Given its immense popularity, fans have been eagerly awaiting a follow-up to Daisuke “Pixel” Amaya’s classic platformer Cave Story. While Kero Blaster isn’t a true sequel, it does have the charming aesthetics, memorable character design, and polish we’ve come to expect from a Pixel game. However, the adventure is also much smaller in scope – playing through two loops of the game will probably only take a few hours.
On iOS the game controls decently with an on-screen pad. Instead of a button, shooting is handled with a nifty triangular slider, which makes aiming easier and frees up your thumb for jumping. You can also get the Windows version from Playism, which supports keyboard and gamepads.
Kero Blaster probably won’t make a Pixel fan out of anyone who wasn’t already one, and for those who are, it could be a little disappointing due to the small scope. But what is there is quite enjoyable.
Merry Chrimbus, everyone! To coincide with the opening of his new website, here’s a gift for you from Gryzor87, the musician behind Locomalito‘s Hydorah and L’Abbaye des Morts: a full-color, 95-page manual on how to use Pixel’s free PXTone program to make your own game music. But the word “manual” doesn’t quite do the project justice – Gryzor87 not only walks you through the app’s features, he also provides a lot of excellent advice and examples on how to make music that sounds good and fits the theme of your game. The download comes with pxtone and plenty of sample songs, voices, and other examples, too.
In short, it’s a one-stop source for anyone looking to get into making their own game music, and a work of art in its own right. I’m definitely going to be using this. Thanks, man!
If you’re a Cave Story fan I think you’re going to enjoy this video! The game is coming out for WiiWare (North America) on March 22nd. Check the Nicalis blog for more information and other goodies, like fan art.
Cave Story Wii has finally been given a release date, at least in North America.
The game includes 5 game modes, including Easy Mode, Hard Mode, Boss Rush, and Sanctuary Time Attack.
You can read the full press release here.
Also, here’s a brief interview I did with Pixel about Cave Story Wii last year. Various constraints forbade me from posting it until now. Enjoy!
Derek: Hi, Pixel, it’s nice to get to speak with you again!
D: How is the Cave Story Wii project going?
P: Iâ€™ve played it a few times to check the gameâ€™s progress through development. It feels very good. I find the newly re-drawn artwork agreeable and Iâ€™m happy with the newly re-mixed music.
D: Last time I talked with you, you said you were hesitant to do games commercially, and to work in a group where your vision might be compromised. What made you decide to work with Nicalis on this project?
P: I, myself, have thought about making commercial games, but I havenâ€™t had any good ideas about it. When Tyrone first contacted me I was a bit puzzled and didnâ€™t really understand entirely. After our continued discussions I could feel Tyroneâ€™s passion for Cave Story. It surpassed my own and I felt that I could leave it up to him.
D: When did you start working on the project, exactly?
P: When was it? I think maybe Spring or Summer of â€˜08? Tyrone, when was it?
(Tyrone: Thatâ€™s right.)
D: What was the process like, working with Nicalis? Do you talk every day? How did you get around the language barrier?
P: Tyrone’s wife is Japanese and I am grateful for her help in advancing my conversations with Tyrone this far. Heâ€™s currently studying Japanese; we’re not able to communicate entirely with each other with just us when he visits my home. My English studies have not gotten far…I’m sorry.
(T: Derek, heâ€™s being very modest, his English has come a LONG way.)
D: Are you happy with the new features, like the high resolution graphics? How did you and Nicalis decide on these features?
P: I am satisfied with how Cave Story turned out on the Wii. Itâ€™s fun to think about games, but to actually implement them is many times more difficult. Now that itâ€™s come together I feel rewarded thanks to the support of all the players.
D: Are you interested in doing more commercial game development now?
P: I havenâ€™t thought about it yet. I can’t think in my head of what’s necessary.
D: I noticed that fans sent you a DS last year, and you must also have a Wii now. Are you trying out a lot of new games? Are there any that captivate you?
P: I donâ€™t have a Wii yet, but I plan on getting one.
D: Cave Story has made a huge impact on the Western independent game scene. Do you play any indie games or have any thoughts about them?
P: I don’t know too much about indie games. You mean games created by an individual and such, right? I have looked around for free games, but lately, due to time constraints, I havenâ€™t had time to play much.
D: What has the response to the Cave Story Wii project been like in Japan?
P: I received many congratulatory words. I’m happy because many people have expressed interest in a Japanese version for Wii.
D: Have you worked on anything else game-related in the meantime?
P: I’m working a little bit on an RPG, but I’m still barely on the basic systems.
D: Have you worked on anything else creative, like art and music?
P: Right now Iâ€™ve just been making the RPG. I’ve made a bit of pixel art and music for the RPG, but itâ€™s all still temporary.
D: You were a student when you started Cave Story, and you were an office worker when you finished. Now that Cave Story Wii is almost out, is your life even more different?
P: It stopped once I got job. Lately, I’ve been coming home late so I’ve left the house duties and child support to my wife. Saturdays and Sundays are spent doing household chores. Anything creative is typically done on nights during the week.
D: How often do you play your own games? Do you have any new thoughts about Cave Story now?
P: I test my games until theyâ€™re complete, until I hate them. So, I end up not playing the games I create. But Iâ€™m looking forward to playing Cave Story on the Wii.
I still receive requests for a sequel to Cave Story even now. I don’t have any ideas for a sequel to Cave Story, but if I started making it, I believe I could come up with something. Cave Story was actually developed in that manner.
D: It’s popular to ask a random question at the end of the interview. Last time I asked you what your favorite food was, and you said lightly-salted onigiri (Japanese rice balls). This time I’ll ask you what your favorite movie is!
P: My favorite movie is The Game with Michael Douglas. I watched it twice and enjoyed it both times. Also, A Chinese Ghost Story (Joey Wong) – I saw it when I was a kid, but it was a very uncomfortable feeling. Also, a few more I can recall are Mr. Vampire 2, Aliens, and Pom Poko.
D: Once again, if you have anything else you’d like to say to your fans…
P: Thank you for your support.
I hope that you will some day will be able to play the RPG being created now. Although it’s still into the unforeseeable future…
Here are a couple of small bite-sized updates from Japan, suitable for snacking.
First, here’s a sprite sheet that NIGORO posted on their La Mulana Wii blog. I dunno, I really like looking at stuff like this.
Second, for you Pixel fans: he’s released a tiny new game that you can download from the front page of his website. It’s called Akantares (?) and the goal is to shoot your opponent five times. The gray orbs create gravity wells that bend your shots. That’s about it.
The first window asks for your name. There might be some multiplayer options, but I’m not sure. The AI is only so-so, but it’s still strangely fun to play. (Thanks, R. D. Ein, for the heads-up.)
Update: The lovable, huggable Shih Tzu was kind enough to post a translation in the comments. Apparently, the second window is a lobby that lets you connect to other players via the web. Making this game a lot more interesting, indeed.
Okay, that’s it – see ya!
An article in The Escapist reveals that the Cave Story Wii team is aiming for an April release of the game. Nicalis is interested in adding DLC to the game in the months following the release, possibly including a Boss Rush Mode and other fan-requested modes.
Nicalis has updated their website. I like this new screenshot, posted on the blog, which shows off a lot of the new high-resolution sprites, including a close-up portrait of Toroko (the image above is cropped and blown up). It looks very cohesive.
I just noticed that there’s this amazing Noitu Love fanart on Joakim Sandberg’s website. Um, wow. I think I’m in love. With the artwork, that is, not… okay, yeah, I just fell for a video game character. That hasn’t happened to me since Phantasy Star II.
The artist is Halil Ural, aka MrDream.
More, eh? Digs furiously into pants. Alright, here’s a series of Mario/Cave Story mashup mockups from arundhir. Okay, that’s all I got. Go home, kid! I said, go home!
And I wasn’t sure if there was a camera powerful enough to capture his true majesty (modesty?). From the Cave Story Wii blog.
Here’s an interview with Tyrone Rodriguez, the producer of Cave Story Wii, where he discusses the game and their partnership with Pixel. Big reveal: Nicalis is aiming for a holiday 2008 release, and a 500-1000 point (EDIT: $5-$10) price tag. More videos on the blog.
Um, for those of you who haven’t played the game, the interview is slightly spoilerish. Yes, I’m talking about you, Dan and Maria Branowsky of New Jersey. You’re the last ones. Get to it, already!