There have been many classic couch co-op games in the past and each one has brought its own characteristics, quirky moments and plenty of arguments from across the sofa. Unfortunately these games have been few and far between or haven’t been to the standard expected in recent times and Caveman Warriors tries to fix that but the end result doesn’t quite deliver. A side scrolling 2D platform game, Caveman Warriors sees up to four players make their way through each of its levels, each set in a different environment and each with its own obstacles, enemies and boss fights to get through. The game begins with your children being kidnapped by aliens and you set on your journey across different levels, using one and at times all of the four different characters available to rescue them.
Each of the cavemen and women have their own unique abilities that will need to be used at different points throughout the game to get through certain sections of the levels and they all come armed with special attacks too. Each one of their special attacks will have some kind of use against certain kinds of enemies where melee attacks just aren’t enough. It can be played as a solo game and if you decide to play Caveman Warriors on your own, you will need to scroll through the characters using the bumper buttons in order to select the one you need, but you are free to use them as you wish. If you play it through in co-op mode though, each player will take up one of the cavemen, so there will be some reliance on your friends to deliver with their chosen character.
On the surface, Caveman Warriors looks like a typical 2D platform game and it is to a certain degree, but what it tries to do is offer a mix of varied gameplay styles, but it doesn’t quite manage it and ends up being just like any other 2D platform game. Utilising the different abilities of each character will occur in various situations and every character will have their uses at different times throughout the game. Overall it plays well with jumping and melee controls being responsive and there is a huge emphasis put on utilising all of the different character styles and super moves throughout. If you are playing the game solo however, this can become a little troublesome, especially if you need a particular character quickly and scrolling through to get the character you need could end up costing you a life if you’re under attack.
This obviously isn’t a problem in local co-op when playing with other players but you’re not going to have other players with you all the time so the lack of an online option limits the possibilities considerably. So while it plays pretty well, the overall experience is somewhat let down by its limitations in solo mode and I just think that there could of been a more user friendly way of choosing the desired character needed or even adding an online ‘jump in jump out’ option to it to assist when getting overrun in certain situations.
The cartoon style that Caveman Warriors adopts is actually very pleasing on the eye; its visuals are sharp and vibrant, with an abundance of colour on screen. The environments are crisp and clear with lovely, sharp backdrops accompanying the various different level designs. Character models are also pretty detailed and pop with vibrancy on screen with the overall look of the game resembling something you would find straight out of a Nickelodeon animated series. Animations are smooth and much like the visuals; they adopt an animated series style to them, adding to the overall quirkiness of the title. Performance all round was very good with smooth animations and no frame rate drops anywhere to be seen, even with a lot going on at once in certain areas.
The level design is well thought out and has a mixture of different styled environments, with one involving you riding a dinosaur, equipped with a harness and rock cannons as an example. There are moments of repetition with enemies though as in some of the later levels, despite the enemies looking different, they are actually re-skinned versions of earlier enemies, which is a little disappointing. This doesn’t apply so much to the end of level fights though as the boss characters are not only quite varied in their design and how they must be defeated but they are some of the stand out characters in the game full stop.
There are secret levels attached to the main levels on the map that can be unlocked by picking up collectibles on the way. You must have a certain amount of these to access those additional levels and the same applies for progressing through the main levels of the game too. The only way to jump in to the second half of the game is making sure you have these collectibles acquired; otherwise you will need to go back to past levels to collect some more before you can progress. I can understand to a point about putting this in there to unlock the secret levels, but to do it with the main games progress is a little odd.
It isn’t the longest of games, which could be the reason why they have decided to do it this way but its still a decent length overall and going back to get all the collectibles needed for the secret levels is certainly a good way of increasing the games length. With the developers putting this feature in there adds a little incentive to go back through certain levels, but once all of this is done there won’t be many other reasons to revisit the game for another playthrough. Caveman Warriors isn’t a bad game, it’s just very average at best and while it tries hard to offer some originality, it falls short in certain areas. If you are in to quirky 2D platform games, then it might be worth checking this out when it’s in a sale, but there are far better platform games out there that offer a better experience for a similar, or a cheaper price point.