There aren’t many new Switch games coming out right now (that’s normal given its lifespan), so it’s time to take a look at a title available in the Japanese eShop: Minna de Wai Wai! Spelunker. Let’s just call it Spelunker, okeydokey?
This new Spelunker game is an enhanced version of another game previously released for the Playstation 4 called Spelunker World, which, by the way, was a reboot of a very old videogame series from the 80s also called Spelunker. There is a problem problem with this, though: the original PS4 version was a free-to-play game. It was a small title, featuring a very simple presentation, very simple controls, an extremely simplistic gameplay and a few items here and there which could be unlocked via microtransactions or countless hours of gameplay.
While, thankfully, this version got rid of any F2P mechanic whatsoever, it still has quite a few problems, many of which were inherited from its PS4 big brother, and one major issue that’s exclusive to it.
To simply put, this game isn’t very good. It looks too simplistic (with characters looking like Playmobil figures), its soundtrack is pretty forgettable for the most part, its controls are quite clunky with poor responsiveness, and its gameplay is, well, quite infuriating. Everything, and I mean everything kills you with one simple hit in this game, be it ghosts, bats, oxygen (or the lack thereof), death traps in which you gotta time your jump with millimetrical precision, or heights. And I don’t mean just big heights. If you’re just a tiny bit above ground and you fall down, you die. I cannot stress enough how infuriating this mechanic is, as it doesn’t do anything but annoy the player with this perfectly suitable-for-F2P mechanic.
Gameplay-wise, it is as simply as it can get. Most of the time the game revolves around finding loot in 2.5D levels, then looking for a few keys in order to advance to the next levels. Sometimes there are some enemies, sometimes there aren’t. You’ll constantly see segments on levels in which you simply can’t reach without cooperative gameplay. For this reason Spelunker is most enjoyable with friends beside you, and thankfully you only need to use one joycon in order to play it. Then again, if you’re with friends, you’ll probably have better games to play.
The biggest problem of all in this game, however, isn’t even related to something in the game itself. The biggest flaw of Minna de Wai Wai! Spelunker is, by far, its pricetag. As of May 2nd 2017, this game’s asking price in the Japanese eShop is 5,378 yen, which roughly translates to 48 dollars. This game is too expensive for what it offers. Remember, it used to be a F2P game on other consoles.
It’s quite hard for me to recommend Spelunker for the Switch to anyone. It’s not a terrible game, but it can’t even reach the status of a mediocre one. It might provide a little bit of enjoyment if you’re playing with more people at the same time, but its incredibly irritating deaths, lackluster presentation and insanely expensive pricetag are way too disappointing.
If you desperately want to play this game, stick to Spelunker World for the PS4. It’s as mediocre, but hey, it’s free.