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Cave Story
Cave Story (Start Point)


Pixel, Nicalis (WiiWare port)


2004 (PC), 2010 (WiiWare)




Single Player


Windows, Wiiware


Keyboard, Joystick, Wiimote


Studio Pixel

Cave Story (Doukutsu Monogatari) is a famous freeware platformer released in 2004 by Studio Pixel. It was translated into English by Shih Tzu of Aeon Genesis in 2005, rapidly gaining fame worldwide and becoming one of the most important indie games. A WiiWare port by Nicalis was released in 2010 and several ports to consoles and handhelds have been made by fans.


Cave Story plays like a shooting sidescroller platformer, where the player visit worlds and interact to NPCs and various characters in a RPG fashion. The story is told via events and cutscenes that happen in the game. The world is fairly linear, though it contains an interconnected world, a feature present in traditional metroidvanias (exploration platformers).

Throughout the story the player acquires several weapons and upgrades via an experience system. Some other equipment like jetpacks (called "Booster") and map systems are also present.



The development of Cave Story started prior to 1999 and lasted til the end of 2004, when the game was completed. Between the development of the Beta version and the official version, Studio Pixel developed the game called "Ikachan", whose main protagonist is present in a lot of other games by Pixel.

Early versions of Cave Story contained different content, worlds, characters and gameplay from the official released version. It's notable that the main character was named "Curly Brace", the Balrog character (named Puu in the Beta) was the very last villain of the game and a shop system was present, for buying ammo and other items. The player couldn't shoot upwards or downwards either.

Most of the weapons present in the Beta versions are supposedly their final versions. By looking at the screenshots from the beta, one can recognize the Spur, Machine Gun, and others. While most areas had their tilesets changed, you can still recognize the Sand Zone and the Plantation in the Beta.

Professor Booster was a different character back then, too. The mimiga named "Chie" also had certain importance.

By 2003, it's known that the game had already shaped to what we see today, due to Pixel's insatisfaction with level design and his ideas in the early version.

Versions and ports[]

Cave Story has been ported to numerous systems, including a PSP port, a Mac port, a Linux port and an X-Box port. A Nintendo DS version was planned, developed and almost completed but with the announcement of the WiiWare version of Cave Story, the development was halted. In 2010, Nicalis together with Pixel release an upgraded version of Cave Story for WiiWare, with updated sprites, songs and translation. This WiiWare version is known for having numerous issues that disappointed several fans, including bugs in music and loading of maps.


  • The character Balrog was inspired by a bar of soap.
  • While the game isn't a "Metroidvania", the Metroid series was an inspiration for Pixel.
  • Balrog was called "Puu" in the beta version of Cave Story.
  • There is a certain professor in the game that is only mentioned once (Igor's Master) and this professor isn't Booster or The Doctor.
  • In the game's files, one can see a lot of characters that didn't make it to the final game, like a flying puppy, a samurai frog, a white owl and others.
  • An unused portrait for Sue is also in the data folder. It was replaced by Quote's portrait in Cave Story Wii.
  • Via hacking, you can find some debug text that relates to the development of the game and pixel's own character (Pixel the Cat).
  • It's believed Ikachan used an early version of the experience system present in Cave Story.
  • The WiiWare localisation differs from the original AeonGenesis translation in several areas:
  1. Balrog's famous catchphrase "Huzzah!" becomes several variations of "Oh Yeah!"
  2. Grasstown was changed to Bushlands
  3. Hell/Sanctuary is now Blood-Stained Sanctuary
  4. The weapon Bubbler becomes the Bubbline

External Links[]