Jam Spotlight: GBJam 3
How many of you actually remember the Game Boy? I mean the original, heavy-as-a-brick, takes-a-million-batteries and no colour-having Game Boy? Do you remember using the screen-shift glitch to cheat at Link's Awakening and being called Thief by the shopkeeper? Do you remember how amazing it was when you got your very own Pikachu, just like Ash? They're things that were revolutionary at the time if you'd grown up on a diet of Joust, but these days they're practically prehistoric. Nobody actually wants to play old school Game Boy games, right?
Wrong, sucker! With the GBJam 3 over at GameJolt and over 250 games (and counting!) available for play and voting, it's pretty clear there's still life in the old girl yet. Below the break we'll highlight just a few of the free browser games the talented developers of the Jam have produced. Play them, then play all the other GBJam 3 games, and make sure to vote for your favourites! Of course, none of them could really be Game Boy games... most of them are far too clever and actually fun and also don't cost forty bucks, for one thing. It'll be hard not to hold that against them but, gosh, I'll try. What are your favourite entries in the GBJam 3?
- Steam Rogue - Adventure Islands basically has the whole authentic Game Boy style down pat, and this puzzle platformer about an adorable steampunk robot who must reach treasure chests before his steam runs out is yet another feather in an already outrageously jaunty cap. The idea is that all you can do is jump, stop, or move forward until you hit an obstacle that causes you to turn around, and since moving depletes your steam power, you have to reach the chest in each level before you literally, well, run out of steam. Bouncy retro soundtrack? Check. Demanding timed jumps? Check. Robot in a top hat? Eeeeeeee!
- GrayScale - In Darek Greenly's action game, you play as a sour-faced little sprite whose only aim is to destroy all the spheres of colour in each level by smashing through them. Of course I say "colour" when what the game really means is "little white orbs", but hey, who am I to argue with a scowl like that? Things get trickier when you need to deal with enemies and use your dash to traverse the void, which depletes your points any time you accidentally fall into it. It's a little hard to get the hang of, and it would have been a nice touch to have the world actually lose colour for every orb you destroy, but it's a simple, clever concept that works great with the theme.
- Meowgical Tower - Make no bones about it, Neon Deity Games' puzzle action adventure is cute as all get out, as you play a little kitten who gets caught in the rain and takes refuge in an "ominous tower", presumably because cats have no concept of foreshadowing. Although initially all you can do is run from enemies and meow, eventually you'll gain a weapon, and you'll need to push blocks to solve puzzles to proceed. Both the visual style and soundtrack are fantastic, but the gameplay is just challenging enough with its mix of simple combat and puzzle solving to make it a lot of fun no matter what year it is.
- Octane Witch - This hack and slash game by "A Gang of Skeleton Bikers" really gets women. Being space bounty hunters and crime solving detectives is all well and good, but what we really want is to play a super powered leather-wearing, stabbing-and-kicking witch who's out to rescue her princess from the evil lord and his skeleton biker lackeys who overthrew the castle. You'll float around the isometric map beating up monsters and unleashing SWORDNADOS while the game rates you on how well you did in each area. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but with a premise and style like this, who cares?