Wednesday, November 9, 2011

MashButtons reviews Cave Story, now in 3D Doods!

 The time has finally come, Cave Story for the Nintendo 3DS is upon us and we have gotten a review copy to satisfy our thirst for an original game on the portable platform. There are still many that are unaware of the Cave Story phenomena, including me up until recently, but the title started out on the PC as an indie 2D side scroller/action adventure, then later was released as a WiiWare downloadable, but now the title will hit the public in its richest form, 3D! The original, developed in 2004 features the graphics, gameplay, and sound straight out of the 80’s. New to the 3DS version is obviously the graphics along with content and gameplay, but also include the classic gameplay that made the original so much fun to play. The premise of the title is that you wake up in a cave with no idea about your identity in a land filled with rabbit like creatures that need your help being freed from the clutches of the doctor. You will later learn more about world and it inhabitants, so on with the review.

Cave Story 3D has all of the charm that the original had in terms of gameplay, controls, and story, but the new upgraded graphics make you immediately forget that this was originally an indie title and feels like a big budget production. The reason I fell in love with Cave Story is because it has that Metroidvania feel that makes backtracking and replaying so enjoyable. There are also decisions made throughout the story that effect what is to happen later on whether it is with rewards, weapons, or relationships with characters. It looked like there were some new weapons and locations, but like I said depending on how you interact with characters it could change with each playthrough. The revamped graphics to give that modern feel are a great fit as it looks great whether playing in 2.5D or 3D, and luckily NIS America picked this up as their art style really shows and I do not think it could have been made to play and feel as much like the original if it had been done by anyone else.
One thing that didn’t seem like it worked so well all the time was the 3D. Depending on the area and if there are numerous obstructions throughout the level, I would have to turn the 3D off to help with visibility and problems focusing, but all in all, it is a great enhancement to the levels providing quite a lot of depth to the environment. This did feel quite a bit more difficult in the beginning than the original, as you still start out with limited health, but I don’t recall dying and having to restart so much in the beginning. After you start accumulating health it does get a bit easier, with the exception of bosses, that is until you figure out which weapon is most effective.

I had a blast with Cave Story 3D, while it is hard to tell which I prefer, the original 8-bit indie game or the graphically enhanced 3D remake with subtle additions. That is why I have both, yes both, and I will most likely continue to play both as this is an extremely well made game, regardless to which version you play, with a ton of replay and entertainment value that will keep you coming back for more. My hat goes off to NIS America for picking this up and giving the fans a much needed addition to the library and to hopefully bring in new fans to help justify more games like this.

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