App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
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The Cally’s Caves series feels a bit like a mix between Mega Man and Ratchet and Clank. They’re 2D action-adventure games where you play as a girl named Cally who arms herself with all sorts of upgradeable weapons as she fights her way through tons of enemies in whatever her quest happens to be. This latest release, Cally’s Caves 4, has you chasing down The Amulet of Valerius in what is another solid, though still somewhat easy, action platformer.
Cally’s Caves 4 is structured like a very traditional action-adventure game. You take control of Cally and jump and shoot your way through a variety of worlds, each of which has their own boss at the end of them. Along the way, there are tons of smaller enemies to contend with as well as new weapons to gather and collectibles to hunt down that can help you in your fight.
Each world is presented as interconnected stages on a mini-map that looks quite a bit like maps in “metroidvania”-style games, but Cally’s Caves 4 doesn’t quite follow the same format of games in that genre. The focus here is much more on combat, platforming, and upgrading your weapons rather than finding new traversal tools to unlock new areas.
If you’ve played any previous Cally’s Caves games, none of this should sound surprising. As a sequel, Cally’s Caves 4 doesn’t do much to shake up the series. Instead, it simply inserts new weapons, enemies, upgrades, and environments while improving the visuals and adding some small control tweaks. Otherwise, the core gameplay is largely untouched.
Although there is not much of an exploration element to Cally’s Caves 4, it compensates for this by equipping you with an arsenal of interesting weapons and upgrade paths for all of them that can open up a lot of combat options and change the way you play the game.
Every weapon levels up the more you use it, and you can further customize your weapons by adding elemental properties and other modifications to them. Cally also levels up as you play, and you can buy additional equipment for her like a radio to call in supply drops, a radar to find collectibles, and more. This is all available in the base, free version of Cally’s Caves 4, but escalates to new heights if you purchase additional game modes like New Game+, Survival, and Qwerty Zone, all of which feature new enemies to test out your upgraded firepower on. It’s also worth noting that purchasing new modes also disables ads that appear when moving between stages in the free version.
Shooting fish in a barrel
As cool as it is to level up your character and weapons in Cally’s Caves 4, this new entry in the series still suffers from combat encounters that are generally too easy. Most enemies can simply be dealt with by standing a safe distance away and pelting them with bullets.
Although the final world or two of Cally’s Caves 4 begins to introduce enemies that force you to use some different tactics, it’s a case of too little, too late. By that point, it’s likely you’ve gotten enough character upgrades to stay alive through most fights, even if you aren’t playing very carefully. There is still fun to be had here if you enjoy following an upgrade path, but if you are coming to Cally’s Caves 4 looking for a challenging action game, you’ll most likely be disappointed.
The bottom line
Cally’s Caves 4 is mostly just more Cally’s Caves, which is both a good and bad thing. The amount of upgrading and unlocking you can do here is a cut above previous entries in the series, but the combat still leaves something to be desired. Although there is a ton to do in Cally’s Caves, its lack of challenge might reduce your motivation to pursue all of it.