The PlayStation Network is quickly becoming the go-to home for beloved indie game ports - both for console and handhelds. From "Thomas Was Alone" to "Mutant Blobs Attack!!!," "Sound Shapes" to "Retro City Rampage," Sony's PSN has provided its gamers with some of the best indie games of the past few years. This week they add one more name to their ever-growing list as indie dev Mossmouth's "Spelunky" makes the move to the PlayStation 3 and PS Vita, with some help from BlitWorks. Originally released for PCs back in 2008, the title quickly became a hit, and eventually saw an enhanced release on the Xbox Live Arcade in 2012, and now the game is finally landing on Sony's platforms. This release also signifies "Spelunky"'s first handheld release, allowing gamers to get their exploration in on the go.
"Spelunky" is known for its unforgiving, randomly-generated caves that test players' skill and patience. It has become a prime example of what a small team of dedicated developers can create, as well as how a game like this can evolve to see release on multiple platforms. At its core, "Spelunky" hasn't changed too much: you still play as an intrepid adventurer exploring mines to loot them of treasure. The gold and gems that you can grab, the richer you'll be… as long as you can make it out of the caverns with your four hearts in tact.
The PlayStation 3 and Vita releases are in line with the Xbox Live update of the game, offering enhanced graphics and multiplayer options. However, while most of the port remains the same, the multiplayer sees a fundamental change, allowing both Cross Play and Cross Save functionality on both of Sony's devices. The most interesting part of this is that players can join their friends across platforms, so anyone with a Vita can join a local game on a PlayStation 3 with just the click of a button. This addition instantly enhances the experience, as it allows for players to explore the mines freely in a multiplayer game, as they aren't tethered to the same screen. Plus it adds to the value of one Cross Buy purchase of "Spelunky" for anyone that has both systems, making it easy to pick up and play with your friends.
It's pretty well established that "Spelunky" is a great game no matter what platform it's on, but the Vita version does offer an experience that you can't get anywhere else: there's finally a portable version of "Spelunky." A title like this, that allows for a lot of gameplay in a short amount of time fits perfectly on a mobile console like the Vita. Since it's possible to jump in and jump out of games so quickly and easily, players can try tackling another level or two when they have a free minute or two. This accessibility makes this version of the game one of the best, and besides, it looks great on the Vita's screen.
Much has already been said about "Spelunky," from admiring it for its ingenuity, to cursing it for its difficulty. On its own it’s a solid release, but the tech that the PlayStation 3 and the PS Vita bring to the table help give it some extra legs, and makes it easier to play with friends. If you have already spent some time with "Spelunky" on another platform, this release is likely still worth your time - especially if you have a Vita. "Spelunky" will fit right in with your portable library, and will offer you hours and hours of challenging levels, as you try your best to climb the leaderboards. On the other hand, if you haven't tried "Spelunky" yet, and you own a PlayStation 3 or Vita, then you really have no excuse not to now.
Score: 8 out of 10