Cave Story is one of my favourite PC games. The game was released in 2004 and made by Daisuke Amaya, who goes by “Pixel”. Cave Story was originally planned as a Flash game before being ported to other platforms, but it only reached PC in 2004. The player takes control of a robot named “A-N”, who travels through caves fighting off enemies while collecting powerups and weapons in his quest to get home. It may not seem like much on the surface, but there are lots of cool features that make this game really enjoyable to play through. The graphics are pretty dated now and wouldn’t cut it if this were a pixel art contest , but I think they are still good enough for an indie game. The animations and spell effects are all very cool, as is the variety of enemies (fireball frogs really stand out).
There’s a few music tracks you can unlock through collecting CD items in the game, but I think that they’re worth it. The music fits in perfectly with each scene you find yourself in, and some of them have even been remixed by Chiptune artists (like this one ). This is one of those games where gameplay comes first, which isn’t always the case with retro-style indie platformers. You don’t need to worry about dying instantly if you take damage because there are no lives or continues; instead your health regenerates over time. It should encourage players to explore and play around with the moveset they’ve been given to get some of those hard-to-reach secret items.
Another thing I like about this game is that you’re not locked into a specific path . You can take your time and explore or progress through the story as much as you want. The levels are pretty long, but it’s not an obstacle for most players because the battles are turn-based rather than real-time combat. This means that enemies won’t move until you move, giving you ample time to plan ahead if there are multiple enemies in the room. There’s also an easy difficulty setting for people who aren’t confident in their platforming skills, which makes it all the more appealing for players of all skill levels. There’s also a wide variety of weapons to choose from, which can be customized with items that you find throughout the game.
I’m not sure if it’s possible to unlock them all without collecting every CD in the game or something (if anyone knows please tell me), but there are a lot of weapon options none-the-less . The final boss is really epic, and there’s even some non-linear stuff going on before you fight him – what more could you want?
If you’re looking for an excellent indie platformer then Cave Story is definitely worth checking out; especially since there’s an official remake coming out later this year as well as a Steam release .