Cave Story 3D Review – Time to Pull Out those Unused 3DS’s

I am one of the very few people who never played this game, or at least, that is how I felt when all my friends told me about the free version of Cave Story that came out back in 2004 for PC. The original version of Cave Story was a free PC game that was developed by Daisuke Amaya, aka Pixel, who spent 5 years working on the game during his free time and created a game that would pay homage to games he grew up playing in his younger days.

I always planned to play it, but with so many games coming out until now, I completely forgot about it, until I got the press release from NISA that said they would be releasing the title for the 3DS. With a huge lack of games for the 3DS titles to really justify the handheld purchase, my 3DS is usually used for playing DS titles, collecting walking points or collecting new Miis. Finally, a small light at the end of the dark tunnel arrived, being a new 3DS game I should have played seven years ago. This time I can play it on the road and see the effects of 3D to “bring out” a whole new look on this cult classic game.

Cave Story places you in the shoes of a robot who suffers from amnesia and has no memories of how he came to wake up inside a mysterious cave, of all places. Taking a page from the many RPG and action games of the past, the character does not speak and is armed with his gun as he proceeds to explore the mysterious area. There is no plot or point in what he is doing, until he stumbles onto a mysterious village full of rabbit-like creatures called “Mimigas”, who are being kidnapped by a man known as “Doctor”, who has some evil plans in store. Now the robot with no memories finds himself in the middle of what could be an all out war.

Playing the game was very reminiscent of the original Metroid games, since the weapons and some of the boss battle patterns fit the style. Stages are pretty straight forward, and towards the end, require some special navigation and clue searching to proceed. The bottom half of the 3DS screen will show you the map location, which is very useful to navigate some of the large maps. Your Inventory is also located on the bottom touch screen, allowing you to easily access your extra items, which can be useful in fights. Also just like the Metroid games, all bosses have an exploitable pattern with the constant action going on.

As you progress new gadgets and weapons will become available with an assortment of weapons you can choose what weapons set best suits your style with an easy tap of the L and R button you can cycle through your different weapons. Upgrades are possible by talking to the write people and meeting certain requirements. A nice little plus is that your weapons skills can grow by up to level 3 by collecting gems equivalent to points. The twist to this is that as you take damage, you lose points, weakening your weapon. At max level you better believe you can do some damage while picking up a few tricks, such as floating or flying with a maxed-out machine gun, which allows you to reach higher levels you can’t reach by normal means.


For the art style, we can have 2 different looks for the game, the original cute and anime-style version, or the new mode for the 3DS, which has been given more detail.

The two modes of play are one being an updated version of the game called “arcade mode” and the “classic mode”. Both modes work with each other, so at any time you can exit the game after saving and freely go between modes, you continue off your last save point without it being a completely different version that you have to play from the start to enjoy. What I thought was really cool was both versions still work in 3D, so you get the same game, but a different look in either version, which is a plug. Cave Story 3D also features a few of hidden side quests and the choices you take will overall affect your gameplay, including expanding the length of the game.

The game is a little sneaky as I mentioned, since the game has some twists that affect the overall story of the game. Picking up the jetpack towards the middle of the game will change the story to the point that you will not be able to save someone important, leading to you missing out on two important thing, story wise. After beating the game, I thought there was plenty of loose ends in the game, but after reading some FAQs, I realized choices you thought were right, always weren’t…so I played the game again to finally get everything completed, and thus, I was much more satisfied.

Now the main question, is the game worth it on the 3DS? The game is pretty fun. If you have never played the original version, I recommend you play this game. The best thing of all is that on a handheld, you can play whenever you want. Cave Story 3D is definitely a game to add in the hopefully growing collection of 3DS games.

Grade: B+

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Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.