Category Archives: Indie Reviews

Cave Story+

 

The + symbol, signifying something extra but ultimately not enough for a revisit to someone who has already traipsed through this shooting spelunker.  It’s like getting fixed at the end of the night with someone and you’ve offered each other a 2nd booty call the following weekend with a little extra cherry on the top.  Is it worth it? Can you capture the original evening and retain its essence?  Well, I don’t know – I’m a Cave Story virgin.  The original was in my “to keep and try” folder, but time escaped me and I never got round to having a go.

Metroidvania is the buzz word often used to describe Cave Story.  I personally think a tag like that can be off-putting. Cave Story is far more accessible than most of its peers within this NESesque genre. It has less backpedalling (albeit some), it has less “where the fuck to I go now?” moments, and has a perfect balance of platforming and shooting.  May other Metroidvania games are more like Turrican’s take on the genre.  Not that that’s a bad thing, I just love my platforming games.  As Scotty mentioned on the sites mission statement, I benchmark everything against Manic Miner in terms of platforming greatness.  A genre of game that I cannot get enough of.

 

cave story

So, is Cave Story+ any good?  Damn righting it is!. I can’t praise the game enough; its tight mechanics and lovely exploratory world and genuine ambience provided me with some of the best enjoyment that I’ve had with gaming in years.  The caveat in this game though is surviving the plot and all the needless dialogue.  I don’t mind some dialogue in games like this, but I prefer it to be much more concise. Being a family man, my gaming time is extremely limited and I don’t want any game to go Metal Gear on my ass and I’m burdened with a fucking soporific plot. We never got screeds of dialogue back in the ZX Spectrum days. There was enough to give reasonable ambiguity of a plot and my mind filled in the blanks.  I don’t want my platform gaming experience handheld by what I can only describe as downtime.

 

That aside, I’ve had great fun…. in fact, absolutely brilliant fun playing this.  The blend of power ups for the weapons, not too infuriating bosses and good a progressive difficulty curve make the recipe for a brilliant experience. One of which I’ll be recommending and praising for many years to come.

Dreaming Sarah

Dreaming Sarah is a nice little platform adventure game.

You are Sarah who is in a coma and is dreaming of various locations from the normal to the totally surreal.
You awake in a field and are sent on your merry way.
There are no obvious pointers of where to go or what to do next.

Now sometimes, this can be a real problem but not here.
The game is small and you never truly get stuck.
For example, at the start, there is an uncross-able gap to the right so, you go left!
You find a brolly that lets you glide over gaps and that’s how one progresses.
Find a toy, access the new area with said toy to find more toys!

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The game can be sprinted through in about half an hour but you are going to want to take your time exploring every area as the lovely pixel art combined with the atmospheric music makes for a nice relaxing gaming experience.

On your travels you will fly to space, traverse the innards of a grand father clock, buy alcohol with a fake id and make a tonsil inside a giant mouth sick!

If this was generic forest/castle areas all the way through, I get the feeling this would have felt like a chore but the diversity of locations held my interest.

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While I really enjoyed the game, there were a couple of negatives.
The puzzles were rather arbitrary with a bit of random object x used in location y with no real link or context.
I did find myself after getting a new object, running back round all the locations to see if it done anything.
Not all the puzzles were like that.
Indeed some were decent logical puzzles where you knew exactly where to go next but some were just random.
To it’s credit, these are mostly for secrets and achievements.

The other issue is that the game can be quite buggy.
Several times I found hovering off the ground unable to move.
I also found my controls locked out after speaking to an NPC.
Clearly the controls were meant to reinstate after the conversation was over but I had to quit and re load my save.
Not good.

Despite the niggles however, I would recommend this, especially as it’s a budget game.
For the few quid it cost, I feel satisfied I got my money’s worth!