Keeping up with the amazing games being made with GB Studio can be challenging. It feels like there’s a new project announced or released every day. When we launched our site a year and a half ago, there were 1,000 games tagged “Game Boy” on itch.io – now there are over 4,300! There are also developers who release smaller games, or don’t release games at all, but contribute to the community in important ways. We want to acknowledge and celebrate them, because in the end this site isn’t about the games – but the people behind them.
With that being said, welcome to Dev Spotlight, a new series where we highlight a developer whose body of work or contributions to the community are worth showcasing. For our first Dev Spotlight, we’re featuring allalonegamez!
There’s a lot to talk about with regards to allalonegamez and their body of work. They have created consistently awesome games that are fun to play, which also have a distinctive graphical style. You can show me a screenshot out of context from any of their games and I’ll think, “Yup – that’s an allalonegamez project.”
They’ve flexed their game dev muscles in several game jams, having won the inaugural Game Boy Showdown last year, and coming in 2nd place this year with The Pact. Their genre of choice are one screen puzzles, but often feature platformer gameplay. In The Pact, the player switches control of two onscreen characters to get to the exit of each room. The mechanics start simply: when the player controls one character, the other one acts as a solid object that can block their path or be used as a stepping stone to reach hard to get places. This quickly evolves into really neat puzzles that require good timing and clever thinking to solve.
Now we’ve seen one-screen puzzles before with interactive actors in GB Studio, but this is the first time that I’ve seen it implemented in such a way where you control multiple characters onscreen. It really makes me wonder how this was accomplished so well in such a short timeframe (the Jam was 7 days long).
As we examine allalonegamez’s past body of work, we see more examples of unique mechanics that provide fun ways to play and experience the Game Boy.
Octopus Stressus has you platform and navigate one-screen puzzles, but it relies on another unique mechanic. The octopus you control onscreen has a burst of breath that works on a timer. This burst creates a double jump mechanic of sorts, but since the timing of it is out of your control, you have to think hard about how to navigate the obstacles onscreen and when to jump or drop, so that you can use this burst to your advantage. The first time I played this I immediately thought, “Why didn’t I think of that?”
Sam The Optimistic Hedgehog boils down the game controls to just one button. The titular hedgehog will continuously move forward impeded by various objects on screen that are affected by seasonal changes triggered by the player. For example, flowers that bloom in the Spring and Summer will block their path, but their wilted stems will allow Sam to pass in the Fall and Winter. Figuring out what is the optimal path and executing the timing so that Sam proceeds safely through it is both challenging and satisfying.
Even one of their earlier games, Ravenia, really pushed the concept game design and puzzles made with GB Studio by combining a Push Block mechanic with a Teleport mechanic. It’s wonderful to go back to their work and see the progression over time and journey as developer.
We love the work released by allalonegamez here at GB Studio Central, and we’re stoked to see what they come up with next. I for one hope to see one of their games get a physical release in the future; it would be an instant buy from me.
Audio Engineer, Mac Technologist and Video Game Developer. Managing Editor of GBStudio Central. (he/him)