Nintendo Download Wrap-Up for March 22nd, 2010

It’s a good news/bad news kind of day. Fortunately, the bad outweighs the good.

The bad news is that we don’t have a Virtual Console release. Furthermore, we only have one (1) release on WiiWare. Normally, this would have me frothing at the mouth until the rest of the staff hit me with tranquilizer darts and put me in a cotton box. However, that leads to the good news: Cave Story hit WiiWare!

Instead of just me talking about it, let’s give this one the full monty…

Cave Story
Developer: Studio Pixel
Publisher: Nicalis
Genre: Action Adventure/”Metroidvania”
Price: 1,200 Wii Points/$12

Mohamed Al-Saadoon: I played Cave Story when it first got renown as a freeware Metroidvania title. After completing the game, I knew why it deserved all the acclaim it was getting. It felt like a lost 8 bit classic that was recently unearthed and it’s setting, sounds, characters and graphics all tickled your nostalgia in a similar way to what Megaman 9 and Megaman 10 is doing today.

Of course, nostalgia alone does not a great game make and cave story has it all, interesting weapons, tough enemies and bosses and solid controls and gameplay that makes it stand right up there with the Metriods and Megamans of old.

The WiiWare package comes with extras like updated graphics and sounds and new character designs but you can switch back to the classic look at anytime. Personally, I think they’re overpricing the game at 1200 Wii Points because they know the game is in such high demand but the developer of this title deserves your money.

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Mark B: Cave Story was a fun little freeware Castleroid style action game from Japan that came out on the PC around six years ago, so seeing it get a release on the Wii is pretty neat. If you’ve never played it, it’s essentially what it sounds like: a platformer where your character can explore a good bit and use different weapons and such to survive. It’s a fun game with an interesting story that features multiple endings, and it’s pretty cute. For those who haven’t seen it, the WiiWare release would be easy enough to recommend on principle, as the creator deserves the money, frankly, but if it were only the game itself it’d be hard to say “HAY BUY THIS TWELVE DOLLAR GAME YOU CAN GET FOR FREE ON TEH INTERWEBS KAY GUISE?”.

So it’s a good thing the WiiWare version has some added content to justify the price.

By all indications, the visuals have been redone and the game supports 480P, though this isn’t interesting enough on its own, as the game is somewhat basic looking, honestly. But the positive enhancements also include a redone English translation, new play modes, and an additional story on top of the main game for those who loved the PC release and want more to do. As console ports of PC games go, this is one of the better ones, by all indications, and for twelve bucks I can honestly say it’s worth checking out, if nothing else.

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Christopher Bowen: I first heard of Cave Story a few years ago. Though it was a bit of a pain to install and play it – it required the Japanese language pack, which is painful to install on XP – the result was outstanding: a game that could stand up to modern games on it’s own merits, with a great risk/reward gameplay system, good atmosphere, and a nice sense of immersion. The fact that it was free, and well supported, only helped things.

Now, the same great game that would have been worth money in 2004 has come to WiiWare. It’s still worth money in 2010. New character designs, optimized graphics, new game modes… give Pixel credit for not just porting his game over. $12 seems like a lot of money for a WiiWare title, but this is one of the few that live up to the billing. The freeware game is great, and this is better. It’s absolutely worth $12, even to those that beat up on the original. The fact that the developer worked with those that made the English patch shows that he cares about his work, and for that – and for making a great game – he deserves your money.

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I came into this piece figuring I was going to write off the DSiWare releases as useless in lieu of the infinitely more awesome Cave Story. I even thought of witty jokes, like “these games win the Wonder Dog Award for Most Useless Sidekick”, because tortured metaphors equal RATINGS, or so the Video Game Writer Guidebook tells me. However, I can’t be upset with DSiWare, because we have four games, one of which looks interesting, and three of which ARE interesting for retro gamers. There’s Libera Wing, a shooting game that I don’t have too much information on, unfortunately. There’s only a few images on Nintendo’s main site, which all look like bullet spam, but no gameplay video, and no information anywhere else on the internet that I can find. The game costs $8, which is a bit much for a game to just “check out”, but as of right now, I have neither heads nor tails on this to give a recommendation. The other three games are all Game and Watch games: Judge, Chef and Mario’s Cement Factory. Most of these games are thirty years old, so there’s definitely no new ground here, but for what they’re worth, they’re nice, simplistic games that don’t hide what they are: simple time wasters. I would prefer to have an actual Game + Watch, or even a modern-day remake (I miss my old Zelda keychain I bought in Dubai), but this will suffice, especially at $2 a pop, an outstanding price.

Everything Nintendo released this week ranged from interesting to completely awesome. I’d rather have five great releases than ten crappy ones any day. Keep it up, Nintendo. Until next time, this is Christopher Bowen, who wishes someone would bring back the Coleco versions of old LED classics in a legal, non-emulated way.

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