Like many, I too had fallen in love with the highly acclaimed 2004 indie title, Cave Story. It had all the things a gamer needed in a game. The compelling story, gameplay, RPG elements, and even bosses that never seemed to disappoint. Now, publisher NIS America and independent game developer, Nicalis, are poised to bring this all-time classic to the 3DS. So is this remake enough to warrant a purchase?
Cave Story begins with a trapped man sending out a signal asking for Sue. Moments after this scene you awake in a cave as a robot named Quote, who has lost all of his memories. There really isn’t good explanation as to what exactly is going on. Normally I would have rated a game down for having such a poor story, but as it turns out there’s a lot more to this then you would expect. As you begin your journey you meet these strange and mysterious creatures known as Mimiga, which literally look like rabbits. They tell you about a Doctor who came into their village with his minions, Misery and Balrog. This is where Sue comes in, as Misery and Balrog are tasked with finding her, while the Doctor continues to terrorize the locals. Now the story isn’t exactly straight-forward as you’ll have to put some effort into finding out more, after all you don’t have any memories. That’s something I really appreciated about the game as it’s allowing the player to solve the story itself, rather then just have it told to you. By interacting with the local Mimiga, you’ll learn more and more about the story and motives behind it. Additionally during your play-through you may be prompted to do other tasks, such as saving a characters or getting special equipment. They are optional, but depending on the action you took, it’ll all affect the ending, which means that there are multiple endings to the game.
The gameplay is very simple and is exactly identical to the original version. If I were to explain the basics it would be like Mario where your running and jumping on platforms. However, added with weapons and an upgrading system, I would say it’s more like the classic Metroid games. You go around each level defeating enemies and earning new weapons and upgrades. Each weapon can then be upgraded three times, but there’s a catch. If you take in damage then so will your weapons, which will cause them to downgrade in levels. It’s this sort of gameplay element that makes players think twice before rushing into combat. As for bosses they are all unique in their own way. They start out easy with the first boss simply running and jumping towards you, but as you progress through the game they get a little bit more complex by either adding more enemies, shooting projectiles at you, platforming, and so much more. I ensure you that these are bosses that don’t disappoint you at all, as none of it really feels repetitive or lacking in gameplay. Like I said, it’s literally the exact same thing as the original, the only difference here is that the game is pretty much covered in a new layer of make-up.
The graphics don’t suffer at all with the 3D transition. Normally when a 2D game is remade most people would prefer the classic look over the new one since they usually tweak the gameplay along with it. However, Nicalis has done an excellent job at maintaining the overall atmosphere and gameplay of the original while upgrading the graphics. It’s actually one of the few upgraded titles that I would recommend you play instead of the original version. All the buildings and everything has been redone as 3D models rather then the flat 2D planes. The 3DS does offer a better field of depth when you use the 3D feature, but it’s all optional and the game still does look good when you play with 3D off on the 3DS. Though if your not liking the new look, there’s a Classic mode that the game can be played in, which will restore things like characters, items, and even enemies to their original 2D models. Everything else though maintains the 3D look.
Now for those who have already played the game, you might be wondering aside from the graphical upgrade, what else is new? Well an annex to the original Egg Corridor 2, called Egg Corridor Escape has been added. Additionally, the Life Capsules cap has increased from 55 to 100. The fan favorite Time Attack mode also returns, giving players more of a challenge when completing certain areas.
If you’ve never played Cave Story before then I highly recommend that you buy this remake. Much of what you can enjoy from the original is all still intact and with better visuals you can’t go wrong with this version. I consider it one of the best 3DS releases for this year considering all the value your getting with this remake. Though even if you don’t own a 3DS, you can still download the original game from WiiWare for just $12 or get the free version (original version) for PC off the internet.
For more information on how we review games check out our criteria here. A copy of this game was provided to The Paranoid Gamer by the publisher for review purposes.