If you fancy yourself a purist, you can
always revert to the original art.
Even mutant bunnies like
to wear fancy ties.
They should really put up
a railing or something.
You’ll rediscover your love for floppy disks
when they refill your health and let you save.
An underground hit about underground hitting gets
an HD upgrade with CAVE STORY+ by Chris Donlan
Over on a Cave Story message board, user X-Caliber has a problem with Cave Story+. It’s to do
with Balrog, a recurring boss who
resembles a suitcase. In the old days,
his catchphrase was “Huzzah!” But
thanks to the HD upgrade’s alternate translation, it’s changed to “Oh
yeah!” Cool beans to you and I,
perhaps, but X-Caliber is livid.
If you’re wondering how a game
could ever inspire the levels of devotion needed to power criticism of
this granularity, you probably
haven’t played Cave Story. You really
should, though—and, all controver-sies aside, Cave Story+ is a good place
to start. Nicalis may have instigated
a contentious dehuzzahification of
Daisuke Amaya’s homebrew
charmer, but it’s also delivered a
remixed soundtrack that’s both
perky and stirring, with new art that
evolves the retro stylings of the
original design without lapsing into
It’s the sensitive reworking Cave
Story deserves. Studio Pixel’s classic
is a uniquely polite adventure that
drops you into a subterranean world,
where a villainous doctor threatens a
group of bunny people. You save
the day by exploring, shooting
weird animals, fighting bosses, and
collecting items that—more often
than not—open up new parts of the
environment, where the whole thing
repeats itself (wonderfully).
Cave Story’s levels manage to be intricate without appearing confusing,
and they retain a clear sense of
forward momentum even as the storyline branches and the hidden Easter
eggs pile up. Meanwhile, an orderly
series of unlocks brings shape to the
game’s wayward narrative, and each
new gadget you’re handed genuinely
broadens your options. You can
double-jump with the use of special
boots, for instance, or use the kickback from the machinegun to pogo
your way from one ledge to the next.
There’s a leveling system in place,
but it focuses on your weapons
rather than your character. Skillful
players will be rewarded with more
powerful attacks, while the careless
will be punished through regular
downgrades if they take too many
risks. It’s a reminder that, while
Cave Story’s sugary on the surface,
it’s pleasantly tart underneath.
Even before you turn to Nicalis’
new bonus challenges (a boss rush,
some pitiless platforming gauntlets,
and the option to repeat the cam-
paign with a different lead) seeing
everything on your first play-
through is nigh impossible.
Need to know
What is it?
platformer with great
Play it on
Dual-core 2.0GHz CPU,
◆ Price $10 ◆ Release Out now ◆ Publisher Nicalis◆ Developer Nicalis, Studio Pixel
◆ Multiplayer None ◆ Link www.nicalis.com ◆ ESRB E
88The original indie success tory receives the update it deserves. If you still haven’t played this gem, now’s the perfect time.