Oh, man. What a time to be alive. Gelatinous: Humanity Lost is a legit new Game Boy game that will work on your Game Boy, Game Boy Color, or Game Boy Advance with no problem. Actually, it even works on the Game Boy Player for the GameCube, which is exactly where I played the game mostly for this review. This is oldschool, hard, and fun, but we have a serious question…
Is Gelatinous: Humanity Lost the Game Boy game we need in 2022? Or is this simply an attempt to make a relic relevant again? Let’s find out!
Gelatinous: Humanity Lost was a successful Kickstarter campaign that we actually reported on almost a year ago exactly. The campaign promised a brand new Game Boy adventure because the creators simply love old games, and Gelatinous surely is an old-feeling game with an old-school challenge.
The story takes place deep in the Amazon, and a lone treasure hunter who is in search of Ultimate Power gets more than he bargains for when he’s turned to goo and falls deep into the bowels of an ancient temple. As the now gooey treasure hunter, you begin your campaign with nothing. No powers; no weapons; not even the ability to jump. Only by exploring this mysterious temple can you begin to understand and unleash the true powers of the slime.
Gelatinous: Humanity Lost does not communicate a whole lot outside of its intro and instruction manual, which continues to cater to the classic feel of an old NES or Game Boy title. The story is simple enough and is a decent amount of fun, but it is the gameplay that is worth talking about, as this is the meat and bones of the new Game Boy game.
When it comes to Gelatinous‘s gameplay, this is a Metroidvania, as it is an action platformer with progressive powerups. You start the game out with nothing but your gelatinous self, and you need to roll, slide, and wall climb your way to your first powerup en route to collecting more powerups and avoiding death. Thankfully, there is a solid save system in little modules that you find throughout the adventure, and they either serve as a save point only or one where you earn a new ability as well. This helps a lot, as old Game Boy games rarely had such a feature.
As this is a Game Boy game, Gelatinous: Humanity Lost is a bit brutal in regards to its difficulty, as the game expects you to make some really tight jumps here and there, and since this is a one-hit death scenario, missing those jumps or touching enemies or falling into water, for example, will result in death and a restart from the last save station. You will die a lot in this game, as it does not coach you in any way, and it throws obstacles at you out of nowhere (e.g. I turned into a cat person or something out of the blue, and I died. What gives?).
Another issue that is just a product of its time are the controls. I played Gelatinous: Humanity Lost on an original Game Boy, a Game Boy Advance, and the GameCube’s Game Boy Player just to try out different controllers, and I experienced input lag on every single device. Not only that, but some times controls were sticky, meaning they don’t respond perfectly in certain situations. When a game like this expects so much of you, you also expect it to serve you well on the controls. Unfortunately, the experience does suffer some rage-inducing moments where the controls just do not feel right.
One thing that absolutely needs to be pointed out is the presentation, because holy cow, did The Retro Room Games deliver in this regard. Their Kickstarter campaign was a fun one that promised a proper Game Boy title release, and not only do you get the green Gelatinous: Humanity Lost cartridge with the protection casing, but you also get a delicious box with an actual instruction manual! Kickstarter backers got even goodies in the form of awesome stickers and pins, which made this one of the cooler Kickstarter deliveries out there!
Graphically, Gelatinous is a Game Boy game. It is old school pixels, and thanks to reaching a Stretch Goal during their campaign, the game has a Game Boy Color scheme as well, giving us a nice green hue with shades of pink, purple, and other fun colors to spice things up a little bit. While playing on the Game Boy, it is that classic grey scale that does look incredible, but I think the color scale is much better and compliments the game and its theme even more.
The soundtrack is a mixed bag for me, though. On the one hand, the classic chiptunes are super-nostalgic, and for the most part, they sound really good and once again cater to the theme of the game. However, I found the lack of sound for your little gooey guy and the enemies a bit weird. Since you jump frequently and eventually attack, the quiet nature of the main character leaves much to be desired. Not only that, but the lack of cues from upcoming enemies can cause some frustrating deaths, especially those blasted bats over treacherous waters.
Gelatinous: Humanity Lost is a grand reminder of the good ol’ Game Boys days, and it honestly does do a decent job for the most part coming into the modern age. This is an insanely challenging and difficult title, so it is not for the faint of heart at all. However, for those old school gamers looking for a new game to pop into one of their classic Nintendo handhelds, Gelatinous is definitely a treat.
For the price of $49.99 USD, you are getting the full Game Boy experience, which includes the box, instruction manual, and game. However, The Retro Room Games even has a cartridge-only option for $24.99 USD, but that is currently sold old. Hopefully that will be restocked some time in the near future. Either way, this is a solid get and one that will make your retro game collection look even better!
Gelatinous: Humanity Lost may not be the best Metroidvania on the market today, but if we are judging it based on its competition on the Game Boy, then it becomes one of the best on the platform! No doubt about it.
Phenomenal presentation in box edition
Great save system for a Game Boy game
Lovely pixel graphics and sprites
Hard as nails, some times unfairly so
Controls can be frustrating during certain platforming sections
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.