Quote would be sad, tooCave Story+, the PC port of a Mac port of a WiiWare port of a PC freeware game, has apparently come full circle and is now available on Steam. I am a huge fan of Cave Story and, I like to hope, a reasonable person. Like many others I admire “Pixel” - Daisuke Amaya - for creating the original version and releasing it back in 2004. Aeon Genesis deserve some credit as well for the English translation patch. It is a charming game that has done a great service in boosting the indie gaming scene. That said, I will most certainly not be buying into this thinly disguised cash-in – and I’m actually shocked and quite disappointed that Nicalis had the cheek to go so far down this road.

So here’s the story: After a chain of poorly-communicated delays spanning through 2009, the $12 / £10 WiiWare release of the game in North America last year was deservedly well-received but expensive and somewhat glitchy. It included one particularly annoying bug with music playback when the original music tracks were selected instead of the default remixed tracks (which some people – including myself – didn’t like). Not only did it take eight months to get these problems patched out but it took ten months after the NA release for the game to get to Europe. Meh. So far, so mediocre.

Then there was the DSiWare release for portable gamers to enjoy Quote’s adventures. Cool. But a year on from the Japanese and North American releases last November, it still isn’t available in Europe, despite a suggestion from Joystiq it would be out around Q2 of this year. It seems likely that Euro gamers will now never see that version due to the incoming Cave Story 3D for the 3DS (which – who’d have guessed? – has also been delayed). Based on their track record, who knows when the 3DS incarnation will arrive in Euroland…

Surely things can’t get any more ridiculous. But wait! Yes they do!

Time rolls forward to September of this year, when Cave Story+ first appears. It features a smattering of new features and an unlockable new level, Wind Temple, designed to be roughly as difficult as Sanctuary (the hardest level of the original game). Where’s the best place for this masterpiece? Erm… on Mac OSX, apparently. Nicalis no doubt believed it was another platform to attract customers on. However, the original game was already playable on Mac using Wine - and just like the old PC version, it supported mods, too. {EDIT: As mentioned in the comments, there is in fact a true Mac port of Cave Story available through this page} I can’t divine exactly why CS+ went here first – presumably because it was something that was easy for them to do? – but at this point the “cross-platform” excuse is being stretched fairly thin.

Now, a couple of months later and well over a year after the game started its journey into the mainstream, Windows users have a chance to be milked for their dosh in a direct port of this latest version. Frankly I no longer accept the argument of wanting to make the game as cross-platform as possible; Nicalis have done far more to turn Cave Story into a cash-cow for the most convenient audiences than they’ve done to genuinely improve it.

And if you’re thinking that I’m a hypocritical fanboy who only loves something while it’s free – nothing could be further from the truth. Despite my gripes I’m delighted that many more people have the chance of playing this gem. I simply wish that Pixel had a direct Paypal link so I could pay him £30 without any of it lining the pockets of a greedy publisher who seems to have not lifted their little finger for the European fan base until now – and that in only an incidental way (a Mac to PC port through Steam couldn’t have been difficult).

TL; DR: Simply put, for the relatively small amount of work Nicalis have done to the game – compared to the effort Pixel has put in to get the new versions ready – I do not believe they warrant their share of the loot. Delays are something Nicalis are experts at. Right back at ya, guys: I’m delaying giving you my money. Permanently.

Yes, I’m bitter, and I’ll stick right here with the original game, thanks.

3 comments on 'Cave Story+ and why I won’t be buying it'

  1. Posted by Maurycy Zarzycki - November 24th, 2011 6:26 pm

    One word:

    :(

    You explained why I wasn’t able to find Cave Story in nintendo eShop. I was so waiting for 3DS Cave Story, now I see it is both delayed and, actually in 3D!

    I beg you, tell me there will be an option to turn on crispy pixels D:

  2. Posted by dogs - December 14th, 2011 10:46 am

    The mac version of Cave Story was not some crummy Wine port. It was a native build the whole time.

  3. Posted by Chris - December 14th, 2011 10:53 am

    Aha, indeed. My mistake – despite searching for this I somehow didn’t notice that a true Mac port of the original had been made. Thanks for pointing it out!

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