. Roguelike-likes are games that feature permadeath and random generation. Any more questions?

          • noom says:

            I find most games can be considered as certain degrees of removal from rogue. Nethack is a roguelike. Spelunky’s a roguelikelike. The Civilization series are roguelikelikelikes, and so on up to Dance Dance Revolution, which is a roguelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelikelike.

      • Bull0 says:

        “Vaguely difficult indie game” seems to cover it. But we do so love labels

      • LionsPhil says:

        * Randomly generated levels
        * Permadeath
        * Risk of permadeath inversely proportional to time invested in character since they (should) be becoming more capable to resist situations as you aquire items

        • aepervius says:

          By that weak standard certain version of mario and pacman on randomly generated world are roguelike. Permadeath might not be used a lot nowadays but it used to e a staple of plateformer : once you burned through your hearts, that was game over you needed to start over. If the game was very generous it might offer you a code letter to continue from that point, but that was certainly not always the case.

          Spelunky is a plateformer.

          • Ninja Dodo says:

            It forms plates?

          • phuzz says:

            Yup, a version of Mario with a randomly generated map would be a rogue-alike.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Those are the characteristics which contribute to some of the “feel”—it “has roguelike elements”. You can call it a roguelikelike if you want; it’s certainly much less a roguelike than the ones which are also turn-based top-down RPGs.

      • botonjim says:

        Spelunky is rock solid 60 fps on the 360.

      • Jahnz says:

        The game meets all but one (or two depending on the interpretation) of the high value factors of determining a roguelike game. It is not turn-based or grid based. It also meets some of the lesser factors.

        “This definition of “Roguelike” was created at the International Roguelike Development Conference 2008 and is the product of a discussion between all who attended.”

        http://www.roguetemple.com/roguelike-definition/
        http://roguebasin.roguelikedevelopment.org/index.php?title=Berlin_Interpretation

      • Phasma Felis says:

        “Roguelike-like” is a much more accurate and descriptive term for games like this, but gaming culture in general seems to have decided that typing extra letters is hard.

  4. dontnormally says:

    I had interest in Spelunky but never bought the xbox360 version.
    I bought, played the shit out of, and *loved* Rogue Legacy.

    This… felt really lacking. I guess I expected a progression system like Legacy and really without one, found no reason to go back into the dungeons.

    Here’s hoping Spelunky 2 happens and takes that into account.

    • viewtifuljon says:

      Oh god no. While I feel like progression worked really well for Rogue Legacy, I love Spelunky specifically because there is minimal progression that isn’t related to your personal skill. The shortcuts are the only exception, as they provide a reasonable means for less-experienced players to stand a chance of beating the game.

    • MOKKA says:

      I’m on the exact opposite here. I hated the progression system in Rogue Legacy. Roguelikes, or Games with Roguelike aspects for me are about the story each run creates, not about beating the game. Rogue Legacy took that part and turned into a stupid, boring grind.

      • Wedge says:

        To be fair, Rogue Legacy was made by a casual games studio and very much intended to be a “light” experience compared to more hardcore rougelikelike wotsits. I’m just never gonna get over them telling me off for asking for a single dash button, because the only controller anyone uses ever is a 360 controller I guess.

        • identifierad says:

          What’s troubling you about dash? I use a worthless 6£ controller from GAME with a mindboggingly retarded right analog stick*, but it has four shoulder buttons and I can’t think of any controller after NES or Mega Drive that doesn’t provide at least two shoulder buttons. Care to elaborate?

          (* The right analog stick seems to be hardwired to provide the same input as the ABXY right-thumb buttons depending on how you push it. Even joy2key cannot map it to something sensible. I have no idea what the designers thought.)

          • Hypocee says:

            Does…the concept of a modifier button that turns the directional commands you’re already using into a dash boggle your mind?

          • identifierad says:

            Nope, that’s quite simple. I was more curious about what kind of controller would be more suited for a single dash button, given the comment about not everyone using xbox360 controllers.

            FWIW, I think it would be cool to have a single dash button option – why not ? However, I think it would be less useful in Rogue Legacy specifically, as then you’d need an extra directional input to swing in a certain direction and then cancel swing animation to dash in the opposite direction. But I’m certainly in favor of liberté, egalité and free input mapping for all.

        • dontnormally says:

          Wedge, Rogue Legacy cannot have a single dash button because you can dash one direction while aiming the other. This comes into play in the game.

    • Bhazor says:

      Spelunky does have permanent progression though. Give gold to the Tunneler to unlock shortcuts but by the sounds of it John never actually got far enough to meet him.

      It also has a definitive ending to work towards.

      • Hypocee says:

        Even that’s not really progression – wins don’t count, and it’s harder to play later worlds without loot. It’s just a way to practice them.

      • John Walker says:

        Of course I have. I don’t think that counts though.

    • fish99 says:

      The progression is your skill at the game, and knowledge of it, rather than just the game rewarding you for seat time.

    • JackShandy says:

      I don’t know why both you and John seem to believe that the “next step” for the genre is to give you a bit of number fellatio after every level. Spelunky decides that your progress should come entirely from what you personally are learning, not from an in-game “You’ve progressed!” bar that gives you a pat on the head every time you do a run. The level up system happens entirely inside your heart.

      I hope that’s not retrograde. I hope designers won’t take John’s advice, and keep eliminating skill-based progress in favor of addictive upgrade systems. At the moment, most of them are, and that saddens me.

      • drewski says:

        I hope we (continue to) get both.

        • JackShandy says:

          You’re right, of course. I only say it because this review positions internal heart-based level-up systems as “Retrograde”, explicitly inferior to external level-up bar stuff. It’s a choice, not an old idea that we’ve grown out of.

      • RobF says:

        Yes! Like with Zaga-33, my progress in Spelunky is personal. The numbers are readable and they only apply to anything I’ve achieved during the course of play. If I play well, safely and successfully, I will have a nice high loot score. If I play well, safely and successfully, I will push deeper and further into the world.

        Anything more than that, I genuinely have no interest in, it just becomes noise to me. I can’t read it, it feels arbitrary in the extreme, especially when it starts dipping into compulsion loop and level up! stuff.

        There’s a place for all that and I understand my preference is not the law but I desperately want games where my progress is mine, my achievements are mine and what I do in the game feels personal, feels -important-. Pretty much like Zaga 33, Spelunky nails this beautifully and I wouldn’t want it to change because that’s where the magic lies.

        We get plenty of the other thing, let’s keep that up. But let’s preserve things like this *too*

      • Hypocee says:

        Yes, yes, yes. Rogue Legacy makes me so sad. It’s the least evil launch game I’ve seen, but that’s a low bar. It’s a big world so sometime we’ll probably see an interrun progression system that’s somehow entertaining and respectful of the player’s time, but that day ain’t yet.

    • Dromph says:

      Spelunky does have a progression system. It kind of happens in your heart though.
      Once you reach a certain point, your perception of your surroundings changes and you start to see ll the spieders that would otherwise have fallen on you and made you feel like you’re a big ding dong.
      At first, you wil die on the mines every single time, and after a hundred deaths or so, you don’t even take damage most of the time.

      Don’t get me wrong, I also really like the progression system of Rogue Legacy, but Spelunky is really all about skill and it takes a long time to achieve it. Games without increasing avatar strength are getting increasingly rare (even among platformers), so I am happy about a little change of taste.

      I honestly feel that Spelunky is miles above Rogue Legacy from game design standpoint and I loved the shit out of the latter.

  5. Sunjumper says:

    By the way, while it works with a 360 controller the game does not recognize other game controllers.
    I like to play games like these with my arcade stick which my PC most definitely recognizes and which usually works with everything else I had to break out JoyToKey for this version of Spelunky which I found mildly disappointing.

    • Baines says:

      I wonder if it is an XNA project. From what I recall, you have to go out of your way to support non-360 controllers in XNA. Not some arduous process, but something coders just don’t tend to bother with.

    • Svardskampe says:

      I find it more rustling my jimmies I can’t visualise PS3 controls. Alright, i can emulate an xbox360 controller just fine with motioninjoy, but I want a setting ingame where I can change to ps3 controlset to tell me to press triangle instead of Y

    • Burc says:

      I also use a directinput-only controller, so i’ve gotten used to using “x360ce” which makes it easy to trick any game or executable that I actually have a 360 controller.

      It’s pretty great, gives you all the benefits of a standardized controller, without having to buy one. It’s good shit.

  6. nasenbluten says:

    I’ll stick with the freeware version for now.

    Rogue Legacy scratches my roguelike itch these days.

  7. Dharoum says:

    I never played the original and don’t own a 360 so this was the first time for me..

    I have been playing it quite a lot, only got to beginning of the ice level so far, and although I’m playing it more then Teleglitch right now, I feel like Teleglitch is a more of a ‘complete’ game.
    There is way more atmosphere in Teleglitch, the story somewhat matters and I am kinda less frustrating by all the random deaths. That being said, it does feel a lot easier to just keep on restarting Spelunky and keep on playing for now.

    But yeah, they should have improved it, the addictiveness is there, the game not so much….

  8. RobF says:

    I’ve been pretty happy with it. I don’t have a monster sized monitor, just a fairly run of the mill 1920*1080 max thingy, I’ve never played Spelunky on the 360 so it’s all brand new to me and…

    Yeah, it’s fine here.

    15 hours racked up already and having enormous fun with the daily challenges sort of fine. Could do with being able to skip the intro anims but other than that, I’ve got no complaints with it at all.

    • Deathmaster says:

      This is more of what I come to RPS for. I don’t want console comparisons because I’ve been avoiding consoles since the Gamecube. Now the only verdict I get is ’360 is better’, does that still mean I shouldn’t buy it altogether on the PC?

      Thanks for clarifying that at least, I’ll pick it up when it drops below 5 quid.

    • Jockie says:

      Same boat here, enjoying it – it’s Spelunky with some new visual and features and that’s a pretty great thing. My only real gripe is that I’ wish the local co-op had been expanded into online co-op.

      I don’t really like the music either but that’s easily turned off.

  9. povu says:

    “The tortuously slow opening screens are still unskippable” That gets me every time. I don’t want to wait for all your fancy menu animations and go through all that stuff.

    Give me a quick play key that drops me right in the game, on the first level, with the default character. Because that’s what I want to do 99 out of 100 times I boot the game.

    • lordcooper says:

      Can’t you just replace the video files with files containing a split second of black screen?

      • Cim says:

        Nope, because they aren’t video files. They are actually rendered “in-engine”, which makes it even more of a headscratcher why they aren’t skippable.

    • MarkN says:

      When you die you can press X to restart instantly. The complaint here as far as I can see is that it’s unskippable the first time you enter a game mode (maybe twice in the average session – once for the daily challenge and once to play the game proper). Really minor stuff.

      • Sam says:

        When you take into account how the game lends itself to being played, it is not so minor. Spelunky should be the perfect game to play a quick session of in your 10 minute break. But every time you start it up there’s 30 seconds of rating information, company name, menu animations and watching your character shimmy down a rope before you can start playing.

        Once you’re playing the Press X To Restart feature is perfect, but that mode of thought needs to be applied to the rest of the interface. Hammering A when the game starts should get you into the mines within a few seconds. It’s just UI decisions that prevent that, not background loading of assets or anything.

    • botonjim says:

      The dev has already said in the steam forums that they’re soon fixing that.

  10. onetruepurple says:

    Between this, and all the changes for the worse from the freeware version, I’m less and less inclined to get this, let alone for that ridiculous price.

    The soundtrack is a terrible mess, the composer has said he was balancing three distinct styles, and the result is a directionless cacophony of instrumental and fm synth; the difficulty has gone up but in ways that don’t make the gameplay more interesting, but more bullshit (lol those arrow traps); as great as the engine and the graphics fidelity are, the art direction may as well have come from a school math game, and there are assets that have been literally drawn in half, copied, and flipped.

    Still, I want it, so I guess I’ll be waiting until the next humble bundle.

    • Deadly Habit says:

      Amen, I went in and switched out the new music with the old freeware stuff.

      • Idiot says:

        How did you do that?

        • Deadly Habit says:

          Copy pasted the relevant .ogg files from the original to the new foldermoved out the new music to a sep folder in case I wanted it back and renamed the original music to the new names ie: cave.ogg renamed to A01_1.ogg A01_B.ogg A01_C.ogg etc
          The original ogg files are in the Spelunky/sound folder, the remake files are in Spelunky/Data/Music

          • Bhazor says:

            Oh that is neat.

            I’m totally replacing the soundtrack with Talking Heads. “The Hands are moving in between us”.

    • Yachmenev says:

      Ridiculous price? Come now son, let´s not turn the PC platform into iPhone territory when it comes to prices.

      • onetruepurple says:

        It’s twice as pricey as The Binding of Isaac + the expansion, which is just as well done and replayable as the original Spelunky.

        • Yachmenev says:

          Oh, if you actually think that BoI is just as well done, then I can see where you´re coming from. The thing is though that a whole different level of effort has gone into this game in terms of production value, so it´s not really wrong of them to ask for more money for it.

          And even if we say that they’re both on the same level, I would say that it would leave BoI being to cheap. If indies can´t ask for $15 for well made games, then the indie market is in real trouble. Luckily, the sales figure for Spelunky says they can. :)

        • Bhazor says:

          That just means Binding of Isaac was cheap it certainly doesn’t mean Spelunky is expensive.

    • viewtifuljon says:

      Changes for worse? Besides the music, I can’t think of a single thing that’s definitively worse in the updated version. The art style is pretty subjective and hotly debated I guess, but personally I’m in love with it.

      What were you thinking of?

      • Bhazor says:

        “It’s different. Now everything sucks.”

      • LionsPhil says:

        The tortuously slow opening screens are still unskippable.

        In the free version, hit X.

        You’re still forced to play through the tutorial the first time you run the game

        I don’t believe this is the case for the free version, either.

        • Hypocee says:

          He’s talking about the 360 version, that’s the whole point.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Between this, and all the changes for the worse from the freeware version…

            Changes for worse? Besides the music, I can’t think of a single thing…

            Read the parent posts, eh.

            I used John’s comments on things the new version does since they were topical, to hand, and I don’t have any of my own since I haven’t played it.

          • Hypocee says:

            Right, my bad.

        • viewtifuljon says:

          That’s pretty damn petty considering you get a bunch of new enemies, new areas, higher difficulty, and a slew of unlockable characters. I mean yeah, waiting on the “walls are shifting” message for 30 seconds is a little annoying I guess, but still, really?

      • Deadly Habit says:

        I’m not a fan of the movement speed being slowed down or the fact you can whip everything now like the pots and boxes.
        Seems like arrow traps are a lot faster, combined with the movement speed they’re almost impossible to dodge now.
        Overall it seems like it’s harder which is good, but it also kind of went a different direction than the original.
        I wish the remake would have been as mod friendly as the original was as well.
        Oh and not a fan of the new music either.

      • onetruepurple says:

        What do you think my second paragraph consisted of?

        • Deadly Habit says:

          Oh no! Someone sharing a similar opinion and backing up what you said, better try to flex that e-peen!

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      Glad to see I’m not the only one who was really disappointed with the music. I still hum the original Spelunky’s tune when I’m happy, and I kind of expected more of the same goodness. As it is it’s really meh. I hate the entrance/tutorial music with a passion, and the mines music is only bearable.

      Besides that, the graphics are pretty cool, multiplayer options sound good (haven’t tried them though) and from what I understand there’s a bit more content than in the original, so I’m still happy I got it. Just not enthusiastic like I was with the first game.

  11. Sir Buildbot Winslave says:

    Hey, is that Tom “Pentadact” Francis callously dominating that leaderboard?

  12. Deadly Habit says:

    Should also mention that GOG buyers don’t get the Daily Challenge, only Steam buyers.

  13. Eddy9000 says:

    Is this article a satire aimed at people who complain about ports too much?

    I was thinking it might be serious until John complained about not being able to play with a mouse.

    • mechabuddha says:

      I can only hope so. Resolution issues can be easily fixed in the config file, and using a mouse clicks would be less intuitive than just using the keyboard. A single crash is a single crash, as well. I can’t remember how many times Skyrim crashed on me yet the game is still loved. The opening sequence is pretty long, but that’s not all that uncommon – remember Borderlands 1 with the 5 or 6 unskippable-unless-you-add-your-own-config-entry intro splashes? No mention of the local coop or deathmatch modes? The game is completely different with multiplayer, in a Magicka oh-crap-I-killed-my-partner-again-on-accident sort of way. If you loved the original Spelunky and haven’t burned out on XBox Spelunky, this is a pretty good game. If you’re burned out on the XBox version, I’m guessing you get this review.

      • Rikard Peterson says:

        If the resolution issues can be fixed by editing a config file, then that menu really is inexcusably lazy. If there are no technical issues for the game itself to be limited to a certain resolution, why limit it like that?

        • mechabuddha says:

          My point is that it’s a small problem. It’s a problem, but I subjectively don’t think that it ruins the game.

    • Bhazor says:

      That was my first thought as well. Incredibly nitpicky and barely even mentions the game itself.

      • LTK says:

        Which is why this is titled “Wot I Think of Spelunky’s PC Port” rather than “Wot I Think of Spelunky”.

        • Bhazor says:

          Which is again incredibly nitpicky for what is by any definition a perfectly serviceable port. Where was the article decrying the state Hotline Miami was released in and its paltry display setting? I mean that was a PC exclusive and it barely had any display settings. I mean why would a two-man indie team come across like they don’t give a shit?

          Not to mention most of his complaints aren’t to do with the port at all. This is a review of Spelunky whatever he calls it.

          • John Walker says:

            If I’d written about a holiday in Yorkshire, and titled it “A Holiday In Yorkshire”, would it still be a review of Spelunky in your mad brain? I’m just trying to calibrate.

          • Bhazor says:

            … I assume you read the article. If not here’s the review.

            But then, into the game, and… Am I… am I maybe falling out of love with Spelunky, too? Not because of some lazy porting, but maybe because since my dozens and dozens of hours playing it last year, I’ve experienced Teleglitch, Rogue Legacy, Don’t Starve… Games that run with the same imminence of death, but twist on it, develop it, enhance it. Spelunky, as pure as one could argue it may be, feels particularly retrograde from this year-on perspective. Its deliberately clunky (some say “precise”) platforming feels like the source of too many deaths, and its blank-faced disinterest after failure strikes now as lacking in features. Why not let me try the same set-up again? Why not give me a greater purpose in playing?

            Yes, yes, you’re screaming at your monitor now. You’re right – that’s not what Spelunky is intended to be, and there’s no reason why it should have to deliver any of it. I’m a terrible person for even asking. But the reality is, as I’m playing it now, I’m asking.

            The big difference between this and 2012′s console version are the daily challenges. It’s a lovely idea – the game randomly generates a series of chambers, and offers it to everyone playing. You get one go at it, and see where you come in that day’s leaderboard. I died in the opening 30 seconds because, as I went to get something to throw in front of a spike trap, I walked in front of another spike trap. I suspect that accounts for about 50% of my deaths in Spelunky. But amazingly, Dan Gril did even worse today.

            Okay, so I just spent another two hours playing it. Spelunky still has that. That crazed need to play again, and again, and again. And I’m rusty, and I never got out of the first location today. But I kept going, despite swearing at the bats which are FIXED, FIXED I TELL YOU, and stupidly blowing myself up, and caring only about boomerangs – they are all that matter. Spelunky still has that.

            Fully half the article.

            mad brain

            You stay classy.

          • fish99 says:

            John, the problem is you’re assuming everyone has already played Spelunky, which is far from true. For people new to the game it doesn’t matter what this article is called, to them this is a full review, and one which barely mentions why the game is good, and goes into very little detail about the game at all.

            Honestly you should read the review back to yourself, and try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has never played it, and was wanting to know whether to buy it. Or just glance down these comments and see the people you’ve put off buying it over minor issues which won’t even affect them.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        It is a remarkably mean-spirited review.

    • Johnny Law says:

      I was wondering that at first, then became convinced it was satire in the section about mouse-aiming, and then… I guess not, after all?

  14. Zoeytrope says:

    Wait, so you want to hold your 360 controller in one hand, and use your mouse with the other? Is this a thing actual humans do?

    • darkChozo says:

      John actually plays video games by wildly waving his mouse around in one hand and using the other to directly modify memory values with a tiny hammer and electrochisel.

      Or he wants to use M&K, like in 90% of PC games. Hard to say.

      • Ruffian says:

        Ohhhh, Chozo, you sir gave me my lols for the day.
        electrochisel gaming. rofl.
        :D

    • Sir Buildbot Winslave says:

      I believe John wants to place one hand on the keyboard and the other on the mouse. But it’s “all keyboard, or all controller” so you can’t aim your whip and thwick it with the left mouse. “So, the 360 controller then with its obviously vastly superior analogue controls”.

      • MarkN says:

        So, one hand on the keyboard for movement and we map the mouse buttons to attack, jump, bomb, rope, and enter exit.

        Sounds ideal!

        • Sir Buildbot Winslave says:

          But would you have any sort of analogue control with the mouse? That seems to be the issue here.

          • MarkN says:

            There’s no analogue control available. When you press attack you attack in the direction you’re facing. You don’t aim it other than by moving your character.

          • Bhazor says:

            Which makes the whole “aim with mouse” argument pointless. You can’t aim diagonally, it’s designed to be like that.

          • JackShandy says:

            There’s no reason to use a controller. Spelunky dude has three states: still, walking, running. You switch between all of them with button-presses, so there’s no advantage to a joystick. The whip always aims in the direction you’re facing, so a free-aiming mouse or a joystick wouldn’t give you anything. The controls were originally made for PC, and it shows.

    • aepervius says:

      No. Keyboard left hand mouse to aim right hand. Some of us prefer that over a controller. I call that the FPS controller scheme. YMMV.

  15. DiamondDog says:

    “Again, why is this on PC?”

    So those of us without a console can play it? Sort of… just an idea. I know it’s stupid, forget I mentioned it!

    The resolution options are silly, though.

    • Snids says:

      I asked myself why I wasn’t playing this on my 360 as well as I stomped off to the empty space where my Xbox 360 wasn’t because I don’t own one.

    • LionsPhil says:

      A better question is perhaps “why this version over the free original”?

      • DiamondDog says:

        ‘Cus it’s shiny and new?

      • Ruffian says:

        the addition of couch co-op is enough for me.

      • JackShandy says:

        Yes, that would have been a great question for this review to address.

        The main differences are:

        -New shiny graphics and sound. You may like these more or less than the original.
        -New enemies, items, areas and secrets, and some bonus functionality added to old items.
        -Less game-maker jank. In Game-maker, anything that’s a few tiles off-screen is frozen in time: if you drop a bomb, wait, then drop down, you’ll always be caught in the explosion. Other basic glitches and weird idiosyncrasies like that have been ironed out.
        -Polish. Everything’s been given a once-over, tweaked, refined. Arrows move faster, boulders roll faster and blow through enormous chunks of the level. Things do, in general, feel better.
        -Local four-player Co-op (no online).
        -Instead of demanding money, the tunnel-man now demands items.
        -Daily challenge.
        -Steam integration with leaderboards, etc,
        -Gives the creator 10 bucks.

        It is the definitive version, and I couldn’t go back to old Spelunky after playing it. Whether it’s cash money worth of extra fun is up to you.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Thanks, this is a much more useful commentary than John’s, to be frank.

          What I’m hearing from a friend is that it’s pretty crashtacular for them, too, unfortunately, and the physics bug out and kill you randomly.

          (And I’m just not pro enough to reliably dodge the arrow traps in the classic or get past the jungle, so “they made it harder” really doesn’t sell it to me.)

  16. mike says:

    There’s a config.txt that lets you type in whatever resolution numbers you want. It in no way forgives the lack of options on the menu, but it does make the game big. Here’s more info from the steam forums.

  17. Spatula Clarke says:

    The “tortuously slow opening screens” are, I presume, the developer logo screens, the first menu screen and the “walls are shifting” screen. Which only appear the first time you play the game in any one session – after that, you don’t see them at all. We’re talking about ten to fifteen seconds of time here, if that.

    That complaint, in particular, makes it seem like you’re actively forcing yourself not to like it.

    • Gnoupi says:

      To be honest, I agree with this part. It’s a game I would love to just “pick up and play for a few minutes”, and it takes quite a while to start a game. Logos are unskippable, the main menu takes some time to get through, then you wait for climbing down the ladder, and finally for the “walls are shifting”.

      It looks pretty for sure, but it feels like a bit too long to get to the actual game.

      On my 360, I often want to play it to kill 10 minutes, and in such case it feels a tid bit too long.

    • bwion says:

      It’s not a killing offense or anything, but these things should always be skippable, every time, in every game.

    • John Walker says:

      Not at all. It annoyed me on 360, and it annoys me here too. When I start a game, I want to just start a game. Not watch the same painstakingly slow animations every single time. Actually being on the menu screen, but not being able to use the menu screen, is bad design.

      And they appear a lot more often in one session when the game keeps crashing because it can’t task-switch.

      • botonjim says:

        You may be interested to know the guy responsible for the programming of the game has said he’s fixing that soon over on steam forums. But come on, it’s not THATbad… have you already seen all the different intro text permutations available? cause I still haven’t!

      • Dromph says:

        Hmm, task-switching works fine for me. 15 hours in and never experienced a crash.

  18. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    So it started as a PC game, got ported and then, when porting back the devs ‘forgot’ what the original PC version was like?

    Well, if you’re not putting in the effort, I’m not giving you my money.

  19. chiablo says:

    There’s something charming about the original Spelunky’s graphics. It was pixel art before every game became pixel art. This new version doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. If you have an XBox 360, you’ve probably already played it there. If you have a PC, then you have already been playing Spelunky for years now.

    • Clone42 says:

      I’ve sunk far too many hours into both, and although I adore the feel and look of the original gamemaker version, there’s a ton of new content to discover in the HD version that makes it more than worthwhile. New worlds, new enemies, new items, and unexpected twists. I would call it ‘definitive’, and if you’ve got a local friend the cooperative and deathmatch are tons of fun.

    • MarkN says:

      It adds four new areas with new enemies, at least a couple of bits of extra equipment and the daily challenge mode. I’m not saying it’s a whole new game, but it’s also not nothing.

      Edit: beaten to it. The HD version broke the original for me – and I played the original several thousand times. Now I can’t go back.

      • Clone42 says:

        Yep, and the arrow traps in the original are so easy to circumvent they might as well not be there. I can’t go back either. I think the HD version is the formula perfected.

    • somnolentsurfer says:

      I haven’t. The unforgiving difficulty seems a lot less callous when it’s in cutesy graphics.

      Also, it runs in native on the 13″ MacBook Pro, and I can’t understand why I’d want to play it with mouse and keys when I’ve a 360 controller right here, so I’m pretty happy. YMMV.

  20. Clone42 says:

    “forget any obvious notions of aiming your whip and thwicking it with the left mouse.” *Obvious* notions? You can’t ‘aim’ your whip on any platform. “So, the 360 controller then with its obviously vastly superior analogue controls. Again, why is this on PC?” The controls in Spelunky are 100% digital, just because you’re flicking around an analogue stick doesn’t make it analogue. I fail to see how having one hand on your mouse would improve this game at all.

    “It’s hard to think of a game more obviously suited for a windowed mode. It’s a game played in short bursts, a roguelike built of failure, where rather than extended engrossing periods spent buried in its world, you’re much more likely to need to look away every five minutes.”

    Spelunky in Windowed mode? Really? Spelunky demands 100% focus, I don’t get the desire at all. From the moment I spawn to the moment I die it is completely engrossing and demanding. If you have the “need to look away every five minutes” from *Spelunky*, of all games, then I think you may need medication. If you want to check your Twitter feeds between death and life then hit alt-tab.

    Though I agree that it’s a lazy port, supporting only the Xbox360 controller natively and having somewhat limited resolution options, it’s still a fantastic and unique game, and one of the tightest designs in the history of gaming. Anyone who hasn’t play it shouldn’t be discouraged by this (kind of shit) article. Sorry John.

    • mrwonko says:

      He presumably wants to tab out and do something else once he’s died, before starting the next round.

      • Clone42 says:

        Ah, yeah I’ve deciphered from the article that there are issues with alt-tabbing. That’s a problem. I still don’t get how Spelunky is suited for “5 minute burst play”. Maybe if you die in the first or second stage repeatedly…

  21. Yachmenev says:

    The grumpy mood of Mr Walker is really starting to get old now. Yes, the devs should offer more resolution options, but come on now, is this kind of nitpicking and sour tone in the article really called for?

    And did the John Walker of RPS really say that he´s going back to the console version of a game, instead of playing the PC version, because of a crash?

    • Skabooga says:

      Of John’s last six reviews:

      Papers Please – He found it to be the most engrossing paperwork simulator he’s ever experienced, attesting to its skill of taking the mundane and making it engaging
      Dream Machine, Part 4: “But when the frustration is born of just how good it all is, it’s probably the best kind.”
      Itlle Dew – “My immediate reaction to Ittle Dew was to want to cuddle it. It’s so cute, funny, snarky, and silly.”
      The Raven – He absolutely rave(n)d over it
      Oknytt – While he didn’t particularly like it, he did recognize some of the beauty within it, and really did want to like it.
      Deadpool – Alright, he curb-stomped this one, but I’d argue it was justified

      Still, if there is any sort of trend, it would be in favor of John liking, or at least wanting to like, those things he is playing, and forgiving the minor faults for the enjoyment of the greater work.

      • Yachmenev says:

        It´s not as much about whether or not he gives the thumb up or down, it´s about how he expresses himself. I wish he could write critique in a way that doesn’t sound like a grumpy old man who just learned about internet forums, and that he doesn’t give the impression that as soon you cross him in any way, redemption is beyond you.

        • John Walker says:

          It’s not about what I actually write, but what you’d prefer to pretend I write, right? Glad that’s clear.

          • Yachmenev says:

            Nope, that’s a misunderstanting from your side, but I think our twitter exchange was enough about the subject :).

    • Baines says:

      He mentions at least two crashes.

      First when complaining about the resolution options, he mentions his experience presumably playing fullscreen and alt-tabbing. “Doing that on my machine led to the PC having an epileptic fit as it flailed between resolutions, and after three switches the game gave up entirely.

      A crash is implied when complaining about the unskippable opening and tutorial, but this could be the same as the screen resolution crash. “You’re still forced to play through the tutorial the first time you run the game (or twice through if it crashed the first time).

      And finally, he complains about it throwing an error after he switched to respond to an email.

      But it wasn’t just crashes that he mentioned. He spoke about having already played plenty of Spelunky, possibly running its entertainment value thin. He mentions playing other games since that are a bit more actiony.

      And the final call was that he just didn’t seem to find much reason to play the PC version over the console version that he already owns. I can particularly understand that if you want to play only a few minutes at a time and experience the issues he experienced.

  22. ts061282 says:

    Journalized! Steam Sale It Is!

    Note to Dev: The port is the product.

  23. ScubaMonster says:

    Well considering I have every intention of playing this PC version on my 42″ 1080p HDTV, the aspect ratio doesn’t matter for me. Plus, even if I had to use 1080p on my 1920×1200 monitor, does it REALLY matter? I’m pretty sure the freeware isn’t HD resolutions. lol

  24. ScubaMonster says:

    So let’s see, we had complaining that the HD update was 360 only. Now we have it on PC and we’re complaining about aspect ratios and saying the game is a terrible port. Even though it displays in higher resolution than the 360 version. You lot are never pleased.

  25. viewtifuljon says:

    Wow, that was overly-negative.

    Well, I don’t have a 360, and I’ve been having a blast. I haven’t had any issues with resolution (I ran the original in a window, I don’t see why I wouldn’t want to do the same here. And it supports fullscreen in what I’d imagine are the most common resolutions). I haven’t had any crashes on the two machines I’ve run it on for a combined total of 6 hours or so.

    I was really hoping to read about what features differentiate it from the classic PC version. Like the unlockable characters, new zones, new enemies, etc. Was definitely hoping for a mention of the fantastic new art style.

    I also disagree with the controls being “deliberately clunky”. They’re just incredibly precise and deliberate, especially if you’re playing with a gamepad. After playing for 6 hours or so, I’ve pretty much mastered the controls, and the character’s actions feel completely under my control. It feels exactly like Spelunky classic in that regard. Sure you have the once in a blue moon death due to forgetting that you have climbing gloves, but it’s rare.

    I can’t imagine anyone making an argument that this version isn’t a huge upgrade over the original in nearly all aspects (music and sound non-withstanding), and this is the way to get it if you don’t have a 360.

    For me, I could not have asked for a more amazing port of the definitive version of the game

    • toastie says:

      Seriously. This was really way too harsh.

      I also have the same 2560×1440 monitor and have been just playing it in 1080p. It looks fine. The graphics were designed for 1080p and they look good even running in non-native res. And if it matters so much, like others said, just change the config file.

      I was a big fan of the original PC version and I don’t have a 360 and this is the definitive Spelunky for me. Well worth it.

  26. epmode says:

    I think the controls are pretty good, myself. But I’m using a Saturn USB stick with a nice d-pad.

    The scaling complaints would be a dealbreaker for me if I didn’t already have a monitor that scales 720p up to fill my screen perfectly. From a developer’s perspective, things like aspect ratios make displaying a 2D game at multiple resolutions a lot more complicated than a 3D game. ..but it can be done. Look at La Mulana for a good example of a dev that gets it exactly right.

  27. wilynumber13 says:

    This review is 100% worthless for anyone who doesn’t own a 360 and wants to know if the new game is good.

    And that part about using the mouse for the whip was a joke, right? That’s the most off-the-wall thing I’ve ever seen in a review here!

    • botonjim says:

      I’m pretty sure the notion of “aiming” the whip with the mouse never crossed the mind of anyone (other than John) who’s spent more than 15 minutes with the game.

  28. fish99 says:

    Bit harsh. For people who haven’t played the game before, there’s little about why it’s a great game in this review, or indeed information about the game at all, and lots about some minor technical issues which most people won’t be affected by. Most people use fullscreen, and wouldn’t expect to play a fast paced platformer on the mouse.

    • pupsikaso says:

      People that want review of the original game know where to read it. It would be nonsense to review a console port to what was originally a PC game as if it was a brand new game, rather than highliting the differences and whether it is worth the buy or not.

      And what the arse are you talking about fullscreen, technical issues and mouse on platformers? I always played Spelunky in windowed mode. And there are plenty of face-paced platformers that use the mouse, so what’s your beef with that?
      And you also have no evidence to back up your claims that “most people won’t be affected by” the technical issues.

      Kindly put your pipe back in yer trap and keep smoking what the arse it is you’re smoking.

      • fish99 says:

        And where is your evidence that I’m wrong in my assessment that most people use fullscreen mode and wouldn’t want to play Spelunky with a mouse? IMO those issues are minor, the reason being that they don’t stop anyone playing the game, you can always just switch to fullscreen and use keyboard or controller.

        Also if you’re claiming this is merely an update and everyone who wants to know about the game will go read the original review, shouldn’t there be a link to it? I’ve certainly never read it, and I’d never played Spelunky before this new release, so don’t assume everyone has played it before.

        Glancing through these comments, I’m clearly not the only person who thinks the review is harsh.

        • Bhazor says:

          As has been pointed out “mouse to aim” is ridiculous in this game. It does not have analog aiming, you whip ahead of you it was designed that way. Complaining about a lack of mouse aim is like complaining there’s no reverse time button in Quake. Quake is not designed around time travel, there is no need to complain about its absence. Just because other games have had a particular gameplay feature doesn’t make it mandatory.

          It is also possible to set any resolution you want just by opening the .ini file.

          • RobF says:

            To be fair, requiring anyone to duck into an .ini file in 2013 is pretty shit.

          • botonjim says:

            There are already ten different resolutions available in-game that catter to most reasonable uses of the game.

            If you have a screen with way too many pixels, if you have special needs like having to “look away every five minutes” to tweet or to perform some other ADHD related activity, if you write about *PC* games on the internet you should be able to find the ini file that lets you tweak the resolution to your complete satisfaction. Preferably before writing about pc games on the internet.

            It is 2013 after all, it’s not like ini files are a strange new concept for pc gamers right?

          • LionsPhil says:

            I have a 5:4 monitor, so I’m not exactly in the majority band of resolutions any more. And yet I haven’t had to do that kind of dickery in years, and that includes the fairly lazy Sonic Racing Transformed port.

            Hell, many recent games just give you a resolution option of “desktop” or “native”, because detecting that is an absolute doddle in any vaguely sane framework compared to actually writing the game proper.

            It’s lazy. It’s not even like the bad old days of LOADHIGH and SET BLASTER, where at least there was some degree of technical justification for why everything sucked and nobody was really doing anything better.

          • RobF says:

            @botonjim

            Well, PC dev is all about dealing with mad configurations and yeah, thinking through how I’d deal with John’s oversized monitor last night I essentially came to the conclusion that unless it was some sort of five minute fix, I wouldn’t stress too much about it and chalk it up as “oh well” or file it under “when I get some downtime”. Unless there was a sudden upsurge in larger monitors, I could be doing a gajillion better things than fretting over an anomalous config. But that’s me, obviously. It’s a complaint I can understand and the frustration I can understand but I’ve only got so much time on this Earth to live and have to work out where’s most effective to spend it.

            But I think that’s an issue apart from making your options accessible ingame. .ini files and all the trappings of PC games may well be traditional parts of the PC gaming experience but they’re still shit ways to deal with things. As a dev, I want the player playing the game not fucking with the innards some way so if I have options, things which can be changed, unless they’re somehow weirdybeardy it’s better for everyone if they’re ingame. And I’d certainly class a resolution switcher as “belonging ingame”

  29. lovcol says:

    Most shoddy review i’ve ever read here, I believe.

  30. dimo2 says:

    For the record, movement is entirely digital whether you’re playing with a 360 controller or not.
    You don’t loose any prescision when playing with a keyboard.

    Also, you can set any resolution you desire in the config.txt file.

    • granderojo says:

      You can edit a config file to fix the resolution and the game was made to be played with a controller. It’s dumb that you go on at length about this when other games recently like Papers Please & Teleglitch which RPS has been falling over backwards to praise(rightfully so) don’t even offer this depth of options. Let’s stick to talking about the game next time John and may be learn how to edit a config ini file before writing your review.

      • drewski says:

        If it was Bethesda casually waving away criticism with “oh just use a gamepad and edit some files, sheesh” I’m sure the internet would be on fire.

        There’s no excuse for not making games playable, as the player wants, by default. That you can fix the game the developers couldn’t be bothered to doesn’t excuse their lack of effort in the first place.

        Having said that, the complaints about the controls are actually a bit silly given it’s a completely digital control system by design.

  31. golem09 says:

    So?

  32. yayo says:

    Hi there John, I hope this gets to you.

    I tend to read RPS everyday, and I think it was awesome. Not anymore. I just made an account today for saying this: it will probably offend you, but if you consider the port was lazy, I consider your review lazy.

    Honestly I had none of the alt-tabbing issues you report (and I bet you don’t “alt-tab” on the xbox all the time don’t you?), and your review seems to just focus on the “bad port” side instead of the overall good game it is, and heck, for me it’s a far better version over the original and it really tries to address a lots of issues the original has and give more to players.

    Sorry, I have to be harsh but “Yeah, I’ll play it on my 360, thanks” on a pc-exclusive blog is the most stupid conclusion you could ever give for a WIT. “It’s a flawed port but better (or worse) than the original PC freeware version because of blablabla” is a better way to conclude it. Your text has basically zero information about the game itself. And if you don’t like the tutorial because you played X amount of hours before and want to skip it, that’s your personal opinion as someone who’s already tired of the game, and compared with the original which was optional I bet it will make it less rough for newcomers. Yes, they exist too, and yes, they don’t necessarily own an xbox.

    If you wanted to complain about the state of the port – fine, go ahead, make a post, send a letter to Derek, whatever. But focus only on that is a shame. Why are you wasting an entire WIT comparing it with a console version when the PC has two versions of it which could be compared? I waited for more than a year for playing it on my PC. It was worth it. You had the luck of playing it on the xbox. So what? The conclusion is that I should buy a 360?

    BTW, do you really need to do everything with your mouse to feel the “PC superiority” or you just complain “because”?

    Honestly if this is all you can give for a WIT, you can entirely skip it the next time around because you can have the freedom of saying whatever you want but this non informative, non descriptive, lazy review? Please, don’t make us waste our time reading more like this.

    No more. Thanks.

    • Sam says:

      I understand that you don’t want to read any more WITs, but if you can stand to read the title of this one you’ll notice that it’s specifically an article about the quality of the port not the game as a whole.

      • Bhazor says:

        So why does he keep mentioning the game itself? What ever he calls it, this is a review. As a review it really isn’t very good.

        • Hypocee says:

          So why does he keep mentioning the game itself?
          You must mean that one paragraph? As you’ve conveniently dismissed above, this is a description of the port, not a review of the game. Sometimes when people use different words it is because they are talking about something different!

          • Bhazor says:

            But then, into the game, and… Am I… am I maybe falling out of love with Spelunky, too? Not because of some lazy porting, but maybe because since my dozens and dozens of hours playing it last year, I’ve experienced Teleglitch, Rogue Legacy, Don’t Starve… Games that run with the same imminence of death, but twist on it, develop it, enhance it. Spelunky, as pure as one could argue it may be, feels particularly retrograde from this year-on perspective. Its deliberately clunky platforming feels like the source of too many deaths, and its blank-faced disinterest after failure strikes now as lacking in features. Why not let me try the same set-up again? Why not give me a greater purpose in playing?

            Yes, yes, you’re screaming at your monitor now. You’re right – that’s not what Spelunky is intended to be, and there’s no reason why it should have to deliver any of it. I’m a terrible person for even asking. But the reality is, as I’m playing it now, I’m asking.

            The big difference between this and 2012′s console version are the daily challenges. It’s a lovely idea – the game randomly generates a series of chambers, and offers it to everyone playing. You get one go at it, and see where you come in that day’s leaderboard. I died in the opening 30 seconds because, as I went to get something to throw in front of a spike trap, I walked in front of another spike trap. I suspect that accounts for about 50% of my deaths in Spelunky. But amazingly, Dan Gril did even worse today.

            Okay, so I just spent another two hours playing it. Spelunky still has that. That crazed need to play again, and again, and again. And I’m rusty, and I never got out of the first location today. But I kept going, despite swearing at the bats which are FIXED, FIXED I TELL YOU, and stupidly blowing myself up, and caring only about boomerangs – they are all that matter. Spelunky still has that.

            One paragraph?

          • drewski says:

            One and a bit if you count the part where he criticises himself for wanting more from it.

            Not sure you can count the daily challenges part as being about the game, given they only exist in the PC port.

    • cdx00 says:

      Well, he thinks it’s a bad port — in which most will agree, myself included.

      • Mothlight says:

        “Well, he thinks it’s a bad port — in which most will agree, myself included.”

        Most being… whom? I hadn’t read a negative comment about the port until this piece. As someone that put a couple hundred hours into the 360 version, I think the PC ver the best yet. I haven’t experienced any technical issues, it comes with all of the 360′s DLC (skins and MP maps) for free, and has a new Daily Challenge mode which is absolutely incredible (which I suppose is completely useless to someone lamenting the fact that you can’t aim the whip with your mouse (what in the world?!)).

        Definitely not a lazy port, but very, very lazy criticism. I expect better from RPS.

      • Bhazor says:

        … it really isn’t though. It’s certainly not bad enough to warrant one of Walker’s bizarre rants.

        To address all his complaints about the port.
        Mouse controls would be useless.
        It supports any screen resolution (via the .ini).
        It seems perfectly stable for the five hours I’ve played.
        I’ve had no problem with crashes from alt-tabbing.

        This is more than you get from the average console port.

        • cdx00 says:

          By ‘bad’, I do not mean unplayable but rather ‘unsatisfactory’. My complaints are minimal as I held no real expectation for this port. It is everything that it is supposed to be, a Spelunky port for the PC.

          I am, by no means, a fan of John’s writing. in my own opinion, he and Cara are this site’s glorified shitposters; you’ll read their articles simply to disagree with them. I actually feel quite the same with John in this circumstance ‘though. Given, I never sunk too much time into Spelunky on the console machine ( a few hours here and there ), I cannot help but feel the asking price for this port is a bit steep.

          I have a monitor similar to John’s with the resolution he has given — a Dell UltraSharp U3014 — and I immediately, I had to hunt down an .ini file to adjust the resolution to something fitting of this game (it’s totally unworthy of full 2560 x 1600). ‘though I have a 360 controller with wireless dongle, I absolutely loathe when a game tells me that it is recommended for controller. Actually, I’m not sure if this was Guacameele! or Spelunky — or bother — regardless, it’s frustrating to me. I do like to keyboard/mouse in games other than first-person titles. On the same note of controls, they felt very ‘slippery’ to me. I haven’t put in more than an hour-and-a-half, but I don’t quite recalling the controls on the console version being as imprecise.

          tl;dr – I agree with John on this one (he is very crabby most of the time and I dismiss his writings). I feel the price is a bit steep for the quality received. Almost being force to edit an .ini file when you play a game is absurd. PC gaming, I suppose. :/

          • Revisor says:

            Stay classy, sir. You are now my favourite shitposter.

          • fish99 says:

            I don’t get where this hatred of gamepads comes from. I’ve owned a PC for about 20 years and I had PC gamepads before the 360 existed, even before the first playstation existed, but now suddenly because you can use the 360 pad on PC people are hating on gamepads. It’s bizarre. There have always been genres of games that play better on other controls than mouse and keyboard – like racing games on a steering wheel/pedals, flight sims on a joystick or yoke, fighting games on a fight stick, and yes platformers on gamepad. Go play iRacing on mouse/keyboard and see how you get on.

            It’s not too much to ask to buy the intended controller if you want to play PC platformers, and on a 360 pad I can assure you the Spelunky controls are delightful and extremely precise, rivaling Super Meat Boy.

        • drewski says:

          I’m sorry, but “I’ve not had any problems with alt-tabbing” does not invalidate that John did.

          This is Wot John Thinks, not What Bhazor Thinks.

          • Bhazor says:

            And saying “I had problems alt-tabbing” is very different to saying “this game does not allow alt tabbing”.

    • John Walker says:

      “and your review seems to just focus on the “bad port” side”

      “If you wanted to complain about the state of the port – fine, go ahead, make a post”

      Check out the title of the post. Cheers.

      • yayo says:

        Hey John. I can see why you focused it as a WIT, but I think the game deserves far better than that, and for me RPS WIT’s have more importance and weight than just a simple article talking about ports.

        If you just wanted to complain about the port, I’d prefer to read a complain post instead of a wrongly labeled WIT. Because after all, a WIT should be about the game and not the port (no matter how you name it), because in all other cases of butchered ports the WIT’s also talked about the games. Why not in this case too? Some Spelunky fatigue? No time enough to write about it? Reading other comments, I see that everybody would like to see a real WIT. What happened this time?

    • Revisor says:

      “I had none of the alt-tabbing issues you mention, therefore your review is lazy.”

      That right?

  33. sirdavies says:

    Well this was absolutely terrible

  34. Caiman says:

    I usually ignore John’s whinges, because they’re not much fun to read, but the part where you’re criticizing the game because you’ve overplayed it on the 360 is entirely your own fault.

  35. ts061282 says:

    Why can’t John just STFU about the crashes? I mean seriously, what is this, critical thinking time? The 360 version was great when it was released. Case closed.

  36. jonahcutter says:

    I bought it on GOG and did not realize the GOG version does not have the daily challenge map. That was a little bit aggravating. Yeah, it says right on the page it doesn’t have it. But I never perused the page. I just thought “I’ll buy from the little guy!” and hit the purchase button. I never thought there would be a different version, but the daily challenge utilizes Steamworks. So, yeah…

    Otherwise, it’s great. The resolution thing is weird, but I’ve had no crashes even when alt-tabbing. I like it far more than Rogue Legacy, but less than Teleglitch.

    I did have to force myself off of it yesterday. It’s strong with the “just one more…”

    And the bats are rigged, the little fuckers.

  37. JackShandy says:

    The complaints themselves are mostly fine, but the aggrieved tone on this review is really over-the-top. I don’t see any reason why Derek Yu would have attracted so much ire. This must have been a tough review for him to read.

    • ts061282 says:

      Hmmm… it sounds like it crashes when alt-tabing or losing focus. That’s pretty aggravating and important to my decision about this product.

      • JackShandy says:

        Of course, I don’t doubt that’s an important thing to mention (I haven’t had any trouble, but obviously that doesn’t mean anything). It’s just that I also think it’s important to mention that Spelunky is an incredible, genre-defining game, the game that created Binding of Isaac and Rogue Legacy et al., and that it’s absolutely worth picking up, port be damned.

        John seems to take it as read that you know Spelunky is absolutely fabulous, and that his rant stands as a counterpoint to the enormous amount of internet love for the game. I think a lot of people might not.

  38. kuran says:

    This article is ridiculous. I don’t usually post on RPS, but I just had to vent my opinion.

    The game plays perfectly fine here, no crashes, the intro animations are negligible.. sure it would have been better had it all been skippable.. but I do not understand why he stresses this so much. Spelunky is by any stretch of the imagination not the worst offender here.

    And how does Mr Walker imagine us using a mouse to control Spelunky? Aim his whip? Has he even played this game?

    It just reads like John Walker has personal issues with the developer, bizarre article.

    • drewski says:

      Once again, this is Wot John Thinks, not what you think.

      By all means post that you’ve had no problems running the game, but you can’t legitimately criticise John for noting that he did. John’s article tells us what he thinks, it tells us about his experience. He doesn’t have to play it on every single PC in the world to test whether or not it will work for everyone or not.

      • kuran says:

        I’m not saying he has no right to say what he thinks. This is his site. I am just saying that the article is bizarrely skewed against the game. The points he raises are suspect. I would love for him to elaborate further.

  39. Hypocee says:

    Yeah, it sure does have a case of the consoles.

    Fortunately my screen’s only 1080 and the game hasn’t crashed on me, though now that I think of it I do have to run it twice, like it’s silently failing once every time it tries to launch.

    ‘Z to “start”‘? You mean to get from the splash screen to the main menu? I started by double-clicking the icon.

    It takes four interaction screens and two load times to get into a sprite game with 167MB of assets.

    One additional wrinkle I didn’t see mentioned, the control options screen is sad and goofy. I wanted to remap the new ‘action’ key away from shift. Go into that screen, oh, obviously these are multiple options for each control like in most indie PC games. Nope! You can only have one control set to a function at a time, and only one profile. Those other slots are for the other putative players; assign anything to them and it will take priority over the same control assigned to Player 1.

    Waiting for the cutesy-poo character select animation every time I start, all I want to know is why the super-minority multiplayer use case isn’t its own menu option.

    Exiting is a disgrace, a long Street Fighter mixup of Z, menus and Escapes that’ll take you in loops if you get one wrong; Escape randomly changes its meaning between ‘out’ and ‘back in time’ depending on what screen you’re on, plus Escape from the splash screen takes you in to the main menu WHAT!

    I’m not going to go into the aesthetic and design alterations – odds are they’ll be addressed in better words than mine in the actual Wot I Think about the game that the illiterate kids can’t distinguish – but it’s worth noting that I think they’re a big net positive, making this a definitive edition, per all upthread, of at least the best non-Valve game of the past decade. I’d have gladly paid a full-release price solely in recompense for Spelunky 1, without all the great new tricks. But it does sting to have one’s first negative thought ever about Derek Yu. This port is a slipshod, stingy piece of work which wraps a great game in obstructions. Assuming it was probably farmed out doesn’t really help.

    Edit: It’s worth noting that applying the TotalBiscuit Protocol, you can in fact use the mouse in menus, so well done there.

  40. Acorino says:

    I guess I’ll buy the new version somewhere down the line, then. Hopefully some of the mentioned issues will be fixed, like the crashes, unskippable intro and lacking resolution support. I still haven’t played enough of the old version yet anyway.

  41. kalirion says:

    A word of advice – if you find yourself alt-tabbing a lot out of full screen because you don’t want to play in a tiny window, you can lower the desktop resolution to be marginally larger than the window, and play that way. The Hotkey Resolution Changer is a wonderful tool which lets you preset a bunch of desktop resolutions and switch between them with a shortcut, and windowed games are non-the-wiser.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Dear God, what kind of horrendous deviant runs their flatscreen at non-native resolution? Why don’t you just slather your eyeballs in Vaseline® while you’re at it?

      • kalirion says:

        It’s no worse than running the game full-screen at a non-native resolution.

        Depending on the flat-screen (or your gpu drivers if you go that route) scaling, the result is actually not that bad. Unless there’s a lot of reading to do, which is the reason I can’t play Uplink – text too tiny in my native 1080p, too blurry otherwise.

  42. honuk says:

    did walker seriously just pretend he wanted to play spelunky with a mouse?

    have you ever played a video game before?

    this is like complaining because starcraft doesn’t have native controller support.

  43. John Walker says:

    Let’s just try to address some of the confusion:

    - It’s not a review of Spelunky. It’s specifically titled that it’s a comment on the port, and introduced as a comment on the port. There’s no ambiguity there. Were you to lift reviewy words about the game itself out of this you’d get, “brilliant”, “absolutely adored it”, and “lovely”. Because those are all true of this game.

    - The game crashed three times for me in two hours.

    - The mouse control comment was not as OUTTHERELUNATIC! as people are frothing. It’s not uncommon for a game ported to PC to take greater advantage of the controls on offer. It occurred to me that it would have been interesting. Let alone that I’d prefer to just be able to click and bomb with the mouse in an entirely digital fashion.

    - I repeatedly state that the game still has it, that it’s still worth playing, but yes, that I wonder if *I* am now fatigued of it. Wot *I* Think.

    BTW, It’s always fun to see people writing enraged diabtribes about the bits they don’t like in a post, while ignoring lines like, “Yes, yes, you’re screaming at your monitor now. You’re right – that’s not what Spelunky is intended to be, and there’s no reason why it should have to deliver any of it. I’m a terrible person for even asking.”

    • jawfun says:

      Saying that isn’t a free pass to say silly comments

    • DiamondDog says:

      Wot I Think Of Spelunky’s Resolution Settings And Some Other Bits I Tacked On.

    • Bhazor says:

      You spend fully half your critique of the port complaining about resolution and now you’ve just stopped mentioning it. Can we expect you to now alter the original review to reflect that change of heart?

      And yes mouse clicking in this game would be completely pointless.

      Were you to lift reviewy words about the game itself out of this you’d get, “brilliant”, “absolutely adored it”, and “lovely”. Because those are all true of this game.

      I’m seriously begining to think you didn’t read the article. The whole article is almost completely negative.

      Seriously, there is no way this port is bad enough to warrant this much vitriol.

      • doctorehn says:

        Whatever you want to claim it’s about, this review is terrible. Instead of being passive-aggressively condescending to everyone who doesn’t read it the way you want them to, John, how about you try owning up to what you wrote?

        EDIT: Whoops, replied to the wrong comment. For the record, Bhazor, I agree with you.

    • Clone42 says:

      Sorry, but wanting analogue mouse aiming in Spelunky is about as ‘OUTTHERELUNATIC’ as it gets. If the design had called for it then it would have been implemented on the right analogue stick on the Xbox in the first place. It’s like asking for trackball support in Pacman. I do agree that mouse buttons should be boundable. It’s a port that doesn’t feel ‘at home’ on the PC, that’s for sure.

    • aircool says:

      I was expecting to be able to use wasd, and the mouse buttons for other functions… Instead, I had to plug in my 360 controller. I understand exactly what Mr Walker is talking about.

  44. Branthog says:

    I’m really tired of games not supporting 2560×1600. It’s not acceptable to overlook this. We’ve been using monitors of this size for almost a decade now. Catch up.

  45. Lambchops says:

    Having not had any issues with crashing as yet and never being one for windowed modes I don’t have the same niggles as John.

    Indeed as it has been a while since I’ve played Spelunky (and never the pimped up version, always the free one permanently installed on my desktop) this was a reminder of just how well designed this game is.

    The things added in don’t upset the balance, a few useless weapons (hello crossbow) have been ditched and apart from that it’s still the same old Spelunky.

    As RobF says in the comments above it’s a nice complement to games like Rogue Legacy, where there’s a meta game going on; there’s certainly room for both and as much as I love RL, I think I prefer Spelunky’s approach.

    The main thing that from personal preference I disagree with John on is the platforming being described as “clunky.” For me Spelunky, along with VVVVVV, has probably some of the tightest platforming out there. After the initial learning curve that every game has I feel in complete control with Spelunky (mastering how far you can jump when running and how far you can get away with falling are the two key points, once that’s done any mistakes are my own fault!). In contrast I find Rogue Legacy to have a few foibles, in particular the horribly implemented downward strike.

    Anyway like John I’m falling into finding minor niggles in things I enjoy. All I can say is buy Spelunky and Rogue Legacy and Teleglitch. Die a lot. Have fun!

  46. Jclooth says:

    This is probably not the right place to mention this, but I’m quite looking forward to the Vita port… I’ve not played a huge amount of Spelunky, but it seems like it’s pretty well suited to short bursts. Plus when you press the home button thingy on the vitamachine it pauses the game where you are and seems to go into a low power mode meaning that you can come back like a day later and it’s just where you left it with plenty of battery left! This would also solve the problem of the lengthy splash screens as you could just leave the game on for the rest of time and only ever have to view them once!

    The only problem is that it’s not out yet and the internet seems to have gone strangely quiet on the possible release date, the most recent EDGE had a vita add in it stating Spelunky was out now! It’s definitely not though… humph.

    Also.. PC gaming Wooooohh!!!

  47. Screwie says:

    The biggest disappointment of the port for me (and I only have a couple), is that the multiplayer is local only.

    Was the console version local too?

    EDIT: I also just found out today the upcoming Legend of Dungeon will be local multiplayer only as well. :/

  48. aircool says:

    Boring and frustrating.

  49. ain says:

    The windowed mode is a valid concern, but are you actually suggesting that Rogue Legacy, Don’t Starve or Teleglitch even come close to the genius of Spelunky? Those games are the bottom of the barrel with mechanics that grow stale within minutes.

    The point of the port was that people who don’t want to get a 360 get to play the new version as well. Whether you’d rather play it on a console is completely irrelevant.

  50. Ninja Dodo says:

    Meanwhile on twitter:

    “Read a nitpicky review of a PC game. Journalists should learn what it takes to dev for PC before they dismiss the lack of features as lazy

    (…)

    It’s true. One day someone will say you are lazy or don’t give a shit after you’ve worked yourself to death on something. It hurts”

    (from whose twitter is not terribly relevant, but it’s not Derek Yu)

    I agree with this. Why not be happy that people who don’t have a console can play a cool game instead of crying murder over not having ALL the features. This accusation of “laziness” get thrown around much too easily. If you weren’t there when the game was developed you have no way of judging how much effort and care went into it. There isn’t always time to add everything. Features get cut. Sometimes they get patched in later. The fact that you can’t play in a windowed resolution that suits your giant screen is not a valid reason to say: “play it on console”.

    Not that this would ever happen, but if Sony made a PC port of Shadow of the Colossus that could only be played with a gamepad I would be ecstatic, because I get to play one of my favourite games on my preferred platform. I would certainly NOT whine about mouse & keyboard and different configurations of pixels. Are we really such snobs that we can’t appreciate a good thing if it isn’t completely without flaws?

    • Dromph says:

      Also, from the same person:
      “Just another example of internet culture. It’s ok to bash the shit out of something and be hurtful as long as you call it your “opinion”.”

      I’m just gonna leave this here.

    • Hypocee says:

      Supporting many different resolutions is a bastard and a half. Typing in two numbers and ’1080 window’ on your menu form is not, and is not a feature.