Cave Story 3D (Review) Nintendo 3DS

Cave Story 3D (Review) Nintendo 3DS
Review Score:

Released in 2004 on PC, Cave Story gained notoriety for its unique 8-bit graphics, compelling storyline, and challenging gameplay. More recently, it appeared on Nintendo Wii as a WiiWare release with improved graphics and better sound.

Cave Story 3DS is a modern rendition of the PC classic that takes full advantage of the Nintendo 3DS’ capabilities. Like the original game, you play a nameless hero who finds himself on a mysterious floating island with no memory of his past. As he begins to explore the island, he encounters the Mimigas — a race of white-fur rabbits who are in danger from an evil scientist and his group of henchmen.

Cave Story 3DS is a 2.5D side-scroller that has you exploring an expansive world full of creatures and traps. The caves are filled with environmental dangers like red crystals that can harm you. Just jumping into – or landing on – these red crystals will inflict damage.

Deep, underground ponds can also be dangerous since your character can only hold his breath for 99 seconds. Creatures like bats fly in vertical patterns, making it difficult to pass through certain sections. Later levels become increasingly difficult as the creatures are far more intelligent.

The Egg corridor, for example, has little blue critters that hop and chase after you. Flying beetles and other insects will attack if you try to jump over obstacles. A large buzz saw at the bottom of the level follows your every move, and avoiding it can be very challenging.

There is a leveling system that will increase your character’s health, level, and weapon strength. When killed, creatures will drop yellow experience crystals  that must be collected before they disappear. Health can be replenished by using heart boxes. These boxes are located at save points that resemble red, spinning floppy disks. You are allowed up to three save slots.

Weapons are a staple in Cave Story. You can carry up to 5 weapons at a time, but some of them are hidden and require extensive exploring to find them. Each weapon has 3 levels; these can be increased by collecting crystals dropped by creatures, but will decrease when you get hit. Some weapons like the Snake, Spur, and Super Missile Launcher increase their range when they reach level 3, while weapons like the Polar Star receive a damage increase.

Cave Story 3D’s world branches out into different routes that can lead to three possible endings. There are five areas to explore along with multiple mini-zones and a secret world. Since Cave Story is portrayed as a living world, most of the areas change to reflect the story when revisited later.

The platforming elements work seamlessly in 3D even though they were originally intended for 2D. Where the gameplay really shines, though, is during the boss battles. While the first boss, Balrog, is easy to defeat, later bosses like Igor, The Red Demon, and Balfrog put your gaming reflexes to the test. And Since the original developer, Pixel, collaborated on the development of Cave Story 3DS, the challenging gameplay that we’ve come to love has staid virtually untouched.

Cave Story 3D is a perfect adaptation of the original game. While the 3D graphics are not as colorful or as detailed as the original Cave Story, they look polished. It is worth noting that fans of Pixel’s work may have difficulty adapting to the changes, though.

It has been feast or famine for Nintendo 3DS gamers recently. Thanks to NIS America and developer Nicalis, 3DS gamers have another reason to dust off their system. For gamers who have been sitting on the fence about the Nintendo 3DS, Cave Story 3D is a perfect reason to finally take the plunge.

Mike Pittaro
Nintendo 3DS
Developer: Nicalis
Platform: NIS America
ESRB: E 10+ (Everyone)
Price: $39.99

NIS America’s Website

Review Score
The graphics look great despite making the transition to 3D.
Classic Cave Story music plays throughout.
The gameplay is challenging and fun, just like the original.
Cave Story 3D is one reason to own a Nintendo 3DS system.
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