Trip World DX screenshots

Review: Trip World DX (Nintendo Switch)

This is how to do nostalgia

5 mins read

The release of Atari 50 last year represented a change in mindset about how retro compilations are packaged up. I hope so, anyway. Including development documents, timelines, video interviews, and other materials made Atari 50 essential, even if those classics aren’t really your kind of games (as is the case for me). It was a true museum experience, and celebrating the heritage of video games in that way is key to their development as an art form. I’m delighted to say that Trip World DX is cut from the same cloth, and unlike Atari 50, this is my kind of game.

Trip World is a charming little 2D platformer from the Game Boy era. It’s vaguely reminiscent of Kirby, in the way that the little Chinchilla-inspired mascot hero, Yakopoo, bounces around and uses a range of abilities to pacify enemies.

As I wrote about the game when I reviewed it on its release to the 3DS Virtual Console: “Yakopoo has a cute little kick as his main attack, which is very limited in range and that limitation gives Trip World a reasonable challenge, especially in the boss battles. It’s easy enough to run through the levels by avoiding the regular enemies, but the boss battles are mandatory. Those bosses have a limited range of moves and attacks, but they are fast, and Yakopoo is quite weak.

A Screenshot from Trip World DX

“Then there’s the powerups, which are unnecessary but fun. Each of these turn Yakopoo, Kirby-style, into a different form, and give him a new ability. The ball is invulnerable and can jump really high. The flower allows Yakopoo to spit seeds at the enemy. If they hit, the enemy grows a flower on his head and is pacified for a while. Levels can be completed without these powerups, but they’re fun to play with.”

It’s going to be really familiar to Kirby fans, even if Yakopoo can’t inflate himself and fly around like the pink puffball. What distinguished Trip World from Kirby back then were the production values. This was a Sunsoft title, and it was Sunsoft at its best. Kirby was fine, but this game is gorgeous, with detailed backgrounds, exquisite animation, and a soundtrack that really pushed what the Game Boy was capable of. It’s only about an hour long from start to finish, only features four worlds, and it’s too difficult, but every second of it is a delight, and it is one of the more memorable Game Boy games.

It’s the only game in this “collection,” but the publisher, Limited Run Games, has one big bonus up its sleeve: a colour version for the first time! That’s where the “DX” in the title comes from. The developers have gone through the entire game and essentially created a Game Boy Color version of it for the first time. That colour adds even more charm and personality to the already vibrant experience, and is now the definitive way to play Trip World.

A screenshot from Trip World DX

And all of that is further enhanced by an incredibly comprehensive package of “museum” items to browse through. There are scans of the original manuals, never-before-seen design documents, art and more. There’s the entire soundtrack, and even some work in remixing it by a DJ, which is incredibly amusing (even if the DJ’s performance is a bit amateurish). Best of all, though, is a small library of video interviews with the producer, which goes surprisingly deep into the history and creation of the game. After wading through all of this material you come away with a much better understanding of and appreciation for the game than you did going in.

It might only be a single game, and that game might only be a single hour’s play long, but people who have a genuine love for the history of video games owe it to themselves to pick this up. Trip World DX works as a museum exhibit and charming little curiosity, and there are far worse things to do for an hour than this.

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Matt S. is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of DDNet. He's been writing about games for over 20 years, including a book, but is perhaps best-known for being the high priest of the Church of Hatsune Miku.

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