Version Reviewed: 1.1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
Cally's Caves 3 is a free-to-play platformer inspired by games like Metriod and Castlevaniawhere players take control of Cally as she tries to rescue her parents from the Nefarious Herbert. From a content perspective there's a lot to like about this entry in the Cally's Caves series, even without making any in-app purchases. Although it feels like a bit of a hamstrung version ofCastlevania, it's still pretty enjoyable and challenging.
Cally's Caves 3 starts with a very straightfoward intro in which Herbert takes Cally's family (again), and from there it's up to players to jump, shoot, and melee their way through stages to get ever closer to rescuing them. Like the previous titles, Cally's Caves 3 is controlled using on-screen buttons that work just fine, though they can occasionally obscure the action or be hard to hit.
As players make it from stage to stage they encounter checkpoints, stores, weapons, and abilities, all of which help them survive and rise to the increasing challenges that Cally's Caves 3 has to offer. Unlike more casual versions of these games, survivability is pretty important because dying results in a loss of funds and being booted back to the nearest checkpoint, which could be a pretty significant loss of progress. Luckily, in addition to being able to find or buy upgrades, Cally and her weapons earn experience and level-up, which can allow for progress even after spending or losing significant amounts of in-game currency.
At the end of any given world, bosses appear and players must fell them to move forward. In terms of the overall combat bosses offer up most of the interesting experience in Cally's Caves 3, while a lot of the enemies littered throughout worlds feel more like tedious fodder than anything else. Even with the introduction of new weapons and skills, few things are as effective at taking out regular enemies as melee attacks, which leave them stunned in place to keep receiving additional sword hits.
The combat in Cally's Caves 3 is definitely its biggest weakness. Enemy placement seems intentionally designed for players to use cheap tactics against them rather than have to actually engage them directly. Many early enemies are on separate platforms, many of which scream "jump and shoot me until I die." Even when this isn't the case, Cally's sword can strike and stun enemies over and over again until they're dead, which also doesn't feel particularly satisfying.
Cally's Caves 3 offers several different environments for players to explore, some interesting platforming, and abilities that give them reasons to go back and check out previously inaccessible sections of early stages. It just stinks that this is somewhat marred by some pretty middling combat. As a free game though,it has completely unobtrusive ad placement and serves up the entire main game (with in-app purchases only being for additional modes and weapon levels), which is hard to complain about.