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Blinded: Cave Story

Cave Story for the 3DS.


Cave Story is a not so simple tale about a robot with amnesia. In an underground landscape the robot discovers a race of bunny people, Mimigas, who are being captured and harvested by a mad scientist in some bizarre world-ending scheme. The plot is fleshed out after the first hour at which point the game is hard to put down. It’s an enthralling, if not somewhat simplistic, adventure.

This is the title screen to Cave Story.
Studio Pixel

The game plays like a Metroidvania adventure. Scroll, platform, and acquire items to reach new areas. Unlike Metroid, however, the backtracking is minimal thanks to teleportation pods. Health and missile capacity can be increased through items found in levels and while the hero doesn’t gain levels, his weapons do. This is cool except that weapon levels decrease after getting hit along with health. It makes for some frustrating moments, but this also adds a good balance to the game. On the downside, Cave Story is short, fairly linear for this type of game, and the platforming feels a bit floaty and imprecise.

If ever there was a game that showcased the brilliance of high quality pixel art, this it. Crisp, clean, artistic, and the 3D adds an extra oomph to everything. The chiptune music completes this homage the classics. And at the same time, it also feels like a natural evolution of its genre if video games stayed in the pixel era. It was the first pixel indie of it’s kind way back in 2004. With plenty of save points, an adjustable difficulty, and an interesting plot, this is a complete package and one of the best indie games ever made.

Cave Story, to be blunt, is awesome. The art, music, gameplay, and even the story are all top notch. It's even more astounding to learn one guy, Daisuke Amaya, created the original version. The game has its downfalls, sure, but they are minimal. Cave Story is an early example that showcases how capable the indie game scene is.

Cave Story was released on the 3DS’ eShop sometime in October 2012. Cave Story was also in this writer’s video tribute to 25 of the best indie games.