My review for Cally's Caves 3 - a colorful and rather difficult action platformer

Cally's Caves 3 is a colorful but rather difficult run & gun platformer with plenty of unique weapons and combat styles to chose from as well as enemies to fight.

It also features a frankly impressive amount of content. The standard playthrough will take you around 6 hours during which you will visit many different zones, find various weapons ranging from boomerangs to rocket launchers as well as a whole bunch of enemies and bosses to use them on. 

And once you're done with all of that you'll still have new game modes and levels available to you, the most interesting of which is the New Game + mode which ups the challenge and adds many new enemies for you to fight and upgrades to collect.

 

Cally's Caves 3 follows the story of Cally whose parents get kidnapped literally 1 second after starting the game forcing her to go on a quest to save them, the only way she knows how, by using overwhelming force with extreme prejudice on everyone and anything that might stand in her way.

Along your journey you will find plenty of unique weapons, 15 of them in total, all of which will become a lot stronger as you continue to use them. The good news is that all of the weapons are really satisfying to use with my personal favorites being the flamethrower which served as my go-to close range weapon and oddly enough the boomerang which is a lot more efficient than you might imagine.

The annoying part is that while the leveling system allows you to improve your weapons through frequent use it also somewhat chains you to certain weapons, especially late game, because why bother leveling that newly acquired laser from level 1 when you already have a level 19 spear gun. Personally I would've preferred if the weapons you found later in the game started with a couple of levels already in them so you didn't have to tickle Balrogs to death as you level them.

But other than the leveling complaint I was rather pleased with how the weapons were handled, there was plenty of diversity and many of the them felt like they had roles no other weapon could fulfill. For example you can use the spear gun to create platforms for yourself to stand on or you can use bombs to rain death on enemies below you, tasks that are completely unique to them. The only items that became obsolete to me where the two beginner ones, the pistol and the shotgun, but since they were by far the least interesting ones I don't consider that much of an issue.

Cally's Caves 3 stars zombie robots

 Zombie robots, because when you're a mad scientist you might as well go all out

But the most important thing one needs to know about an action-platformer is how good the controls and mechanics are. And I'm happy to be able to say that Cally's Caves controls rather fluidly, which is quite commendable when you consider that it first released on mobile platforms which, let's face it, aren't exactly known for having tight controls. Through the combination of triple jumping, melee attacks and plenty of weapons that require close quarters you will be spending the majority of the game on the move so its a good thing indeed that it controls so nicely.

The same goes for the actual shooting as well, all of the weapons handle exactly as you would expect them to and are a joy to use due to a combination of flashy visuals and some great sound design. Throwing a boomerang through a couple of enemies might be one of the most satisfying things around simply due to all of the hit sounds overlapping in to a symphony of destruction.

Cally's Caves 3 has some great weapon effects

 A spammable rocket launcher? Sign me up!

On the topic of mobile platforms, two of my main complaints stem from there. First of all the menus are finicky to control as they were clearly designed for a touch interface but even though you can now use both a mouse and keyboard on them they still seemingly have a 50% chance of ignoring your inputs. Luckily you spend very little time messing around with them but its still something I'd like to see addressed.

Which leads me to my main issue, the fact that the only way to cycle through 15 weapons is to go through them one by one. This becomes especially aggravating in the late game where you need to use a combination of items in order to clear a path which means mashing the swap button, overshooting the item you wanted to reach, then mashing the swap button another 15 times.

We all have a keyboard full of buttons available to us so I would've greatly appreciated being able to keybind some of my favorites to them. As it stands I'd imagine most people are going to be sticking to one weapon at a time rather than switching constantly to fit the occasion simply because its so hard to quickly get to the weapon you want.

Cally's Caves 3 allows you to reflect enemy projectiles

The eternal joy of reflecting a demon's projectile back at his face

As I said before, Cally's Caves is rather difficult given that enemies are numerous, quite durable, and capable of inflicting a lot of damage to you in a short period of time. Despite ending up dead a fair few times I can't really say my demise was ever unfair because for every encounter I found myself dying on I later discovered an easier, or just smarter way of dealing with it.

It also helps that death in Cally's Caves is not too big of a deal, losing you only a chunk of money as well as a bit of time since you have to work your way back from one of the rather numerous checkpoints.

Speaking of money, it represents one of the main reasons you will want to explore all of the levels and find all of the hidden treasure, the other two being weapon pickups and collectibles which unlock new levels. Money is used in shops in order to either upgrade your gear or to buy consumables such as health potions or short term damage boosters but there is a catch, almost everything besides the first few upgrades is really expensive so you will need to choose in what sort of a direction you will take your character in.

Cally's Caves 3 can be a rather difficult game

Oh bugger...

Given that the difficulty in Cally's Caves is rather well balanced you won't even need to touch the shop during your normal mode playthrough, unless you want to pick up some of the cheaper but quite useful upgrades such as the sword + damage one or just some consumables to help with the boss fights. The expensive upgrades that will taunt you throughout your first playthrough will only really become affordable in New Game + so if you really want to see what a poisoned & electrified Flamethrower can do then you'll just have to give New Game + a try.

Besides the excellently done New Game + mode you also have the option to play a bunch of missions with your sidekick character, a cute karate bear called Bera which focuses more on melee combat and platforming rather than shooting, as well as a an optional survival mode and even a challenging new set of levels for you to test your upgraded skills against. In short, there is plenty of new content and bosses to fight even after you've "beaten" the game.

Cally's Caves 3 has an adorable karate bear companion

The cutest thing

Speaking of bosses, my opinion is somewhat divided when it comes to them. On one hand a few of them offered me a genuine challenge that sparked within me the same determination that Dark Souls once did but then on the other hand they are all incredibly easy to cheese and the whole thing becomes a fight within your conscience on whether you want to do it "properly" or just get it done quickly.

Most of this stems from the fact that the spear gun's projectile-shattering properties are ridiculously overpowered against bosses since you will be capable of constantly dealing damage while almost completely negating any coming your way. Even the final boss of normal mode could be beaten this way whereas if you tried to do it "properly" you'd be in for one hell of a difficult fight.

As you can see, it is up to you whether you will "cheat" or not but it still made me feel like a chump trying to do some of the bosses the "proper" way only to get consistently slammed in to the ground all the while the solution kept taunting me from behind the swap key. A minor complaint, I know, but these sort of things are important to me so I felt I should mention it.

Cally's Quest 3 has some rather silly bosses

The years have not been kind

Graphically Cally's Caves looks great. I don't know if black sorcery was involved but despite the game originating on mobile platforms the graphics look nice, crisp and detailed rather than blocky and up-scaled as one might expect in 1080p. There are lots of unique backgrounds, enemies and bosses which all tend to look pretty good so overall I'm very pleased with how Cally's Caves looks.

The only complaint I have with the visuals is that the cutscene characters are a pixelated blurry mess from which you can't really discern any details but since they represent such a tiny amount of game time its barely worth mentioning. But even so I do hope they get fixed up eventually as they detract from the experience.

And finally, the music. It should probably tell you enough about my opinion on the soundtrack when my only complaint is that I wish there was more of it. Its nice and cheerful but still up-beat and exciting enough to get you pumped for the fights ahead and most importantly it fits the game really well so I honestly have no complaints on this front.

Verdict

Cally's Caves 3 is a well made action-packed platformer with plenty of weapons, enemies, and areas to offer you as well as just enough difficulty to force you to play smart without actually becoming annoying. When I first started I expected a game I would finish in a couple of hours but as it turns out there is plenty of content on offer here, even once you've "beaten" the game.

It has a few problems, mostly related to how the UI and weapon swapping work, but even with that in mind I still feel I can fully recommend Cally's Caves 3 to anyone that's looking for an oldschool run & gun game with plenty of variety, nice visuals and a good amount of challenge to it.

You can get grab Cally's Caves 3 on Steam.

Comments  

# JamieDixon 2018-03-29 11:24
I was just searching for a gameplay of this game on a best assignment writing service australia but couldn't find it.Now i found it finally. This is really good. I love the game.
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