The remastering of cult classics is a double-edged sword in the gaming industry, often walking a tightrope between preservation and modernization. Trip World DX, a relatively recent 2023 offering from Limited Run Games and Sunsoft, attempts to bridge this gap by exploiting Limited Run Games’s new “Carbon Engine”, a technology which they claim allows for highly faithful modernization of retro classics.

Trip World DX

“Travel across four fantastic lands and Mount Dubious in Trip World DX! Our hero Yakopoo’s adventure begins when the Maita flower, a symbol of world peace and happiness, is stolen, throwing Trip World into chaos!”

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How the DX remaster came to be

At the heart of this remaster is a triumvirate of gaming entities: Limited Run Games, Sunsoft, and the original Trip World director, Yuichi Ueda. Limited Run Games, known for their dedication to physical releases of digital titles, has expanded their repertoire with their proprietary Carbon Engine, which powers this and future re-releases. Sunsoft, the original publisher of Trip World, has thrown their full support behind the project, ensuring that the spirit of the original game is maintained.

What sets Trip World DX apart is the level of care and ambition poured into its development. The team didn’t simply port the original game to modern systems; they’ve realized a long-held dream of Yuichi Ueda by creating a full-color version of Trip World. This isn’t just a coat of paint slapped onto the original – it’s a ground-up port designed to run on the Game Boy Color hardware, fulfilling plans that were only in their infancy back in the 1990s.

Trip World’s graphics were already some of the best on the Game Boy, and the DX remaster only pushes that exceptional legacy forward.

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Trip World: A brief introduction

Trip World is a hidden gem in the Game Boy’s library, originally released in 1992. The game follows the adventures of Yakopoo, a rabbit-like creature, as he embarks on a journey to recover the stolen Maita flower, a symbol of peace and happiness in Trip World. This premise sets the stage for a uniquely whimsical and non-violent platforming experience.

The original game was notable for its impressive visuals that pushed the boundaries of what was possible on the Game Boy hardware. Its short length (around 30 minutes for a single playthrough) and limited release outside of Japan contributed to its cult status among retro gaming enthusiasts. It’s currently known as one of the rarest games in the original Game Boy library, and retails at easily above USD $250 on eBay.

Trip World DX builds upon this foundation, expanding the game’s visual palette while staying true to the original’s charming aesthetic and gameplay philosophy. The remaster not only brings the game to a wider audience but also realizes the full-color vision that was originally intended for the game.

Trip World DX captures a magical innocence that can only be seen in the finest works of art of the video game genre: interactions with enemies are not necessarily aggressive, and each encounter is unique and special.

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Gameplay and design: a gentle work of art

Trip World DX’s gameplay is a refreshing departure from typical platformers of its era. Instead of focusing on combat and obstacle courses, the game emphasizes exploration and interaction with the environment. Yakopoo’s journey through the four lands and Mount Dubious is more of a sightseeing tour than a perilous quest.

The game’s design philosophy shines through in its approach to enemies. Unlike most platformers where enemies are obstacles to be defeated, Trip World DX presents a world where creatures coexist somewhat peacefully. Many of the characters Yakopoo encounters are simply going about their business, creating a sense of a living, breathing world rather than a gauntlet of challenges to overcome.

This non-aggressive approach extends to Yakopoo’s abilities. While he can transform into different forms - a flying bunny-like creature for aerial exploration and a fish-bunny hybrid for underwater segments - these transformations are primarily used for navigation rather than combat. The ability to blow bubbles underwater, for instance, is more often used to interact with the environment or solve simple puzzles than to defeat enemies.

Trip World DX’s enemy roster is exceptionally varied for the Game Boy: each enemy is unique and behaves in a peculiar, interesting way that isn’t immediately aggressive.

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The level design in Trip World DX is a masterclass in environmental design. Each of the four lands has its own distinct theme and inhabitants, from lush forests to underwater grottos. The attention to detail in the backgrounds and character designs creates a sense of place that’s rare in Game Boy Color titles. The remaster enhances this aspect, with the full-color graphics bringing new life to the already charming world.

One of the most striking aspects of Trip World DX is its pacing. The game is deliberately slow and contemplative, encouraging players to take their time and absorb the details of each area. This relaxed pace might be jarring for players accustomed to more action-packed platformers, but it perfectly suits the game’s gentle, almost zen-like atmosphere.

A world teeming with unique characters

One of Trip World DX’s most striking features is its approach to enemy design and interaction. Unlike traditional platformers where enemies often serve as obstacles to be overcome or defeated, Trip World DX presents a rich tapestry of unique characters, each seeming to tell its own story within the game’s world.

As Yakopoo explores the various lands of Trip World, he encounters a diverse cast of creatures, each with its own distinct appearance, behavior, and apparent purpose. These aren’t merely enemies in the traditional sense, but rather inhabitants of a living, breathing ecosystem. This approach to character design transforms what could have been routine enemy encounters into moments of discovery and wonder.

One enemy in Trip World looks very familiar: I wonder if he didn’t make a cameo in Link’s Awakening’s dream shrine?

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Take, for instance, the rotund, cat-like creatures that waddle about certain areas. Rather than immediately attacking Yakopoo, they seem content to go about their business, pecking at the ground or waddling to and fro. Their plump bodies and comical movements tell a story of creatures well-fed and at peace in their environment. Players might find themselves pausing just to observe these charming beings, appreciating the detail in their animations and pondering their role in Trip World’s ecology.

In another area, players might encounter floating, jellyfish-like entities. These creatures drift serenely through the air, their translucent bodies pulsating with a gentle rhythm. Their presence adds a dreamlike quality to the environment, and their non-aggressive nature encourages players to study their movements and perhaps even use them as impromptu platforms to reach higher areas.

Yakopoo’s main ability allows him to transform into a flying bunny-type creature, or a fish-bunny hybrid that allows him to swim underwater and blow bubbles.

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Even when Yakopoo encounters more traditionally “enemy-like” characters, the interaction is rarely straightforward aggression. For example, there’s a character that bears a striking resemblance to “Arm-mimics” from “The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening.” This creature doesn’t immediately rush to attack Yakopoo but instead seems to regard him with curiosity. The similarity to a character from another beloved game series adds an extra layer of charm and intertextuality.

The non-aggressive nature of these encounters fundamentally changes the player’s approach to the game. Instead of entering each new screen with a sense of wariness or preparation for conflict, players are encouraged to approach new creatures with curiosity and openness. This shift in perspective transforms the gameplay from a series of challenges to overcome into a journey of exploration and discovery.

Moreover, the unique design of each character invites players to create their own narratives. A group of mushroom-like creatures huddled together might spark imagination about their social structures. A solitary, mechanical-looking entity could lead to speculation about the technology level of Trip World. These silent stories enrich the game world, making each playthrough a new opportunity for interpretation and imagination.

The game is replete with special, beautiful and sensitive environments. A true work of art.

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This approach to character design and interaction is not just a aesthetic choice, but a fundamental part of Trip World DX’s gameplay philosophy. It encourages players to slow down, observe, and appreciate the details of the world around them. In doing so, it creates a gameplay experience that is as much about empathy and understanding as it is about progression and skill.

The result is a game world that feels incredibly rich and alive, despite its relatively short length. Each screen becomes a new opportunity for discovery, each character a potential friend rather than a foe. This unique approach sets Trip World DX apart from its contemporaries and contributes significantly to its status as a work of interactive art.

Music: varied and well-composed

The soundtrack of Trip World DX deserves special mention. The original Game Boy version was already praised for its music, and the remaster builds upon this foundation. The compositions range from upbeat, adventurous tunes to more mellow, atmospheric pieces that perfectly complement the on-screen action.

What’s particularly impressive is how the music adapts to different areas and situations. Underwater sections, for instance, feature more subdued, bubbly melodies that enhance the feeling of being submerged. The variety in the soundtrack ensures that each area feels distinct, adding to the sense of journey and discovery.

Trip World DX features fun platforming across many different environments.

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The remaster offers enhanced versions of the original tracks. The result is a soundtrack that feels both nostalgic and fresh, much like the visual overhaul.

An incredibly beautiful gem in the Game Boy library

Trip World DX stands as a testament to the artistic potential of the Game Boy Color. The original Trip World was already considered one of the most visually impressive games on the original Game Boy, and the DX version takes this to new heights. The full-color graphics breathe new life into Yakopoo’s world, with vibrant environments and charming character designs that pop off the screen.

What’s particularly impressive is how the remaster maintains the original’s pixel art style while enhancing it with a broader color palette. The result is a game that feels both modern and retro, capturing the essence of the Game Boy Color era while surpassing many of its contemporaries in terms of visual fidelity.

Trip World DX features a light but heartwarming story about family reunion and a sacred flower.

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The attention to detail in the backgrounds and character animations is particularly noteworthy. From the swaying of plants in the forest to the subtle movements of underwater creatures, every screen of Trip World DX is a joy to behold. This visual richness encourages exploration and rewards observant players with delightful little details.

Trip World DX is available not only on Game Boy Color but also through emulator-based releases on Nintendo Switch. I personally played the game on a Game Boy Color through a ROM I found online, despite having purchased the Nintendo Switch version. Especially given the scarce availability of physical Game Boy Color cartridges these days, it would be great if Limited Run Games provided an option to legally purchase digital copies of Trip World DX Game Boy Color ROMs, alongside the Nintendo Switch digital download offering.

Verdict: A creative, loving, wonderful and engrossing work of art.


Trip World DX stands as a testament to the timeless appeal of thoughtful, artistic game design. This lovingly crafted remaster doesn’t just bring a hidden gem into the spotlight; it elevates it to new heights, cementing its place among the greatest Game Boy games ever created. In a medium often dominated by action and conflict, Trip World DX dares to be different, presenting a gentle, introspective journey that resonates deeply with the soul. Its short length belies an incredible depth of artistry and imagination, inviting players to return time and again to uncover new details and forge new interpretations. Trip World DX is an essential experience that showcases the very best of what video games can be: a perfect fusion of art, storytelling, and interactivity. It’s not just one of the greatest Game Boy games of all time; it’s a shining example of video games as a true art form.
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