The Game Boy may be over 30 years old, but it remains one of the most beloved retro systems. Despite its age, there has been a steady increase in indie releases, thanks in part to GB Studio – a drop-and-drag tool for creating games and a surge of new handhelds that have -focus on retro. But 2023 is a very strong year for the console. An upcoming Game Boy Color title, Dragonyhmlook set to both raise the bar for the current wave of titles and round off a stellar year for fans of Nintendo’s iconic handheld.
We can be thankful for the pandemic Dragonyhm. Chris Beach was working in real estate when the COVID lockdowns stopped his day job. He used the time to realize a long-held desire to create an RPG for the Game Boy. The result is Brought by the dragonthat Beach released it himself under his newly minted Spacebot Interactive publishing imprint. The company will continue to manage the first run of the fatal and start production of Brought to you by Dragon DX for Game Boy Color. But thanks to some new features in the latest version of GB Studio, the project soon took on a life of its own.
“It started as a colored version of the original Brought by the dragon. I thought it would be an easy job, color it and release it again. But with all the new features at GB studio, we fell down a rabbit hole, and we ended up overhauling everything in the game,” Beach told Engadget. The result is Dragonyhm, a bigger RPG with new graphics, reimagined sound, improved mechanics and more levels to explore. “We have plans for five [games] for now, and it will be released on multiple consoles, not just the Game Boy.”
In the usual retro RPG tradition, Dragonyhm started at the house of our hero Kris. His mother wakes him up with the disturbing news that his father Kurtis, the best dragon slayer in the kingdom, has gone missing. Even worse, there are rumors that the monsters in the dungeons have begun to stir. How long will they wake up and destroy the once peaceful lands of our hero? No prizes for guessing who will find and rescue Kurtis and instead, the entire kingdom.
The first moments of the game overlap a lot with the Brought by the dragon, but soon the two began to drift apart. In the original version, there is a simple puzzle very early to get something. on Dragonyhmthe same task is more dynamic and has more interesting mechanics.
Play the game on an Analogue Pocket, with the impressive Game Boy Color screen mode, Dragonyhm could easily pass for an official title from the past. The graphics capture the spirit of the RPGs of the era and the dialogue and challenges feel authentic. The game also feels satisfyingly large. Developing for vintage systems is difficult and the projects are often a labor of one’s love, which can result in shorter games or shallow gameplay.
With Spacebot Interactive, Beach wants to keep the bar high and release games that deserve to save an allowance, and that means longer hours of play with more sophisticated stories and mechanics. “I think so Link’s Awakening about 15 hours in a standard playthrough. and [Dragonyhm] maybe it will be the same, maybe it will take longer” said Beach. There is also a secondary mechanic that extends the replay potential once the main story is over.
If my early playthroughs are anything to go by, the game offers just the right amount of guidance and nudging in the beginning, but it’s also not long before you find yourself battling it out on your first real mission. Like most RPGs worth their salt, you need to start grinding as soon as you can to level up to become strong enough to take on bigger and badder enemies and unlock new- parts of the game. However, for these early stages at least, you are doing it alone and not as a party.
Dragonyhm not the only big retro game of 2023. Earlier this year, Mega Cat studios raised almost $50,000 on Kickstarter to bring the adventure game Kudzu in life. Development is now complete, with boxed versions scheduled to ship in January. Kudzu is another RPG-flavored game, with a similar quest to your lost teacher, Zoen. This time though it is located in a very different world, one where a fiery plant “food of the world” – the eponymous Kudzu – is the main enemy.
Kudzu takes the classic Game Boy RPG and spices it up with humor and cozy-catastrophe charm. On your journey you will meet an interesting cast of characters including a cat who wants a pen pal and the in-game currency is mushrooms. Kudzu also uses several different challenges to advance the story. One minute you need to use logic and memory to navigate mazes that change with levers, the next you can be collecting goats. And then there’s the mysterious Kudzu “jelly” — use it wisely and you’ll have Zoen well before it’s too late.
If you like platformers and adventure games, then Far After – announced in the summer – will be faster. This game mixes a lot of classic retro themes – magic, quests, turn-based battles and platforming – making it an obvious crowd pleaser. Far After published by Bitmapsoft which is no stranger to the retro world with several Game Boy titles on its roster.
The current wave of renewed interest in making Game Boy games runs parallel to another, related trend: an abundance of retro gaming handhelds. These emulation devices start from $50 and offer modern conveniences such as full-color, backlit displays. Not to mention plenty of game storage, Wi-Fi and relatively long battery life. Then of course, there’s the Analogue Pocket, a higher-end handheld that basically answers the question “what would a Game Boy look like if it was designed and released today.”
These retro-friendly handhelds make it super easy to start emulating almost any console from over 15 years ago. You could argue that, while many developers simply make games for their favorite system, once you have something like Pocket or Ayn Odin, the platform the game is made on is less important. . These are easy mobile games or modern retro titles Celestesomeone chooses to create it with a specific tool that provides a specific aesthetic and desired limitations.
Of course, there is also Nintendo’s eShop and Virtual Console that provide a legitimate route for games such as Dragonyhm to be played on official hardware for those who get a kick out of that. Beach has confirmed that they intend to release the game on Switch this way next year. With more and more ways to play these games, it’s a great time to be a Game Boy fan.
“I think it’s a great time, I’d go so far as to call it a golden age, because there are so many developers developing homebrew Game Boy games now, and some of the quality is unbelievable . It’s really pushing the boundaries and making things similar to licensed games,” Beach said.
Dragonyhm is set to be released next year in partnership with Incube8 Games.
This article was originally featured on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/dragonyhm-is-the-latest-in-a-wave-of-new-game-boy-rpgs-160039153.html?src=rss