doukutsu monogatari: now is the beginning of a wonderful story
It's about time I plugged Doukutsu Monogatari (Cave Story), an absolutely amazing freeware platform game created by Pixel. Five years in the making--far longer than most developers would willingly work on paid projects--Doukutsu Monogatari is a true labor of love, and it shows. The music and graphics, though intentionally primitive, look very professional, and the character designs are top notch. The gameplay and level design are phenomenal, with a gentle learning curve for casual gamers but some very tough optional challenges for the hardcore, and though the game can easily be completed in one afternoon it takes many playthroughs to discover all of its many secrets and alternate endings. It has an ineffable depth and charm to it that few modern games possess, one that lasts long after the third or fourth time you see the end credits roll. It'd be a big hit if it were ever released for the Game Boy Advance or the PSP, but Pixel made the game for the sake of making the game, and that makes playing a very poignant experience. No flashy 3D graphics or FMV cutscenes or intricate level progression trees here--just solid gold level design. An oldschool work of art.
I'm still trying to complete the secret Hell level--it's taking me longer than it took me to finish everything else combined. Stupid instant death spikes.