Independent Pixel #2 – Cave Story
For the second special of Independent Pixel, I’d like to bring in a special gem, and not to much surprise, it’s a rather well-known cult-classic of a game. This game is Cave Story by Studio Pixel (haha, similar name!), and it gathers much inspiration from classic platformers such as Metroid and Castlevania, but has many special bits that make it a wholly new experience.
Cave Story starts out giving you absolutely no idea of what is happening, or what you should do. In fact, the game doesn’t even give you a weapon to start with! However, as things quickly progress, you come across the rabbitlike Mimiga people, who are being terrorized by some sort of Doctor, and you realize that you’re needed immediately for help. the story quickly gathers speed from there, but gameplay also evolves, requiring you to understand better of what to do. while the game is extremely short (4-5 hours), there some other twists that help remedy the feeling of a quick game.
During the course of the game, you’ll come across many choices which are extremely hard to pass up. In fact, the difficulty of the game skyrockets if you make a certain choice. Even still, these choices can be extremely rewarding, including increasing the length of the game, and revealing even more of the increasingly curious story.
As for the gameplay, everything progresses in a linear fashion. You will acquire different weapons throughout the game, each of them with a similar quality: the ability to level up to a more powerful state. However, taking damage will reduce the strength of your currently equipped weapon. Other gameplay interests are quests that will keep you in a specific area for a while, hunting for key items and whatnot (i.e. components for a bomb, lost puppies, etc)
As for the graphics, well, it really matters whether or not you’re playing the PC version or the Wii version. Even still, both games feature a nice “cel-shaded” effect that is visually pleasing and looks very nice in motion. Even more differences are apparent in the Wii version, which has an option to return to the original music and graphics of the PC game, and features a boss attack, a timed run through the hardest level of the game, and a game mode where you can play as a female NPC from the story: Curly Brace.
Whether you play the PC version or Wii version is up to you, but when it comes to better quality and playability, the Wii version is best. Even though the PC version is free, it can only be found as a fan-translation (The original game is Japanese). But either way, the game and story is extremely compelling, and you may leave wondering if, sometimes, you made the right choices in your playthrough.
About the Author - Malic Monti
Malic is a recent graduate of Jones College Prep. This fall he will be attending Columbia College in Chicago.