The Controls of Spelunky are simple enough, modeled around the ZX-Arrows control scheme that most 2D games use.
However, their simplicity belies their subtlety as almost every action is context-sensitive. There is an incredible range of actions and abilities available by combining keystrokes with the environment to give you complete control over The Spelunker.

A control configuration tool is also provided for each user to choose their own keybinds.

A readme.txt file is available in the Spelunky folder which offers a basic rundown of the controls.


Left/Right - Move
Up         - Look up / Climb
Down       - Look down / Crouch / Climb / Run (If down-for-running is enabled)
X          - Action
Z          - Jump
C          - Cycle held item, Bombs, Rope
Shift      - Run
A          - Bomb Shortcut
S          - Rope Shortcut
P          - Purchase / Bet
Esc        - Pause / Menu (Quit Game)
F2         - Open level editor (Title screen only)
F3         - Open level browser (Title screen only)
F4         - Toggle Fullscreen
F9         - Take Screenshot
M          - Toggle Music
  • To Pick up , crouch by them and press X. You can throw them by pressing X again. Hold up to throw high, and down to drop.
  • You start each game with 4 BOMBS and 4 ROPES. To use them, cycle to them with C and then press X to use. The bomb must be armed first. Ropes can be thrown upwards or downwards, depending on whether you're standing or crouching.
  • You can HANG ON TO LEDGES by jumping into them. You can also flip onto a ledge by crawling over it.
  • OPEN CRATES AND CHESTS by holding up and pressing X.


Spelunky supports gamepads natively. To use a gamepad, plug it into the number 1 USB slot and then enable gamepads in the config utility.

       LT        |       RT     Left Trigger  - Bomb Shortcut
                 |              Left Bumper   - Run
       ___LB     |     RB___    Right Trigger - Rope Shortcut
          /     \____=____/     \   Right Bumper  - Purchase/Bet
         .                       .  D-Pad         - Move
         |   |   9      10   4   |  Button 10     - Pause/Menu (Quit Game)
         |  = =             3 2  |  Button 1      - Whip, Throw Item, Use Item
         |   |               1   |  Button 2      - Jump
         |                       |  Button 3      - Cycle Whip, Item, Bombs, Rope
         |      LA       RA      |  Button 4      - Flare
         |      ___________      |  Left Analog   - Move
         '     /           \     ' 
          \___/             \___/


Some of the information included in the readme file is, as of the release of v1.1, inaccurate:

  • Flares are no longer assigned to a key. They now appear in a Box of Flares at the beginning of Dark levels.
  • The configuration menu no longer appears when the game loads. It can be accessed from a separate file in the Spelunky folder named config.exe.

Editing gamepad.cfgEdit

The file gamepad.cfg can be edited to customise gamepad controls. It must be opened with Notepad.
The numbers correspond to the gamepad buttons, and the line corresponds to the action.
The default configuration is:

Line config.txt Pad Button Action
1. 2 (B) Jump
2. 1 (A) Action
3. 3 (X) Cycle
4. 5 (LB) Run
5. 7 (LT) Bomb Shortcut
6. 8 (RT) Rope Shortcut
7. 4 (Y) Not used
8. 6 (RB) Purchase / Bet
9. 10 (Start) Pause


  1. Readme.txt included in the game folder
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