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Cave Story 3D Review

Fight your way from the centre of the earth in a reimagined indie classic

Originally released for free on the Internet in 2004, Cave Story was the work of just one man: Japanese student Daisuke Amaya (AKA Pixel). Following the game's release, Cave Story fast gained a following, becoming one of the most successful and widely-acclaimed indie games.

The game was so successful that Nicalis worked with Pixel to bring Cave Story to WiiWare last year. Now, for 2011, the company has created a 3DS version of the game, popping the antiquated but stylish pixel-art graphics into 3D and working with Japanese publisher Nippon Ichi to add a slew of extras for fans (including a cameo from the publisher's much-loved mascot Prinny).

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In Cave Story 3D you assume the role of a silent robot protagonist who is (until you uncover some secrets in the game) nameless. Your character awakens at the start of the game in the belly of a dark cave with no knowledge of who he is or what he is doing there.

A side-scrolling game at heart, similar in design to the 2D Metroid titles, you begin exploring a giant cave network, jumping from platform to platform, meeting characters and becoming a key player in their story as it unravels.

That story centres on a community of sentient rabbits known as Mimigas. The creatures live underground in Mimiga Village where they cultivate flowers under the leadership of the village elder, King. However, the Mimigas' peaceful existence is being threatened by a nefarious character known as The Doctor, who is luring the Mimigas from their home to feed them red flowers that turn them insane and violent.

While the story twists and turns with pleasing regularity, in general your aim is to find and destroy the red flowers before the Doctor can use them on the Mimigas.

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The controls are simple, with a single jump and a shoot button, yet movement is tight and effective, and the labyrinthine environments filled with nooks and crannies to explore. Over the course of the adventure you collect four weapons: the Polar Star - your first gun, a rapid-fire laser - the Fireball, the Bubbleline and the Machine Gun.

As well as offensive weaponry, there are various objects to find and collect in order to unlock new parts of the cave system, and new chapters in the story, and discovering these becomes a compelling pursuit, especially as the game has a huge play area.

A New Dimension

Sadly this 3DS update lacks a little inspiration. The graphical overhaul is dark and, while there are moments of colour, the dingy environments often make it difficult to discern interactive objects therein. The 3D effects themselves are robust, but the camera is zoomed out a long way, and, because of the cave setting, there isn't as great detail of depth to the environments themselves.

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Yet while the visuals of Cave Story 3D are a disappointment, the strong gameplay remains wholly intact, offering the same deep action adventure that has been wowing players since the game's freeware release in 2004.

Cave Story 3D is one of the best 3DS games.

Comments

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  1. dodo14 Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 15:19

    hhhmmm... interesting :roll: looks quite cool, haven't played the original 8) I'm finally first

  2. WHiTeFAce Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 15:26

    i was respecting no less then 8.0 for cave story 3d

    so 8.5 is great for it :D

  3. masamune Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 15:32

    so many spoilers in this review. not HUGE ones, but ones that make the game less shocking. ): also should be 99% (i wish ): )

    iirc, the reason behind the darkened colour scheme is due to Pixel wanting this port, with the 3DS' capabilities, to portray a sense of actually being in a cave, one which the original and other ports didn't really have.

    depressed i don't get to play it until around the new year though. ):

  4. Fable Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 15:38

    I've been looking forward to this for a while so i'm definitely buying it.

  5. barrybarryk Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 15:41

    So apart from the minimal 3D effect has anything actually been changed?

  6. masamune Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 15:46

    So apart from the minimal 3D effect has anything actually been changed?

    aside from the more cave-like feeling, there's a new area and some other content like Prinny but not very much. as much as i love Cave Story, Nicalis are really milking it (they're even releasing the wii port on steam! a lot of logic there).

    kind of funny hearing myself saying that though, cause i know i'm going to buy everything CS related anyway.

  7. barrybarryk Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 15:53

    Nothing quite like a slight graphical update and a port to a platform starved for quality games as an excuse to massively inflate the price I guess.
    It is an awesome game but there are so many other versions that are floating around for far less, I can't believe that didn't have an effect on the review score

  8. Toadmaniac2 Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 18:15

    Because I'm an ass, I'm going to buy this.

  9. tomutwit Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 19:39

    The charm of the original(well, the wiiware version) for me was the lovely "drawn on graph paper" feel to the blocky places.

  10. Arceus_Ruler Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 20:40

    I haven't played either the original or the WiiWare versions, and to tell the truth I'm strangely excited for this. I hadn't heard anything about it until ONM did a "bedroom coders" article and I read about the huge success of Cave Story, an indie side-scroller similar to Metroid.

    I hadn't played any of the 2D Metroid games before that, and I felt that I wouldn't really be bothered with Cave Story WiiWare much when it was announced. When I heard about Cave Story 3DS, I was equally as not bothered.

    Then, as I was doing my weekly 3DS E-Shop checkabout, I noticed a Cave Story 3DS trailer. I didn't think much of it, and I ignored it. When I came back a week later, I was bored and decided to just watch it. I didn't regret it - everything about the game appealed to me, and being a 3DS Ambassador who played lots of Metroid, I was suddenly extremely excited.

    Thus, this game is on my Christmas list along with Super Mario 3D Land, Skyward Sword and Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

  11. WenGobou Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 21:50

    Sentient rabbits ? I think you mean sapient. Rabbits are supposed to be sentient.

  12. masamune Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 22:12

    The charm of the original(well, the wiiware version) for me was the lovely "drawn on graph paper" feel to the blocky places.

    wiiware version actually had greater quality graphics than the original, and people even complained about that!

  13. imbusydoctorwho Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 22:49

    Pretty good score,the only thing that put me off is the art design.

  14. fisher2007 Thursday 10th Nov 2011 at 22:57

    I'm buying this next year because I'm getting sonic generations ,Mario kart.

  15. Zenuous Friday 11th Nov 2011 at 21:34

    I only like the original Cave Story which it's original graphics and music, these remakes and graphic updates just don't do it for me, the appeal of the game was the artstyle in the first place for me.

  16. masamune Friday 11th Nov 2011 at 23:38

    I only like the original Cave Story which it's original graphics and music, these remakes and graphic updates just don't do it for me, the appeal of the game was the artstyle in the first place for me.

    whilst the original has a certain charm to it, i doubt that's why it was as much of a success as it is. there are craptons of retro-styled freeware games about there, not many have as much of a level of professionalism, a heart wrenching story, a spectacular soundtrack, and an awesomely realised world (this includes level design). throw in some great boss fights and pleasingly challenging secret area and you've got a magnificent game riddled with a depth of secrets, implications and foreshadowing.

    much more than a simple NES homage

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