Cave Story+

Cave Story+ Review

Quote is back in action

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a Switch on

ESRB Everyone 10+ rating

Some games have become synonymous with quality over the years. Cave Story has already been ported to a few Nintendo consoles and now that it has made its Switch debut, let's take a look at how this classic holds up.

Cave Story+ screenshot 1
Thanks, Sue; I'm glad to be back!

If you're unfamiliar with Cave Story then allow me to explain what it's all about. Daisuke Amaya (AKA Pixel) originally released it as a free game for PC back in 2004 after spending 5 years of his life single-handedly developing it. Since then, gamers from all over fell in love with the satisfying gameplay and charming world. Thankfully, it's all here for you to now enjoy on your brand new Switch!

You control the hero (known as Quote) after awaking and having amnesia. Along the journey, he'll face many challenging platforming situations, enemy hordes, and bosses. Good thing the controls are super-tight as you run around, jump, and shoot. The weaponry is the highlight of the gameplay as you collect an assortment of firearms throughout the adventure. You'll acquire guns such as a standard handgun (that you can later exchange for a machine gun), a weapon that shoots deadly bubbles, a sword that you can throw, and a powerful rocket launcher that unfortunately has limited ammunition. As you defeat enemies, you'll gain experience triangles that are used to make your currently equipped weapon more powerful. However, if you take damage then it may level down so you must play conservatively if you want a consistently powerful arsenal.

Cave Story+ screenshot 2
Step 1: Shoot enemies. Step 2: Collect triangles.

One of the best aspects of Cave Story is its memorable and delightful soundtrack. In this release, you get to switch between four variations of it (Cave Story+, Remastered, Famitracks, and Organya). I personally prefer Cave Story+ because it has a much more fleshed out sound that fits the world perfectly. Speaking of which, Cave Story's world is full of memorable characters and plot points that'll keep you engaged throughout. The visuals are pixel-perfect, too, although I wish the environments had more distinct personality. Whether you're in a desert or forest, everything generally looks the same except the textures and backgrounds are slightly different. I guess the entire game takes place underground but I still wish the stages popped more than they do.

Cave Story's campaign involves you traversing small locations while fulfilling NPCs' quests until you eventually face a few bosses and move on to the next area. You'll come across many secrets and collectible goodies along the way as well if you have a keen eye. It's a simple setup and it works well to provide a varied gaming experience. That being said, figuring out what to do in order to progress often results in guesswork and aimless running around. This is because it's almost impossible to know what event will trigger the campaign to progress at certain times. Sometimes, you have to speak to a character a few screens back that you forgot about or search every nook and cranny for a handful of items. On top of this, there are some truly annoying moments that'll test your patience. A couple examples include dying in one hit kill hazards and having to replay large portions again or rewatching dialogue every time you fail at a boss fight.

Cave Story+ screenshot 3
Some of these bosses will drive you nuts

Countless fantastic 2D action games released since Cave Story initially debuted yet it remains a wonderful experience that every genre fan needs to play. Now that it's available on Switch, even more gamers can see why it's such a timeless classic.

  • + Awesome 2D action and platforming with a variety of satisfying weaponry
  • + Great soundtrack with 4 included variants
  • + Charming world, story, and characters
  • - Not knowing what to do or where to go next is a persistent problem
  • - Many needlessly annoying moments
  • - Environments could use more personality
8.1 out of 10
Gameplay video for Cave Story+ 8:37
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