Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Cave Story

Review: Cave Story (3DS eShop)

8:00 PM on 10.04.2012 // Jonathan Holmes

For those of you who have lost count, this is the third time that I've reviewed Cave Story, and the second time I've reviewed it on the 3DS platform. That may sound like a lot, but I've actually been slacking. This eShop-specific version of the game marks the fifth time that publisher Nicalis has put Cave Story (WiiWare, DSiWare, Steam/iTunes, 3DS retail, eShop) up for sale.

The more cynical among us may scoff and say that Nicalis is just milking Cave Story for the big money it brings in. That's not the case. Nicalis could get a lot more potential profits from spending time on publishing games that people don't already have access to.

No, the reason that Nicalis keeps re-releasing Cave Story is that the company's CEO Tyrone Rodriguez really loves Cave Story. I think he wants to marry it. For real.

There's good reason for that. Cave Story is one of the most re-playable, continually enjoyable games I've ever encountered. This new release is among the best, if not the best, version released yet.

Cave Story (3DS eShop)
Developer: Pixel, Nicalis
Publisher: Nicalis
Release: October 4, 2012 
MSRP: $9.99

This latest iteration of Cave Story was made to replace the DSiWare version of the game released in 2010. Tyrone and Cave Story creator Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya weren't happy with how that version looked on the 3DS, so they went all out on adapting the game for the newer console. Sadly, technical limitations prohibited them from making this new version a free update to Cave Story DSiWare.

Nicalis and Pixel did their best to make up for that by loading up the eShop version with new content. The resolution and playable screen size have been optimized for the 3DS, stereoscopic 3D has been added, the DSiWare's unique feature (Jukebox mode) is still in, and all the modes from Cave Story+ on Steam -- Boss Rush, Sanctuary Time Attack, Curly Story, Wind Fortress, and Nemesis Challenge -- are all here as well.

If you're new to Cave Story, check out the review Anthony Burch (writer of Borderlands 2 and Dtoid alum) penned for the original freeware version of the game back in 2006, and/or my review of the WiiWare port back in 2010 (and if you're really curious, the review of the 3DS retail version from 2011). That's where you can get a look at what the main game is all about. For the rest of this review, we'll be focusing on the things that make this new release of Cave Story different from the prior versions we've reviewed.

Lets start with the bad news first. The game is missing the larger, redrawn graphics from the WiiWare/Steam/iOS version of the game. Thankfully, the small screen size on the 3DS makes the "old" graphics looks almost identical to the new ones. Ultimately, those new graphics have become largely unnecessary. Their more detailed look was originally put into place in order to make the characters look less flat. The game's 3D display accomplishes the same goal without altering the original artwork. This may be the original art, but this is still the most crisp, well-defined, pronounced version of Cave Story yet. 

It's not just the 3D that's responsible for the game's sharp new look. Cave Story eShop has been custom fit for the 3DS' larger screen size, resulting in a sharper level of definition and a stronger sense of place than the DSiWare version. With the action zoomed out, more activity can fit on screen at once, and players will be likely to less likely to focus in on one of the (now smaller) characters with so much going on at one time. That can help the player to take in everything going on and make more informed decisions. It's easier to string a series of jumps or dodge a volley of attacks when you can see them all coming. As much as I prefer the widescreen look, you can revert to original dimensions if you want.

The game's controls are also customizable, allowing you to flip the jump button and shoot buttons to suit your fancy. There are a few other balancing tweaks that truly diehard fans may appreciate, but most fans might not pick up on. For instance, the in-game map no longer runs along the bottom screen at all times, which encourages the player to not rely too heavily on it. That's not something that everyone will notice or even care about, but it's an example of the care that went into this revamp.

The Boss Rush, Sanctuary Time Attack, and Curly Story modes are just as they were in the WiiWare version. The more notable additions here are the two modes imported from Cave Story+: Wind Fortress and Nemesis Challenge. Both are adapted from level designs from the unreleased beta of the original Cave Story, and are just well-designed as any parts of the main game. They might be even a little better, as both modes assume that the player is skilled enough to get through the game's campaign, and are therefore ready for the roughest stuff that Cave Story can offer.

The Wind Fortress starts with a fantastic platforming section where the player's skills at jumping and hovering with precision are immediately pushed to the limit. Your weaponry is limited to the Blade and the Spur, which limits your defensive options when the screen quickly fills with jerkface flying insects that love to knock you to your death. They make mid-air safety a bit of a problem. From there, the focus turns to action, with new enemies and a new boss fight which are focused on tense, nail-biting shootouts. I don't want to spoil what happens, but I'll tell you that the Wind Fortress is a real love letter to the fans.

The Nemesis Challenge is an even harsher test of player skill. It starts you off with just ten health, the Booster 0.8 (which allows you to hover for only brief period of time) and the Nemesis, the strangest weapon in the Cave Story world. The base stats for the Nemesis are fairly good, but if you grab even one power up, the gun gets substantially worse in both power and range. Just two power ups will take the weapon to its maximum "upgrade," where it shoots harmless rubber ducks. The only way to make the gun more effective again is to take a hit, forcing the player to swap health for firepower.

With only ten health and a horde of enemies in your face, the temptation will be to take down foes fast. The downside to that strategy is that killing enemies is the fastest way to fill the screen with power-ups, which is the last thing you want to do with the Nemesis. Those conditions reward a player who is able to dodge enemies as opposed to destroying them, though that's a lot easier said than done. On top of that, the level design of Nemesis Challenge is about as precarious as it gets. Platforms are few and far between. Combining that stress with the pressure to play in pacifistic style makes for a unique series of obstacles that even the most seasoned Cave Story veterans wont easily overcome.

Hopefully by now it's clear that I love Cave Story for eShop, but there are a few things that keep me from proclaiming that it's the only version of the game you have to play. It lacks the highly detailed backgrounds and additional level designs found in the 3DS retail version of the game (like the Inner Wall) and the previously mentioned sprites from the WiiWare/Steam/iOS remakes. It also lacks the full Christmas and soon-to-be-released [redacted] Holiday themed skins found on the Steam version of Cave Story+ (though you do get the Reindeer and Vampire sprite swaps from the WiiWare port). 

That said, there is no one version of Cave Story that has everything. This new release has just as much content as any other version of the game, if not more. Overall, it stands right alongside Cave Story+ as one of the best, if not the best, version of Cave Story to date.



THE VERDICT

9.5

Cave Story - Reviewed by Jonathan Holmes
Entrancing - It's like magic, guys. Time disappears when this game and I are together, and I never want it to end. I'm not sure if this is a love that will last forever, but if it is, you'll get no complaints from me.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jonathan Holmes, Bad Joke Uncle
 Follow Blog + disclosure Tips
"Where do dreams end and reality begin? Videogames, I suppose."- Gainax, FLCL Vol. 1 "The beach, the trees, even the clouds in the sky... everything is build from little tiny pieces of stuff. Ju... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Cave Story


  Apr 20

Cave Story explores European eShop this May, Australia someday

Nicalis confirms Nintendo 3DS release in PAL territories


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Video Gaming Bits -- Rampage: Total Destruction

Roses are black, PS4 lights are blue; This is a game, and it has valkyries too?

Cblogs of 02/10/16 and WONDER-isms

Modern face of survival horror

Discussion Discussion on Games

PStoid Episode 38: Doomed from the Box Art

Cblogs of 2/9/16 - Only Slightly Late Edition

Narrative Mistakes: Mass Effect's Reapers As Primary Villains

Journey to Become a Jedi Knight - Jedi Outcast

Waifu Wars - The End

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
So, SMT IV: Final looks like it'll make fans of the older games happy. Especially fans of SMT 2.
Flegma avatarFlegma
Do games go in cycles like style? I mean, I think I can just as well play my 1993 Space Hulk (PC CD) instead of getting the moderately new Space Hulk instead.
Occams avatarOccams
Naruto 4 installs on my PS4 and it updates. Game says it can't run story mode during installation. Nothing's installing though. Restarted PS4. Reinstalled. Nothing. Fucking dumb.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
This plays in my head every time I tell myself to stay determined.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Tonight, I learned what Flanx and MrNovember sound like in discord, listened to the best idea for a movie ever, and learned a little more about the depths of human depravity. A night well spent. Fuck us all.
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
So, the artist that they used for Street Fighter 5's story mode(the arcade one) is kinda...not good. Go look up Laura's CGs. Colors are pale, and proportions sometimes end up kinda bonkers. Like, "extreme hourglass figure" level of bonkers.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Justin Timberlake blasts Kuma in the ass and dies.
ooktar avatarooktar
I'm loving these fighting game elitists trying to give me shit because I criticized Street Fighters Fight Money business model.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
Thanks to Dtoid I now have this gif in my life, and I can't stop laughing. I seriously can't get over it.
Jiraya avatarJiraya
Finished SOMA today , was able to do a second run without enemies with the "Wuss" mod, found it actually more frightening has you get more time to think about what is really going instead of doing hide-and-seek with the AI (Alien Isolation I miss you)
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
I stayed up late last Saturday writing a Dead Space 4 proposal outline. Solved every plot hole, had plenty of badass moments. This is the state I live in, people.
Torchman avatarTorchman
WHY DO THEY GET SOUNDS BUT PIKACHU AND CHARIZARD CAN'T. WTF
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Finished my Storge set and 4/5ths of that was on the clock today o_O I also got a dragonlord eyepatch, which is totally practical covering the right eye when Cyndel's hair covers up the left eye.
Lawman avatarLawman
So Zack Furniss told me I should play Dying Light on Hard. Guess who's never listening to Zack Furniss again? :-/
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Deadpool spoilers: He gets cancer.
beargreasey avatarbeargreasey
So Kanye just announced his new game, Only Once. It looks beautiful and personal. It's just a shame that I still have no idea what it is.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I dunno why people are getting so huffy about Windows Store / XbOne Quantum Break crossbuy. It means double the gamerscore for me, and AW and AW:AN are rereleasing on the One so I'll have owned them 3 times over. Great games.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I once considered pitching an idea for a Dtoid Australia podcast, but then I realised it'd probably just be Zyk and I getting drunk on Foster's and complaining about Atlus for half an hour each week while incessantly calling each other cunts.
Parismio avatarParismio
New Splatfest is Pokemon Red vs Pokemon Blue. Im Blue Team bitches!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Been sick but these pills are fixing me right up. [img]http://www.azquotes.com/picture-quotes/quote-don-t-call-it-a-comeback-i-ve-been-here-for-years-ll-cool-j-63-60-01.jpg[/img]
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -