(3DS eShop)

Cave Story (3DS eShop)

Game Review

Cave Story Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Jon Wahlgren

Spelunker

Stop us if you've heard this one. A guy by the nom de plume of Pixel made a really great game all by himself and released it on PC for free in 2004. It's called...

Oh, so you have heard it. We thought so.

In 2012, Cave Story needs no introduction. It's not an unknown quantity. In fact, not counting this eShop release, publisher Nicalis has put the game out on Nintendo platforms three times in two years, each with their own little twist to somewhat justify a new flavour: It's on a console! It's portable and it's in 3D!

No, Cave Story is no longer rare. However, it does indeed remain a rarity — it flawlessly captures the joy and wonder that makes this medium so endearing. In Pixel's opus, charm, challenge and eccentricity are built atop joyful exploration and pleasingly rock-solid mechanics — everything from managing weapons to jumping is a delight. Our hero's quest to save the rabbit-like Mimiga from a deranged doctor is riddled with memorable characters and moments; along with its numerous secrets and multiple endings, Cave Story is an utterly fantastic game worth experiencing twice or thrice, and just feels at home on a portable.

It's tough to begrudge Nicalis for wanting to continually tinker with the game, even if it doesn't get the total package right all of the time. This version, though, is pretty much everything you would want it to be. Cave Story on the eShop is essentially a portable version of Cave Story+ released on PC in 2011 — namely, with enhanced widescreen visuals; the original, fan-favourite chiptune soundtrack; and packed with bonus content and modes. There isn't anything ground-shakingly amazing and new, though, so bonuses like Curly Story, Boss Rush, Hell Time Attack and the Wind Fortress area may already be familiar if you have experience with any of Nicalis' releases. With all of them under one roof now, we dare say that it's the most complete version of Cave Story yet.

From the get-go, though, it's apparent just how much cleaner this eShop version looks compared to its DSiWare forerunner. Players can toggle between the original 4:3 screen ratio or a far more enjoyable widescreen view that greatly opens up the world, which might be incentive enough to upgrade from the DSiWare version if you are lucky enough to live in a territory where that was released. There isn't any of the severely redrawn art of the WiiWare version, either, preserving the game's original pixel look and charm, while colours are more vivid and sprite detail more apparent, appearing much like how our rose-tinted glasses probably perceive the 16-bit era. Worlds away from 16-bit technology and our old CRT monitors is autostereoscopic 3D, which has been proven to work wonders for 2D titles like Cave Story. The effect is rather pleasing, although having stared at the 2D version for years it can be tough to mentally reconcile what should and shouldn't be in the forefront, leading to certain areas coming across as a little goofy.

Perhaps also tough to reconcile is the notion of buying yet another version of Cave Story, especially when you could potentially have two other versions playable on this very hardware in your possession. Plunking down for yet another version may not sound very appealing, and understandably so — apart from the slick new presentation, there ultimately isn't anything new. What is here, though, is definitive.

Conclusion

Cave Story may come from humble PC beginnings but it feels most in its element in this slick portable package. Nicalis has put together the definitive Cave Story compilation, but without any earth-shattering changes or additions it's ultimately just another way to play an all-time classic on familiar hardware. Granted, that's still a rather excellent thing, as the game is so pleasing to play that we're more than happy to delve into it yet again, and again.

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User Comments (85)

RR529

#4

RR529 said:

I'll be downloading this Thursday (well, providing I've completed Denpa Men by then).

wuuds

#5

wuuds said:

still waiting for this and Denpa Men in Europe :)
only ever played the pc version.. without a gamepad so i REALLY want this. can finally experience it as "comfortably" as it should be experienced!

Geonjaha

#7

Geonjaha said:

Yes, it gets released on many platforms - but I havent had the chance to play it yet, so what does that tell you? The DSiWare game never came to the UK, the 3DS retail game is amazingly rare and expensive, and I'd rather have a portable version of the game than play it on PC. So if this comes to Europe then it's getting a purchase from me.

Israel_Cesar

#10

Israel_Cesar said:

I almost bought the ds version on the E-shop the day this was announced! ill get it as soon as it is available!

Karakato

#11

Karakato said:

Played the original Freeware game, Bought the DSiware version, now I'll gladly triple dip for this and it will be Glorious. But seriously Nicalis, find another game to port, if I see a Cave Story HD remix edition U, I will cry.

A1234

#15

A1234 said:

what is the difference between this version and the retail version?

ScreamoPichu

#16

ScreamoPichu said:

I'd much prefer this version than the DSiWare version I have. I may even be tempted to buy it again. (But I have a feeling an HD version maybe be released on Wii U soon.)

RupeeClock

#17

RupeeClock said:

Soon, the definitive handheld Cave Story title shall be mine.

I've already played a homebrew port of Cave Story on my GP2X Caanoo, an open source handheld.
That's fantastic! But it's not widescreen, and doesn't have all these nice new features like Boss Rush or multiple saves.

So heck I'm really looking forward to this. More so since Europe was deprived of the DSiWare release.

DAaaMan64

#19

DAaaMan64 said:

There isn't a version of Cave Story on enough Nintendo Platforms, we need one for the Virtual Boy.

Einherjar

#20

Einherjar said:

So, now you can not only play the 3D remake on the go but the original too :D I hope it arrives EU soon.

6ch6ris6

#21

6ch6ris6 said:

it doesnt matter how often they release this game and how well it is recieved by critics and gamers. i played the wiiware demo and quitted after 5mins because it was so boring and controls sucked

hate me. i can handle it

Lunapplebloom

#22

Lunapplebloom said:

I'm in no rush to get this one. I already got the 3D retail version before this was announced. I'll never say never, but for now I don't need another Cave Story game.

And find something else to do now Nicalis. We've been over saturated in this game. Not that it's a bad thing, but to much of a good thing can be bad.

LittleKing

#24

LittleKing said:

Is it just me, or does this version have more features than the 3DS retail version? Aside from the revamped visuals, of course.

AyeHaley

#25

AyeHaley said:

I waited especially for this release/version. The packed PC version but with added 3D effect. And I'm sure there are others like me who haven't played it yet. :) Definite buy!

C-Olimar

#26

C-Olimar said:

I think it's currently scheduled for early next year in Europe, so make sure you have eShop cash by 2016!

LordJumpMad

#27

LordJumpMad said:

Wouldn't this hurt the sells for the Cave Story3D thats already on the 3DS as retail?
I have seen the game for $15 new, is it any better then CaveStory+?

Stargazer

#28

Stargazer said:

I wish I hadn't bought the DSiware version (since I barely touched it)....but this shall be mine.

StephenYap3

#29

StephenYap3 said:

Thank you, Jon Wahlgren. You just made my day. I'm going to get this ASASP (As soon as seriously possible), as well as the New Super Mario Bros 2 DLC!

Blizzaga

#30

Blizzaga said:

I already own and enjoy the DSi Ware version on my 3DS. Widescreen, a few extras, and 3D effect aren't enough incentive to get me to pay two months worth of recycled cans and bottles again. Now, if they were awesome and would let me upgrade to this version at a discount, I would most definitely consider it.

But noooooo....

grumblegrumble

#33

grumblegrumble said:

Wow. Can't wait to get this soon. I've never played it, I've been waiting for this version. So I'd better start saving up for it!

Hyperstar96

#34

Hyperstar96 said:

If only Nicalis weren't so cheap and/or lazy and included the improved graphics and new soundtracks...

Boo_Buster

#35

Boo_Buster said:

I'm going to have to pick this up sometime this month or wait until December, we will see how the budget is. November is a crazy month for Nintendo fans. Crazy=Expensive

RetroGBHippie92

#36

RetroGBHippie92 said:

This version was confirmed to be coming to EU and AU several months ago, also I've been waiting for a handheld version since the DSiware version. Now all of you are beginning to grumble, hey i've tried my best to ask Nicalis when it's coming put here, if you want to try be my guest.

Austrian

#37

Austrian said:

I bloody hope we euros, at least, get this version after we got shafted on the DSiware version.
I'm sick of waiting

Windy

#40

Windy said:

I think I will take my first plunge into this game. It looks to have the visuals I was hoping for on 3ds

MattEriks

#41

MattEriks said:

@Jon Wahlgren

I have a question. If you play easy does Quote have a jellow Chicken suit? and in normal his standard red cap? and in hard a blue cap and kinda tanned face? Also are the holiday costumes (halloween and x-mas costumes) there?

JonWahlgrenAdmin

#42

JonWahlgren said:

@Hyperstar96: I don't think not including the new audio/visuals is a matter of being cheap or lazy. Wasn't there a huge backlash against the new music in the WiiWare version?

@MattEriks: Yes all around, although I don't know if I'd classify it as a chicken suit — it looks mostly just yellow to me.

True_Hero

#45

True_Hero said:

Sweet! Held out on getting the DsiWare version after I heard that this bad boy was in the works. Now if only I had money on my eShop account...

Wonder_Ideal

#46

Wonder_Ideal said:

It's too bad that 3DS owners with the DSi version can't get a discount. Oh well, it still looks great.

True_Hero

#48

True_Hero said:

@ A-Hungry-Banker
I know! I havn't seen the cart anywhere. I wonder if it had a very limited release.

ecco6t9

#49

ecco6t9 said:

Provided their are not any surprises tomorrow(Kirby 2,GBA Games) I will download this.

MattEriks

#51

MattEriks said:

@JonWahlgren

i have one more question for you. What buttons does Map and Inventory have?

I ask because i hated the litte touch button the forced us to use for inv in Cave Story 3d.

x-mas_mii

#52

x-mas_mii said:

if i could give my dsi ware version to one of my relatives, i'd buy this game. As it stands, I don't want to have 2 copies of the same game on my 3ds

JonWahlgrenAdmin

#54

JonWahlgren said:

@MattEriks: We try to be as helpful as we can! Both the map and inventory are accessed by poking the touchscreen. You see in the screenshots that the bottom screen is dim — when you poke it, it lights up and you can either continue poking it with your thumb or use buttons to access stuff.

rayword45

#58

rayword45 said:

I don't see how Cave Story is a 9 while La-Mulana is a 10. La-Mulana is great and all, but Cave Story blows LM out of the water.

Regardless, may purchase this again, still bitter over CS3D though.

WhiteTrashGuy

#60

WhiteTrashGuy said:

@ZIMM

The retail version on 3DS has pre-rendered graphics and a CD-quality soundtrack. Most people prefer the pixel graphics.

I have been waiting for this. Was about to buy the retail version then this was announced! Here I come!

Drobotic

#61

Drobotic said:

Might get this.But I got so mad when I found out that I could SAVE Curly after we fought the Core!I guess I can start over with this.

TheDreamingHawk

#62

TheDreamingHawk said:

I really want this question answered.

In the CS+ mac version, it displays your best times for the extra modes, where the wiiware version doesn't. Does it display your records here? Just wondering

Bassman_Q

#63

Bassman_Q said:

@rayword45 - I thought the exact same thing too! Cave Story is just so much more involving than La-Mulana I feel. The only thing La-Mulana has over Cave Story is its longevity and non-linearity.

Anyway, I just downloaded the DSiWare version yesterday haha. But I'm not upset because I don't have a 3DS anyway and it doesn't seem like this version has much else to offer. I already own the Freeware version on my Mac, the Wiiware version, and now the DSiWare version, so I don't expect to be purchasing any other Cave Story version for a long while.

And on a sidenote, whatever happened to the Ikachan port to DSiWare? :O

MattEriks

#64

MattEriks said:

@JonWahlgren

so i can touch the display anywhere to go to inv? The retail versions touch area was way to limited

so you cant use start and/or select to acces inventory or map? If not does start slelect do anything?

TheInvisibleTor

#66

TheInvisibleTor said:

I dont care abiut this game since I already have the dsiware version. Plus the two games (this one and the dsiware) got the same scores.

A1234

#69

A1234 said:

@WhiteTrashGuy

thanks! I was going to buy the retail version, but instead I will buy this. for one thing, in most places the retail version is still $30. it is still $30 on amazon.

Token_Girl

#70

Token_Girl said:

At least activision takes the effort to reskin call of duty every year. Put me in the group that would have upgraded, if that was an option. If I wanted to play again, it's not like there aren't plenty of endings in the DSiWare version. Theres no need to ask people to drop more money when there are already 2 workable versions on the system

WhiteTrashGuy

#71

WhiteTrashGuy said:

@ZIMM

No problem! I actually considered buying the retail release if it came down to $15, but that doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon.

On a side note, why the heck isn't SPELUNKY on the 3DS!?

Knux

#72

Knux said:

Should I buy this along with my other three versions of Cave Story, or wait until Nicalis releases Cave Story U for the Wii U as a retail game in 2013, and Cave Story HD on the Wii U's eShop in 2014?

After all, we want to buy as many ports and remakes as possible. Eff original content!

TheAmazingRaccoon

#73

TheAmazingRaccoon said:

We will get it 3 years down the track. Still no sign of the DSi version, I don't expect to see this.

[start of non gaming happiness]

Oh yeah, WAIKATO HAS THE RANFURLY SHIELD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go the mighty Mooloo! (the Ranfurly Shield is the most important piece of silverware in NZ provincial rugby. More important than the provincial championship title, because it is rare to get a challenge for it) Take that Taranaki. I AM SO HAPPY :)

[end of non gaming happiness]

warvad

#74

warvad said:

Perfect. So freaking excited for this. Native widescreen with original Pixel art and soundtrack is all I could have ever wanted.

ohhaime

#75

ohhaime said:

Having played the PC version and gotten every ending(including the Mimiga mask ) before it was ever a retail game I've never been convinced to buy any other version they released.
This is the version that makes me want to buy, The original 2D artwork in 3D? Yes please!

aljoriz

#78

aljoriz said:

Sadly there's a bug. Try playing Curly story and its like VVVVVV all over again. How long do I have to wait for them to fix this bug?

Gorlokk

#79

Gorlokk said:

OH GAWD. CURLY STORY... WHY?!
Curly story is so glitched, you literally can't get out of the starting point.
This sucks. I paid ten bucks for this, ready for Wind Fortress and Curly Story since the other versions of Cave Story I have are the DSi one and retail 3D.
I really hope this gets fixed.

Gorlokk

#80

Gorlokk said:

Oh, and Time Attack doesn't have Missile Launcher?! I don't know if the Wii of PC version did, but both the DSi and Retail 3D ones did.

DarkCoolEdge

#81

DarkCoolEdge said:

Why don't they let me buy it? I would've bought the dsiware version but they didn't bring to europe and now looks like this one won't either.

Screw you nicalis. Let enjoy up or anyone else bring it here, just like La-Mulana, which I already bought.

shimage

#82

shimage said:

Hmm. I prefer the sprites in the WiiWare version. Maybe it's just me. And I thought the only reason people complained about the "improved" music was because Nicalis somehow forgot some of the instruments. I think it would have been nice to at least give us the option to switch between the two; it's not like the assets don't already exist.

Also, it would have been nice to be able to copy save files, since there are so many branching points, but I guess that would make things too easy.

ueI

#83

ueI said:

I finally played this game on my computer and I quite liked it. I am surprised and disappointed that none of the reviews mention how difficult it is to get the best ending, however.

Kolzig

#85

Kolzig said:

Soon 14 months have passed and still no European release. This of course is typical laziness and lousy behaviour on Nicalis part since they don't care about countries outside North America.

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