Monday 5 February 2024

Goodboy Galaxy Review (GBA)


So called homebrew titles have come on leaps and bounds in the last few years. Now, we have reached a place where developers can create titles for older consoles and have them fit perfectly into the indie marketplace. Indeed, we think it’s only a matter of time before one of the big developers decides to dive into the world of retro consoles with a fully-fledged retro release.

We’ve covered an ever-growing number of these games including, Micro Mages, Alwa’s Awakening and Witch N’ Wiz, as well as some of the compilation which have made their way to Evercade, who could forget the excellent Tanzer after all? The latest of these to reach our door is Goodboy Galaxy, a platform exploration game for the GBA.

The plot is simple and follows a space dog called maxwell as he fly’s around various planets solving quests and making friends. It’s all one large collectathon, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun. Each character you meet along the way will require help in some way (normally finding things) and will then give you their friend card upon completion. Some also give you other items as well to further aid your exploration and allow you to get deeper into galaxy.

Goodboy Galaxy is not a Metroidvania game though, thanks to the well-placed gates around each planet. Maxwell can jump, has a shield which will absorb damage and has a blaster. However, when you pass through one of the gates on each level something will be disabled. This could mean losing your jump, meaning you must think creatively about switches or platforms, or losing you weapon or shield meaning you are much less protected. It’s a gimmick that lasts throughout the game and allows a series of short but interesting puzzle platform sections to be thrust on the player. There are of course ways of getting around these to reveal secrets as well.

It's good then that Maxwell handles excellently. You must get used to the game as it has its own mechanics such as the firing pace of the weapon and the jump working slightly different than how you would expect, but once you’ve played it for a while it all becomes second nature. It’s cleverly done and shows real thought has been put into how players are expected to traverse around the worlds.

The look of the game is classic Gameboy Advance platformer. Bold colours and large cartoon like sprites are the order of the day and you can’t help but smile at the heavy nostalgia and generally joyful vibe. It fits the style of game perfectly, as does the character design which effectively takes animals and objects and puts bigger eyes and jackets on them. Each planet also sticks with the bright feel, while also being distinctive from each other to keep the overall look from becoming too samey.

Overall, Goodboy Galaxy is a fun game that would have easily found an audience if released during the original GBA years of handheld dominance. It’s like finding a hidden gem for the system and hopefully it will find a much larger place when it releases on modern consoles (Goodboy Galaxy is also currently available on the Evercade). There’s a lot of fresh ideas here and if you are looking for something new that seems like something old then this is an excellent place to start.

Overall 8/10

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