The Game Boy has a catalog of over 1,000 games that span over more than ten years, so naturally it’s pretty easy for some titles to slip under the cracks. It’s honestly impressive how many quality titles came out on a device that was even underpowered for its time.
Listed below are a few of my personal picks for Game Boy or Game Boy Color games that are often overlooked when looking back on the handheld.
5. Trip World (1992)
Despite never coming to the west and its high price point, Trip World is a fun and relaxing adventure that is akin to Kirby’s Dreamland. A carefree platformer that boasts impressive detail for a Game Boy title from the early ‘90s, Sunsoft’s Trip World (also the makers of the also often overlooked NES title Gimmick) features five worlds with varying terrain and abilities for traversing them. If you are looking for a breezy, low-stress and visually pleasing game, then Trip World could be what you’re looking for.
4. Qix (1990)
Qix is the kind of game that anyone could pick up and figure out in a matter of minutes. In fact, I’m sure it’s one that we’ve all inadvertently played when bored in math class growing up – It’s a game of making boxes into, well, smaller boxes. The goal of the game is to “fill in” a certain percentage of the game board by creating line-drawn boxes. The player must avoid a moving entity (the Qix) while drawing these boxes, its nature is unpredictable and will definitely have you on the edge of your seat.
I’ve actually been playing this one on my lunch break during work. Its ‘pick up and play’ nature doesn’t demand much attention from the player and is a great way to burn some time. The Game Boy was known for its strong assortment of puzzle titles, and Qix is no exception.
3. Nemesis (1990)
If you’re looking for some intense SHMUP action, my recommendation would without a doubt be Nemesis. Ahead of its time visually and in sound (especially considering it came out the same year as Solar Striker), Nemesis has many memorable setpieces and bosses for the player to fight.
Nemesis also has some unique power-ups for the player to take advantage of, and will need to take advantage of, as the game can get pretty tricky quickly. Nemesis has one of the best soundtracks for a Game Boy game too, and that really helps immerse the player in the reflex-dependent gameplay that it has to offer.
2. Survival Kids (1999)
Konami’s Survival Kids provides the player with countless hours of non-linear gameplay that trusts the player’s intelligence. This title features an intuitive item crafting system that can be helpful, as well as necessary, for a player’s success. Resource management is also a key element of the game, as items degrade with time and use with the passing of in-game days. The player is responsible for monitoring their hunger and thirst, all while having an impressive amount of area to explore with many secrets to find. Survival Kids also features multiple endings, something not often seen from titles of the time.
1. Kwirk (1990)
One of the earlier titles to hit shelves for the Game Boy, Kwirk is an addictive puzzle game that certainly doesn’t hold back in challenging the player. There is a good amount of content here for the player to enjoy, especially for the year that it debuted.
Like Qix, this title is pretty easy to grasp. The game necessitates the player to traverse their way through mazes that feature 90-degree revolving, single passage doors (kind of like those ones in a few of those Pokemon gyms). The game starts off pretty easy, but it does a good job of gradually easing the player into its more difficult puzzles. Kwirk does a great job of frustrating you and then making you feel like Einstein only five minutes later.