Overall - 80%
Cave Story+ is a game most people will have played in one form or another. If you haven't and you are looking for a decent Mega Man fix, then Cave Story+ is for you.
Cave Story+ is the definitive edition of Pixel’s classic title, which recently made its way to the Nintendo Switch. Is the game worth picking up if you have already played through Cave Story, or should you just skip this cave diving adventure? Check out our Cave Story+ review and make your choice.
Cave Story+ Review
Cave Story+ starts off with a transmission with from a man named Kazuma asking for somebody named Sue. He is in a shelter, but he is not sure where he is. Cut to the player, another guy stuck in a cave. You are told nothing, and are just expected to go out and to find yourself a weapon. Once you do, you enter a village with characters talking about a girl named Sue. Someone they refer to as “the Doctor” has been coming and taking residents of the village for some unknown reason, and now there are only six of them left (seven counting Sue). While you are talking with the people in the village, the Doctor sends some henchmen to grab Sue. The thing is they don’t know what Sue looks like and grab the wrong person and you are caught right in the middle. A creature named Balrog is left behind, and you enter your first boss battle. After you win the fight, you have to try and find Sue and see if you can find out what’s going on. The game will run most people 5-6 hours and a bit longer for the completionist.
Cave Story is a 2D action platformer that reminds me of Mega Man. There are various weapons and you can upgrade those weapons by gaining experience from the enemies you kill. Where they change it up is in the fact you lose levels as you get hit. So the idea is to use your various weapons to keep the distance and take out the enemies before they can hit you. You can also jump over them to avoid taking damage, but sometimes this results in your getting put in a worse position. Cave Story also has plenty of instadeath moments that you can easily fall for. Sometimes these do feel cheap, but you can normally avoid them the second time around. Thankfully the game is fairly generous with saves so you don’t end up losing a ton of time in-between deaths unless you don’t save often.
Exploring is often rewarded with various items or health boosts to make the game easier for you. There are hidden doors and secret paths to take in the game as well. Finding some of these can be very tricky and there is even a “true ending” to be earned for those who work hard enough at it. The best way to get this is via a walkthrough, because you have to do things that most people wouldn’t even think about doing. While I do like the secret areas and hidden loot, the game does have you doing quite a bit of backtracking. Early on, you are often tasked with going to one side of a map and then after you clear the boss, fighting your way back to the other side. Just a minor thing to nitpick, but it did get under my skin a couple times.
The Switch version of Cave Story+ also has local co-op so, allowing for two players on screen at once. There are also additional levels and difficulty levels, so newcomers won’t be mauled by the onslaught of enemies. Outside of those additions, there are also extra modes that you can unlock after you beat the game. These include Curly’s Story, Boss Rush, Time Attack, and The Machine Gun Challenge. Curly’s Story is the story mode but with a different character named Curly. Curly actually has dialogue, unlike the original protagonist, and interacts with other characters. The Machine Gun Challenge gives you a weak gun and 20 HP and has you navigating through various levels focusing on dodging and jumping over combat. There is also a Jukebox option on the main menu so you can listen to any of the songs you want once you unlock them.
I played an hour or so in handheld mode, and there were no hiccups or frame drops. The game plays just as smooth as when docked. There were also no majors bugs or crashes in the entire playthrough. Graphically, it looks like a retro game. It doesn’t really have pixel graphics, but it does have that art style of an old school NES or SNES game. The soundtrack is also very retro employing a lot of those beeps and boops found in older games. It worked very well for the game, and I was pretty impressed with it all around.
Cave Story+ is a game most people will have played in one form or another. If you haven’t and you are looking for a decent Mega Man fix, then Cave Story+ is for you.