The Game Boy may no longer be in production, but there's still a thriving community devoted to keeping the spirit of the beloved handheld device alive. One of the most exciting aspects of this community is the creation of homebrew games — fan-made titles that showcase the talents and creativity of some of the most dedicated Game Boy enthusiasts.
In this article, we're going to take a look at the 10 best Game Boy homebrew games currently available. From pulse-pounding platformers to addictive puzzle games, there's something for everyone on this list. So, plug in those earphones, warm up your thumbs, and get ready to dive into some of the most incredible homebrew titles the Game Boy community has to offer.
Deadeus is a top-down horror adventure with the aesthetic of Game-Boy-era Pokémon — think Lavender Town but if all its roads led to Silent Hill. You play a young boy who experiences visions of an ancient entity that will claim the lives of your entire village come three days' time. You have to find a way to stop it.
With only two colors and 160x144 pixels, the Game Boy is not an easy machine to make horror with. That makes Deadeaus even more impressive — developer -IZMA- had almost nothing to pull inspiration from when creating it, so even if horror isn't your jam, it's worth playing Deadeaus simply because there's nothing out there quite like it.
Dragonborne by Spacebot Interactive offers a charming RPG experience with fun combat, gorgeous pixel art graphics, and an excellent soundtrack. Set in the kingdom of Argon, the story revolves around the young Kris, who has to find his missing father while also preventing the end of the world by dragon fire.
If you're a fan of Final Fantasy Adventure or The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, then you owe it to yourself to play Dragonborne.
Swordbird Song: The Iron Owl Tower
Swordbird Song: The Iron Owl Tower is a delightful action-adventure that wears its inspiration on its sleeve. Taking massive cues from The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening, Swanbird Song takes you on a short-but-eventful quest to the top of The Iron Owl Tower, where the sinister Owl King roosts.
In typical Zelda fashion, you'll have to overcome some deadly foes and solve a few spatial puzzles to get to your destination. Eye-catching environments and a cute cast of side characters help make the adventure one to remember, as it's one that ends almost too soon. Little quickie adventures like Swordbird Song are the bread and butter of Game Boy homebrew, and you can knock out this one in an hour or two.
Cookie's Bakery is a narrative cooking game set in a cozy small town. You play as a chef, preparing baked treats for customers who don't know the names of the products they want. It's up to you to figure out what they want using hints about texture, shape, or taste.
Unlike other games, Cookie's Bakery doesn’t challenge you to beat the timer or focus on quantity. Instead, it requires you to use the hints to deduce the right recipe. Don't let the cute visuals fool you, either — figuring out what ingredients to use and in what order is a bigger challenge than you'd think!
Developed by Grumpy Function and Ben Gelser, Unearthed is a well-polished, story-based spatial puzzle game that block-pushing puzzle game fans will instantly fall in love with.
Puzzle games are a dime a dozen on the Game Boy, but Unearthed's puzzle design makes it a cut above most. Some puzzles will really test your puzzle solving skills, but a surprisingly engaging narrative makes it worth pushing through.
Dangan GB is a vertical bullet hell boss rush developed in 2019 for the original Gameboy in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Game Boy's launch.
As with any good bullet hell shooter, the controls are sharp and responsive. Dangan GB plays like a dream, too, thanks to a silky-smooth framerate and great visuals that always remain readable even as things get hectic. If you love retro games and bullet hells, Dangan GB should be at the top of your list.
Sam Mallard - The Case of the Missing Swan
If you enjoy point-and-click adventure games, then you won't want to miss out on Sam Mallard - The Case of the Missing Swan. This short and sweet adventure game transports you to a film noir world reminiscent that's more than a little inspired by Howard the Duck.
Sam Mallard doesn't just look great; it sounds amazing, thanks to an 8-bit jazz noir soundtrack that truly sets the mood. Don't let yourself skip out on this delightful throwback to the adventure games of old.
Super Jetpak DX
Developer Quan submitted the original version of Super Jetpak DX to a coding competition in 1999. It didn't win, so Quan put the project to rest until the Covid pandemic gave him the opportunity to give it another go.
Based on the 1983 ZX Spectrum classic, Jetpac, Super Jetpak DX builds on the skill-based gameplay of the original with improved visuals and audio and a host of new monsters. It's arcade gaming at its purist — no complex characters or storylines to get in the way of the fun. So, if you're looking for something fun that's endlessly replayable, give Super Jetpak DX a go.
Doc Cosmos is a remarkable technical achievement. It's programmed entirely in assembly language, so it runs beautifully on both emulator and original hardware.
In Doc Cosmos, you control the titular character through various puzzle-filled stages that must be navigated by switching between two versions of each stage. The level design is absolutely top notch, with each stage requiring careful consideration before each move.
This isn't a game for the faint of heart, though. In keeping with Game-Boy-era conventions, Doc Cosmos gives you few lives and no continues, so prepare for a real challenge.
Tobu Tobu Girl DX
One of the Game Boy's biggest selling points was its 'pick up and play' appeal. Tobu Tobu Girl DX fits right in line with that tradition, offering simple and addictive mechanics that are perfect for bite-sized sessions.
From the adorable visuals to the catchy chiptune track, Tobu Tobu Girl DX looks, feels, and sounds like a genuine Game Boy release from back in the day. That attention to detail paired with a genuinely addictive gameplay loop make Tobu Tobu Girl one of the must-play titles on this list.