Cave Quest provides variety, enjoyable exploration and addictive match-3 gameplay.
Attempting to fit as many different types of match-3 and hidden object gameplay styles as possible into one package may sound like a recipe for disaster, but Cave Quest pulls it off wonderfully with no icy reception from us.
This mountainous voyage takes your standard block-matching premise, throws in variety by the bucket load – including some Puzzle Quest style battling – and rounds it all off with environments to explore and secrets to uncover. Cave Quest is utterly enthralling from start to finish, and will keep you entertained non-stop.
Evil spirits dwell on a remote and extremely chilly mountainside, and have kidnapped your family. Hence, it’s time to get your hard hat on and go caving into the depths on a rescue mission. Along the way, there are nasty mountain spirits to fight, and a helpful shaman who will aid your quest in exchange for certain items.
From the get-go, it’s obvious that Cave Quest is not a one trick pony. One moment you’ll be matching symbols to clear a path for your adventurers to walk along, and then icy blocks will impede your progress, and you’ll be required to guide them to the bottom of the level by destroying all the symbols underneath. Sure, you’re essentially doing the same thing in each level – matching like blocks – but the creativity involved makes for some exciting play.
Matching certain symbols will also provide special abilities. Money can be used to buy power-ups, which in turn grant methods for getting out of tight situations, such as dynamite and pickaxes. There’s perhaps not enough emphasis on using these abilities, and it’s relatively easy to get along without them, but it’s still a nice gesture that gives the game a fuller feel.
Now and again, you’ll stumble across one of the evil creatures that are keeping your family hostage, and a Puzzle Quest style match-off will ensue. The player takes it in turns with the computer AI, and matching three or more red or green blocks is favorable. These matches can be quite tough, especially compared to the rest of the game, and provide a really enjoyable challenge.
In between matching grids, you’re left to scour the various environments, collecting items and talking to residents of the mountain. The scenes are pleasant and varied, and provide a number of hidden object minigames. Making your way into the heart of the mountain is great fun, as is discovering each new area.
Our only real issue with Cave Quest is the straightforward difficulty. You’re able to play through the game at either a relaxing pace or with a time limit, but either way it’s a relatively easy ride. It’s always obvious where you’re meant to head next, and arrows on the world map point to where your next task is, removing any real need for exploration. The mystery and intrigue are tarnished, but only slightly.
Overall, Cave Quest is ultimately accessible and extremely addictive. With plenty of different match-3 game types available, a lengthy story to follow and numerous environments to explore, this is one of the best match-3 experiences of recent times.