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Developer(s)Daisuke Amaya
Publisher(s)Daisuke Amaya
Nicalis (3DS)
Designer(s)Daisuke Amaya
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Nintendo 3DS
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows
June 23, 2000
Nintendo 3DS
January 31, 2013[1]
Genre(s)Platform, metroidvania[2]

Ikachan (いかちゃん) is a freeware video game created by Japanese developer Daisuke Amaya, under the art name Pixel. In the game, the player plays a squid named Ikachan, who swims through a cave, meeting and helping other creatures.


Ikachan takes place in Ironhead's realm, an underwater cave system. A series of earthquakes had recently caused cave-ins that cut off Ironhead's realm from the open sea. As such, the inhabitants of the cave ran out of food and were required to carry pearls marking their allegiance to Ironhead. Ironhead himself remains stuck in a private cave, spreading paranoia and encouraging violence against non-citizens to keep the population of the cave from overthrowing him as their leader. Ikachan wakes up inside the cave and swims around, searching for a way to escape.[3]


  • Ikachan is a squid-like creature who awakens inside Ironhead's realm. He is the main protagonist and playable character.
  • Pinky is a young sea creature who helps Ikachan in his escape.
  • Ironhead is a large fish with an iron helmet and the self-appointed leader of the caves.
  • Storehouse watchman is the father of Pinky and guard of the remaining food supply.
  • Carry is a large fish who guards Ironhead's cave.


Ironhead and Ikachan, as seen in Cave Story

Ikachan features unique gameplay; as opposed to using the arrow keys to move, the player uses the left and right arrow keys to tilt Ikachan in the respective direction. The player must then use the 'z' key to swim in the direction Ikachan is pointing. Thus, Ikachan cannot swim directly to the left or right at first, but he later acquires an item that allows him to charge horizontally. Also, while being unable to hurt enemies from the start, once Ikachan receives an item called the Dunce Cap, he can attack enemies by ramming them with the point of the hat.

The game contains role-playing game-aspects, as Ikachan can level up after attacking enough enemies or eating fish.

Promotion and reception[edit]

To help promote the game and the WiiWare release of Cave Story, Pixel made a mini game based on Ikachan for the Nintendo DS game, WarioWare D.I.Y. The game is available for download as a Big Name Game in North America since April 5, 2010.

As a result of Cave Story's success on WiiWare, Nicalis is considering ports of Ikachan and Guxt, other freeware games by Pixel, for DSiWare.[4] However, the DSiWare port of Ikachan was canceled and it was instead brought to the Nintendo eShop for $4.99 with 3D visuals, by January 2017 the game still has not been released in Europe for Nintendo 3DS for unknown reasons. Nicalis has refused to comment.


  1. ^ http://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/PW4sFkB0CN3BnZG4YDqdmy_lGhp1mtYH
  2. ^ Lada, Jenni (January 31, 2013). "Review: Ikachan for 3DS". Technology Tell. Retrieved July 28, 2016. Ikachan is essentially an underwater Metroidvania game.
  3. ^ いかちゃん
  4. ^ Mastrapa, Gus (2010-06-10). "Nicalis Hints At More Games From Cave Story Creator". Wired.com. Retrieved 2010-07-06.

External links[edit]