Cave Story’s throwback appeal isn’t just surface deep. The 8-bit graphics and sound are fun, but the real substance of this game is below the surface. This isn’t a game which sticks pixelated sprites on top of a less than polished engine. Cave Story recreates what was really fantastic about games like Metroid; their gameplay. Cave Story can stand amongst classic side scrollers because it is a well designed, fun, and challenging game.
You start out with no weapon, in a small cave. You can jump, but that’s it. Go through the door, and there are bats, spikes, and jumping blobs to avoid. Soon you find your first weapon; the polar star. It’s a small gun, but it means you can deal with the enemies in the cave passages rather than just avoiding them. As you kill the enemies, they occasionally drop small golden triangles. These are experience; it isn’t for you, but for your gun. The more experience you gain for your gun, the more powerful it becomes. If you take hits, you don’t just lose health but also gun xp. This is a unique and fun feature; increasing the xp of your gun means you can dispatch most enemies with ease, and losing xp makes things a whole lot more difficult.
As you move through the world of Cave Story, you’ll come across a variety of enemies and puzzles. You’ll also face boss battles which are challenging and rewarding. The world is immersive and interesting, and the difficulty is rarely annoying; the challenges you face seem logical and achievable. Cave Story is rarely if ever frustrating, but it is difficult. It is this difficulty which contributes to the games long play time.
Some have said that Cave Story will take first time players around 10 hours to complete. The game is long, which is rare for an indie game made by one person. If you’ve yet to play Cave Story, this game can give you hours and hours of fun. If you like platformers, this game is for you. You don’t have to have played 90’s style side scrollers to appreciate Cave Story. It is well crafted, original, and fun throughout. Get this game today and see why it’s almost universally adored.
TL:DR: A side scrolling platformer/shooter which is challenging and unique. Expertly crafted with throwback graphics, sounds, and gameplay.