Colossal Cave Action Adventure: Cavenaut

If I was a game I’d want to be set in a cave, hanging out in the dark with Spelunky, Cave Story, La Mulana and maybe even Ron Gilbert and his Cave. Cavenaut could be there too, being all gray, moody and oddly threatening. It’s another in the ever-expanding genre of Excellent Games Set In Caves and unless you have a pressing engagement with a barman or the third part of a popular film trilogy (Paranormal Total Lack Of Activity perhaps) you must spend your Friday night attempting to discover the truth behind the Peruvian mystery. Terry Cavanagh tipped me onto this, although chances are he didn’t even know I was listening. The trailer, below, actually makes me feel quite nervous.

You will be challenged, you will die so many times, you will feel glorious.


  1. zeroskill says:

    This does not have Frostbite 2.0 level visual quality therefore it must be a bad game.

    No seriously, this looks delightful. Gonna grab it right now.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      Yes, preposterous, looks so outdated that it might as well be Frostbite! Guffaw!

      Terry Cavanagh is just the right person to suggest this. love his games!

    • Kdansky says:

      I’m torn. I fully agree that games can look worse than Crysis and can still be good. But on the other hand, limiting the graphics this much gets a bit pretentious.

      Most of my favourite games of all time are neither of the “I need to shut off the lights so my graphics card gets enough power without blowing the fuses”, nor of the “which one of these blobs is me again?” kind, but somewhere in the decently pretty middle.

      • The Random One says:

        the “which one of these blobs is me again?” kind,

        Grand Theft Auto IV?

        • Kestilla says:

          While witty (since GTA IV was all kinds of awful graphically), upon release, it was of the lights dimming, fuse popping variety of games just trying to get it to run decently.

          Therefore, no. I think we can all agree Dwarf Fortress style games are not only hard to get into, but take a significant amount of time to become familiar with visually, and that gives it niche appeal. Maybe it’s a large niche, but it’s not a Call of Duty niche (not to imply CoD is anywhere close to niche levels), a game series which arguably has never gotten close to popping any fuses but succeeds based on gameplay alone.

          And people with entirely too much money.

  2. spezz says:

    Okay, how hard is too hard? I’m saying this coming from several dozen hours of spelunky in the past few weeks. This game is brutally frustrating after you get a few screens in. It asks you to think and move quickly to evade invincible enemies, and then it punishes you for moving quickly. Maybe i’m just not in the right mindset right now or something, but I can only listen to the same single sound effect (death) a few hundred times in a row before it gets on my nerves.

    • goman says:

      I consider myself a very casual gamer and after ~300 deaths I got there. Anyways, I’m a big fan of just restarting the room after death. Saving at any point would let you “cheat” the game but this way even hard challenges are acceptable since you don’t have to memorize 30 different areas and just need focus on the task at hand. It gets frustrating at times, but I really liked the design and how often when you think you finally have the hang of things, a new mechanic is introduced.

      • spezz says:

        This must be a case of different strokes… I think the issue is even though i’m dying repeatedly, i’m not learning anything from each death. I have infinite patience for a game as long as i feel like i’m getting better at it with each failure. It just doesnt seem like a game you can get good at. You just fail until the game arbitrarily allows you to pass.

        In this game i feel like i’m bashing my head into a brick wall until i bash a hole in it big enough to climb through, and then i’m greeted by another brick wall. I pushed through the first cave thinking the situation would get better, and it got worse.

        Yesterday anna anthropy said on twitter, “oh disregard what i said earlier about “cavenaut” that game gets tedious and superhard immediately after the first cave.” I’m inclined to agree with her.

  3. jezmabez says:

    I’ve never heard of this game. You could say… ‘It kept me in the dark’ AWWW YEAHHHHHHH

    • The Random One says:

      I was not going to reply to such a bad pun.

      But then…
      I caved.

  4. pmuschi says:

    “You will be challenged, you will die so many times, you will feel glorious.”

    I logged in just to comment on the last line of your post. It was perfect and the writing on RPS is why I visit. Keep up the good work.

    Oh, and the game looks great. I hope it is as focused on gameplay as the graphics make it appear to be. I’ll soon find out.

  5. Crazy Horse says:

    Is it just me or is anyone else not seeing the trailer?

    Downloading anyway , VVVVVV has taught me that this is the proper way to punish myself for not having made plans this weekend.

    Edit: Found reason – Youtube error

    • spezz says:

      VVVVVV is many times more enjoyable than this game. In VVVVVV you get an idea of the solution just by looking at each room, then you have the challenge of completing it.

      In cavenaut, you must die several dozen times on each screen just to see what obstacles lie in your path, then you can try to complete it.

  6. Eagle0600 says:

    Is the website down for anyone else?

    edit: Nevermind, it’s up now.

  7. Caiman says:

    I love this. It’s slick and has easy to understand rules of avoidance and failure. It slowly teaches you how the mechanics work while demanding more from you – like any game should of course, but here it’s direct and to the point. I think the graphics suggest that it’s a game from a simpler, happier time. The only disappointing thing is that it doesn’t feature the great music from the trailer.

  8. Caiman says:

    I just realised this is the same Bruno A. Marcos who made those epic Star Wars X-Wing style games. I spent hours on those things, still one of the best Star Wars space-sims out there.

  9. GallonOfAlan says:

    This reminds me of both black and white Atari coin-ops and Shamus II on the C64. Excellent.