Cave Story has been around for years, gradually building a fanatical fan base that rivals any cult game you might care to mention. It’s a 2D platform adventure, like Metroid or Castlevania, with an involving storyline and lots of exploration, jumping and shooting. Like many games, it begins with your character waking up knowing nothing, which is a great excuse to go and find stuff out! It’s just been released for the Nintendo Wii, but you can still download it free for your PC or Mac.
It’s decidedly retro, even for a game made in 2004. Cave Story feels like a never made Super Nintendo game. You can imagine it being huge in 1992 – but like the best games of any era it is still very playable. Even if you’re put off by its quirks, blocky graphics and bleepy sound, I challenge you to not get drawn into it by the time you’re out of the first cave.
With multiple endings, leveling up and hours of gameplay it’s an amazing game, free or not, and even more so when you realize it’s the work of a single developer. Originally in Japanese but soon translated into English, Cave Story really is a game everyone should play.