Generally favorable reviews - based on 54 Critic Reviews

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 50 out of 54
  2. Negative: 0 out of 54
  1. Hyper Magazine
    Aug 8, 2012
    Robust mechanics give rise to endless experimentation. [Sept 2012, p.70]
  2. Jul 26, 2012
    Spelunky is a demanding platformer that manages to be both progressive and nostalgic at the same time. The enjoyment you'll get out of the title is limited only by your tolerance for frustration.
  3. Jul 10, 2012
    As a game, it is perfect; it does nothing wrong in itself and the only criticism that can be levelled at it is the lack of online capabilities – although the games which it hearkens back to so closely had no such thing.
  4. Jul 7, 2012
    Spelunky is designed to be played repeatedly, a randomly generated battle of human versus machine. Its goal is to challenge the player in a way that is seemingly impossible, but ultimately surmountable given the proper amount of training and skill. I can't recall another game that achieves that delicate balance as well as Spelunky. Its randomly generated nature and ecosystem of interactive elements challenges your decision-making abilities in a way that's nothing short of awe-inspiring.
  5. Jul 5, 2012
    Spelunky is for the West what Cave Story represents for Japan: the maximum expression of the indie philosophy. You shouldn't ask yourself if you want to play it. You absolutely have to, if you haven't yet.
  6. Jul 2, 2012
    We may be playing Spelunky forever...Spelunky is more than a platformer. It transcends the genre, creating an experience easy to pick up and difficult to master, each session unlike the last.
  7. Jul 2, 2012
    Spelunky's astonishing creativity and the spectacular depth that opens up as you make progress make it easy to forget that it's also an extremely competent platformer, with tight, poppy controls that work far better on an Xbox 360 pad than they ever did with a computer keyboard.
  8. Jul 13, 2012
    You'll curse Spelunky, you'll want to throw your controller through the TV out of anger, but there is something about it that will pull you back in, time and time again. The game challenges you to constantly make choices and set new priorities, the level design is fantastic and makes for a new experience every time, but most of all: skill and perseverance get rewarded. Spelunky might seem a little bit unfair at times, but with every death it teaches you a lesson. Lose yourself in the wondrous, underground world and emerge as a better player.
  9. Jul 13, 2012
    All in all, if you hate challenging games, stay away from Spelunky. If you hate charming retro graphics, or the idea of perma-death, don't get Spelunky.
  10. Jul 9, 2012
    Spelunky is like a great manual of game design, offering many familiar elements to the average player but making everything new. Already in the Hall of Fame of XBLA, the game is a shapeshifting adventure that can be enjoyed for several years.
  11. Jul 2, 2012
    All of the additions for Xbox Live Arcade -- most notably, new graphics and sound, competitive multiplayer, and cooperative play -- come together to flesh out what was already impressive in its earlier stages. To avoid Spelunky is to miss out on an incredibly satisfying, well-designed game.
  12. Sep 2, 2013
    A good and punishing rogue-like which is just as easy to hate as it is to love. As you explore the random levels this really challenging 2-D platformer will make you cry and laugh at the same time. You’ll need high concentration and a big chunk of patience to have fun with this one. Spelunky is just as fun on the PC as it was one year ago on the Xbox 360, and the gaming masochists’ very best friend.
  13. Pelit (Finland)
    Oct 14, 2012
    A highly addictive and ruthless (in a good way) 2D-platformer with an endless supply of random roquelike-levels. You won't beat this one in a hurry. [Sept 2012]
  14. Games Master UK
    Aug 23, 2012
    Definitely worth digging out some spare points for. [Oct 2012, p.85]
  15. Aug 6, 2012
    This is a perfect 2D platformer that offers never-ending singleplayer and even multiplayer adventure. Don't get fooled by its retro style - Spelunky is truly modern essence, addicting, full of colours. It is an experience that should get your attention.
  16. Aug 3, 2012
    So, you want to play a 2D platformer and you think you have some skills? Spelunky will put you to the test. This game is pure gold with its excellent controllers, appealing graphics and fun gameplay. This game offers hours of fun thanks to its always changing levels.
  17. 90
    I could tell hour-long anecdotes about my adventures in this weird world. Find another Spelunky-Player and these spin out of control – into endless amusing conversations. It may not be for everybody, but once it's got you hooked, it won't let go of you for days.
  18. 90
    Spelunky manages to be even better than the sum of its parts: A charming retro style that encompasses both audio and graphics, razorsharp controls, a constantly challenging and changing platform world. Spelunky is the best excuse to stay inside this summer.
  19. Jul 13, 2012
    Spelunky is a game that you can finish, but one that you will never complete, and that's why I have played it for 15 hours: The finely tuned mechanics, addictive algorithmic based level design and provocatively challenging, magnificently creative difficulty represent tough videogame design at its finest. Spelunky isn't a game for the casual, or faint of heart, but if you can't stand the heat...
  20. Jul 11, 2012
    The perfect game for this summer: fun, fast and refreshing.
  21. 90
    Spelunky looks and sounds exponentially better than its PC sibling and has near-infinite replay value, a fantastically quirky personality, and tons of things to do.
  22. Jul 6, 2012
    If you need a challenge on the level of a Mega Man or a Metal Slug with the feel of Dig Dug and Mr. Driller, or if you just enjoy any of those, this should be on your radar. If you just want a quick few Achievement points, you're not going to find them here.
  23. 90
    Indie gaming sires another 2D classic, with a platformer that offers more freedom and intrigue than almost anything else on Xbox Live Arcade - or beyond.
  24. Jul 5, 2012
    The game is very difficult and will require you many playthroughs before you even reach the second world much less beat the entire game. Death takes you back to the beginning of the game and you'll lose all the treasure and items you've earned in your time with the game. Still, Spelunky has an undeniable charm that will have you laughing as you die the first time and the hundredth time.
  25. Jul 4, 2012
    Spelunky digs its way so deeply into your brain and often pops up when you're busy playing something else. You'll flashback when another game's arsenal reminds you of just how powerful Yu's simple toolset is, or when another level designer tries and fails to encourage a different approach and reward convoluted strategies.
  26. Even if you're confined to single player, Spelunky is yet another small but perfectly formed nugget of joy to be unearthed on the Games Marketplace. Like Fez, Joe Danger and Super Meat Boy before it, the charm simply oozes out of the screen and leaves a saccharine sticky patch at the base of your TV. That initial infuriation crystallises into solid determination and 1200MP buys you an endless supply of levels against which to test your wits and skills.
  27. Jul 2, 2012
    Spelunky is probably not for everyone. For all my attempts to romanticize the game's difficulty, it still demands patience from its players, and that might be too much for some. Those that stick it out though, or have an affinity for similar punishing trials like Dark Souls or Super Meat Boy, will find a game that rewards the time you spend with it with nearly infinite amounts of replayability. It all adds up to make Spelunky the best port of a mining related indie PC game to hit the Xbox.
  28. Jul 2, 2012
    Spelunky is a game that takes experts 10 minutes to complete, but it will take you hours before you're remotely ready for that challenge. This is a superb 2D platformer that's as easy to hate as it is to love, and your patience for punishment will be the determining factor.
  29. Jul 13, 2012
    The odds are never in your favour, but that's the whole point. In Spelunky, suffering is addictive.
  30. Jul 30, 2012
    The random generated levels of Spelunky can create quite a challenge and on top of that, will keep the game fresh and addictive for many hours.
  31. Jul 23, 2012
    Animation suits the retro feel of the game and it's almost like looking at a game from the 80's. It works well with the gameplay as do the sound effects, although the music is quite horrendous. Nonetheless, this is a very challenging and well thought out game that I could happily recommend to all gamers looking for something uniquely different and Spelunky fits that bill!
  32. Jul 17, 2012
    Yet another jewel in Xbox Live. It is a bit stressing to be constantly killed at first, but it quickly becomes challenging and addictive, as if it were a 2D platforms Dark Souls. Its gameplay is delicious and the control is perfect. We would love to see a "metroidvania" game with this design.
  33. Jul 13, 2012
    If you're easily frustrated, you might want to pass on Spelunky, but anyone who loves a challenge is going to find hours of enjoyment buried within. Learning how to effectively use every tool in the game, fighting off hordes of enemies and rescuing damsels in distress may sound repetitive, but if there is one thing that Spelunky can guarantee, it's that no two games will ever be alike.
  34. 85
    It's madness worth embracing.
  35. Jul 5, 2012
    Spelunky! has a great level design and good gameplay. Full of possibilities, hard to complete and with good visuals. One of the best platform games for Xbox Live.
  36. Jul 3, 2012
    Spelunky doesn't extend a helping hand when you're down. It doesn't have mercy. And that stubbornness is one of the main reasons it's so hard to pull away from the game. When you finally conquer something that has been hounding you for hours, you feel like the best darn explorer on the planet, and that feeling overshadows all the hardships you overcame down the troubled path you traveled.
  37. Jul 3, 2012
    Level randomization is a delicate tool and one that Spelunky wields well, placing its tiles just so to equally aggravate and entice. Play Spelunky to conquer it, keep playing to master it, and just remember to keep your eyes open for new danger and adventure.
  38. Jul 5, 2012
    If you've grown up playing the most challenging action and platforming games, Spelunky will be like an oasis for you. Pure addiction.
  39. Sep 11, 2012
    Spelunky is one true old-school platformer and worth a try for true fans of those hard retro games like Battletoads, but not quite as unforgiving.
  40. Aug 3, 2012
    Spelunky provides a serious but just challenge with great controls, clever items and a fantastic system for randomizing levels. It's a shame it hasn't been advertised more than it has.
  41. CD-Action
    Jul 31, 2012
    It's incredible how the ideas to vary and enrich simple platforming gameplay seem to never end in Spelunky. [September 2012, p.73]
  42. Jul 30, 2012
    Even though it does lack variation, Spelunky is still pure brilliance that will keep you entertained forever.
  43. Jul 29, 2012
    We've sworn at the screen more times while playing Spelunky than practically any other game. So we wouldn't recommend this to anyone with anger management issues or a heart condition. But, by the same token, it's also afflicted us with chronic one-more-go syndrome. So we would recommend it to anyone who loves videogames. Which is surely all of you.
  44. Jul 16, 2012
    Spelunky is a great game. There are no technical issues to hold it back, the controls are solid, the art is awesome, the multiplayer is fun, and the challenge is superb. The game can be really rough when you can't make progress for hours on end, but overall I think people will find Spelunky to be a great experience. It really is a shame this game wasn't included in the Summer of Arcade, as it is extremely high quality.
  45. Jul 10, 2012
    Fans of torture games such as Super Meat Boy and Trials will undoubtedly find a lot to love about Spelunky. It is brutally difficult, but never unfair. You will spend so much time replaying the first set of levels that, in theory, it sounds like it would get boring. But after hundreds of deaths I am still coming back for more. That speaks volumes about the game's design. If you want a challenge and enjoy the harsh consequences for your actions, then Spelunky is your game.
  46. Jul 6, 2012
    This is a game of strict and deflating challenges, then, and while Spelunky is a fine addition to the growing library of masochistic titles it doesn't always quite manage to elicit the right response from its players. There are occasional moments of intense euphoria to be found here, but all too often Spelunky just makes you feel crap.
  47. Jul 5, 2012
    Before long each death will seem like a new dare, taunting you to try just one more time. After all, next time will be different, with a new layout offering the possibility of new outcomes. As you slide deeper and deeper into Spelunky's depths, you can almost make out the sound of the game laughing at you.
  48. Jul 4, 2012
    Based on its initial look and feel, Spelunky is a whimsical adventure. It's adorable and exciting, but it's true, underlying plot to destroy your soul is what will keep you coming back. It offers a randomly generated world of fantastic possibilities, though all of them amount to what is essentially an infinite, irresistible quagmire. You'll love it while you hate it.
  49. Jul 3, 2012
    All I want to do is go back and keep trying for better scores and greater progress. In this regard, Spelunky is less a game than an obsession. If it does get its hooks in you, it will get those hooks deep, sending you into a downward spiral of torrential swearing and tear-choked misery the likes of which you may never completely recover from. And I mean that as a compliment.
  50. Jul 3, 2012
    I may have a hopeless addiction to Spelunky, but it's not an entirely pleasant one. As exciting as it is to play a platformer with an infinite number of new levels to jump, whip, and bomb your way through, the novelty comes at a cost. You need ample patience, time, and skill to make it through Spelunky's ever-changing caves, and much of the hidden content is virtually off limits to all but the most hardcore (and masochistic) gamers.
  51. Jul 6, 2012
    This game is killing me. After a few days with Spelunky everywhere I look I see arrow traps and giant spiders. But why does it have to be so damn hard? One wrong step and there it is again: Game Over!
  52. Aug 1, 2012
    It isn't for everyone though, the difficulty can be infuriatingly hard and means that some players won't ever make it to the later levels.
  53. Jul 2, 2012
    I really do hate Spelunky. It is frustrating in a way that few console games ever are. It's audio-visual trappings don't really help the matter for me, but the sense of discovery has me intrigued to find out what happens next. That doesn't make Spelunky a good game, but I can't wait to get back to playing it.
  54. X-ONE Magazine UK
    Sep 23, 2012
    Frustrating. [Issue#89,p.82]
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 140 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 91 out of 140
  2. Negative: 27 out of 140
  1. Jul 4, 2012
    This is the type of game that will get bad reviews because people don't have the patience to really get what it's all about. Also, if youThis is the type of game that will get bad reviews because people don't have the patience to really get what it's all about. Also, if you don't enjoy hard games, you will hate this game. This game is so rewarding because it takes so much planning, concentration and even luck to get through to the end. The controls are great, the items useful and fun, and it has great variety based on the endless iterations of the various levels. If you're up for a challenge and understand that it's going to take you hours to master the gameplay, you're going to love Spelunky, which is undoubtedly the most well-designed and executed game of the year so far. Full Review »
  2. Jul 5, 2012
    You have to know what you're in for with this game to enjoy it. If you do, it's a masterpiece, one of the best examples of aYou have to know what you're in for with this game to enjoy it. If you do, it's a masterpiece, one of the best examples of a small-but-oh-so-fun arcadey experience which is infinitely replayable and deep. Other reviewers obviously don't know what they're in for. A couple of hints: i) after the tutorial, every level is randomly generated EVERY TIME you play it. You can't learn the levels like other games: you have to be actually good at PLAYING it, it requires skill and practice to get better and learn how to deal with issues. ii) It's goddamn unforgiving. Hand in hand with point i), this game will take you apart repeatedly until you learn to do things like: avoid running under spiders, drop things in front of arrow traps, save ropes and bombs more than money, GET THE CLIMBING GLOVES AS FAST AS YOU CAN, stay the damn hell out of a yeti's armreach... And so on. It's wonderfully deep and infinitely new and fresh. GET IT AND ENJOY IT, FOLKS. (The only issues I've noted are very, very rare bugs and... That's it. It's great stuff, and I haven't even tried 4-player splitscreen co-op, which sounds incredible). Full Review »
  3. Jul 7, 2012
    Spelunky is a XBLA game costing 1200MS Points, based on an Indie game that was released for PC in 2008, and consists of a 2D platform gameSpelunky is a XBLA game costing 1200MS Points, based on an Indie game that was released for PC in 2008, and consists of a 2D platform game with old-style gameplay, as we saw in 8 and 16 bit consoles. The basic game is the prerogative of an explorer, after an Aztec artifact, which has to go through various underground levels and stages, to the exit of them.

    The Graphics of the game are simple, but the XBLA version won a updated look, being cleaner and more polished, still maintaining the old-style look, but being attractive, with a more "lively" and colorful. Everything else, like Menus keeps the air retro game. The CG animation of the game use to tell the story and have a simple air, but more refined.

    Audio: songs and voices are simple, but with a good audio, and effects, and voiceovers (in animation) are consistent with the actions and what you see, but still keeping the classic look we see in graphics.

    Gameplay: here is concentrated the greatest attraction of the game - the game has a series of 14 levels, which should be circulated with controls typical of the old platform games, and using some objects to help walk the galleries and avoid hazards such as spikes, sags and enemies, ranging from the simplest like snakes to advanced ones, like ghosts.

    You have objects like a rope (to climb up or down from a session), pumps (used to break the floor or walls) and a whip (to break objects or kill enemies), and other items that are being released with the progression in the game (such as jet packs).

    The Levels has the objective to reach the exit using its limited and scarce resources, and in the meantime, picking up treasures and rescuing characters if you want. You can make your way using the items, or try to cross using pre-established paths, but keeping the retro look, nothing is as easy as it sounds.

    If you die, you'll be returned to the initial stage of the game, and added to that, we have the fact that the levels are random generated, never a stage will be equal to each other and never the difficulty will be predetermined.

    Summary: the game is a very good classic platform game, with a retro air, but it presents a difficulty that may disappoint many people, but to please players who like games more hardcore platform games - the price is a little salty, 800ms points would be better.
    Full Review »