Nicalis surprise released a new Cave Story game*

Dec 10, 2021 at 7:53 AM
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(*It's a free lighthearted Christmas game)

https://store.steampowered.com/app/1812280/Cave_Storys_Secret_Santa
https://www.epicgames.com/store/en-US/p/cave-storys-secret-santa-b6d437
https://www.gog.com/game/cave_storys_secret_santa
https://store-jp.nintendo.com/list/software/70010000048824.html


ONLY AVAILABLE FOR A LIMITED TIME!

Random notes:
- Pixel helped with this game.
- Tyrone Rodriguez states it will be available a little after Christmas, but not much longer than that. Download and archive now. :toroko2:
- 120+ MB. Made in Unity engine..
- Has 10 achievements. They didn't work at launch but I heard that all of them should work by now probably.
- It's on the Nintendo Switch eShop as well but only in Japan. Costs 100 yen.
- Fullscreen only, no windowed mode unless you run the game using the steps in Brayconn's post right below this one. VVVV
 
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Dec 10, 2021 at 8:32 AM
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- Fullscreen only, no windowed mode. :sun:
I figured out a workaround.
Right click on the game in steam, select Properties, then in the General tab enter these launch options:
-screen-fullscreen 0 -screen-width 1920 -screen-height 1080
That'll give you windowed 1920x1080 (I'm sure you can figure out how to change the resolution to something else)
 
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Dec 10, 2021 at 8:35 AM
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Thanks for posting about this. I wanted to know if this was actually a Pixel project, or if Nicalis just did whatever they wanted. Very happy to hear that Pixel had a hand in it.

Also, hello for the first time in literally almost 10 years.
 
Dec 10, 2021 at 12:51 PM
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What's the extent of Pixel's involvement? How much did he contribute?
 
Dec 10, 2021 at 2:56 PM
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I'm unsure how much pixel was involved with this -- but there's really nothing wrong with this release at all. I'm really glad nicalis did this :)
Also, Tyrone and Pixel are good friends, so I don't think anything truly bad can come out of a spinoff. Besides, it is just a short lil spinoff game, after all.

Very excited to play this lil game later!
 
Dec 10, 2021 at 3:44 PM
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Well, this is a surprise. I'm glad something like this got released. Shows that cave story is still alive and well. It also gives me something to draw around Christmas time.

Looks like I gotta show my appreciation to both Nicalis and Pixel by finally purchasing cavestory+ (and kero blaster. Seems like a cool game)
 
Dec 10, 2021 at 9:31 PM
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What's the extent of Pixel's involvement? How much did he contribute?
he was at least involved and had some say in stuff but afaik the specifics are unknown at the moment

edit: oh yeah the game itself is pretty cute, i enjoyed it!
 
Dec 10, 2021 at 11:26 PM
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I'm still processing that this is a real thing
 
Dec 10, 2021 at 11:44 PM
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Nice official spinoff game,
although I bet that people who never heard of Cave Story is willing to play this because its free on steam.

I have seen the ending and I was kinda let down because it did not show any hints to a Cave Story 2,
although, has the same vein of FNAF World, Freddy In Space and Security Breach: Fury's Rage (FNAF Spinoff games.)
I honestly hope NiCALIS makes more spinoff games like this one.
 
Dec 11, 2021 at 12:10 AM
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I was planning to play Halo Infinite this evening, but now my plans have changed. At first I went to the GOG page for this game because I respect them as a brand and their business model much more than Steam, but it looks like it can't be gotten yet from that platform, so I guess I'll go ahead and play it on Steam. I'll give this game a try after I eat dinner.
 
Dec 11, 2021 at 1:09 AM
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i played the game and i can say it was an enjoyable experience.
I had a lot of fun with the game but the ending was kind of disappointing for me and the story in general is almost non-existent and kind of dull, which is even ironic when we remember how dark the story of the original Cave story is lol

but that's ok after all it's a spinoff and not every free game needs to be a masterpiece.
overall it's a fun game and great to pass the time and especially if you're really wanting something new from Cave story.
 
Dec 11, 2021 at 2:23 AM
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i played the game and i can say it was an enjoyable experience.
I had a lot of fun with the game but the ending was kind of disappointing for me and the story in general is almost non-existent and kind of dull, which is even ironic when we remember how dark the story of the original Cave story is lol

but that's ok after all it's a spinoff and not every free game needs to be a masterpiece.
overall it's a fun game and great to pass the time and especially if you're really wanting something new from Cave story.
Agreed for the most part. I don't think it's terrible and I loved hearing all the music mixes, haha. The feeling of playing a new Cave Story game is kinda better than the game itself, but it's still appreciated and funny.
 
Dec 11, 2021 at 3:16 AM
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Just finished the game. This was a fun little game to spend my Friday evening playing instead of starting on Halo Infinite. What this makes me wonder, though, is why exactly NICALiS would just suddenly pop out with some new Cave Story game, and make it free. Why now? I feel like they may be trying to prep us for something else they've got coming up soon. Maybe, maybe not.

The gameplay wasn't anything amazing, but it was cute, and if anything, it was appreciable fan service. It remixed some of the Cave Story songs in ways that were endearing and fun to listen to, especially the main menu music that mixed Christmas music with Cave Story music. The levels and puzzles were intuitive and fun to solve, and had good progression. According to the Steam client, it took me about 106 minutes to finish the game.

I got a good chuckle out of how Santa whacks some of those stationary Gaudis with his bag in order to get past them, and then they don't notice you as long as you aren't standing right next to them when they come to. I thought it was neat how the whole game tries to artificially create that static visual effect as if you were playing the game on a CRT TV.

Gosh, not only do we live in such a different world right now than we did when Cave Story came out 17 years ago, but also the indie gaming scene has changed so much. One thing that I was keeping my eyes out for was to see if there was any obvious influence from notable indie games that have come out since Cave Story. Admittedly, I'm not nearly as knowledgeable in the indie game industry as others here may be, but I did notice some references. Here were the references I noticed, in ascending order of how obvious it was that they were referencing a more recent indie game:
  • Not sure about this first one, but just in case, when you go to a sink, it says "No time for handwashing!" Part of me wonders whether or not this is a reference to the beginning of Deltarune Chapter 2 where it says "It is not yet time to wash your hands." Okay, that one is a bit far reaching, but hear me out on this next one.
  • Near the bottom of the Island Room, there's a secret passage where you keep going down, and then you fall down a hole. This one was obviously referencing Undertale and the Binding of Isaac.
    • It was obviously referencing Undertale because of the sound effect that plays as you fall down, as well as the fact that Santa spins around exactly like Frisk in Undertale when falling down similarly.
    • And it's obviously referencing the Binding of Isaac, because we see Isaac right there.

Although this was obviously meant to just be a fun little game and not anything real serious, this game does show some signs of being rushed due to the seeming loose ends in some of its story or gameplay elements that you would expect to either give you some item or affect the ending in some noticeable way. Here were a few loose ends that stuck out to me:
  • I found it amusing that there was that sign in Malco's house telling you not to trap him in while he's charging, and right next to it is that block that you can use to trap him. I went ahead and trapped him in. I was really hoping that trapping Malco would incur some sort of consequences on me, like how bringing Mr. Little with you to the end in Cave Story will trigger that line at the end "Aren't you forgetting something?" But trapping Malco in this game didn't seem to have any long-term impact at all, which was a little disappointing.
  • I couldn't quite figure out what the purpose was for that mechanic where you hide inside of a Christmas present. It seemed to be trying to mimic Solid Snake's trademarked trick of hiding underneath a box in order to sneak around places, but I would often get caught anyway if I went within people's searchlight regions. What was even more odd to me was that I was able to clear that first level with this present without actually using it. I thought maybe it was just introducing me to the mechanic, sort of like how earlier levels introduce you to the light switch and jellyfish juice mechanics to prepare you for future levels where you're going to actually need them. But I was able to beat all the levels without ever using the presents, so that potentially cool mechanic kind of seems pointless. Unless there's some special secret that you use them to unlock that I missed.
  • In my above spoiler, I mentioned the secret hidden in the "Island Room" that makes a reference to some more recent indie games that have taken center stage since Cave Story's golden age. What I found weird was that you just briefly see that secret room, and it abruptly sends you back to the map of houses and marks "Island Room" as completed. I found this a bit jarring. I was hoping that I could take a bit of a look around, maybe collect a souvenir, and then be on my merry own way back to where I came from in the Island Room. Or perhaps this special secret could still serve as an alternative way of completing the Island Room, but it gives you more of a clear indication of such, instead of just abruptly sending you back to the map room. The way that secret played out just didn't sit well with me, so I went back in and completed that house the normal way just to have that proper sense of completion.
  • I found it a little bit odd that on the final stretch of houses, I was able to skip the Hi-Tech house and go along the other path to Jenka's house and get the ending while skipping some of the houses on that map. At first I thought this might be sort of like Cave Story's bad ending where you can get the ending right then and there, but then reload your save, explore the extra content, and get a more fulfilling ending. But alas, even when I went back and did those last extra houses, it was still the same abrupt ending when I entered Jenka's house. Oh well, at least it's a sort of happy ending that involved Santa saving Christmas.

Feel free to let me know about any special secrets I missed.
 
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Dec 11, 2021 at 6:22 PM
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Played through a bit of game, and I like it. The remixes of Cave Story music are my favorite part. Makes me wonder if we will see more Cave Story spin offs in the future.

I also wonder if nicalis will have any issues with people providing downloads of the game once it’s taken off steam.
 
Dec 11, 2021 at 7:55 PM
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Have ya'll looked at the reviews on Steam. There's tons of people shitting on Nicalis.
 
Dec 11, 2021 at 8:56 PM
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Have ya'll looked at the reviews on Steam. There's tons of people shitting on Nicalis.
I honestly am a little scared of it, game reviews went from positive to neutral overnight.
 
Dec 11, 2021 at 9:53 PM
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Have ya'll looked at the reviews on Steam. There's tons of people shitting on Nicalis.
Haha, I actually have. I have noticed some that are complaining that the button mappings are horrible, and that they dislike the game because it is from Nicalis. I suppose they know that Nicalis did a terrible job on Cave Story+ (Steam) to the point that they hate the publisher all together regardless of what game they publish.
 
Dec 11, 2021 at 10:41 PM
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while there's legit criticism to be had with the game (achievements not working, weird controls, etc) it's the whole 'nicalis stole cave story' bullshit that just won't go away - twitter idiots are downloading the game to review & spread that nonsense because they're apparently incapable of fact-checking.

feel kinda bad for the devs who worked on it, having it be basically review bombed, lol.
 
Dec 12, 2021 at 12:40 AM
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In my nearly 10 years of posting here, I've been one of the harshest critics of NICALiS for all of the brokenness of their ports, and I wasn't surprised to hear about the stories of abuse that came out later. But man, I feel like a lot of the negative responses this game is getting aren't deserved. Whenever I've criticized NICALiS, it's usually been in the form of addressing the content of the game they released. A lot of those negative reviews are barely even reviewing the game itself, they just directly go after NICALiS as a brand and Tyrone as a person. Which I can understand, because NICALiS' track record isn't a good one, but when writing a review, you've gotta put those negative biases aside and just weigh the game on its own merits.

Not that this game was amazing, but I thought it was okay, and hey, it's free.
 
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Dec 12, 2021 at 12:59 AM
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I've always felt bad about their reviews since the situation. It was a terrible thing, but people are completely disregarding the team who put a lot of work into these games. Not to mention some games are simply published by Nicalis, not made, so a team that puts a lot of work into a game can completely get review bombed negatively because their choice to get their game seen. Whether or not you need a publisher is a completely different topic, but I'm aware you don't.

I think the team who worked on Secret Santa deserves the best for trying to make something for Cave Story fans and especially for getting Pixel on board since he really didn't need to work on this at all, even if it was just a little bit. If someone on the team is peeping this, thank ya. Cute/10 game.
 
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