Before you put money down for Cave Story 3D, you've got to ask yourself a question…
Have you ever played Cave Story before? Because if you have, it's time to shift your focus to the rest of the holiday season line-up. It's difficult to get excited about anything other than the heavy hitters this time of year and Cave Story 3D feels like more of an obligation than anything else.
It's true that the gameplay feels classically trained and the characters and environments feel ever-charming and endearing. It's also true that the story in Cave Story is so engrossing and childlike that it feels like opening some fantastical picture book.
In the game, you play as an amnesiac robot who wakes up in a cave filled with the helpless Mimiga who are being persecuted and brainwashed by the Doctor. You're tasked with stopping the Doctor from turning the people you meet into his soldiers.
Regardless, if you've played this game before, it's not worth your money in 3D. The added depth provides nothing to the gameplay and actually detracts from the original 2D graphics by looking grainy and intrusively diminutive. It can be difficult to see the action on-screen or the hazardous enemies in your way, and finding where to go next can be more challenging than the enemies you face.
It does bear noting that the second screen on the 3DS once again proves useful. The local area map is constantly displayed for quick reference. This essentially saves the game from what would have been a much lower grade. As stated, the 3D graphics, even with the 3D effect turned off, make it difficult to see essential platforms and the odd, off-the-beaten-path… path.
As a game, Cave Story 3D represents another strong entry in the Nintendo 3DS's software lineup this holiday season and is more than deserving of your trade-in credit or gift cards post-Christmas holiday. As an opportunity to revisit the indie-darling Cave Story, though, it feels more like a George-Lucas-esque grab at cash than a true remake or redesign.