Retro art and 8-bit graphics are abundant in indie games, so naturally it was only a matter of time before a game jam appeared focusing on recapturing some nostalgia from the early days of gaming. Enter GBJam, a week-long development event which encourages developers to produce a game that fits in the style of an old GameBoy title. Now that the event is technically over (despite some participants still producing more content) I’ve trawled through the submissions and picked out some of my favourites.
Guilty Conscience presents itself as just another platformer. You hop and jump from start to finish. Simple, right? Well progression through each level sometimes causes you to murder innocent little critters, and each life slain causes your guilt to become a literal burden, slowing you down incrementally. Slay too many and it’s game over.
This is better described as a 2D Portal, which isn’t a bad thing by any accounts. You’re tasked with going through the level collecting little coins whilst commanding two dimensional portals. Can you imagine how mind blowing this kind of premise would have been back in the old days?
Mini Invaders is a Space Invaders-style shooter which has you take on a swarm of aliens crashing down to earth. The soundtrack is perfect, the game is engaging and fast paced, but above all else it exudes the nostalgic charm of a retro GameBoy title. I can honestly see this being a worthwhile title in my old collection of 20 foot cartridges.
Thieves beneath the Face
Thieves beneath the Face is a homage to the initial Zelda games, where grid-based movement and zone exploration team up to provide a decent experience. You play as an orphan on a quest to steal a name for himself. The journey will take you through the sprawling city above ground as well as the dark dungeons underneath.
Tetsujin is a slick 2D action game involving cyborg ninjas and lots of stabbing. Of all the titles I played from this Jam, this is by far one of the tightest in terms of controls and visuals.
Jack B. Nimble
An endless runner that focuses on whipping, Lots of whipping. There’s a certain amount of familiarity here compared to the older GameBoy titles in which the game is simple yet challenging. No save points, no continues. If you’re dead you start again and do better.
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