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

Review: Ikachan (3DS eShop)

6:00 PM on 01.30.2013 // Tony Ponce
  @megaStryke

Swim, Proto-chan!

Wading through the flood of Cave Story ports and remakes, with new ones seemingly being announced every hour on the hour, it's easy to forget that creator Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya has indeed made other games. One of his earliest efforts is Ikachan, released more than four years prior to the original 2004 version of Cave Story, in fact.

With lovely sprite work, soothing music, and charming characters, Ikachan laid down the framework for Cave Story. Through it, you get to see first-hand the genesis of Pixel's trademark style of open-world platforming, making Ikachan a very important digital milestone.

But if you go into Ikachan expecting anywhere near the same scope and depth as Cave Story, you will be sorely disappointed.

Ikachan (3DS eShop)
Developer: Daisuke Amaya
Publisher: Nicalis
Release: January 31, 2012
MSRP: $4.99

Ikachan is an open-world platformer set below the waves. The titular squid hero wakes up one day trapped in an underwater cave inhabited by a small village of sea anemones led by a large fish named Ironhead. Frequent earthquakes and famine put the residents at grave risk; as an outsider who mysteriously found his way into the cave, only Ikachan has the means to save everyone.

To swim, press A or B to thrust and press left and right to direct movements. You quickly gain the ability to damage enemies by swimming head first into their bodies, and later you acquire a dash that allows you to break bricks directly to your side. By killing enemies or collecting blue fish, you gain experience which leads to more health and greater attack power.

Aaaaaand ... that's it, really. Explore the cave, run errands for the townsfolk, and find a way out. All in all, you can probably breeze through the entire game in a couple of hours. There are no bonus modes, boss rushes, or anything of the sort to keep you engaged after the credits.

Despite its length, Ikachan manages to pack more charm than games five times as long. There is an unfortunate food storage guard being coerced through blackmail, a smart-talking starfish, and a self-serving goon who wants whatever food is left all to himself. There's a blanket of melancholy over the game's events, compounded by a soundtrack fueled by hope yet tinged with lingering sadness. It's a testament to Pixel's knack for world-building that he's able to express so much through so little.

The size of Ikachan's cave is a mere fraction of Cave Story's floating island, but the spirit of exploration and discovery is still present. There may be fewer things to do or secrets to uncover, but there's just enough to compel you towards the game's heartwarming yet slightly weird conclusion. Which is why it's disappointing that the game ends so quickly.

As with Cave Story, Ikachan is former freeware being gussied up and given a retail release. But whereas Cave Story was expansive enough as is and then given just the right amount of extra content for its WiiWare excursion, Ikachan remains quite barren. Sure, the map has been slighlty rearranged from the PC original, there are a couple of new enemies, mild stereoscopic 3D has been added, and super talented Nicalis artist Lindsay Collins contributed a couple of lovely pieces of art, but on the whole, the experience is not much improved.

And let's not forget that Ikachan is essentially a prototype, practice for the game Pixel really wanted to make. I appreciate that Nicalis is trying to share more of Pixel's catalog -- such as this, the foundation for his later works -- but asking us to part with $5 for what amounts to a concept project is a little too tough to swallow.

Ikachan is a marvelous introduction to a much larger, more ambitious game. But that's all it is: an introduction. If you are willing to accept that, you'll happily enjoy the short time you spend in its watery world.



THE VERDICT

6.5

Ikachan - Reviewed by Tony Ponce
Amicable - A presentable but unmemorable time. Focusing on the bright spots helps, and I appreciate the effort, but I won't be playing this repeatedly.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Tony Ponce, Former Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure megaStryke Tips
(Decommissioned) Super Fighting Robot 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:
Ikachan


  May 31

Cave Story creator Daisuke Amaya delays Gero Blaster

Pixel prolongs publishing postliminary project


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


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

Hindsight Part II: Unreleased Games of the Past

Robbing Kirby of his Greatest Asset

The meaning of The Witness (Part 3 of 3)

Friday Night Fights: War Never Changes Edition

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Waaaait a minute... From a design standpoint.. Wouldn't a bodysuit look better with shoes/boots, thus .GASP. precluding bare feet? Say it aint so! :'''(
gajknight avatargajknight
Hey guys, there's a new episode of PStoid up. You should go listen to it, I hear Phil takes his shirt off. I mean, it's a podcast so you can't see it. But you can IMAGINE it!
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
Yesterday, I brought a banana with me to my job for my lunch break. Some yokel must have swiped it, for I never saw it again, nor got to eat it. My response when: [img]http://i.imgur.com/wrZt8SO.png[/img]
darrenhupke avatardarrenhupke
"At launch, playing through most of the single player content will give you enough Fight Money to get Alex for free!" Will it be possible to earn enough FC by April for the next character DLC? I'm guessing not.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Right, looking for advice. Just redeemed four old XCOM games from a humble bundle a few years back, so I wanted advice on which one I should give a looksie to first. Got 5 choices, kind of thinking terror from the deep or apocalypse. Any suggestions?
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Never be first to avert your eyes when locked in a staring contest with a cat. You must push through the pain if you ever wish to become truly whole, to win this eternal conflict of wills. Bonus XP is awarded on Thursdays!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
S Magala Plate first fight! :D
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
I have basic knowledge of two other languages (with certificates to prove so) and I decided today that soon I shall be fluent in both. One at a time though.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
If you had to pick one: Firewatch, Not a Hero, or Layers of Fear?
Shinta avatarShinta
I'm soooo glad that they kept the gyroscope controls intact with Gravity Rush Remastered, and that they work well. First Dual Shock 4 game to ever use them well. If you turned them off in options, you're really missing out. Helps you fine tune aim.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Even Luigi gets it.
Alphadeus avatarAlphadeus
Alone With the Psychopath (2014) - I wrote this song after being inspired by the Epic Rap Battle of History between Jack the Ripper and Lecter. I think it sounds neat, and doesn't rip off too much from the song that inspired it =p
TheBlondeBass avatarTheBlondeBass
Tell me who downvoted my smash 4 opinion or the cat gets it. I'm not joking around.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Is that new digimon game any good or no? I know there's the review but I'd like feedback from a couple others too
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
People bitching that "(insert character) Needs Nerfing" because they lost to them several times online, incoming in T-5 days.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
For some reason I had a dream that I was playing a new Jet Set Radio game. It was open world and had an amazing day/night cycle. It was wonderful, yet horrible...
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
4.6 Million XCOM operatives down and down! [url]https://xcom.com/xcom-2-stats[/url] 66% from Collateral damage. Never mind the Alien invasion, cars are the real threat
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth has cat-maids. It has cat-maids. Have I sold you yet? Cat. Maids. GOTY 2016.
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
Just a quick update, that you all should go Greenlight Hustle Cat, the magical cat dating simulator that is being released soon. Work in a cat cafe, date magical cats, be whatever gender you want - there is no downside! Also I'm alive, That's importa
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
What a damned good song. I'm very excited about Mick Gordon composing for DOOM =D
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 -