The Cave of Ātman


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Rating: 4.3/5 (59 votes)
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The Cave of Ātman

DoraRPGs get a bad rap sometimes, what with their tendency to demand you stop the plot and spend at least three hours grinding to make your party stronger before you can so much as tickle the next boss. Chris and Daniel Johnson have done their best to not only streamline this, but also make it appealing, by turning powering up your party into a puzzle in their turn-based retro-styled game The Cave of Ātman. Your party of heroes has descended into the titular cave, where every floor is filled with monsters... but you can't just mindlessly start hacking away. As the tutorial will show you, each level is a puzzle. Click a hero to select them, then again anywhere that highlights blue to move them there. Once they've moved, red squares will show your attack range, or you can click them again to cancel your move. The catch is that your attacking hero has to be of equal or greater level (displayed with a number on the sprite) of the enemy they're trying to wallop. When you destroy an enemy, its aura will drop and slide a space (vanishing if it hits an obstacle or lands in a hole!), and any character that picks it up by moving over it goes up a level. Oh, and did I mention each character can only move and attack once per stage? As a result, every move you make and monster you slay needs to be carefully plotted out.

The Cave of ĀtmanWith pitch-perfect old school music by Hayden Davenport and some clean yet cute as a button pixel graphics, The Cave of Ātman is easy on the eyes and the ears, though some tracks are short enough that their loop can render them annoying. Though the game starts easy, as different heroes with attack restrictions are introduced and more obstacles crop up, things get more challenging without ever feeling like they become overcomplex in the process. Chances are you'll find that it still takes a long time to build up to anything that'll stymie you for longer than a moment or two, largely because the difficulty curve seems to go up and down like a wave for most of the game. The biggest challenge might actually be that the tutorial simply doesn't go over anything other than the bare basics, so you're left to figure out how each hero works on their own, or, for example, that two auras can be combined into a more powerful one. Some players will actually enjoy having to puzzle out the mechanics, however, and will find The Cave of Ātman a clever, if simple, little game that knows how to make the most out of very little. The ability to undo a single move rather than being forced to restart an entire level would have been nice, but for fans of strategic turn-based puzzling, The Cave of Ātman is well worth firing up.

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24 Comments

How do you solve level 11?

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Nevermind, I worked it out.

You don't have to move to attack, you can click the same space you are on first.

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Love this! It's a chess-like with fireballs.

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I see that because of the difficulty of typing funny characters, you have resorted to copy-pasting, resulting in "The Cave of The Cave of Ātman" :)

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uncopy2002 Author Profile Page June 30, 2014 9:39 PM

That was a bit short, only 28 levels.

On the other hand, though, the ending is quite... surprising.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page June 30, 2014 9:42 PM

Ha! Finally beat every level. I won't spoil the ending, only say that it's not really the sort of ending I like.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page June 30, 2014 9:45 PM

On another note, I'd like to have seen a greater variety of enemies. Perhaps there could be enemy types, for example, that attack and kill lower-leveled heroes foolish enough to stop next to them. Or enemies that move in a predetermined pattern, one step every turn.

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Ugh! I'm not sure why level 27 is stumping me.

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Can't work my way through Lv 26. :[

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Questioner Author Profile Page July 1, 2014 3:24 AM replied to An Onyx Mouse

A little tip for 26:

I solved it by first letting the upper diagonal guy move down, and hit SW, and then letting the left diagonal guy collect the aura and hit the 2-skeleton.

Both of the long-hitters have to hit 2 each, and the right knight will kill the 11-skeleton

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Thanks! Got it.

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Questioner Author Profile Page July 1, 2014 4:12 AM replied to Nyx

Hint for 27:

The knight shall kill the 6-skeleton, and the lower archer the 4-skeleton.

Begin with moving the right long-hitter one step down, and killing the skeleton to the left of it. The diagonal guy shall take the aura, and go into the left corner to kill the 2-skeleton from NW.

The upper archer shall go once up, and once left and kill the skeleton under him, and then the second long-hitter shall go and hit the two skeletons standing together at once from the left side.

Let the archer take the 2-aura, and then the 1-aura close to him, and hit the 4-skeleton from the right side. The knight can then go and take down the 6-skeleton with the 6-aura.

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I'm out! :D .... O_O Did not see that coming for an ending.

Was genuinely expecting a Batman joke.

Hint on 28:

The long-hitter should take out the upper-right enemy first, then you should notice a chain reaction you can set off going down the middle.

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extraflux Author Profile Page July 1, 2014 8:36 AM

Stuck on 28

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extraflux Author Profile Page July 1, 2014 9:14 AM replied to extraflux

Nvm. Power of posting.

Not sure what the other poster was on about.

Move the bottom left character (purple) up three spaces. Waste the skeleton at the TOP LEFT (right above it).

Use the blue soldier at the top left of the two columns to was the skeleton below him. Then again with the one below him to make the green guy a power of 3.

Do this on the right hand column as well.

Take the left hand green guy to right below the purple guy and kill the skeleton to the right. This will push a power three soul.

Using the blue soldier on the right hand margin, grab the three soul and kill the skeleton at the bottom center.

Take the green guy from the right hand side and move him directly above where you just moved that soldier to. Now you can knock off the skeleton in the middle of the field.

Using the soldier on the left margin to collect the soul and kill the skeleton at the top center.

Finally, take the yellow guy from the bottom right, move him diagonally-below to the right of that last skeleton and bam.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page July 1, 2014 9:57 AM

I did a Google search on the word "Ātman". Apparently it means "soul" or "self". I don't know if that sheds any light on the ending, or anything else...

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JudyJetson Author Profile Page July 1, 2014 6:56 PM

Played through 25 levels in about 30 minutes. Have been stuck on level 26 for almost an hour. About to give up. Help?

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26
in multiple steps in case you are just stuck at one part or need the beginning

Upper mage angle hit to left top skeleton.

left angle mage hit 2 skeleton

top long mage down and hit both 1 skeletons

right long mage down and hit the 3 skeletons horizontally

bottom angle mage up to the six and left to hit the 7 skeleton

bottom knight catch the 2 and hit the 3 skeleton from the bottom

right knight across the 3 and 7 hit the 11 skeleton from the top

all in one spoiler

Upper mage angle hit to left top skeleton.

left angle mage hit 2 skeleton

top long mage down and hit both 1 skeletons

right long mage down and hit the 3 skeletons horizontally

bottom angle mage up to the six and left to hit the 7 skeleton

bottom knight catch the 2 and hit the 3 skeleton from the bottom

right knight across the 3 and 7 hit the 11 skeleton from the top

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Y'know, to be blunt -- no one would be terribly surprised by the ending if the review had at all mentioned what atman means. It's one thing if reviewers just miss a cultural quirk but this is a word in the title. Atman as a concept is the basis of a whole group of religions practiced by a substantial chunk of the world's population. Nearly all of which are focused on separating/distinguishing the atman from the physical body.

We have wiki now. We as readers should not be the ones having to use it. This already happened with Samsara Room, where several commenters were completely disconcerted by the ending. I mean, I get that oversights happen, but this gap in essential information is starting to border on culturally insensitive. Take five minutes to look it up and link it back to the game, please, since this is clearly part of what the developer intended. If you cannot explain it yourself, then find someone on this tiny Internet who can before it gets to us.

If anything, if this game had been at all less than brilliant, not setting us up for the ending might have dropped it a mushroom or two. Dropped it out of the year-end awards? Made players pass on it when they might have enjoyed it? If you were a one-person operation, okay, but... This does not serve the developer, the players, or JiG as a ratings-based site.

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kathleen.indie.gee Author Profile Page July 2, 2014 7:11 AM

Could I get a hint on level 23? Where should I start?

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kathleen.indie.gee Author Profile Page July 2, 2014 7:35 AM

Level 23


1. Use top-left green knight to make top-right green into a 2.
2. Use both yellow and top-right green(now a 2) to make middle-right green into a 4.
3. Use middle-right green(4) on monster(4).
4. Use middle-left green(5) on monster(5) to make bottom-left blue into a 6.
5. Use middle-left blue to make bottom-right blue into a 2.
6. Use bottom-right blue(2).
7. Move bottom-left blue thru flame, and kill last monster(8)

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ginny.r.brock Author Profile Page July 4, 2014 9:45 PM replied to Questioner

Thanks for the level 27 hint. I hadn't realized

the archer could shoot through walls

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monashchicken Author Profile Page July 6, 2014 3:22 AM

I've always wondered how the skeletons, zombies, monsters, etc managed to wind up in dungeons and caves... perhaps now we know!

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fxcohen Author Profile Page July 13, 2014 7:03 PM

hint on level 28:

the right archer needs to hit the top skeleton.

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