Cave Story 3D is barely recognizable compared to the original indie darling.

When Cave Story 3D was first announced for the Nintendo 3DS, I figured it’d be another port of the original game gussied up with 3D effects. I was wrong. NIS America recently announced the game’s official release date, pushing it back a little, and unveiled a bunch of new screenshots that might force me to play through it once again.

Cave Story was originally an indie title released for free on the PC by Daisuke Amaya back in 2004. It charmed the pants off of the indie community so much that it was fan-translated into English and became beloved worldwide, until eventually making its way to a digital WiiWare release in March 2010 and a DSiWare release in November 2010. NIS America is now bringing it to the 3DS with a host of upgrades.

Cave Story 3D will not only use the 3D effect of the 3DS, but the game’s graphics have also been changed from 2D sprites and backgrounds to 3D models and environments. NISA possibly should have called it Cave Story 3D: 3D. In addition, the game’s amazing soundtrack is being remixed for the second time and the story is said to expand on the original plotline and characters.

The screens (marked as “under development”) show that Cave Story 3D is definitely throwing out most of what was used for Cave Story graphically in favor of a totally new look (aside from the HUD). I wasn’t planning on buying Cave Story again, but if the 3DS version’s graphics work (which is still up in the air) and it really does give us new insights into the strange floating island of the Mimigas and the terrible Demon Crown, I’ll have no choice.

Cave Story 3D will be released on August 9, 2011 in North America and in September 2011 in Europe.

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