Who knew that Blooper from Mario had his own game?
It's hard not to fall in love with Ikachan, everything about it feels so delightful. During the creation of Cave Story, Pixel (daisuke Amaya) felt that that game was too large for him to tackle all in one go, and created Ikachan (which translates to something like Squidy) as a sort of practice.
Ikachan places you in control of a squid in an explorable environment. It's a small action-RPG with Metroidvania or Zelda area progression. By helping sea urchins NPCs who are reminscent of early NES titles, new areas of the game open up.
The first item you find is a pointy hat, that allows you to destroy breakable bricks and attack enemies, but only those above you. This can make the game complicated when there are all sorts of bricks around to the side or below, which will necessitate other upgrades for area progression.
The game looks like an NES RPG or puzzle game, right down to the pixel art tiles that make up the backgrounds and gameworld. The port for the 3DS has a great sense of integration of the art assets in 3D while keeping in pace with the style of the low-res retro look of the game.
Make no mistake, this game is hard to put down. At the preview event Daniel and I had to force ourselves to stop playing in order to save the game for later (and move on to see other games at the event).
Ikachan boasts about 2-3 hours of gameplay and is priced at a very economical $5. From what we played it's worth every penny, and I will definitely be picking it up for a purchase when it launches.