I figure by now most of you aren’t exactly out of the loop regarding the impending release of Cave Story on WiiWare. If you really don’t follow these sorts of things, then shame on you. Cave Story has been a cult favorite for years as an independent PC game, and it’s finally going to make that leap onto consoles and into paid distribution models.
Cave Story for WiiWare has been a long time coming. I first discovered the PC game five or so years back, and instantly fell in love with everything except for the fact that I had to play the game on the PC. The slickly produced WiiWare port with its redone graphics and music looks to be the definitive version of the game. Don’t worry; you can still go with the original version of the game if you want (though the revamped visuals look super purdy).
I only played the game for a few minutes on the GDC show floor because I don’t like to spoil this sort of experience too much ahead of time. Especially for a game like Cave Story, there’s not too much of the game that you can really experience while on the floor of a crowded, noisy conference. What little I did see was enough to get me excited for this release all over again.
The WiiWare incarnation of the title controls wonderfully with just the Wiimote held sideways. I always found Cave Story to be a very pleasant mixture of Mario and Metroid, and it just felt natural to play the game using the Wiimote in the classic NES pad position. I had never been able to beat the game on the PC just because I can’t stand using a keyboard to control a game that is obviously optimally played on a controller. Holding the Wiimote in my hand and watching the beautifully detailed sprites dance across the screen, I knew that I would finally be able to play the game to my heart’s content.
The game progresses much like a Metroidvania sort of thing. Players explore environments, find power-ups and weapon upgrades, and blast away at anyone that gets in their way. There are some story elements in play, and they are fairly charming, if relatively unremarkable. There is significantly more platforming in the game than in your standard Metroidvania title, and that’s why the Mario comparison seems apt. Players will often have to negotiate some tricky platforming challenges. Luckily, the main character, Quote, controls perfectly, making these challenges fun rather than frustrating. You’ll level up your weapons by dispatching baddies, although taking hits knocks your level back down. This delightful mechanic makes even the simplest of exchanges pretty engaging.
There’s not too much more to say about the title at this point except that it looks to be shaping up really nicely. Cave Story is gonna hit the WiiWare service in just a few short weeks (March 22, to be precise). We’ll have a full review once it does, but at this point I’m just super excited to finally be able to experience everything this game has to offer.
Developer: Nicalis,Studio Pixel
Genre: Shooter, Adventure, Action
Release: December 20, 2004
Available On: Wii Shop, Mac, PC
Cave Story PC Version – Like it
Keyboard Control – Kill it with fire
Metroid – Love it
Super Mario Bros – Love it
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