The very first video game system I ever owned was a Game Boy Pocket. I got it when I was 7. To this day it’s still the platform I’ve put the most cumulative hours into, so I can’t deny that I have strong nostalgic feelings for it. So naturally I have to highlight a game from the Game Boy themed jam this week, but I want to showcase one that I feel truly captures what remember looking back on the platform. Many of the games in the jam would have been simply impossible to run on Game Boy, the 3D entries for example. While others could have worked but are of genres not that commonly found on the handheld. Pretty much of the roguelike entries feel anachronistic, there was at least one Shiren the Wanderer on Game Boy but that seems to be it. Ultimately Game Boy is probably best known for having mountains of puzzle games, specifically action puzzle games. And Love March is a pretty cool one of those.
Love March isn’t long but it manages to be totally 100% Game Boy the whole time. It’s an action puzzle game where you play a drum major needing to assemble their marching band and guide it to safety past cars, tornados, bulls and UFOs. There is genuine humour in seeing a truck plow through a pack of small children and send them flying into the air, or a UFO blasting them with lasers from above. It’s violence chibi-ified, as you can easily track backwards afterwards to find them perfectly well. Game Boy games were pretty much restricted away from being M rated, so this kind of silly harm free violence was common on the system. Though you wouldn’t know that from so many of the other GBJam5 entries.
I both love and hate that Love March is a gamejam game to begin with. Sure, there’s probably a real chance it wouldn’t have been created without a gamejam to inspire it. But the jam’s short length kept Squiddingme from developing the game to its full potential or polishing off some of its rough edges. A fuller version would benefit from a gentler learning curve and a point system that doesn’t punish you for trying to save your lost bandmates. But Love March is really an adorable ball of a time. I certainly encourage Squiddingme to make good on their stated desire to go back to it in the future.