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Enchanted Cave Review: Skip the game, buy the coffee

I’m a sucker for dungeon-crawlers. And in the case of Enchanted Cave, a real sucker.

Gamers often waffle over the price of games on the app store. We see a lot of, “Oh, I don’t know. The game is $1.99. I might not like it. I think I’d better wait until it’s on sale.”

To which we often reply, “It’s less than a cup of coffee. Skip your Starbucks today and support a game developer.”

And in the case of Enchanted Cave, I’d have been more satisfied had I bought that cup of coffee instead.

Enchanted Cave is an iPad dungeon crawler, giving you a view of the dungeon that is somehow smaller than an iPhone display. What awaits you in this cave is not enchantment, but boredom. The game lacks any semblance of strategy. Combat is completely automated. You move through the dungeon hitting bad things and picking up good things. Sometimes you find wings which allow you to teleport out of the dungeon to the shop. But when you do, you lose most of your good things, keeping only your artifacts and gold. There are no experience points and monsters do not drop gold, so it behooves you to avoid combat whenever you can. The controls are terrible — four arrow keys tucked into the lower-right corner of the screen. Your inventory and the game’s text are ridiculously small and difficult to make out, which is simply criminal given the size of the iPad’s display. The developers have tried so hard to cram literally EVERYTHING into a single screen that they’ve pretty much ruined any notion of user-friendliness or functional design.

“I love dungeon-crawlers,” I thought. “It can’t be that bad.” And yet it was.

To wit, Enchanted Cave is one of the most poorly executed and pointless dungeon-crawlers I’ve ever wasted my time with. Consider this review a public service announcement: do not buy this game.

Enchanted Cave is developed by Robots & Pencils, and retails for $2.99. Reviewed on an iPad.




  1. Robleokin on Friday 5, 2010

    Totally disagree with this review. Sorry, Matt, but I believe you totally missed the point here. This game started its life as a humble flash game, see:
    http://www.kongregate.com/games/DustinAux/the-enchanted-cave
    Which is why the graphics are the way they are. I admit they could have been re-designed for the iPad, but my main point is that there is definitely gameplay in there that you missed. For example, you do get gold by killing monsters, which you obviously didn’t notice, as you said that they do not drop gold. There is strategy in that you can choose to fight for the treasure they guard or not which will depend on your currently equipped items. While there is no EXP point system per se, the player collects gems that improve stats which I like as it avoids “grinding” for EXP. As for the “wings” you said you “sometimes” find, you are wrong there too. You will *always* find those wings, and they enable you to escape the dungeon when your health is low and keep your artifacts, gold and stats; this is a key strategy element, knowing when to pull out. So then you get to start again with better equipment and better stats and can buy a few pieces of good equipment off the bat so you can get through those initial levels quickly and get ever deeper on each attempt at the dungeon, making the 100 levels possible. I’ve been playing RPGs for years now, everything from roguelikes to the Elder Scrolls series and I say there’s still room for this simple game with it’s minimalist approach as it has a certain charm that has gotten this flash game 1,212,556 plays on Kongregate at the time of writing this; that’s more than a million people.
    I suggest you take another look at this one and at the price you could probably do that ANDdrink the coffee!