Multiple generations of gaming are now behind us. These previous generations built the groundwork for what currently have present in the industry. While a considerable amount of obvious changes happened; The core of the medium is still the same. But now people who were accustomed as a child with these forms of entertainment; Are rising up with the inspiration to create games that honor those memories. This is where 8BitBoy comes blasting through.; A game that enthusiastically wants to give homage to these games of yore.
Our protagonist is a genuinely depressed man; Thanks to all the stress of being an adult his mood hasn’t exactly been encouraging. He starts diving into the pool of nostalgia; Reminiscing about all of his childhood memories and how much happier he was back then. A moment of inspiration comes; The man rises up and tries to find his old video games so he can once again experience that joy once again. After searching, he finds a mysterious, label-less cartridge (Don’t worry is not haunted). As he pops the cartridge into his former console and suddenly it emits a blue stream of light; Consequently the protagonist is absorbed into the game and turned into the main character.
Comparable to a bulk of old-school games; This is a 2D platformer that takes plenty of ideas from old-school level design tropes. Everything from difficult-to-find hidden areas, highly difficult jumps, world-warps and power-ups. Actually, the power-up is somewhat interesting; We first have a shield that simply gives an extra hit to your incredibly vulnerable character that can only receive one hit. This is followed by three different types of what think are grapes.
There’s the first level being the red ones that allows to throw one of them. Next, we have the green ones are the similar to the other ones except you have two of them. And lastly, we have the black (?) ones drowns them in gasoline and set them on fire allowing you to throw fireballs. You can also defeat enemies by running towards them while having this power-up.
All of these grapes also bounce off walls and you can either throw them on the ground or throw them up by holding the down button. Once you have any of the grapes you’ll max out the amount of hits you’ll be able to take. At the max, you’ll have three hits, but once you withstand a hit you’ll be knocked down to the shield instead of a lower-level grape if you had a higher-level grape. The level design is actually quite fun; The levels usually have a decent amount of ways on how to beat them. Be it by hidden entrances, different pathways or those world warps. While the levels can become rather difficult is never something unfair; And akin to these old-school games you’re driving to finish the levels in a time limit.
But unlike those games; I never had a trouble with it. Similar to the older games it tributes; there’s a decent amount of trial and error. Although nothing is too awful. There’s an interesting mechanic that happens once you grab 100 coins. Usually in another game, you’ll obtain one extra life.But in this game, it works as a sort of roulette with all of the power-ups and an extra life. The best part about this is that even if you win a power-up that you already have or one that’s weaker than the one you currently have; You can actually save it for later.
Although as what can I only assume it was due to a weird error; The box randomly disappeared along with the power-up. Which has annoyed me at times since a few of the strategies that I planned would render themselves useless thanks to it. Boss fight are very lackluster. All of them are the exact same boss fight with a re-skin and a slightly different variation. To be honest, I feel there’s a little too much inspiration from the Super Mario games. Be it from the level layout, enemies, and just out-right feel; It feels way too familiar instead of feeling similar to a combination of different ideas. Don’t misunderstand me, the game has plenty of creative and original content in it.
But I truly can’t help, but be a little bothered with how obvious it is. Thankfully one of the factors the game actually learned from that was the incredibly tight controls. The game never feels unfair or frustrates you thanks to the controls even during the game’s harder sections. The music shouldn’t pass unmentioned on the grounds of it being great. Ranging from absolutely ominous songs to highly energetic and catchy songs that inspire you to continue through levels with a smile.
While 8BitBoy might seem incredibly familiar to the games you’ve played before; It is still an incredibly enjoyable and decent challenge that goes for a noticeably cheap price. With being one of the few indie games that honors retro games and actually manages to nail it; With that alone I recommend a glance.
What do you think about the game? Have you played it before and if not are you interested in playing it? Any feedback towards the review, please leave it below as well!