Silver Falls: Galaxy Bound Curse takes you back to the 1990s both stylistically and in setting. It's a Game Boy Color game made as a free distribution game by Silver Falls developer Jerrel Dulay that can be downloaded at a .gb file at no cost on the Silver Falls website. I've tried it out on a variety of systems and can confirm that it works flawlessly with PC emulators, on an actual Game Boy system via a flash cartridge (I used my GBA Everdrive to play it on my Game Boy Advance SP), as a 3DS Virtual Console file when made into a .cia file and injected into a hacked 3DS, and via the mGBA emulator on a hacked Switch. Jerrel has confirmed that, if you have the necessary cartridge, it will work on an old school DMG-01 Game Boy.
The game stars Fred, the sheriff of Silver Falls, and a host of other townsfolk you can recruit on a manhunt for Eli Goodwin, a well-known scoundrel in town who has kidnapped a young boy for some nefarious purpose. While there are a large number of playable characters - some with fairly obscure recruitment methods - you can only use two at a time, one "Lead" character and one "Partner" character controlled by AI. Each character has their own primary weapon - for example, Fred has a handgun while Wirriam has a hammer - but you can also equip a secondary weapon. These can bring some balance to your chosen character by giving a ranged character a melee secondary weapon, for example, but they can also be used to solve puzzles, like using an axe to remove a log blocking your path.
While you know who kidnapped the child, you don't know where Eli has taken him. Fortunately, Dodger's tracking dog, Samba, can help you out, but for Samba to get the kid's scent, you have to find seven of his toys scattered in and around Silver Falls. Complicating your toy hunt is the fact that there are vicious animals and strange creatures roaming in the wilderness around town, so stay alert, and be ready for a fight. The game is still in beta, and with his focus naturally being on commercial titles more than a free title, Jerrel has had little time to improve Galaxy Bound Curse, so player feedback is super important; my playthrough helped him identify and fix major glitches in the late-game and get the game to its current actually beatable state; if you play the game and see any bugs, definitely let him know via Twitter, Facebook, or Discord so he can continue to improve the game!
The sprite work is great, and the music is absolutely fantastic. It's obviously fairly simple music being a literal Game Boy game, but it's wonderfully nostalgic, and when playing on a color-capable system, the sprites look great, and the various environments use great color variety. Like a lot of Game Boy adventures, the game isn't too long if you know what you're doing and where you need to go, but you'll probably spend five or six hours on your first playthrough. There's definitely some replay incentive, though, because each character has unique dialogue when confronting Eli, and some of the dialogue in the game - all parts, not just at the end - are directly referenced in later Silver Falls games, building a story continuity that I absolutely adore.
Silver Falls: Galaxy Bound Curse is, hands down, the most impressive GB Studio-made game I've personally seen, and while it is a little rough in places due to being a public beta and pushing the limits of what a Game Boy ROM can realistically hold, it's a fantastic experience. There is a full HD remake, Galaxy Bound Curse DX, in the works for Switch, but that's probably between six and twelve months away, and while it's supposed to be a faithful remake, it won't have the same nostalgic feel that an authentic Game Boy game does. If you've been wanting to see what the storytelling in Silver Falls is like but don't want to commit money yet (or don't have a 3DS or Wii U), then Galaxy Bound Curse is a great place to start and see what the world is all about. I definitely recommend this to any indie game enthusiasts or Game Boy fans, no doubt.
My Rating - B
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.