How can a robot drown?
Cave Story, created by one man band Pixel Studio is a cult PC indie game that has seen a commercial acknowledgement in 2010 by getting released on Nintendo's downloadable services . The changes from the PC version are not so different and one might wonder why pay for something that is available for free. Well first of all this is a indie game and the original creator Mr.Pixel (or Nicalis the company who ported this) is a independent developer and deserves every piece of support he/they can get. Not forget the fact that is a solid console version. The most obvious changes are the remastered music, the design and the background art that has been redone. The amazing gameplay and the cute story is still here.
What most people who have not played Cave Story (including myself) might not realize is the complexity of this game. For first play-through one will spend good 6-8 hours if not more. And this is only for the good ending. For the best ending player needs to find out games multiple hidden characters and items. There is even a complete extra level to be played with this best ending.
Plot in Cave Story is so well written that this puts even bigger commercial games to shame. Player character is small robot soldier called Quote that wakes up with no memory. While venturing around he comes across a Mimigas who are a rabbit-like race. Mimigas are getting captured and killed by evil Doctor. Same time human siblings Professor Kazuma and his sister Sue are introduced. Siblings have gotten separated and top of of that Sue has been turned into Mimiga. While Quote is trying to reunite the human siblings the evil Doctor's plan become evident which resolves around cruel exploitation of Mimigas. Quote can pack his packs and flee which gives the bad (and the cheap) ending. Or he can stand against the Doctor and save the world.
Majority of gameplay revolves around platforming and shooting various enemies. These are done with Quote's multiple weapons and upgrades which are found from the exploring. The levels are designed well with only tiny amount of backtracking is required. These never feel like a chore since the enemies respawn and the platform sequences are naturally in different order. Action is confined into relatively small areas that have multiple hidden places and items. Games 20+ bosses add more challenge to the game. Only annoyance on the gameplay part is the lack of save spots. These are slightly too scarcely spread. Especially when it is always not clear where a boss might reside.
Besides the standard health bar Quote's weapons have a experience level as well. This three levels per weapon and the experience is gained by collecting gold shards from the enemies. Each level improves the weapon significantly. Such as the bread&butter machine gun that on level three acts as a temporary flying mechanism. Not too different from rocket jumping. Besides the scarce save points other annoyance comes in form of these gold shards with each having a sharp chime sounds when falling down. Each enemy dropping multiple shards making the chimes unbearable. Luckily a patch have been released to address this. Audio besides the ear-killing shards is cool selection of chip-tune tracks. Visuals follow the same time period with the 8bit pixel arts and sprites. Backgrounds as mentioned have been redrawn for Wii version. When comparing these to the original game there is a clear upgrade while still maintaining the indie feel.
If there really isn't someone who hasn't played this and owns a Wii this is absolutely must try. Solid 2D metroidvania action with nice story and solid gameplay.