It takes place inside a talking cave. The cave is mysterious. And a bit sultry. “Welcome,” the Cave said as the demo began. “Don’t let my sultry and mysterious voice startle you.” Meanwhile, when asked about the titular magic rock formation’s overall role in the game’s proceedings, Gilbert chimed in: “He’s kinda mysterious. Sultry, too,”
OK, maybe there’s a bit more to it than that. Here are the basics: there are seven characters, each of whom has ventured to a time-and-space-transcending cave to “learn something about themselves and who they might become.” So yeah, Mr Cave (whose last name is hopefully not “Johnson” – that could get confusing) gets top billing, but this is a game first and foremost about those seven – with backgrounds ranging from Medieval knight to time-traveler. So you pick any three, descend into the depths of their respective madnesses (and, you know, a cave), and leap between them to advance through an interconnected Metroidvania-style world. Appearances, however, can be deceiving, so here’s the bit that should have you jumping for nostalgic joy: “It is an adventure game,” said Gilbert, quickly pocketing an entire bucket in-game. “You want to pick up everything you can.”
Unsurprisingly, there are definite strains of Maniac Mansion running through this one, too – as seen in the atypically (for this genre) sizable character roster. Gilbert, however, was more than willing to admit that dynamic all-too-quickly tripped over its own clumsy ambition in his point-and-click classic. The Cave, meanwhile, aims to give equal weight to each character you bring along for the ride – whether it’s a Buddhist monk, globe-trotting adventurer, straw-hat-clad hillbilly, all-business scientist, absurdly creepy twin duo, divinely powered knight, or time traveler who’s out to right a wrong one million years in the making.
Once you pick your spelunking party, it’s set in stone, so – in theory – you’ll need a few playthroughs to see everybody’s unique content.
The Cave is, in fact, launching on PC day-and-date with consoles in early 2013.