Day 347: Cosmic Caverns

Posted: 2011/10/24 in Indie Games

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game (XBLIG) every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and are not well represented in the top 50 lists on the Xbox Dashboard. Today is day #347, and today’s game is “Cosmic Caverns”.

What happens when you take Lunar Lander, but add windy caverns, switches that need to be activated, and enemies? You get Cosmic Caverns, and it’s an 80 Microsoft Point game worth experiencing. Be warned that the first few levels are simple and easy, but that the true enjoyment are in the more involved later levels (possibly past the trial period for some gamers).

First, from the developer (Maximinus):

“Stuntman Joe is lost in space. Will he find a way out?”

Compared to the simple land-’em-up gameplay of Lunar Lander, Cosmic Caverns really gives you that sense of true 360 degrees of movement and flight. You have to carefully navigate through the aforementioned caverns, making sure not to touch the sides, and watching for proximity mines that damage your health if you get too close for too long (thankfully, one-hit kills are rare here, so the game is at least somewhat forgiving). The first few levels are simple enough, but do not judge this book by that cover: once you’ve learned the navigating and are dodging the walls and mines, the game throws several curve balls your way. Laser-equipped hazards (some stationary, some shooting out at you from the walls) freeze when they get in close proximity to you, then shoot out their deadly arsenal. Some strategising and puzzle solving is of use here, as if you can control where you are when you get close enough to activate them you’ll be in better shape. Spinning platforms you have to navigate through, switches that must be activated, and more more delightful complications await. The difficulty curve ramps up a tad quickly, and this is definitely for the gamer who likes a challenge, but the fact that your ship can take a few screw-ups before it explodes helps keep the game from being frustrating, and makes it easy to recommend for 80 MSP.

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