GB-Wordyl is an open source Wordle-inspired word puzzle game that is a perfect fit for the Game Boy Color. With its impeccable mechanics, clean design, and addictive gameplay, GB-Wordyl lays a strong foundation that begs to be built upon. This is going to be a bit of a weird review, because while a lot of it is about GB-Wordyl itself, most of it is where I think this game has a golden opportunity to go, especially given how it nails the core mechanics and makes the Game Boy Color stand out as a surprisingly great platform for a Wordle-inspired game.


“A portable word game that tests your skill! Use strategy and knowledge to guess the hidden word within six tries!”

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Impeccable mechanics yield hours of gameplay

The core gameplay of GB-Wordyl is the simple but ingenious mechanic that made Wordle a success in 2023: guess a five-letter word within six tries. After each guess, the game indicates which letters are correct and in the right position (green), correct but in the wrong position (yellow), or not in the word at all (gray).

A clear, pretty user interface aids GB-Wordyl’s winning mechanics.

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GB-Wordyl’s presentation is understated but effective. The user interface is clean and easy to parse, with a charming pixel font and intuitive icons. Sound is used sparingly but effectively, with cute chimes punctuating each guess. The simplicity works in the game’s favor, keeping the focus on the central word-guessing mechanic.

That mechanic is supported by a robust dictionary available in multiple languages. This allows GB-Wordyl to have broad appeal as a travel game or a tool for language learning. The game also includes a Hard mode that forces you to use all previously revealed clues in each subsequent guess, a welcome challenge for more experienced players.

GB-Wordyl’s stats panel is nice and uses a save file for persistence.

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Perhaps most impressive is that GB-Wordyl is free and open source, with code available on GitHub. This transparency, combined with the game’s strong fundamentals, makes it easy to see GB-Wordyl’s potential as a platform for something greater.

In Hard mode, each guess you make must make full use of previous clues.

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A pitch for GB-Wordyl to aim higher

The runaway success of Pokémon Puzzle Challenge back in the day on the Game Boy Color proved that a simple puzzle game can be elevated to incredible heights with the right presentation and surrounding elements. GB-Wordyl has the potential to follow in those footsteps and become the next great Nintendo handheld word puzzle game, but it needs a full production treatment to get there.

Imagine if GB-Wordyl received a full production treatment in the vein of how Pokémon Puzzle Challenge marketed Panel de Pon. The developers could add characters, storylines, challenge modes, puzzle variants, a banging chiptune soundtrack, and a charming 8-bit art style while retaining the core gameplay. A metagame structure could pull it all together, with players progressing through levels and tournaments of escalating difficulty. The result could be an all-time word puzzle classic.

This is Pokémon Puzzle Challenge, not GB-Wordyl – although I wish a future, commercial version of the game would go down a similar route.

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Imagine booting up GB-Wordyl and being greeted not just with a menu, but with a full-fledged world. You’re a young word wizard, setting out on a journey to become the champion of the Word League. Along the way, you’ll visit various themed regions, each with its own set of levels and characters.

In the Crimson Crag, for example, a hotheaded fire elemental might test your mettle with words related to heat and anger, rewarding your success with a fiery Red Streak power-up that burns away a whole row.

These characters would not just provide flavor, but also act as tutorial guides, doling out tips and tricks as you progress. They’d be brought to life with charming 8-bit sprite art and silly, personality-filled dialogue. Between levels, you could interact with them in small hub worlds, learning more about the game’s setting and unearthing side quests.

The levels themselves would build upon GB-Wordyl’s core Wordle-inspired gameplay with various tweaks and challenges. One level might have you racing against the clock to guess as many words as possible within a time limit. Another could have moving conveyor belts that shift tiles around after each guess. Boss levels could even blend word guessing with turn-based RPG-style combat against colorful foes.

To tie it all together, there’d be a metagame of collecting various power-ups and items that you can use to customize your playstyle. Maybe you prefer longer time limits but fewer guesses, or maybe you like the high-stakes thrill of single-elimination matches where one wrong guess means game over. Completing challenges and side quests would earn you points to spend on these upgrades.

And of course, this would all be set to an unforgettable chiptune soundtrack. The earworm title theme would get you pumped to play, the gentle melody of the Verdant Veranda would soothe your mind as you ponder each puzzle, and the driving beat of the Crimson Crag would quicken your pulse as the intensity ramps up.

The beauty of this vision is that it doesn’t fundamentally alter what makes GB-Wordyl great. The core gameplay of deducing five-letter words would remain intact, but it would be enhanced with a charming aesthetic, varied challenges, and a sense of progression. It would be a meaty, full-featured game that could stand proudly alongside Nintendo’s first-party Game Boy classics.

Of course, realizing this vision would require a significant investment of time and resources. Artists would need to be hired to create sprites and backgrounds, composers would need to craft the soundtrack, and designers would need to devise the level progression and metagame systems. But the payoff could be immense: a universally accessible, endlessly replayable word puzzle game with the depth and polish of a classic.

GB-Wordyl has already proven itself as a fantastic proof-of-concept. With the right resources and vision, it could blossom into something truly special. It’s a golden opportunity waiting to be seized, a chance to create the next great Game Boy puzzle game. But even in its current form, GB-Wordyl is an easy recommendation. Here’s hoping the developers recognize the golden opportunity in front of them and take this gem to the next level. The bones are there for the next great Game Boy puzzle game – it just needs a little more meat.

Verdict: Impeccable mechanics lay the foundation for a golden opportunity


GB-Wordyl is a fantastically executed little word puzzler for Game Boy, based on the popular Wordle. It’s a game I’ve enjoyed for hours, and I only wish that the developers will revisit it to add more style: characters! Levels! Challenge modes! Music! Is it too much to ask for this game to get the Pokémon Puzzle Challenge treatment?
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