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Video Game / Ikachan

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Ikachan is an underwater Metroidvania (with light RPG elements) made by Studio Pixel. After releasing in 2000, they would go on to create 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, at the bottom of the page. It has also been released on the Nintendo 3DS eShop in 2013, a whole 13 years after the original release.

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 Cave Story'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 conversations with some other people.
  • Funny Octopus: The protagonist is an adorable little squid.
  • Mister Descriptor: Ikachan's name, sort of. 烏賊 (ika) means "squid", while ちゃん (chan) is a name suffix that indicates familiarity and, oftentimes, affection.
  • One-Word Title: Protagonist Title, Only One Name.
  • Only One Name:
    • Ikachan
    • Pinky
    • Ironhead
    • Carry
  • Protagonist Title: He has Only One Name.
  • RPG Elements: Collecting fish and killing enemies grants XP, which increases your maximum health and allows you to attack stronger opponents. It doesn't provide bonus damage.
  • Schmuck Bait: There's a chamber full of fish that comes with a sign "Curiosity killed the cat". Indeed, the moment you enter this chamber, the entrance closes. Since the new barrier is unbreakable without the 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: The game's setting.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ironhead considers Ikachan this after being defeated by him.

Alternative Title(s): Swim Ikachan