There's something genuinely engaging about a game that doesn't try and hold you hand nowadays. Which I guess says more about the state of App Store gaming than it does about anything else.

Cally's Caves 3 continues in the same vein as its predecessors, offering a sharp-edged retro platforming experience that's cut up into mobile-sized slices.

But this feels like the definitive take on the cave-crawling action. It's fast-paced, fluid, and pops in all the right ways.

Don't cave in

Once again you're playing as Cally, whose parents have been kidnapped by an evil scientist. To get them back you need to work your way through a series of levels that'll take you through a forest, a mountain peak, and a variety of other locations.

There are boss fights to complete, new weapons to unlock, and plenty of slimes, bees, bandits, and bats to shoot or slice to bits.

Everything you kill gives you money, which you can spend on buffs and boosts, and additional attributes for your weapons. The game gives hints as to what you should spend on first, but you're pretty much left to your own devices.

The controls are wonderfully slick, with chunky, responsive buttons making even the toughest leaping and stabbing sections a breeze. Or at least it's never the fault of the controls when you fall down a hole or get trapped by a wolf.

There's a neat exploratory vibe to proceedings, although the game doesn't offer the scope of a true metroidvania. You won't get lost, but you won't feel too penned in either.

Jump and stab and shoot

Aside from a few little niggles, this is a solid and immensely entertaining platforming blast. The action is condensed nicely, and there's rarely a moment when you won't be at least within the vicinity of the edge of your seat.

Cally's Caves 3 takes the fight to some of the very best platformers available on the App Store, and while it might not quite land a killing blow to earn its place among that upper echelon, it gets damn close.