Although the Game Boy was first released over 30 years ago, it continues to be a popular handheld console for retro gamers.
Maybe it’s nostalgia kicking in or the fact that a small team can make a very enjoyable game, or a combination of both, but modern game creators are still producing physical copies of their recent creations.
Retro Game Boy fans, collectors, and gamers looking for a unique experience have rallied in support of these indie titles, and new releases are happening all the time.
While going over some of the recent and pending releases, I’ve come up with a list of Game Boy titles that retro Game Boy fans will enjoy. The genres run the gamut, so there’s something for everyone!
Gelatinous: Humanity Lost
Are you looking for an old-school “Metroidvania” with an original story and unforgiving yet addictive gameplay? Then it’s time to shed your humanity and start from nothing as you slowly learn how to survive as a slime.
First-time game designer and retro gaming fan, Steven Long, along with indie publisher John Roo (The Retro Room Games and Quest Arrest) teamed up to make this game a reality.
Gelatinous: Humanity Lost makes you traverse laboratories, Aztec pyramids, jungles, and more as you attempt to uncover the mystery of your character’s slimy condition. You need to fight your way through lots of hostile territory to reach the conclusion.
The gameplay encourages a fair amount of experimentation as you discover the best ways to use your slimy skills to get you through each level without dying.
This title is not ready just yet, but a physical Game Boy release for Gelatinous: Humanity Lost is planned for the end of 2021. A Kickstarter is about to launch too, and that will help out with production and shipping, helping the game find its way into the hands of retro gaming fans.
Keep checking up on this one, folks.
Another interesting game is Dimeo’s Jukebox. As the title suggests, this game centered on music.
The creator, Rob Dimeo, decided to release his chiptune creations in the best way possible: a video game. While that might sound dangerously close to interpretive dance, the game is actually fun.
Dimeo’s Jukebox has two game modes: the jukebox mode and a puzzle/adventure game. Jukebox mode is pretty easy to understand: you listen to Dimeo’s chiptune music.
The story mode features a quest that sees you trying to reclaim Dimeo’s stolen music by going on different adventures and solving puzzles to unlock the jukeboxes containing the songs. You’ll travel to different worlds to save the music!
Dimeo’s Jukebox is certainly one of the more unique indie games I’ve stumbled across.
Released in 2019 by Greenboy Games, Lunar Journey is an indie adventure game that takes place in spaaaaaace. Seriously, Greenboy arrives on the moon with the goal of collecting six different minerals to take back to Earth.
The only hitch is when you get to the moon, you find out that it’s inhabited by aliens. So, things go off the rails rather quickly. It’s up to you to explore, gather required materials, and solve puzzles on the moon to complete your mission. You meet some zany characters along the way.
The game has an impressive amount of detail in the levels, and the music is high-quality stuff that will make you crank up the volume. This game has a physical release, and you can check out other Greenboy Games titles while you’re picking up this one.
You should know by looking at the cartridge art that you’re in for a heck of a game. Dragonborne is a Game Boy RPG that takes you back to the days of turn-based combat and exploration.
The game even starts out like many other RPGs of the past. Your dragon-slayer father has gone missing, dragons are stirring in the world, and it’s up to you to solve the mystery of his disappearance and slay monsters along the way.
The game is surprisingly big, and it’s easy for you to spend an hour or two just exploring and fighting before getting into the meat of the game.
I was impressed by the level of quality in this game. The battle graphics, music, and various environments speak to the time and effort put into developing this title. Completitionists will especially love this game because your gameplay culminates in a ranking at the end of the story!
Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe
Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe is a Game Boy Color-compatible platformer that is compatible with Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and Super Game Boy, so you can play it just about any way you want.
First off, the artwork for the game is absolutely gorgeous, and several versions of the cover art exist. The quality design elements made their way into the game, too, with each of the levels given plenty of detail and care.
The basic concept of the game is that your cat is floating into the atmosphere, and you have to save it. Sure, that might sound dark, but you can save your cat by chasing it through the levels with dashing, jumping off enemies, and using quick reflexes to reach your endangered friend.
The game is not unbeatable, but it’s challenging and it will take a little practice to get your timing down. All in all, Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe is a fun game that you can purchase and get a ton of extras including a real cartridge, instruction manual and mini story, and more artwork.
Want to play a really good Game Boy title? Do you want to see if you can have 8-bit nightmares? Then boy do I have a game for you!
You’ll probably notice that Deadeus comes from the same company as Dragonborne, and that should tell you something about the high quality to expect from this concept.
Deadeus is a horror game that starts with your character having a nightmare that tells them how their “flesh is a debt” and they have three days to appease this evil deity and save their village…or else.
Basically, it’s the creepiest way you can start a video game. As much as the game is centered on horror, it’s also quite the mystery. You work your way through the town and try to make sense of the evil deity’s demands until you come to the conclusion of the third day.
Deadeus features 11 different endings, giving the game a great amount of replay value. This is definitely one for the collectors and people that just like a really unique experience.
Super JetPak DX
Another cool homebrew title to play on the original Game Boy, Game Boy Color, and GBA is called Super JetPak DX. This platformer game features some hectic gameplay that stems from the need to fix your spaceship while under constant alien attacks.
Fuel cells and parts to fix your spaceship rain down on the level while you jump between platforms to collect them and shoot enemies that stand in the way. It doesn’t take much to die in this game, and not everything that drops from the top of the screen is going to help you.
You need to master the use of your jetpack to make the most of your efforts, and that requires some practice. All the while, you’re going to rack up a score as though you were playing an arcade game, giving the title some replay value.
Into the Blue
Although it might not be as challenging or complex as some of the other titles here, Into the Blue is a puzzle game that can keep you entertained and provide a fresh take on the Tetris format.
The basic concept of the game is that panels rise from the bottom of the screen, and you need to match three or more of them to make that segment disappear. You can adjust the game speed and difficulty to get a more challenging experience, and you can also play against other people.
The in-game songs are pleasant enough and chasing the high score will keep you coming back for more. Puzzle games might not be my thing, but people that like them will certainly enjoy this one.
Game Boy Games Keep Coming
While it may come as a surprise to some people, the fact is that new Game Boy games are coming out all the time. Indie developers and newcomers are bringing their passion for the handheld console and adding their creativity to the situation to make some truly impressive titles.
The only drawback is that some games sell out so quickly that getting a physical release is hard. Fortunately, supporting the games in the early part of their creation and paying attention to the publishers can help collectors get the games they want.
Do you have any more ideas for indie Game Boy titles to watch for? Let me know what you have in mind!