Now, that's hardly a game-changing revelation for an experienced Spelunky player; heck, the mandatory tutorial level practically forces you to run through a set of spikes, so it's not inconceivable that you might learn in the very first level that these thickets of blades, which bring instant death to anyone foolish enough to land on them, are completely safe to walk through.
Yet somehow, I never did. In almost a hundred hours of play I never bothered to question my (totally logical) approach to circumventing floor spikes, which was to stay as far away from them as possible. I played it safe in Spelunky, wasting a lot of time gingerly leaping about like a fool that could have been better spent enriching myself with the gold and precious gems scattered throughout every level.
Believe it or not, I learned something about myself from this experience. My real life is sorely lacking in the gold and precious gems department, but other than that it pretty handily mirrors my experience playing Spelunky: I'm cautious, presumptuous, and I waste time playing it safe when I should be chasing my dreams. This game helped me better understand my own weaknesses, and that alone makes it well worth the $15 asking price.
Spelunky is a difficult game to criticize because it never purports to be anything more than what it is: a roguelike 2D platformer with randomly-generated levels and a panoply of enemies, traps and items that react with each other in predictable ways. It is all of these things and more, a challenge engine that never pulls punches and never wastes your time with cruft like cutscenes or quicktime events.
In short, it's a brilliant game that respects your time and your capacity for self-improvement. Everyone should play it.
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