News Article

Why You Should Be Excited About Cave Story

Posted by Marcel van Duyn

When Cave Story was announced for WiiWare yesterday, a lot of gamers went wild with excitement - Others, however, were left puzzled as to why this news is so great. Let's take a look at the reasons you should be excited about this game coming to WiiWare.

Cave Story was originally released in 2004 for the PC. It was created over the span of five (!) years by the sole member of Studio Pixel, the man who calls himself Pixel. This means he did everything himself - Graphics, music, writing, it's all his work. Of course this is an amazing feat, but is the game actually any good? Almost everybody who has played it will answer with a large resounding "Yes" to that question.

Cave Story casts you in the role of Quote - A male robot who awakens in a cave. He has no idea how he got there or why he's there, so he sets out to find out what's going on. He soon finds out that he's on a large floating island inhabited by rabbit-like creatures called Mimigas. They are being terrorized by a mysterious doctor (Simply referred to throughout the game as "The Doctor"), who wears an ancient helm that gives him immense power. With no idea on whose side he might or might not have been before waking up, Quote decides to help the Mimigas defeat the Doctor.

The gameplay is something never seen before - Some have compared it to Metroid, with its huge maze-like level design, although this is not really true. The game takes place across a host of different areas, of which one, the Mimiga Village, acts as a central hub, connecting to most others through teleportation. Quote can freely run and jump, but he also has a gun - And in a unique twist, it's not Quote who receives level ups as the game progresses, but his gun!

Defeated enemies, aside from dropping hearts or missiles (For the later-acquired missile launcher weapon) can also drop triangle-shaped tokens. Collecting these will fill up a bar, which, when full, upgrades your weapon by one level. This greatly increases its power, range and rate of fire, which means it gets much easier to defeat more enemies. Each gun has its own experience bar, and they can be upgraded to a maximum of level 3.

Don't think you can just hang out in one spot collecting experience for every weapon and then go through the game easily though - Getting hit by enemies will cause you to lose experience for the weapon you currently have equipped. Weaker enemies will usually only cause your gun to lose half a level, but if you're hit by larger foes or bosses, expect to immediately lose an entire level! Later on in the game you can also find some weapons with unique twists. One of them, for example, is actually stronger at level 1 than at level 2 and 3, but one or two tokens will upgrade its level - This means you actually have to avoid collecting tokens if you want it to remain effective.

The game is quite linear - Areas unlock one by one, and they're usually very straight-forward. They're also not at all like areas you'd find in your regular game - There's no unoriginal worlds based on fire, ice, water and other things here. Instead, you'll visit strange locations such as the Egg Corridor, Grasstown, Sand Zone and the Labyrinth. These places are all very unique and fresh, and are never long enough to get boring. All of them also have a whole assortment of unique bosses which fit the area they're in.

Throughout your adventures you'll also slowly unravel more of the plot - Pixel certainly has a very vivid imagination, as the game's story is like nothing you've ever seen or read before. Most characters also have their own portraits during conversations, so you can easily see emotions on their faces.

Speaking of the characters, Pixel is an exceptionally good sprite artist - Just look at the game's screenshots. It's amazing to think that everything, from the character/enemy sprites, to the backgrounds and objects, was drawn by a single person, and it's really one of the most unique-looking, yet beautiful pixel-based games ever.

The soundtrack is just as unique as the graphics - It has a very strange sound to it, which fits perfectly with the rest of the game. There's some genuinely outstanding tracks as well - The songs are really not that long, but they're so well-made that sometimes you don't even notice when they loop. Some of the songs also seem to loop multiple times before surprisingly going over into an entirely new melody. The soundtrack has gained quite a bit of a following - Look up "Cave Story music" on a site such as YouTube and you'll get a couple hundred results, not just with videos containing the game's original music, but also remixes and arrangements.

After your initial playthrough there's more to do - There's a total of three different endings (As you can make choices at various parts of the game that affect the story's outcome), and the super-secret final area includes a timer, so you can see how fast you can beat it (Warning - It's hard!).

The game itself isn't very long - Just 3 or 4 hours - But those few hours will most likely contain some of the best moments you've ever spent gaming. With the prospect of additional features in the WiiWare version, hopefully the time will be extended some more.

Pixel himself has been adamant about one thing - He originally never wanted the game to be sold for money. This means that for five long years of hard work, he didn't want to receive any reward - Now that's dedication. We're not sure how much the game will cost on WiiWare, but it's definitely going to be worth every single Wii Point. It also finally gives us a chance to support Pixel, even though he never wanted that!

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User Comments (49)

DarkLloyd

#2

DarkLloyd said:

well i say congrats to the guy who did all this byhimself and by looking at the pics and figuring out the gameplay my self it seems to be interesting i'll definity buy this

thewiirocks

#3

thewiirocks said:

With such gleaming recommendations from you guys, I have no doubt that this will be a great game! :)

On top of that, how much you want to bet that Studio Pixel will charge less than 1000 points? The thing that I love about the small studios is they seem to "get" it far more than the big guys.

Jiisuki

#4

Jiisuki said:

This game is absolutely amazing. Wonderful story, brilliant graphics and nice sound :)

Serpent

#5

Serpent said:

This is the best freeware game of all time imo, made with multiple weapons and a unique upgrade system….. fantastic old school music, I think it rivals some of the new Castlevania and Metroid games in terms of scope and play time.

CorbsAdmin

#6

Corbs said:

I've always been a big fan of this game. This is the perfect game to bring to WiiWare. Great article Drake!

Chipmunk777

#7

Chipmunk777 said:

This is one of my favorite freeware games (next to the original Spirit Engine, which by the way, you guys should check out too, as well as the excellent sequel!). It truly is expertly crafted; this article touches on many of the great points of the game. Great article! I'd say the best way to get excited about the wiiware version is to download the pc version and try it out!

Ski_Deuce

#9

Ski_Deuce said:

I had lots of good times with this game. Everything was so intricately done and was so creative. It blew my mind.

Rawk_Hawk

#10

Rawk_Hawk said:

I guess this what Wii Ware is all about.
New and innovative titles at lower price points

Adam

#12

Adam said:

Love the game, and I'm definitely eager to support Pixel by downloading this even if it had no new content at all.

Great article, too, but just one little nitpicky comment on this quote...

"There's no unoriginal worlds based on fire, ice, water and other things here. Instead, you'll visit strange locations such as the Egg Corridor, Grasstown, Sand Zone and the Labyrinth."

The level design really is well done, but is "Sand Zone" or "Grasstown" really a more original theme than say "Ice Zone" or "Fire Town"? Egg Zone definitely stands out, but I don't really see the contrast otherwise.

Wiiloveit

#13

Wiiloveit said:

This looks like a pretty good game, and depending on the price and how much money I have at the time (friggin' Guitar Hero World Tour...), I'd certainly love to give it a try.

CorbsAdmin

#14

Corbs said:

I think there's always a good chance for DLC, given the nature of WiiWare, but we haven't heard anything official about any for Cave Story yet.

chiefeagle02

#15

chiefeagle02 said:

I'd actually never heard of this game before up until now. I'm still amazed at the fact that Pixel made it by himself over five years and that he didn't want any monetary compensation from it. Talk about a labor of love. I'm interested. :)

DrakeStaff

#17

Drake said:

@ Adam: Well, I wanted to mention a handful of zones instead of just two without spoiling the last few areas - You have to admit Grasstown and Sand Zone are stranger than your average grass/sand worlds though!

Blueberry

#18

Blueberry said:

@ Drake: Just wanted to notice that this is ported by the studio Nicalis www.Nicalis.com. Pixel's (Daisuke Amaya) role in the project is not clear yet.
Nifflas, famous maker of the free indie game Knytt Stories, works with Nicalis.

DrakeStaff

#19

Drake said:

@ Blueberry: Thanks for correcting us. Hopefully Pixel is involved somehow.

Cthuloops

#21

Cthuloops said:

This game looks awesome. This is also the first time I've heard of it. I will most likely buy it.

Ricardo91

#22

Ricardo91 said:

Pixel is one humble guy. He spends 5 years to develop a game, and never expected or wanted credit from it! wow!

I'm glad that I get to experience it, though. I never heard of this game before, but it looks amazing. And the soundtrack is brilliant! I honestly cannot wait for this, and I hope we'll see more shareware games-come-DLC as a result. I'd crap my pants if a new Jazz Jackrabbit popped up on XBLA!

Djungelurban

#23

Djungelurban said:

Nicklas Nygren is involved in this?! Of course he is. Haha! Oh dear, who would have expected this back in the day. I mean, sure he had ambitions to make games, but apart from a few custom levels in Jazz Jackrabbit 2 I don't think he finished anything ever. To be fair neither did I really but I was never too serious about it. Most of his projects were just really weird or really ambitious or quite often both. These days the games are still weird it seems but atleast they get completed. I bet that left to his own devises he'll put a Goble Ant in there somewhere. Would fit the Cave Story art style anyway. Ahaha! This is so entertaining! :D

earthworm

#24

earthworm said:

I sure hope that Pixel gets a decent cut. I think that if someone could confirm that, it could help sales dramatically. There are many people who love the game and would buy it just to support him, even if they didn't plan to play it again.

Final_Starman

#26

Final_Starman said:

This game seems pretty good, especially if one man created nearly the entire game! I did like the music in the video, even if it had poor sound quality.

Linkuini

#27

Linkuini said:

I usually don't take freeware games very seriously (understatement) but this sounds better the more I hear about it. Even if this does come out soon, though, I resolved not to get any more games 'til the holidays.

Man... it's gonna be a tough fall season...
and a heck of an awesome Christmas!

Big_Sexy

#29

Big_Sexy said:

OH MY GAWD.

Greatest news ever. Also, a wonderful post. I couldn't possibly gush anymore about this game as you did above.

Even without extra content, this game is an absolute must have. I will now go do unspeakable acts to earn money for this.

MarkyVigoroth

#30

MarkyVigoroth said:

There is some mystery about this (Pixel, the Doctor), and, like a Game Maker prograsmmer, he made this all himself! Your preview makes me want to buy this game!

(Heh, lately all I wanted are Wii Shop games... the good thing is that, for about the same price as one good Wii/DS game, you can get 3 to 5, 8 if you shop carefully, good Wii Shop games!)

Twilight_Crow

#31

Twilight_Crow said:

After reading this, I feel like downloading the freeware and try it, and I'm buying the WW version ASAP, thanks Drake great article. I really hope Pixel would get part of the profits.

x10power

#32

x10power said:

This looks very good and interesting I might have to give this game a home on my wii when it comes to the Wii Shop Channel.

Adam

#33

Adam said:

From the videos at IGN it looks like the font and main character graphic are different. Perhaps the video is just unclear or I don't remember well. Can anyone verify either claim?

I thought at first that the font was changed because it is a new translation to avoid legal issues (if that would even be an issue), but it looks the same from what I can tell. I wonder if, assuming it is the same translation, the original English translation team is being compensated in this deal, since they originally did it for free?

Objection

#34

Objection said:

This game doesn't need upgraded graphics, just some extra modes, such as co-op?!?! That would be awesome. Online leaderboards don't seem to fit, but it would be cool if they smashed them in somehow.

TopHatPangolin

#35

TopHatPangolin said:

Yeah, Adam, they did change. The new sprite looks pretty good, but... the font... it doesn't really... fit.

Rexy

#36

Rexy said:

"Look up "Cave Story music" on a site such as YouTube and you'll get a couple hundred results, not just with videos containing the game's original music, but also remixes and arrangements."

If it's remixes and arrangements you're looking for, then yes, I feel proud of my contribution to the Cave Story Remix Project :D

But still, to see a game like this come to Wiiware will so easily be worth it. While it was still fun playing it on my old PC before it completely broke down, I feel it would be a lot more convenient to play it on an actual game system. Thank you Wiiware! :)

Outrunner

#38

Outrunner said:

4 hours is a bit short... I felt a bit cheated by the length of Lost Winds. Don't get me wrong, I loved playing through it, it was awesome, but it could've had more replay value. So I dunno, I might get this if it has replay value.

Adam

#39

Adam said:

It absolutely has replay value. It is, at its core, an action game, so I don't think it has the same problems as Lost Winds in the replay department. I played through it twice so far and definitely look forward to playing it much more than that on Wii.

Lost Winds is essentially puzzle-based, which is great for one run-through but not so fun the next time when you know exactly what to do.

Anyone on the fence about this should really try out the free PC version. I mean, it's free... you can't go wrong there. Even if you don't like playing games on a computer (I definitely am not a fan of platforming with the arrow keys, but it is growing on me from playing CS and Jumper), play through just the beginning to get an idea of what it's like. The game has a charm like no other.

Twilight_Crow

#40

Twilight_Crow said:

I just downloaded the freeware version last night and I can tell you this article is so right, tnis game is totally marvelous, the story is interesting, the controls are fluid, the levels are fun, and the music is lovely; actually, I don't like to play games on my PC, so now I'm eagerly waiting for the wiiware release.

@Adam
I downloaded the deluxe version, and it allows you to play with any kind of control or joystick.

Adam

#41

Adam said:

I have deluxe, too, but unfortunately, I don't have any better controllers for PC. I don't particularly like to play games on computer either, so I don't feel like spending on a controller for it.

Varoennauraa

#43

Varoennauraa said:

Cavestory is in my top 3 of this gen and I'm a big fan of Pixel. I REALLY hope that the rpg he's been making will end to Wii as well! I have another indie game in my top 3 too. Its Knytt Stories, and its developer Nifflas is as genious as Pixel! Check it NOW! With no idea, I was coming here to promote Knytt and Nifflas, and only here I got to know that it was no other than my beloved Nifflas who was making my favourite Pixel game to Wii!!! I had been in agony waiting what magic Nifflas is currently making, and its this. Thank you Nifflas. Please make your next game for Wii(Ware or not). Oh yeah! Check Knytt Story's music, I LOVE IT!!!

Objection

#44

Objection said:

@Rexy. Nice remixes! Smootie Bracelet was cool, listening to it right now. I always love fan projects like this.

Nero

#46

Nero said:

This is indeed one of the best free games out there and I will be happy to pay for it. Just knowing Pixel will be getting much of it will make me even happier.

Clayfrd

#47

Clayfrd said:

Pixel's dedication is enough for me to buy the game! With the Java/VB code I know, I've spent about 2 weeks on a game using ripped off sprites and given up! It's not that I can't do it, it's that I don't have that kind of dedication. Pixel truly impresses me.

BiggerJ

#48

BiggerJ said:

I emailed Aeon Genesis (Cave Story's original translation team) about the Wii translation, and I'll be sure to tell you guys if I get a reply. I seem to recall that Pixel helped them with their original translation, though, so it might be possible that Pixel put the Wii version's developers in touch with them.

Also, that's a nice J.

nintendo87

#49

nintendo87 said:

i just downloaded this game on my pc and love it cant wait intill it comes out for the wii!!

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