In the vast ocean of indie Game Boy Color games, Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe emerges as a shining pearl, offering a delightful blend of charming visuals, addictive gameplay, and a quirky premise that’s hard to resist. This 2019 game continues to receive a good amount of attention, but by golly, it’s not enough attention given how excellent it is.

Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe

“Your cat is floating into the atmosphere and you are the only one who can save it. Jump, dash, and flap your arms to maneuver around perilous obstacles racing against the clock to retrieve your pet friend before it is too late!”Trailer

Download at Tangram Games

According to the developers, Tobu Tobu Girl was originally created for the third GBJam game jam. The initial prototype featured a more puzzle-like design. After the game jam, the game went through several iterations gradually moving towards a more action-oriented design. Early during development potato-tan joined the team to do sound design and music composition. The original, Game Boy-only version was released December 3rd 2017.

In 2018, First Press Games reached out to Tangram Games and proposed a cooperation on a larger physical run with a further improved game, inspired by the popular Deluxe remakes for Game Boy Color from the late 90s. After some initial planning, the concept began to materialize in the course of the same year. On April 4 2019 a Kickstarter campaign was launched in order to gather funding for a physical release.


Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe presents players with a delightfully whimsical premise: your beloved cat has somehow managed to float away into the atmosphere, and it’s up to you to rescue it. This simple yet charming setup serves as the perfect backdrop for the game’s vertical platforming action, infusing every upward bound with a sense of urgency and purpose.

The gameplay revolves around guiding the protagonist through a series of vertically scrolling levels, each filled with platforms, obstacles, and enemies. Players must skillfully navigate this perilous ascent using a combination of jumps, dashes, and arm-flapping to propel themselves ever higher. The core challenge lies in managing your limited resources - you’re allowed three dashes before needing to land on a surface, and your arm-flapping ability draws from a non-refillable energy gauge. This creates a delicate balance of risk and reward, as players must decide when to use their precious dashes and when to conserve them. With the clock constantly ticking down and the screen scrolling upwards, every second and every move counts in your quest to reach your feline friend before it’s too late. This elegant mix of simple controls and strategic decision-making forms the heart of Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe’s addictive gameplay loop.

Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe immediately catches the eye with its vibrant, well-crafted pixel art. The game’s visuals pop on the Game Boy Color’s screen, showcasing a level of polish rarely seen in homebrew titles. From the expressive protagonist to the whimsical enemies and obstacles, every element is lovingly designed and animated. The color palette is expertly chosen, making full use of the GBC’s capabilities while maintaining a cohesive aesthetic that perfectly fits the game’s light-hearted tone.


At its core, Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe is an vertical platformer that challenges players to ascend as high as possible to rescue their floating feline friend. The game’s controls are simple yet nuanced, allowing for a satisfying learning curve as players master the art of jumping, dashing, and flapping.

You’re allowed three dashes before landing on your next surface, plus an arm-flapping move that uses up an energy gauge that can be refilled by dashing down on enemies.

Tangram Games

The three-dash system adds a layer of strategy to each ascent, forcing players to carefully consider their moves and plan their route. The arm-flapping mechanic, with its limited energy, introduces an additional element of resource management that keeps the gameplay engaging and challenging.

Despite its charming appearance, Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to difficulty. The game’s learning curve can be quite steep, especially for newcomers to the genre. As levels progress, the density of obstacles increases dramatically, requiring split-second decision-making and precise inputs. This difficulty spike might be off-putting for less experienced players (and even, on occasion, to experienced players such as myself), and a more gradual progression could have made the game more accessible. Additionally, the Game Boy Color’s small D-pad and buttons can sometimes feel inadequate for the level of precision required, particularly during intense, high-speed sections. Players might find themselves struggling with accidental inputs or missed button presses at crucial moments, adding an extra layer of challenge that isn’t always welcome. While these control issues can be overcome with practice, they do contribute to the game’s overall difficulty and might lead to some frustration during the learning process.


The soundtrack of Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe, composed by potato-tan, is my favorite part of the game. It’s fantastic. Composed to fully utilize the Game Boy Color’s sound chip, the music is catchy, upbeat, and perfectly complements the game’s frenetic action. The tunes are memorable enough that you might find yourself humming them long after you’ve put the game down. The sound effects are equally well-crafted, providing satisfying audio feedback for each jump, dash, and collision.

The levels are each beautifully illustrated and complimented by an absolutely stellar soundtrack, composed by potato-tan.

Tangram Games

Some outstanding tracks include the well-composed and laid-back The Uplifting Blue Yonder and the frenetic, high energy medley Storming the Skies. More Game Boy Color indie music needs to be like this – listening to these tunes made me think that this is what I dream to see more of in the rest of the scene.

Open source

Another plus for Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe is its status as an open-source project on GitHub. The developers at Tangram Games have made the entire source code available on GitHub, allowing curious players and aspiring game developers to peek under the hood and see how this polished Game Boy Color title was crafted. This transparency not only serves as an excellent educational resource for those interested in retro game development but also opens up possibilities for community contributions and modifications. The open-source nature of the game speaks to the developers’ commitment to fostering a collaborative spirit within the indie game development scene.

The game’s high difficulty means that I’ve never managed to score higher than a C-rank myself on any level. All levels take me many, many tries to beat.

Tangram Games

Verdict: Fantastic presentation, music and arcade mechanics make for a winner


Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe is an absolutely fantastic arcade-style game for the Game Boy Color that sets a higher standard for the GBC indie scene. It’s a game that hits all the right notes: great presentation that pays attention to detail, awesome music, infinite replayability and a real challenge. The only reproach I have for the game is its difficulty curve, which I think could have been more forgiving for beginners; but overall, I’m simply thankful that the developers managed to contribute a game with such polished gameplay and fun soundtrack to the indie scene.
download Tobu Tobu Girl Deluxe at Tangram Games

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