‘Cally’s Caves 4’ Review – Out of the Caves, Into the Fire

One of the remarkable things about the first three games in the Cally’s Caves series of action-platformers is in how far they came in a relatively short time. The first game is quite primitive compared to the third, but they released only a couple of years apart. The thing about gains like that is that they rarely scale in a linear fashion. Cally’s Caves 3 [Free] was an outstanding accomplishment for an indie game, presenting something that wouldn’t have been terribly out of place as a retail release on a dedicated handheld. There’s really only so much more Cally’s Caves 4 [Free] could realistically be expected to do to top that. True to that, this is more or less another helping of the high-quality action found in Cally’s Caves 3. For whatever it lacks in novelty, however, it makes up for by burying you in quantity.

If you’re new to this series, the Cally’s Caves games are action-platformers in the vein of something like Mega Man X. You play as a little girl named Cally who starts off with little more than a pea-shooter and a sword but eventually amass a rather large arsenal of projectile weapons. These weapons are upgraded in a fashion similar to Sony’s Ratchet & Clank series. The more you use them, the more powerful they become, even changing shape and function at certain intervals. Cally can also level up herself, increasing her health stats among other bonuses. You can also upgrade your character using the gobs of coins dropped by enemies and found in treasure boxes scattered throughout the stages. Each world is made up of several discrete stages and culminates in a boss battle. The stages themselves tend to be small but open, with lots of opportunities for secrets and tricky platforming to go along with the shooting and slicing.

The previous game in the series made some leanings in the direction of a Metroid-style set-up where you would earn new abilities and need to backtrack through levels to find secrets. Cally’s Caves 4 steps away from that a little, instead focusing more on linear progression with the occasional branch in the road. While there are a few things you’ll have to go back to previous stages to get later on, almost everything important to find in Cally’s Caves 4 can be acquired on your first run through each stage. The one major exception to this comes from a new scanning item that requires you to clear out all of the enemies in a stage before you’re able to use it. Each stage has its own specific document piece that you can find through this method, and you will almost certainly need to return to certain stages to find everything.

While there are a few changes to the gameplay mechanics, the general feel of the game is similar to the last one. That’s a good thing, mind you. Apart from some dicey reactions to collisions, this is a series that benefits from excellent controls and physics. The spread of weapons is great, and I can’t imagine any given player wouldn’t be able to find at least a couple of favorites in the bunch. If none of them are doing exactly what you’d like, there’s no need to fear. Late in the game, you’ll be able to modify the weapons using scraps that you’ve picked up along the way, adding things like a stun effect or a wider shot to whichever guns you please. The very process of leveling up the weapons is compelling in and of itself. When a gun changes into a new form, you not only get new capabilities but also a new sprite to represent that weapon.

Cally and her friends are no longer confined to the caves, either. In fact, there’s a surprisingly large variety of locales and themes to the stages in Cally’s Caves 4. Since they don’t really flow into each other that well at all anymore, you now operate out of a headquarters that serves as a hub. The game’s shops are now located there rather than being dropped along the road, and you can fly out to any checkpoint you’ve tagged when you’re ready to depart. You can return to your headquarters at any time by exiting out to the title screen, and there’s no penalty for doing so. Should you want to grab a quick upgrade or some consumables, it’s quite easy to zip out, do some shopping, and head right back to where you were.

This is all well and good, but it really turfs the difficulty of the game. It’s hard to believe this is the same series that nearly brought me to a furious rage with its first installment. In the main story mode that can be played for free, it’s quite unlikely you’ll ever die unless you’re really goofing off. Even if you do perish, the penalty is just a small handful of coins that you’ll probably make back up before you’ve even made it to the next board. Even the bosses are total push-overs. The game only starts to bare its teeth in the New Game+ mode, which actually picks up the story from the ending of the main mode. Even there, you probably won’t run into any real trouble. I certainly died more often, but only because I was trying to level up weaker guns and was lazy about using consumables. It was hard to care about the money penalty because I had already bought every upgrade by then, too.

It reminds me a little bit of the Nintendo 3DS game Super Mario 3D Land, where the main mode was the length of a regular Mario game, but kind of boring. The real game didn’t start until after you had cleared the main mode, unlocking a full-length extra game that actually put up a fight. Cally’s Caves 4 does the same thing. The main story mode is just as big as the previous games, if not a little bigger. The New Game+ more than doubles the length of the game and, as mentioned, is not so much a New Game+ as it is the second half of the game. There’s also a survival mode that is exactly what it says on the tin, and a special side-story called QWERTY Mode. Only the main story mode is free. You can buy the other modes a la carte or in one big bundle that includes a set of extra costumes for Cally.

While it’s awesome that the game includes so much content, it’s almost too much. I didn’t time myself but I’m pretty sure playing through the main story, New Game+, and QWERTY mode added up to more than 10 hours. I’ve played shorter RPGs, even. And that wouldn’t be bad except for the fact that the main story mode felt like a real grind by the end. Picking off enemies from a safe distance while parrying away almost every counter-attack got dull. Having to make blind jumps only to realize that I’d just missed an enemy and would have to restart at the last checkpoint to get my scan started to take a toll on my patience. And you really do want to get those scans as you go, because at least as far as I could notice, there’s no way to tell which areas you’ve successfully scanned and which you haven’t. By the time I got to the New Game+ mode, I was kind of tired of Cally’s Caves 4. And yet, I still had a very long road ahead of me. Admittedly a more enjoyable road, but I can’t help but feel like I had to slog through a lot of middling content to get there.

Now, your mileage may vary on this point. Certainly, I have to admit that it feels odd to complain about a small-scale developer including too much in one game. Cally’s Caves 4 is one of the longest games of this sort I’ve played anywhere, and it’s not like it’s recycling tremendous amounts of content to pad out its run-time, either. It’s just that big. Before I played the game, I had wondered why it had taken so long to make compared to its predecessors. While I was playing the main story mode, I really wondered. Once I realized the true nature of the entire game, however, I no longer had any questions about why the development took a couple of years. This is all the Cally’s Caves you could ask for, and then some. And then some more on top of that, too. The value for your buck here is incredible.

Looking beyond the simple equation of playtime for money, though, I’m not sure that the game does itself any favors in coupling such a long playtime with so deliberate a difficulty curve. I love this series and I think the gameplay mechanics are a blast, yet even I found myself wishing for the end to come well before it did. There’s a great game in Cally’s Caves 4, one that surpasses even the thrilling heights of the previous game. Unfortunately, it’s served in a giant casserole dish with a lot of less savory bites, and you can’t really pick out the lima beans here. In the end, the game taken as a whole isn’t nearly as consistent in its quality as Cally’s Caves 3. It’s still more than worth a go, but make sure you’re prepared for a lot of filler along with the killer.

🤔 Like this article?

We pride ourselves on delivering quality, long-form articles like this one instead of the SEO-driven click bait that is slowly taking over the internet. Unfortunately, articles like these rarely generate the traffic (and as a result, the ad revenue) of listicles, cheat guides, and other junk.

Please help us continue producing content like this by supporting TouchArcade on Patreon, doing your Amazon shopping by first visiting toucharcade.com/amazon, and/or making one-time contributions via PayPal.

TouchArcade

Out Now: ‘WonderWorlds’, ‘Cally’s Caves 4’, ‘Catan Stories’, ‘Words With Friends 2’, ‘Bubblegum Hero’, ‘Duke Dashington Remastered’, ‘ESWAT City Under Siege’, ‘Starman: Tale of Light’ and More

We’re mid-week and it’s time to round up the best new iOS game releases of the past 7 days. And let me tell you, this week’s list is as strong as usual and that’s not counting a handful of games that haven’t hit yet as of this writing. Games like Card City Nights 2, FlipFlop Solitaire, The Scrungeon Depths, South Park: Phone Destroyer and more! You can expect we’ll give you a heads up as these stragglers arrive leading into the weekend, but for now you’ll have plenty to keep you busy with what’s already available, which you can find in the full list below. As always let us know in the comments which games you’re excited about this week.


 

Become a Legend

iTunes Description

Become a Legend is a roguelite adventure about knights, dungeons, treasures, enemies, zombies, traps, final bosses… but especially, it’s an adventure where you have to forge your legend. Courage, knight.

Each dungeon is procedurally generated, so no two trips through darkness are ever the same, providing a fresh new adventure each time.

Dash through the dungeons, defeat your enemies, avoid the deffensive traps and upgrade your hero. While you overcome the dungeons, you’ll get more level and upgrades for your knight, needed for fighting against the darkness and its secrets.

Forum Thread: Become a Legend (By Pablo Martinez)


BoneSwiper

iTunes Description

Trapped in a dungeon, swipe left, right, up, or down, to combine and craft the best weapons, shields and potions. And kill as many skeletons as you can, that’s your score.

Forum Thread: BoneSwiper (By BonusLevel.org)


Bubblegum Hero

iTunes Description

How much gum would a hipster chew if a hipster could chew gum? Who would blow a bigger balloon – a toothless granny or a sumo fighter? Don’t you think it’s about time to find out?

Your main goal is to make the right bubblegum balloon. Not too small or it will flop and not too large or it will blast in your face. Make it perfect and you’ll get a combo multiplier and the leaderboard will be yours. Beware though, the higher combo you score, the more difficult the game will get!

There are over 20 heroes to pick from. Each one of them is a real bubblegum aficionado and playing as a different hero is where the joy comes from. Especially when you pop the balloon and the gum blasts all over your face!

Forum Thread: Bubblegum Hero (By Crimson Pine Games)


Cally’s Caves 4

iTunes Description

It’s time for Cally’s biggest adventure ever! On a mission to cure her friend Rupert’s curse, Cally must embark on a journey across the globe. Along the way, Cally will make new friends, discover a new arch-nemesis, and fight her way through hordes of enemies on the way to becoming the greatest hero in the world! Do you have what it takes to fight a secret society that holds the only thing that can save Rupert? Take on the challenge in the action platformer, Cally’s Caves 4!

Forum Thread: Cally’s Caves 4 (By Jordan Pearson)


Catan Stories

iTunes Description

DISCOVER THE WORLD OF CATAN
Set off on an adventure with Catan Stories: Legend of the Sea Robbers. Seventy years after the first settlers arrived on Catan, the island is enjoying peace and prosperity, but for how much longer? In this original text adventure, guide three heroes and explore the world of Catan through them. Each of your decisions will have consequences; the fate of the island is in your hands.

Forum Thread: Catan Stories (By Asmodee Digital)


Chef Curry ft. Steph & Ayesha

iTunes Description

Ever wanted to run a restaurant with basketball star Stephen Curry and his wife Chef Ayesha? Well now you can!

Welcome to the exciting world of Chef Curry.
Help Ayesha and Stephen race around the kitchen to prepare and serve meals for the hungry customers. Accommodate different personalities and cater to their needs.

Forum Thread: Chef Curry ft. Steph & Ayesha (By PM Studios)


Colour Quad

iTunes Description

Can you beat a score of 74?

Play the fast paced colour matching game.

Very simple gameplay.
Match the colour in the centre to the ball coming towards it.

Forum Thread: Colour Quad (by Michael Costa)


Complete Me – Tangram Puzzles

iTunes Description

Relax and enjoy Classic Tangrams challenge of fitting wooden pieces into a silhouette shape. Exercise your mind with hundreds of unique hand-crafted puzzles. Great fun for all ages!

Complete Me is a simple and addictive puzzle game that involves dragging and rotating wooden pieces from a top tray and fitting them into a silhouette shape at the bottom. Puzzles range in difficulty from Beginner to Advanced and are a great way to train your brain and keep you mentally fit everyday.

Forum Thread: Complete Me – Tangram Puzzles (by Roman Timurson)


Craft Away! – Idle Mining Game

iTunes Description

In Craft Away you’ll explore a beautiful world and mine thousands of blocks with one swipe of your finger. Befriend mobs and animals to mine by your side and craft awesome gear like potions, enchanted books, furnaces and pickaxes to enhance your journey. This is the world’s best incremental idle mining and crafting game!

Forum Thread: Craft Away! – Idle Mining Game (by Futureplay)


Demetrios

iTunes Description

Adventure, Visual Novel and puzzles mixed with silly jokes. 8 to 12 hours of fun!

Bjorn Thonen, a slob of an antique dealer living in Paris, is robbed one night after coming home drunk. Forced to conduct his own investigation with the help of his neighbor Sandra, he ends up involved in a murky, mysterious affair.

Will these unlikely heroes be able to rise up and discover ancient secrets?

Forum Thread: Demetrios (by COWCAT)


Disjoint

iTunes Description

Can you help two unlikely friends find treasure?
Follow Lucky and the hobo on their journey into the unknown as they solve mind bending, never before seen puzzles.

HAND CRAFTED PUZZLES
Swing, roll, stick and slide triangles around each other with 144 thoughtful puzzles, each both beautiful and challenging.

CHARMING STORY
A whole story that rhymes! Fully illustrated in comic book form and easy to read, follow our two unlikely and quirky heroes on an exciting and hilarious adventure.

CRISP, MINIMALIST VISUALS
Polished animations, with a colorful and minimalist visual design.

Forum Thread: Disjoint (by CopperBrain)


Duke Dashington Remastered

iTunes Description

Hop in the shoes of Duke Dashington, bumbling adventurer and explorer and save treasures from collapsing dungeons! You have only 10 seconds to escape each room before the ceiling collapses! Do you have what it takes to be the fastest treasure hunter in the world?

Originally released in 2014, Duke Dashington Remastered is a complete remake with improved controls, polished level design and completely redrawn graphics!

Forum Thread: Duke Dashington Remastered (By Jussi Simpanen)


ESWAT: City Under Siege

iTunes Description

ESWAT: City Under Siege is now available on mobile! Play free and rediscover SEGA’s power-armored platformer!

Liberty City is in the grip of an unstoppable crimewave. Gangs rule the streets and only cops in cybernetic power armor can hope to end the violence. Playing as Officer Duke Oda, you must don your cutting-edge ICE Combat Suit, fire up your plasma rifles, jet packs, and rockets to bring about peace once and for all!

ESWAT: City Under Siege joins the ever-increasing line-up of ‘SEGA Forever’, a treasure trove of free SEGA console classics brought to life on mobile for the first time!

Forum Thread: ESWAT City Under Siege Classic (By SEGA)


Foolball

iTunes Description

Foolball is a medieval sports game where two gladiators battle until the king is pleased. Those two gladiators battle by playing a game where the fool is a ball and burning loops are the goals.

Forum Thread: Foolball (By Sapeli Studio)


Ghoulboy Adventure

iTunes Description

Slay as many monsters as you can, collect loot, avoid dangerous traps and defeat menacing bosses.
Ghoulboy brings back the look and feel of the very best classic retro platformers from the 90’s, introducing refreshed and engaging gameplay mechanics. If you miss platformers from the 16-bit era, and think games nowadays aren’t that good anymore, think twice! Ghoulboy is for you.

Forum Thread: Ghoulboy Adventure (By Redro Games)


Hop Atop

iTunes Description

Hop Atop is the ultimate multiplayer animal battle game! The game is simple: hop atop other animals to survive and claim victory. With spikes, moving platforms and tons of worlds, Hop Atop is a crazy fun multiplayer experience. Using your device as a remote allows you to even duke it out on the big screen with Apple TV. Will the penguin beat the camel in the forest? Will the bird prove its power against the pig? Find out by playing online or on the same device with friends!

Forum Thread: Hop Atop (by Taplocity Studios)


Pin Blocks

iTunes Description

Pin Blocks is a challenging twist to Pinball. Keep the ball in the game and kill all the blocks in the level.

Forum Thread: Pin Blocks (by Rusty Bolt)


Sandcastles…

iTunes Description

Conjure castles from the sand, watch the sea consume them.

Features:
• A simple, intuitive interface.
• Unlimited sand.
• Pleasant seaside sounds.

A bundle of six additional styles of sandcastle is available as an In-App Purchase.

Forum Thread: Sandcastles… (By Vectorpark)


Starman: Tale of Light

iTunes Description

Guide Starman through breathtaking architectural sceneries with delicate atmospheres and elaborate puzzles. Recover the light, and bring life back!

Challenging.
You won’t find a single puzzle twice.

Magnificent.
Make the most of full screen mode, carefully adapted for the iPhone X.

Forum Thread: Starman: Tale of Light (By nada studio, sl)


Stormkats

iTunes Description

Stormkats is a 2D Side Scrolling Shooter with traditional hand-drawn graphics & animation, and packed with tons of action.

The planet is under attack! As a member of the Stormkats Unit, your mission is to protect the world. Shoot, dodge, survive and destroy the invaders. Several bosses awaits you on your way to Victory! Remember: There is no Peace without War.

Collect power ups, coins, unlock achievements and reach high scores in 5 leaderboards. There is even one for number of deaths, but unlike other cats, you have more than 9 lives…

Forum Thread: Stormkats (by Dung Nguyen)


Stranded: Escape The Room

iTunes Description

Tom and Jen wake up in an unfamiliar room of a strange house.

Your challenge is to help them escape the room.

Tap to move / find / use objects.

Solve puzzles by tapping to interact.

Forum Thread: Stranded: Escape The Room (by M9 Packaging Ltd)


Switchero – Dash n’ Retry

iTunes Description

Simple 2-touch gameplay to dash your way through challenging levels and haunting soundtracks. Avoid spikes, saws and bullet hell patterns to master these worlds almost impossible trials.

Can you beat every boss and become the new switch hero ?

Forum Thread: Switchero – Dash n’ retry (by Busy Breaks)


WonderWorlds

iTunes Description

Welcome to WonderWorlds, a place of limitless imagination, of adventure, discovery, beauty, and maybe just a little peril.

The Bozos have landed and it’s time for you to clear up! Grab, jump, tumble and throw your way through hundreds of hand-crafted levels collecting objects, stickers and costumes along the way.

But that’s not all. Have you ever wanted to make your own little dreamworld, or even waking nightmare? A medieval zoo, some kind of castle of superhero loneliness, or just a mad photo gallery of your holiday? A race track, a cheese festival, a turbo-powered hedgehog helicopter. It’s all there for the building, and the only limit is your imagination.

Forum Thread: WonderWorlds (by Tequila Works, SL)


Words With Friends 2

iTunes Description

THE WORLD’S MOST POPULAR MOBILE WORD GAME is better and more clever than ever with all new game modes built for the word player in all of us. Beautifully and intelligently redesigned, Words With Friends 2 is teeming with more ways to challenge your friends and your brain than ever before.

Want to boost your word game? Play against fictional characters in NEW Solo Challenge events, updated with new themes and opponents twice a month. Got a competitive streak? Jump in for a fast-paced team match to test your rapid word building skills in the NEW Lightning Round.

The classic one-on-one gameplay you love is here too and now you can earn unique themed badges for completing weekly challenges and scoring big against your friends. Words With Friends 2 backs up your gameplay by pulling in all your past games, friends and progress from previous versions. There’s nothing to lose, and more fun to gain!

Forum Thread: Words With Friends 2 (By Zynga)


znumberz

iTunes Description

Math puzzle game with infinite levels and four game modes.

You play on a 6×6 board with some tiles.

Every tile on the board is labeled with a number between 1 and 4.

A tile may only be moved by that amount on free positions.

Your goal is to move every tile once and turn it grey.

Forum Thread: znumberz (by Emanuele Feronato)


TouchArcade

Best New iPhone Games on Our Forums: ‘WonderWorlds’, ‘Catan Stories’, ‘Sandcastles’, ‘Cally’s Caves 4’, ‘Disjoint’, and More

Today’s made up holiday is Abet and Aid Punsters Day, which apparently is a day where you’re supposed to come up with terrible puns and encourage others to do the same. This holiday likely had more relevance before Reddit became a thing and terrible puns took over the internet. Regardless of where you stand on puns, there’s a load of awesome games that have come out this week along with a few more that we know of which haven’t popped up on the App Store yet like South Park Phone Destroyer. Stay tuned for that sometime later tonight or tomorrow!

Here’s all the games that have been posted to our forums:

As usual, keep an eye out for our full roundup later this evening.

TouchArcade

Epic Action-Platformer ‘Cally’s Caves 4’ Release Date Announced, Set to Roll Onto the App Store November 7th

Since I’ve officially become an adult (at least in the eyes of the state, maybe less so in reality), I like to feel my wiser, calmer and immensely more cynical self keeps me grounded in the lead-up to big mobile game releases. However, the occasional announcement does force me to dig out my season ticket for the metaphorical Hype Train from time to time, and the recent reveal of Cally’s Caves 4 has me in a state of excitement I haven’t experienced since the legendary soft-launch debut of Supercell’s Brawl Stars. I’m an absolute sucker for action-platformers with an emphasis on exploration and discovery, and considering how strong the previous entry in the series was, Cally’s Caves 4 is almost certainly going to contribute further to an incredible 2017 for mobile gaming. After a vague initial announcement, developer Jordan Pearson has finally announced a firm release date for the game, confirming Cally’s Caves 4 will release on November 7th for free on the App Store.

If this is the first you’ve heard of the Cally’s Caves series (where have you been these past few years?), the upcoming game is undoubtedly the best time to experience how steady iterative improvements over the years have resulted in one of mobile’s best exclusive franchises. Promising 320 levels, countless gargantuan bosses, a host of unique enemies and a brimming arsenal to deal with them, Cally’s Caves 4 looks to continue to refine the running and gunning formula even further, with more content than you can shake a katana at. I’d highly recommend giving the free to play Cally’s Caves 3 [Free] a try for a taste of what to expect, especially as the sequel has a similar generous monetisation system. Be sure to look out for Cally’s Caves 4 on the App Store on November 7th, and swing by our Discord server to ask any related (or completely irrelevant) questions to the developer directly.

TouchArcade