Publisher: T&E Software (1996)
3-D Tetris would seem a natural fit for the Virtual Boy. Tetris is a Nintendo staple, and this system is specifically designed for 3D graphics. As you can guess, the blocks in this game are three dimensional and the player can manipulate them in a number of ways. The Virtual Boy's ability to render 3D wireframe objects should make it easy for the player to tell what's going on. Well... no. You view the action from overhead, with the pieces falling into a square "well". In order to help you understand how the pieces are piled up, the camera is constantly roving around. It doesn't help that all the pieces happen to be red! Along the right edge of the screen are 2D cross-sections of the cube that act as visual aids. The fact that these are even necessary
should indicate just how insanely non-intuitive this game is. Pieces fall extremely slowly, allowing the player all the time in the world to fiddle with each one to make sure it's going to fit in the right slot. It's remarkably tedious and about as fun as homework
. The game forces you to perform a lot of visual contortions in your mind. Occasionally the bottom of the cube falls out for no apparent reason. After just a few minutes of 3D-Tetris you'll be like, "Oh my God, please turn this [expletive] off." 3D-Tetris will make your brain hurt and your eyes bleed. I don't recommend it. © Copyright 2014 The Video Game Critic.
Our high score: 5,000
Publisher: Nintendo (1995)
Not only is this one of the best titles for the Virtual Boy, but it may be the most innovative pinball game I've ever played! Galactic Pinball features four unique, well-designed 3D tables entitled Alien, Colony, UFO, and Cosmic. Each is loaded with cool targets, multiple flippers, and 3D mini-games. If you like those cool tubes and passages that run through many real pinball games, you'll really
appreciate the ones that run both over and under
these tables. The pinball actually looks more like a puck, but behaves just like a normal pinball would. The game's difficulty is just right and the variety of tables gives the game tremendous replay value. Complementing the sensational visuals is an excellent futuristic techno soundtrack. As icing on the cake, the cartridge saves all your high scores. Galactic Pinball is an amazing title for the Virtual Boy. © Copyright 2003 The Video Game Critic.
Recommended variation: colony
Our high score: 2,246,500
Publisher: T&E Soft (1995)
Our high score: 748
1 or 2 players
Jack Bros. (Japan)
Publisher: Atlus (1995)
Besides the fact that it was one of few Virtual Boy games missing from my collection, I was really looking forward to playing Jack Bros. for its Halloween theme. This whimsical overhead platformer lets you assume the role of a ghost, pumpkin, or skeleton trying to reach a magic portal before midnight. The English version of Jack Bros. is rare and expensive, so I picked up the Japanese version instead (which wasn't all that cheap either). At first I regretted this decision because the game has a fun intro and plenty of dialogue that I couldn't read. In terms of gameplay however, Jack Bros. is not innovative at all and makes minimal use of the system's 3D graphics. In fact, I'm not sure why
this game is even on
the Virtual Boy! Each level offers a different set of stacked mazes sprinkled with wandering creeps, traps, and power-ups. There's some mild strategy here and there (like moving boulders to clear your path) but the action is basically limited to finding some keys and heading towards the exit. The characters are composed of stacked 2D sprites, but the illusion of 3D is modest at best. The Halloween theme isn't readily apparent either, thanks to the run-of-the-mill music and generic creeps. A password is provided between levels, but no score. Ultimately I'm glad I settled for the Japanese version, because Jack Bros. is definitely not worth breaking your piggy bank for. © Copyright 2008 The Video Game Critic.