Nintendo recently announced their holiday 2008 line-up and, along with a bunch of other stuff, Cave Story was announced as a WiiWare release:
Cave Story: This title is an action-adventure game with new, exclusive content and features created only for the WiiWare version.
Cave Story (Doukutsu Monotagari) is currently a freeware game for the PC that was originally released on December 20, 2004. Developed by Studio Pixel (Studio Pixel is actually just one guy, I guess, Daisuke Amaya), it’s a 2D non-linear platformer somewhat similar to Metroid or the newer Castlevania games. I had not heard about it until now, and since it’s currently free, I decided to try it out since I love the classic Metroid games.
I was honestly amazed, I haven’t played a game that has the same atmosphere as Cave Story since…I don’t know, maybe Shadow of the Colossus. I can’t explain what aspect of the game play made me feel that way, but with everything combined it truly feels like a masterpiece. Doukutsu Monotagari spent five years creating the game, and it shows in all areas.
The first thing that stuck out to me was the music, which is amazing. It reminds me of no game in particular but at the same time still evokes Super Nintendo era feelings. The soundtrack alone just brought back these great memories of games gone by, it was really impressive. I’d almost compare it to Chrono Trigger, maybe…not that the music sounds the same or even similiar, but the level of musical quality. Songs that stick in your head long after you’ve finished playing the game.
The graphics, as well, are very well done. I have a thing for 2D sprites, I don’t know why, it just seems like well done sprites represent so much more time and effort and overall love for what the artist is doing then impersonal 3D graphics. I know that may not be the case (or, is not the case), but I feel like that, I don’t know why. I have much more respect for sprites then 3D graphics. Anyway, the graphics in the game are very well done and you can just feel the amount of effort that was put into them. If you haven’t played the game, don’t disregard it because it’s not in full 3D or 2.5D, I’m sure a majority of people just look at the game and see some dated graphics, but it’s ultimately what’s “under the hood” that counts.
Story-wise, I was happy as well. The story was interesting enough to keep me playing, while at the same time not so complex that I forgot what happened while I was playing the day before (though this might not be a problem for most people, I, however, have the reading comprehension of a 1st grader and generally tend to stop paying attention for long periods of time and miss what’s going on. This effects a majority of RPG’s. Ask Greg, he knows). It actually evoked some genuine feeling, too. Some of the moments in the game are just things I was not expecting. The only game I can relate it to is…like, in Final Fantasy 7 with Aeris, but different. The story is focused around one particular event where you say “Oh damn” like when Aeris dies, but a series of events that all combine into something much greater. It also reminded me of Shadow of the Colossus, but again not in the same way. You end up having to do things you may not normally want to do in order to advance the plot, like killing those poor giants in Shadow. I can’t explain it adequately, just trust that it’s pretty rad.
All aspects shine on their own, but combined they come together to form a truly amazing game. So much went into Cave Story, you can tell Daisuke Amaya really loved the game. The five years of work paid off. If you haven’t played the game yet, you need to download it.
Download it here, and make sure to download the English translation as well. Or, you can wait for the WiiWare version, which will have additional content (and using a controller will help, sometimes the keyboard controls cramped my hands).