Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Asylum Reviews: Cave Story + [Nintendo Switch].

Originally released in 2004, Cave Story was such a fan-favourite that it deserved a re-release on Nintendo Switch a massive 13 years later - after all, it was ported to numerous other Nintendo consoles, so it just feels right that it would be on the newest. Developed by the one-man-mastermind Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya and published by Nicalis, Cave Story + is just the type of game I was hoping for on Nintendo Switch. Having missed all of the earlier versions: from the original, to the Wii, 3DS (and more!) ports, the Switch version has been my first foray into the world of Cave Story.

Visually, the game is stunning. A classic Metroidvania style game, with well detailed areas and lots of exploration to be done, you’ll never be bored looking at the screen. If you’re a fan of these types of games, then you’re in for a treat. You play as Quote, a little robot who has lost his memory, who wakes up on this big, floating island and finds that he must save the Mimiga from the evil doctor trying to capture them.

Throughout your journey, you will come across loads of NPCs who you can chat to. From the Mimigas, who are a small rabbit-looking race, native to the island, to another robot named Curly Brace, who will help you on your way. Talking to these characters is interesting.
The weapon upgrading system in the game is great, and very natural feeling. As you shoot your way through enemies, small yellow triangles are dropped. Collecting these triangles gives you experience points, which power up your weapon to the next stage. Taking enough damage can drop your weapon back down a stage, so you need to be careful! From the first couple of upgrades, your weapon already goes from being your standard projectile weapon to being a powerhouse, mowing down enemies in your wake.

The controls are fairly straightforward, reminiscent of old 8-bit games. A to jump, B to shoot. X brings up your equipment, allowing you to change weapons or check out the map. L and R also allow you to switch between your weapons quickly, which can be more useful when needed. Due to the Switch’s various control styles, this can be played in a number of ways. From using the Joy-Cons detached whilst playing on a TV, to having them in the controller pad, using a Pro Controller or simply just using the Joy-Cons whilst attached to the Switch screen.

I must admit that when I first played, I expected A to open doors for me, and I spent a very frustrating 10 minutes angrily trying to open the door just to get out of the first segment. Oh how dumb I felt when I finally got out. (You hold down, btw)…

The level design is fantastic and intuitive, training you along the way without the need for a tutorial. A bit of forethought is needed when moving along some of the levels, for instance, one bit that happened early on has you moving along this long corridor area. There’s a wave-looking enemy down on the ground underneath the walkways, however you need to drop down there a few times to progress. The music is fast-paced, and made me try to race through this part as fast as I could, which led to my untimely death quite a few times as I’d drop to the ground without properly timing it, causing the wave-enemy to get me. When I finally had this part over and done with, I was so glad to find a save point! Save points can be found frequently, and make the game so much easier to play if taking your Switch out and about with you. No worries of starting a section and then being stuck without a save point for half an hour, losing all of your progress if you need to stop playing for whatever reason.

Cave Story+ can be beaten on average in 6.5 hours (or around 9.5 for a completionist) according to HLTB. It can be done as a speed run, being completed in 1h20, but for me, it took me around 8, or so hours. There are multiple endings however, which allows for a lot of replayability.

A challenge mode is also available, essentially setting you off against the clock in segments of the game with predetermined weapons. All you have to do is get through it as fast as you can.
Two player will be coming soon, so it will be interesting to play it again co-operatively.

I really would recommend that you play Cave Story in one of its iterations. And being that the Switch version is the most recent, I’d definitely suggest that you pick it up if you have a Switch. You won’t be disappointed.

In the end, we give Cave Story + a 9/10.

Have you played Cave Story? Which version did you play, and what did you think about it?
Let us know in the comments below!

- V x

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