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!


The sexiest Senran Kagura character has been found!!

Room to Share: Why More People Playing Games Is a Good Thing

OVERWATCH SONG - This World Needs Heroes

Cblogs of 2/8/2016 + Face Petting in FE is a TERRIBLE Mechanic

Calendula: Is this the start of the cynical "meta" games?

Testing the new blog editor update

With The Sudden Outbreak of Resident Evil Remasters...

(Fire)Watch Out!: Moving past our sensitivity for spoilers

Shouldn't gaming be more than a digital tableau?

Avengers Academy is a diseased freemium abscess on the taint of mobile gaming

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Operative20 avatarOperative20
I really want to continue my RE playthrough but this FUCKIN JAVA PROGRAM JUST WON'T WORK WHY AM I SUCH A FAILURE
SayWord avatarSayWord
Life is Strange Spoilers: I am about to start Episode 5 but noticed Uzumaki inspiration right away. Beginning scene with the town and lighthouse, tons of Spirals including the projections in the "End of the World Party". Anyone else notice this?
JPF720 avatarJPF720
Is it just me or with only one month and a week 2016 has been hit with some considerable losses, but in terms of severity and scope? From musicians and athletes to freaking websites...Let's keep riding this storm of sadness guys.
Parismio avatarParismio
Cam you believe that hot dog's with cheese in them exist? That is the grossest monstrosity to ever grace the market. The cheese belongs on top of the dog people! All over it!
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Looks like I have a new job doing deliveries which is 50% sitting on my ass in the passenger seat. $12/hr. I wonder if I can do monster hunting during that 50%...
ObliqueZombie avatarObliqueZombie
Holy cow, Final Fantasy VII was actually REALLY good! The PS4/PC "cheats" really helped my enjoyment. Check out my Cblog for extended thought, and what do you think of FFVII with a 2016 outlook?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I regret nothing and I regret everything.
Steel Squirrel avatarSteel Squirrel
Hope my Flash Sale sense is correct this week. I was hoping for more than a Ubisoft sale. Also, is it just me, or does it seem like Ubisoft games are on sale every damn week?
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
So far my blog has done quite well. Why not be cool, and read my delectable blog, then furiously fap it like its going out of style, as all of the cool people do? Give into peer pressure today, its what everybody is doing!!! Fap enough, maybe a waifu?
Rico the Penguin avatarRico the Penguin
The Localization team for Rune Factory 4 gets my seal of approval. It isn't every day that a dragon calls me a dumbass. 10/10
t0ss avatart0ss
Overwatch beta today!
trippytip avatartrippytip
Homework really sucks guys. I haven't played Yakuza 4 in weeks. I don't wanna totally drop it again ;_; *goes back to reading nonsense*
Atleastimhousebroken avatarAtleastimhousebroken
Just started Pillars of Eternity and I'm elated I can play as a treeman druid! Which brings me one step closer to a game that lets me play as an Ent. Besides that walking tree simulator and WoW, are there any decent games where you can play as an Ent?
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Wampas are real and have been spotted in Spain. http://nypost.com/2016/02/09/yeti-captured-on-video-at-ski-resort-in-spain/
Larxinostic avatarLarxinostic
Overnight, I dreamed Destructoid existed as an old-timey collectibles shop. Quickposts graced the shelves as paintings, available for purchase; the number of faps on a post directly equaled its price. Video games and VG accessories also were up for sale.
Scrustle avatarScrustle
Usually I'm not comfortable showing stuff off like this, but this is something I've been working on for college work, and it's the first thing I feel like is at least halfway worth showing.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
I don't understand how my wife's students could hate her if she ordered this for the classroom's Scholastic service.
weslikestacos avatarweslikestacos
My band's debut album is #31 on the iTunes country charts! Sorry for this shameless plug, but I'm pretty pleased about this!
gajknight avatargajknight
I've been listening to a lot of opera recently. I blame Cowboy Bebop and it's incredible "Ave Maria".
El Dango avatarEl Dango
It's [img]http://i.imgur.com/GIwY4vT.png[/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 -