Pat Morita Team, the group behind Hermano, hails from Seville, Spain, and the game’s Spanish influence is definitely blatant: your character is named Nano, he wanders around what essentially is a big pixelated el Día de los Muertos in the underworld, bonus games involve him collecting chili peppers… you get the idea.


“You take on the role of Nano, the undead, tasked with locating the keys that unlock the gates leading to the infernal realms. Only there can you rescue your beloved Hermano!”

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The entire game is definitely very undead-themed. Your character is a little skeleton boy who throws his disembodied head around at equally undead enemies (bats, monsters, grim reapers and the like) to knock them out. Some enemies drop bombs, which you can use to destroy other, more resistant enemies. The levels range from a graveyard, an undead village, a desert and, finally, a cathedral.

The levels are well-designed. You need to walk around looking for a key, beating enemies and clearing obstacles along the way, and once you find the key you can exit through the level’s door which usually lies waiting somewhere near the middle of the level (much like Wario Land 4 for the Game Boy Advance, actually). The levels are different enough from one another, with some employing creative, well-executed gimmicks such as switching to upside-down sequences.

Hermano’s main character, Nano, is an undead skeleton that throws his disembodied head at equally undead enemies to knock them out.

Pat Morita Team

Hermano has great graphics, a great, original, very Spanish Festival of the Dead theme and good level design. But its gameplay mechanics are really very limited: all you do is jump around, throw your head at enemies and sometimes throw bombs instead at tougher enemies. I mean, sure, all Mario does is jump (doesn’t even throw his disembodied head at enemies!) but I kind of feel like Mario games can get away with that due to the platforming and level design being utterly excellent. Hermano’s levels are great, but not exactly award-winning. They’re just, you know, very good.

That being said, there are moments where the simplicity of Hermano’s gameplay mechanics shines in concert with clever level design. For example, in the upside-down level sections, players must sometimes carefully time their head-throws to coincide with the flipping between normal and inverted level orientations. This mechanic adds a layer of puzzle-like complexity to the platforming, requiring players to think ahead and visualize trajectories in both orientations. It’s in these moments that Hermano’s apparently simple gameplay reveals hidden depths, proving that sometimes less can indeed be more when combined with thoughtful level design. These sections not only break up the potential monotony of the core gameplay but also showcase the developers’ ability to squeeze engaging challenges out of a limited toolset.

Hermano also has bonus games and bosses, helping add to the “complete” feeling that the game gives off. Honestly, it better, though: I found out about Hermano through checking the results for GB Compo 2023 and noticing that it was the highest rated game and therefore the winner of the competition. Hermano also managed to raise more than $30,000 through a successful Kickstarter. It’s not a free game, either, commanding a purchase price of €9.99. It better feel complete!

Hermano benefits from varied, well-designed levels across four different worlds, with bonus levels and bosses to boot.

Pat Morita Team

The music is acceptable, but that’s about it. Games with better music exist on the Game Boy. While the soundtrack does capture the spooky, Day of the Dead atmosphere, it lacks the memorable tunes that makes classics iconic. The chiptunes are competently composed, but they don’t quite reach the heights of what the Game Boy’s sound chip is capable of producing.

The aspect where Hermano truly shines is in its art direction. The pixel art is not only technically impressive for the Game Boy’s limitations but also bursting with personality. Each world has a distinct visual identity, from the eerie graveyard to the sun-baked desert. The character designs, particularly Nano and the various undead enemies, are charming and well-animated. It’s clear that a lot of love and attention to detail went into crafting the game’s visual aesthetic.

Nano visits a graveyard, a desert, a village and a cathedral.

Pat Morita Team

The difficulty curve in Hermano is well-balanced for the most part. Early levels ease you into the mechanics, while later stages ramp up the challenge with more complex layouts and tougher enemies. However, some players might find the later levels a bit too punishing, especially given the somewhat limited gameplay mechanics. A few more power-ups or abilities could have added some welcome variety to the later stages.

While Hermano is an impressive achievement for an indie Game Boy title, it’s hard not to wonder about its longevity. Once you’ve completed the main story, there isn’t much to bring you back. Some additional modes, like a time attack or a harder difficulty setting, could have added to the replay value.

Levels are varied and benefit from excellent undead-themed pixelart.

Pat Morita Team

In conclusion, Hermano is a solid entry in the Game Boy’s library, especially impressive considering it’s a modern release for the classic handheld. Its charming visuals, decent level design, and complete package make it worth checking out for fans of retro gaming. However, its limited gameplay mechanics and lack of standout music hold it back from true greatness. At its price point, some players might find the experience a bit short-lived, but those who appreciate the craft of making games for retro hardware will find a lot to admire in Hermano.

Verdict: An ambitious, original platformer with tons of levels but restrictive gameplay


Hermano offers a complete platforming experience stretching across 15 levels with bosses, bonus stages and more. Presentation is strong, with great pixel art and passable music. The game is let down by its gameplay mechanics, which get old fast once the novelty of throwing Nano’s head around wears off. Given its asking price, Hermano has few excuses for not having done better on these fronts.
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