Amazing Penguin

August 8, 1990

A charming little puzzler that stands out from the system’s glut of puzzlers thanks to its fast-paced, addictive gameplay.

Ishidō: The Way of Stones

August 2, 1990

An adaptation of a Macintosh board game involving matching tiles, slightly compromised by Game Boy’s lack of color and overabundance of puzzlers.

Puzznic

July 31, 1990

Oh. It’s another puzzle game. This version is distinct from the NES adaptation, and also from the soft-porn arcade versions.

Ranma 1/2

July 28, 1990

A tolerable action-puzzle adaptation of Ranma 1/2, seemingly built on the skeleton of SD Lupin III.

Dr. Mario

July 27, 1990

Nintendo had huge success with Tetris, so rather than wait for another hit to come across their desk they rolled their own. It’s OK… but it’s no Tetris.

Shisenshou: Match-Mania

July 13, 1990

Irem makes its Game Boy debut with this adaptation of Tamtex’s arcade Shaghai variant, losing the original version’s color (and its smut) in translation to the portable.

Pipe Dream

July 3, 1990

An interesting counterpoint to the remarkably similar Blodia from a few months prior. Where that game featured structured puzzles, Pipe Dream features a Tetris-like randomness… and an ease of use that makes it infinitely more fun than Blodia.

Boxxle II

June 22, 1990

The Game Boy’s first sequel builds on its most imitated game to date: Boxxle. Can basic box-pushing stand up to the fancier variants we’ve seen since? (Not really.)

Dexterity

June 15, 1990

SNK makes its Game Boy debut with a game remarkably similar to partner developer ADK’s arcade classic Make Trax. Hmm!

Catrap

June 1, 1990

Despite sharing a great deal in common with previous Game Boy puzzlers, Catrap stands out in a crowded field thanks to its innovative, player-friendly rewind feature.

Lock ’N Chase

May 11, 1990

Data East arrives on Game Boy by dipping back into its vast arcade archives. But this is no rehash—Lock ’N Chase plays more like a sequel than a port.

Snoopy’s Magic Show

April 28, 1990

Like so many licensed kids’ games of the ’80s and ’90s, Snoopy’s Magic Show had basically nothing at all to do with Peanuts: A generic action-puzzler. Always remember: Capcom’s NES Disney titles were the exception, not the rule.

Popeye

April 20, 1990

Nintendo’s Popeye was a memorable but slightly subpar action game from the golden days of the arcade. Despite its deficiencies, it blew away this sad take on the license by Sigma Enterprises.

Daedalian Opus

April 20, 1990

Dear Vic Tokai, if you have to include an IPA pronunciation guide for your game’s title on the box, maybe use a different name? Especially when that cumbersome title could discourage people from checking out a great puzzler that stands out from the teeming puzzle masses on Game Boy.

Blodia

April 20, 1990

Based on Diablo—no, not THAT Diablo. Blodia draws its track-arranging concept from a 1983 ColecoVision game which in turn probably took cues from Konami’s Loco-Motion. Whatever its heritage… it’s not very fun.

SD Lupin III: Kinko Yaburi Daisakusen

April 13, 1990

The classic manga and anime comes to Game Boy in the form of… a generic, by-the-numbers puzzler. Because that’s precisely what one of the most beloved (and stylish!) comic franchises deserves, yeah.

Cyraid

April 13, 1990

Featuring a profound lack of brick-headed silver space faces and more than enough surreality to make up for it, Cyraid turns out to be a ladder-kicking platform puzzler… and one of the better efforts so far.

Flappy Special

March 23, 1990

  Another old-school PC conversion. Another Soukoban variant. DB-Soft and Victor definitely were not on a mission to radically change the way we thinking about Game Boy software with this one, that’s for sure.

Flipull

March 16, 1990

Game Boy gets a port of Taito’s arcade game Plotting… under a different title for some reason. Popular in Japan and Europe, Flipull only ever came to the U.S. on Game Boy. It’s a tiny little blip in history! A pretty good puzzler… on a platform stuffed to bursting with puzzlers.

Quarth

March 16, 1990

A pretty solid port of Konami’s oddball shooter/puzzle arcade hybrid, which boasts some serious creative talent (seriously, it’s like the entire future Treasure team). Although this conversion loses the cooperative play feature, it’s otherwise quite faithful. Not a masterpiece, but an interesting novelty to be sure.

Boomer’s Adventure in Asmik World

December 27, 1989

The vexing thing about Boomer’s Adventure in Asmik World is that, while it’s a perfectly entertaining action puzzler in its own right, it’s best described in terms of a game that wouldn’t hit the Game Boy until several months later. Kind of like the way some people think Shin Megami Tensei is a big ripoff of […]

Q Billion

December 22, 1989

Nobody loves Seta. In the annals of gaming history, Seta is one of those easily-forgotten little guys. They never published a timeless classic, but neither do any of their games sit perched on some Internet critic’s snarky “worst games ever” list. Their most infamous creation, Bio Force Ape, earned its reputation for nearly never existing. Seta published dozens […]

Kwirk

November 24, 1989

When you think of Atlus, you obviously think of the Shin Megami Tensei games, or maybe just Persona, or — if you are a righteous and god-fearing human — Etrian Odyssey. But like so many developers, Atlus took a while to find its groove; the studio didn’t simply spring into existence as a world-class RPG-producing powerhouse. […]

Boxxle

September 1, 1989

The classic puzzle game Soukoban has gone by many names here in America as it’s seen release by countless publishers hoping to put a unique face on the same idea (and often the exact same content): Shove It!, Boxy Boy, Sokoban… and those are just the official releases. You don’t even want to know about the clones. […]