Cave Story (DSiWare)

Game Review

Cave Story Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Cave Story on the go

With the release of Cave Story on WiiWare earlier this year, Nicalis gave Wii owners a chance to experience a game that's become one of the most popular indie PC titles of all time. Now it's decided to give gamers a chance to own a portable version of the game that they can take with them on go. And while the game hasn't changed much in the transition, it does seems to fit the small screen of the DS like a glove.

At its heart, Cave Story is very much an action-platformer. You'll spend the majority of your time running, jumping and blasting, but there's a certain emphasis on exploration as well. When you begin the game, you don't even have a weapon at your disposal – instead you must locate the weapon and then speak to various creatures to find out what you need to do next. While the game holds your hand a bit at first, you'll soon be faced with figuring out many of the game's mysteries on your own as you explore each area. It's ultimately this combination of gaming elements that make the game such an enthralling experience.

As you explore areas you'll locate new and more powerful weapons, not to mention speciality items that many times play a key role in advancing through the levels. Some weapons feature unlimited firepower, whereas others require you to pick up extra ammunition from downed enemies. You can even switch weapons on the fly by pressing the L or R shoulder buttons. You'll soon find that being able to switch weapons quickly will play a key role in how effective you are against some of the game's tougher bosses. Add in the ability to collect Weapon Crystals to power up your weapons and you've got quite the arsenal with which to tackle the game's wide variety of enemies and bosses.

The Story mode of the game is the meat of the package and will be where you'll likely spend the majority of your time. It's basically the same game as found on WiiWare, so its main draw will obviously be its portability. There's also a special mode that's unlockable for those who are willing to put in the time to get it, not to mention a Jukebox mode that allows you to listen to music tracks that have been unlocked in the Story mode.

You can't help but love the smooth and responsive controls the game offers up and being able to toggle weapons so quickly and easily is also a big plus. It would have been nice to be able to keep the map displayed during the actual gameplay rather than pausing the game to access it, but it's a minor gripe really. The game also features a very gradual and smooth difficulty curve, although it can be a bit deceiving early on, as the game ramps up in difficulty quite well in later levels and should test even the most seasoned action-platformer fans. Toss in some RPG-style exploration elements and three difficulty levels and you've got an extremely well-rounded and fairly lengthy gaming experience that should keep you busy for some time.

Cave Story has never been about flashy visuals, but the game looks great on the small screen of the Nintendo DSi. The developers have done a great job of capturing the charming look and feel of the game onscreen and even as nice as the WiiWare game looked, the vibrancy and clarity of this DSiWare version seem to eclipse it in some ways. The same can be said of the audio presentation as well, as all of the musical tracks sound amazing on the DS. There are a few sound effects that were cut out, but it's difficult to complain too much considering how much audio the developers were able to pack into this portable release.


Cave Story is full of charm and personality, and its eccentric world draws you in from the moment you begin playing, with its ever-increasing intensity and action helped by the game's enjoyable gameplay scheme. When you combine all of this with the game's portability and unlockable extras, what you have is one of the most playable and addictive titles to hit DSiWare to date. As good as Cave Story was on Wii, it might even be a little better on the DSi.

From the web

Game Trailer

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Here is the brand new trailer for the DSiWare version of Cave Story

User Comments (79)



odd69 said:

Awesome review corbs, I'll probably just stick with my Wiiware version to save a little money. But anyone who buys this version is still in for a treat.



Bensei said:

What's the difference ebtween the versions? If they are totally equal I'd get the DSi Version as soon as it hits Europe, so I can play it while I'm on the train.



FierceRegalia said:

Played the WiiWare version and loved it. Downloaded the PC version and loved it. I showed this game to my girlfriend and she loved it too.

So now I will buy some points to get this and play on the go.



Nintendanforth said:

I remember there being an article about some small sprite changes before the wiiware version came out that gave the game a more 16-bit look and was less pixelated, is this the same case?



NintenDude97 said:

Nice review Corbie, BTW I just noticed that Corbie Dillard is in the credits!-- Under the "Very Special Thanks" section. :0 What did he do to get in there? Maybe Nicalis liked his review of the WiiWare version. Anyway, I've spent over $100 on DSiWare and this is my favorite game by far. Great job Pixel!



Spoony_Tech said:

Waited for this version before I got it and I must say its fantastic and for only 10 dollars how can you beat that! Don't let the old school looks fool you like I first did and download one of these versions now.

From the first 5 mins I could tell this game was something special. The fluid controls; the metroid style theme when you get items; the cute and engaging story! This is a must own for any platforming fan.



KeeperBvK said:

I'd STILL like to finally hear about the differences, no matter if this version is to be prefered. Are there for example any differences in the extra department and concerning unlockables?



Kid_A said:

Nice review, Corbs. One of my all time favorite games. Having it on the go is like a dream come true



Spoony_Tech said:

^It depends if you want to sit in front of your TV or take it with you wherever you go. For me it was portability. The graphics did seem to take a little hit though on the dsi version. I downloaded the demo on the Wii version and it looks so vibrant.



Kid_A said:

The graphics didn't take a hit, per se, they're just a direct port of the original PC version. The graphics were specifically updated for the WiiWare version to take advantage of the larger screen.



blink83 said:

While I do play my dsi alot, almost never dsiware games just ds games..... Idk why of course.



Spoony_Tech said:

@Kid_A it just looks a bit better on my TV. It might be where I have my settings on my TV but just looks about 25% better with more vibrant colors. Still I prefer portable over graphics anyways when it comes to the same content!

Also if this game is running on 480p that might explain why I think it looks better!



Marioman64 said:

you mention a small complaint of not being able to move while the map is out

if the map always stayed on the bottom screen, then if you ran into some plot trigger it would get confused when it had to put the dialogue down there.

the only complaints I have are the same as the wii one:
-"oh Yeah!" instead of "Huzzah!"
-"someone's transmission" instead of "from somewhere a transmission"
-and the triangles are loud when they bounce



Marioman64 said:

oh, and does anyone know how to get the extra mode and those last three songs in the jukebox?



Azikira said:

I absolutely adore this game, ive already gotten two different endings! I'd give it a 9/10, but the fanboy in me keeps screaming "ITS SO PERFECT!".

I cant find a single thing I dislike about this wonderful title. Best DSi game to date!! (Yes, even better then Shantae... no wait, WAAAY better then Shantae)



EdEN said:

On the go you have a direct PC port and on Wiiware you have new graphics and music for 200 extra points. I already own it on Wiiware so I don't think I'll also buy it on DSiware.



LordJumpMad said:

I haven't try The Wiiware one but,
if its the same game on the go, then that sounds good to me



Tetris911 said:

LOVE THIS GAME! This is quite possibly the best DSI Ware game to date, so much better to play on the DSi cause I can play it on the can or when I'm about to go to sleep. I've already played this version longer than the Wii Ware version since I'm always on the go.



sonic_brawler95 said:

Next time I get a points card, I'll buy this for sure. Then again, I was planning on buying it anyway.
In the meantime, I guess I should finish the Wii one.

Great review, btw.



MysteriousVoice said:

Extremely epic. The only differences are some added things on the bottom screen. Alot of dialogue is slightly worded differently too. And of course, hard and easy mode are nice. I think theres a boss rush or something, because theres a hidden game in the main menu. I wouldnt know what it is, although I am heading into the best ending area...Oh god.



TKOWL said:

I don't have a DSi, and I have the Wiiware version, so there's no need in me getting this.

Plus, playing with the Wii Remote sideways has a more retro feel



Kafei2006 said:

I got the GP2X version, which is playable on the go and available legally for FREE =).



komicturtle said:

Bought it and love this game. Never bought the WiiWare version (not that I didn't want to).

It gives me that classic "Game Boy Game" feeling.

And I REALLY enjoy the music dearly



Toon_Link said:

This makes me want to go out and buy a points card right now.
Definitely next time.



Funky_Gamer said:

I'm sure the controls are easier. I'm not gonna get this until the 3DS comes just incase I can't transfer it. And the wiiware is good enough for me right now!



Kevin said:

I'll be getting this with my 3DS when I get it. Does this version come with the extra modes the WiiWare version has?



colortvgame said:

I was wondering how far people have reached on the hardest difficulty level.

For me, I recently got to the tank boss in the Labyrinth. It's a real challenge, having only 3 hp and no missiles. The tank might be as far as I go in hard mode (at least for now), because it's a real pain to trek to that boss from the closest save point. Maybe someday I will gather the courage to finish hard mode.



bngrybt said:

From what I've played it's the same as the Wii version only without the higher res graphics and remixed music. Graphics and music for the DS version are the originals. I think those are what he's calling frilly junk.



XnessX said:

so has anyone heard of this thing called my health notebook? it's an app for dsiware and it was released in japan for free! is there any news on when (or if) it's coming to the US?



RantingThespian said:

Ok, I have bought this and beaten it . . . and now I want Cave Story 2! The game was awesome. I hope the team will make a second one. There seems to be so much more story of our character, and what of this war? What happens to the creatures? There are so many questions that lead to so many possible sequels to answer them.



NintendoFanatic98 said:

Yes, you have to do a bunch of special requirements, like save Booster and Curly and then kill the final boss (the one after the Undead Core). There's more, but I don't want to give any spoilers.



paperskyx said:

I would never give up 1000 points for ONE game unless it was really, really amazing. This game seems kind of lame in my opinion.



xxx_Kirby_xxx said:

I'm confused! I searched this game on the DSi Shop, and it didn't come up. Neither did Shantae. I'm not using the parental controls, either. My DSi is from England, I think. Would that be why I can't find these games? D; Anyway, nice solid review. Makes me want to play it.... How much does it cost?



theblackdragon said:

@xxx.Kirby.xxx: yes, that would be why. the DSi is region-locked, and each region's Shop has slight variations regarding games on offer... Cave Story DS hasn't quite hit EU yet. :3



xxx_Kirby_xxx said:

@blackdragon: gotcha.... mmm, that sucks.... I really wanted to check this game out. Oh, well. Guess I'll just have to wait until it gets released in EU. Or if it gets released at all. Hehe.



Kurona said:

Erm, I'm kinda on the fence here... I've already played through Cave Story on the PC, but I'm wondering if I should get this game rather than Shantae... Because I only have 2000 Nintendo points. Which one would you recommend?



ShadowDX1 said:

What happens after you beat the game? Do you restart playing from scratch, like in exidia?



TromaDogg said:

Don't worry Kirby, there's still no sign of it on European DSiWare yet I'm sure you'll have plenty of time to get more points before it's available to us for download. We might even get the 3DS version before the DSiWare version at this rate



OmegaMetroid123 said:

this game is only like, 42 blocks isn't it? i don't want to download a game that is only this many blocks really. so if anybody who has downloaded this game could tell me if its worth it, i'd appreciate it!



noxusprime06 said:

this is the only version of cave story ive played and im definatly not getting any other versions



SanFrisco9er said:

This game is freakin AWESOME! I passed it once but going to pass it 2 more times b/c i left curly the first time i passed it(no tow rope) and now i left curly in a bed than i saved the game, now i cant get her back and i still want to try out the last weapon. Its just a good game and on the GO makes it even better. Cant wait for CAVE STORY the movie JK JK.Wheres cave story plus BTW?

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