• Choose a game setting wisely – too boring or too crowded can affect player immersion and retention.
  • Cave games capitalize on mystery and creativity, allowing developers to weave exciting secrets.
  • From eerie depths to hilarious traps, cave-themed games like Spelunky offer challenging and rewarding experiences.

The setting of a game has the potential to make or break it. Choose one that’s boring and players are less likely to get immersed in the world, and in turn, are more likely to drop it. Try to put too many in a single game and resources might be spread too thin, where a lot of things will be incorporated, but with less substance.


ARK: Survival Ascended – Every Cave Ranked By Difficulty

Individual tests of strength, ARK: Survival Ascended’s caves are dangerous and unforgiving, but there are plenty of ways to successfully beat them.

Games set in caves can solve a lot of these problems, capitalizing on their real-life dark and mysterious nature. It’s a known fact that the deepest parts of caves are often physically inaccessible to humans. This means that game developers get to creatively fill in the blanks of what secrets these natural wonders may hold.

1 Cave Story

Metascore: 89

Fighting enemies in Cave Story

Cave Story
December 20, 2004

Studio Pixel, Nicalis, Variant Interactive

Step into a wonderfully realized 8-bit metroidvania platformer that takes place entirely in the cave system of an air-bound island. In Cave Story, players must shoot and dodge their way through caverns, while jamming out to its absolutely infectious soundtrack.

These caves are big enough to house everything from smaller creepy critters to some massive, murderous machinery that must be combated if players want to see the light of day again. Thankfully, the adorable NPCs keep the journey through these dank corridors light-hearted until the end.

2 Below

Metascore: 70

Combat On Cavern Floor In Below

  • Platform(s): Windows, Xbox One, PS4
  • Released: December 14, 2018
  • Developer: Capybara Games
  • Genres​​​​​​(s): Action-Adventure

Below is a game that lives by its all-enveloping, mysterious aura, as players must explore the innards of an ever-changing mountain. It’s a roguelike, so the mastery of the game’s combat is an absolute must.

Dark and eerie in equal measure, Below can seem overwhelming at times, especially as the camera is pulled far overhead to show just how vast the game’s caves are. But if the drive to survive is there, players will be rewarded with some serene moments by the campfire to toil away at their crafting supplies while preparing for the next deep dive.

3 Deep Rock Galactic

Metascore: 85


Deep Rock Galactic
May 13, 2020

Ghost Ship Games

It’s a rough life for the dwarves of Deep Rock Galactic, as they must probe the planets’ depths at the behest of their corporate overlords. It’s up to the player, then, to make sure they come back from a given operation.


Every Class In Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor, Ranked

Deep Rock Galactic: Survivor offers four dwarven classes for players to choose from. Here’s how they stack up against each other.

4-player crews take on objective-based excursions, a la Left 4 Dead or Warhammer: Vermintide, through the game’s elaborate and diverse caves. Whether the goal is to gather resources or old equipment, each run is given a well-needed shake-up by every dwarf’s unique skills that help with either combat or navigation.

4 Spelunky

Metascore: 87

Spelunky 1 Gameplay

October 21, 2008



One of the most naturally hilarious and frustrating games there is, Spelunky asks players to learn every inch of its rule book to avoid the caves becoming their tomb. And then, regardless of how prepared or experienced they might be, they’ll still get impaled by ground spikes when least expected.

Or maybe it will be an arrow trap to do them in. Or maybe they’ll accidentally anger the shopkeeper and meet their fate at the end of his shotgun. No matter how a run ends, it’s hard to escape the call of the caves, since a new, procedurally generated map is just a hop, skip, and a whip-crack away.

5 The Cave

Metascore: 70

3 Characters Standing On Ridge In The Cave

  • Platform(s): PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360, Windows, OS X, Linux, iOS, Android
  • Released: January 23, 2013
  • Developer: Double Fine Productions
  • Genre(s): Puzzle-Platformer, Adventure

The Cave is aptly named for several reasons. For one, the game takes place entirely in a cave where players must solve puzzles to get progress. The second reason is that the cave itself is a character. And not in a cliché way. It actually talks to players!

This is where Double Fine’s iconic humor kicks in. During single or multiplayer exploration, the cave will crack jokes and hilariously describe much of what the player encounters. The game is designed for multiple playthroughs, allowing for the selection of different time-displaced protagonists every time to see how puzzles differ.

6 Cave Crawler

Metascore: N/A

Rover Exploring Cave In Cave Crawler

  • Platform: Windows
  • Released: April 18, 2023
  • Developer: Technomancy Studios
  • Genre(s): Adventure

Much of Cave Crawler is played in relative silence, with only the sounds of the player-controlled rover rolling across the dirt floor, the movement of the camera, and echoing water droplets being heard. It goes without saying that the game packs a lot of atmosphere into its half-hour runtime.


15 Best Free Games On Itch.io

Gamers on a budget will find there are some absolutely fantastic titles that won’t cost them a dime on Itch.io.

Slowly slinking through the cave, players work to uncover the fate of a team of lost miners. To pack even more of a horrific punch, the game is seen through an unsettling, lo-fi VHS playback filter, framing it as found footage after some sort of tragedy has occurred.

7 SteamWorld Dig

Metascore: 82

Rusty in the mines in SteamWorld Dig

SteamWorld Dig
August 7, 2013

Image & Form

Action-Adventure , Metroidvania

The objective couldn’t be any more clear than it is in SteamWorld Dig. That is, dig, dig, upgrade, and dig, some more, while a steady stream of upgrades is tossed in protagonist Rusty’s direction.


Every SteamWorld Game, Ranked

Fans of the SteamWorld franchise may be interested to know how each game measures up.

Tumbleton’s robo-citizens running its various shops and dealing a deluge of handy tools to aid in the players’ next plunge are at the heart of the operation. And it’s truly thanks to them that Rusty can continue his exploratory expeditions until the game’s conclusion.


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From the Gravemind to Captain Glory, there are countless intense boss battles set in the ominous vacuum of space.


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