The Cave Xbox 360 / PS3 / Wii

The Cave Xbox 360 / PS3 / Wii
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As the brains behind LucasArts' '80s computer classics Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island, Ron Gilbert popularized the point-and-click adventure genre alongside former colleague Tim Schafer, who now runs cult studio Double Fine. Well, the band is back together on The Cave, a side-scrolling puzzle-platformer based on a 25-year-old concept from Gilbert and a 2500-year-old allegory from Plato. As with Maniac Mansion, you can play any three of seven possible characters — a time traveler, monk, creepy twins, knight, hillbilly, etc. — who need to work in concert to spelunk the self-aware and rather sarcastic cave. In fact, some areas can only be reached using certain characters, so a full exploration, not to mention completing each character's individual story, would require multiple play-throughs with different casts. Fittingly, The Cave is dark in tone and can be occasionally frustrating in design, but its dedication to being strange and smart in an art form that often has too little of both will keep you exploring ever deeper. (Double Fine/Sega)