The previously free game Cave Story was released for the first time on a console recently. After much needed convincing from a friend, I decided to pick it up and add another game to my physical switch library. I had actually played it before on PC but quit after it didn’t get its hooks in me. I wanted something to play on the plane for an upcoming trip but I couldn’t wait that long and ended up finishing it the day before. 

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Cave Story + has a few added features compared to the original such as increased difficulty selections and new soundtrack options (the physical version even came with the soundtrack!). The initial project was made by just one dude and that alone is incredible. The quality that comes with the game shows you truly how much that the developer cared about his passion project. I decided to jump in on easy for a filthy casual play through.

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You play as a robot that arrives on the scene unexpectedly in a small village of mimiga (rabbit people). A brief synopsis of the story is that an evil doctor is going to use the mimiga as an army against their will by force feeding them red flowers that activate the rage inside them and it is up to you to stop him (but there is a lot more to it than that, trust me). You’ll meet allies, bosses, and some really great characters along the way. They all have a very distinct personality and are really fun to interact with. You even have a little bit of sadness at one point which is hard to make happen with a relatively short play time.

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The core gameplay is pretty metroidvania. You platform through a variety of environments each with their own set of enemies. The control feels really tight and each area is very unique. They provide a new challenge for you to complete in every one and the art is very good. I really enjoyed exploring each section because although some enemies are the same, they have a new attack as you progress.

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After solving some sort of puzzle in the area, you’ll face a boss and then get an upgrade or new weapon. As you are defeating enemies, they drop missiles, hearts, or doritos. You use doritos to level your weapons up to level 3 at the max. Each level, the weapon gains a new property and you’ll truly find a use for all of them (except the bubble one, it’s trash). When you get hit, you’ll lose some dorito dust and have the potential to lose levels on your weapons.

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Cave Story + not only brings some added features to an already incredible game but just shines in a way that many games will never achieve. There is polish to every corner. Whether it is the gameplay, control, story, or art, I don’t think I would change a thing. Literally my only complaint is that I wish I had more to play but it was an absolute complete package that was made by just one person originally and released for free (what?). In the end, I give Cave Story + a 5 out of 5 Balrogs.

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