I honestly don't care what's at the end anymore.
I don't normally review a game when it's not 10/10. That said, I'll divide this into two parts. One part is for players, and one part is for you.
1) Sliding gives you a speed boost for about .2 seconds.
2) You are faster than the cave when you are in the slide.
3) You are a little slower than the cave when you are running.
4) You are much slower than the cave when you are "tripped."
5) You can hold slide down to stay in the slide animation. You can hold jump to perform a longer jump, and conversely you can tap jump to perform a shorter one.
6) You have two "jump speeds." You have "run speed" and "trip speed" jumps. You do not have a "slide speed jump."
7) You are tethered to the back of the cave. There is a finite max distance the cave can be from you.
8) You do not "gain" the speed boost from sliding. You are "set" to it. In other words, the absolute moment you trip, you MUST mash slide. You want to go from Slow to Slide, not Slow to Run to Slide. A good trick is to learn to press slide and jump very close together (downUP), something I call a recovery jump.
So what's the conclusion to draw from all this? Basically, if you plan on getting anywhere, don't trip.
Tripping does 3 things. It makes you much slower than the cave, it kills your ability to perform an effective jump until you slide afterwards or wait about 1 second to regain "run speed", and you cannot slide or jump while in the trip animation, which lasts about .2 seconds.
In other words, when you're given a choice between timing a long jump, and taking a risk which could result in a trip, time the jump. Really. The cave is not going to kill you because you took a second to perform a long jump. And if you trip up a staircase (A set of ledges where crashing into the bottom makes you crash into the next), say goodbye to the entire run.
Several points during my runs, the cave would only be inches behind me. And yet, I did not panic. I simply time the next jump, and sneak in a slide. Time the jump, sneak in a slide. The cave being an inch behind you, and 5 trips behind you, actually makes no difference on the mechanics of the game. You do not run slower if the cave is closer, and you do not jump farther. You can use slide spam to recover from a deficit and get it to max range again at any point.
My biggest obstacles were the ground morningstars in area 2. You must use a long jump to get past them, and you can only be about 2 bodylengths away when you begin the jump or you will crash into their far end. But despite this, it's better to "lose time" by "run"ning up to them and slowly timing a long jump than it is to try to time an erratic long jump during slide spam. Trust me. When you get 4 in a row, you will only make it by taking a deep breath and not sliding at all. Simply run and hop over all 4 with no slides. You will "lose time", but you shouldn't lose the game.
-"Checkpoint" implies we can restart the game from that point. You have hidden this function from us. Bad.
-Crashing into a staircase all but ensures a death. If I hit a ledge, and that hitstun causes me to hit another ledge (because I can't input commands during hitstun), I'm basically dead. That's bad design.
-You don't inform players about the 2 jumps, and you don't inform them about slide boosting until they die. Bad design. We should not fail a game because we're unaware of basic controls.
-If the cave is only inches behind you, the game lags. This can actually be exploited by an expert to "slow" the game down to play it more effectively at the cost of turning it into sudden death.
-You're telling me falling at an angle into a cone from a height we only obtain by the power of our own legs (hitting an obstacle's far end after a failed jump) hurts more than sprinting into a wall (tripping?)
-So wait, I can gain negative momentum for jumps because of a trip, but I can't gain positive momentum for jumps because of a slide?
Do you know how long it took me to figure that out? This woman defies physics, apparently she only ever gains negative momentum.