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Video Game: Swim, Ikachan!
Swim, Ikachan! is an exploration platformer with RPG elements made by Studio Pixel, who would indeed go on to create his Magnum Opus Cave Story. The game is often cited as a 'practice' by Pixel in preparation for the aforementioned Cave Story.

In this game you are Ikachan, a young squid who lives in an underwater society constantly ravaged by earthquakes and facing a food shortage problem. He must explore the world, gain powerups, eat fish, and eventually face off against the tyrannical ruler Ironhead.

The game can be found here. It has also been released on the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

There's also an Ikachan microgame available for download for those who own WarioWare: DIY.

Tropes found in this game:

  • Big Bad: Ironhead. But subverted in that he's not really evil, just very concerned about him and his people being cut off from the rest of the sea.
  • Big Eater: Carry, which presents a problem with the food shortage going on.
  • Broken Bridge: Some parts of the cave are inaccessible until you talk to the right people, at which point a couple earthquakes will open up the paths needed to continue.
  • The Cameo: Ironhead would later appear in Cave Story as a boss aided by an army of Porcupine Fish, and if you beat him without getting hit, Ikachan shows up and you get an item that alludes to the game's ending. In a less visible way, the game also features an early version of CS's engine.
  • Cool Mask: Ironhead's mask, hence his name.
  • The Dragon: Carry, Ironhead's bodyguard.
  • Event Flag: Earthquakes are triggered by dialog. However, they're delayed until you complete converstaions with some other people.
  • Everything's Squishier With Cephalopods: The protagonist, of course.
  • Fake Longevity: Averted; It's not very long, and you can beat it in just over an hour.
  • Puffer Fish: One of the food items that Carry has you fetch him is a globefish platter. Sure enough, when he eats it, he gets poisoned and has to relieve himself of his bodyguard duty.
  • RPG Elements: Collecting fish and killing enemies grants XP, which increases your maximum health. It doesn't provide additional damage, but allows you to attack stronger opponents.
  • Schmuck Bait: There's a chamber full of fish that comes with a sign "Curiosity killed the cat". Indeed, trying to enter this chamber will shut the entrance and should you come without ability to thrust sideways, you will be left to die on a(n in)conveniently placed spike-bed.
  • Space Is an Ocean: Invoked in the ending. Once Ikachan and company escape the cave, they find themselves in outer space, yet still thinking that there could be (sea)food out there.
  • Take Your Time: Even when the big, cave-crushing quake hits just as you've taken the last person save Ironhead into your spaceship, you can still twiddle your thumbs and nothing will happen.
  • Under the Sea
  • Worthy Opponent: Ironhead considers Ikachan this after being defeated by him.

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alternative title(s): Swim Ikachan
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