Game designer Daisuke Amaya, also known as Pixel, has seen his freeware creation on the PC move from one Nintendo platform to another over the past year. A platform adventure that he developed during his spare time over the course of five years, Cave Story is now getting another update, this time for the Nintendo 3DS. The game already has a devoted following, and now that NIS America and Nicalis have teamed together to bring it to the next-generation handheld, that fan base is certainly going to grow.
Cave Story originally came out on the PC in 2004 and made its way to WiiWare and DSiWare last year with the help of indie developer Nicalis. The developer is once again helping Amaya reimagine his original creation, this time in a 3D environment. Most of the gameplay content remains the same, but with NIS America behind it, there will be Prinny cameos in the game if you look hard enough.
The story takes place in the interior of a floating island, populated by the rabbitlike creatures known as mimigas. You play as a boy named Quote, with no memory of how he came to be in this strange place. However, that doesn't stop him from helping out the locals. Though the premise may seem simple, there's actually quite an engaging story that unfolds as you make your way through the game. The big differences this time around are the visuals, music, and sound, which have all been remastered for the new system. It's still the same 2D platforming action that is reminiscent of Metroid, but with the new 3D environments, it's like a 2.5D platforming experience. Even with the 3D off, it's a completely different-looking game, and with the 3D toggle on, you'll see the depths of the cavern, making all the huts and bridges in the foreground stand out. You'll see cool running water, fallen-over logs, odd branches, and random foliage, and while there's a certain charm to the old-school 2D look, the new graphics look great as well with the lighting effects.
A new stage has been added, which is all we can confirm at this point in terms of new content. The game isn't finished yet, so there's still a chance that other features could be included. As of right now, the game will not take advantage of any other 3DS function, but there is a real-time map featured on the bottom screen, making it much more convenient to navigate the underground catacombs.
If you missed this gem on WiiWare and DSiWare and want to hold out for the latest version, NIS America has announced that Cave Story 3D will be available on August 9 for $39.99.