I feel like I’ve been hearing about this game years. Since it was originally released in 2004, that’s certainly possible.
Cave Story + is a brilliant platform game in the style of, err, old platform games. It’s another one of those games that was developed by one person, over a number of years, as a labour of love. I’ve got a great deal of time for games like this.
Until the Switch came along, my platform of choice for this game was the 3DS. Unfortunately copies of that game are hard to come by. As I write this, CeX has two copies, and it’s £50. I can live without adding that one to the collection, so I picked it up on the Switch for £30, which now I write it, feels like a lot of money for a game released in 2004.
I’m not going to tell you anything about the story of the game because it isn’t necessary for this review, and I don’t want to spoil anything. What matters here is the game-play. Cave Story plays very much like a platform game from the 80s. It would be perfectly at home on the NES. I’ve seen reviews that call it a Metroid-Vania game, which I don’t entirely agree with. It’s much more linear than Metroid, and it doesn’t have you exploring levels to find 100% of things.
The core game-play is fantastic. If you played games in the 80s you’ll have big nostalgia kicks all the way through. If you didn’t play games in the 80s, this is what it was like to play games in the 80s. I don’t have a bad word to say about the game play. I really enjoyed the game, all three hours of it.
Cave Story is the shortest game I’ve played for years. Three hours is a bit harsh, maybe it was closer to five. This is a problem. From what I gather, the point is to play the game several times, rather than the traditional once. As you play the game you are occasionally given a choice to make about the direction the story is going to take. The ending and length of the game is dictated by the choices you make. It reminds me of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books, and going back to see where different choices would have taken me. If you’re up for that, then you won’t have a problem. I’m not so up for that so I have a little problem.
The quality of the game that is there, is enough to make me not regret my purchase. I really enjoyed playing Cave Story, I’m just not up for playing a really short game multiple times.
At the end of the day I’m torn on whether or not I should recommend you buy Cave Story. On the one hand it’s too short, requires multiple play throughs, and is actually quite expensive for what it is. But on the other hand the game-play is so spot on perfect, you really should experience it. The music is perfect, the graphics are wonderful, and the mix of joy and frustration you feel while playing is at balance.
You just have to decide if it’s worth it based on the best information you can get. I suppose that’s what game reviews are for.