The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 13
Sometime last year, I discovered the existence of handheld Super Nintendo systems thanks to GIO member, Saint. The night I read that blog about his son's new gadget, I wanted one IMMEDIATELY. I was so tempted to click the Buy Now button on the Think Geek product page for the Retro Duo Portable, but I couldn't afford it at the time. This purchase seemed inevitable to me - once I had the money, I was going to buy that handheld SNES. You don't go around telling people how much you love Super Nintendo & then pass on a product like that, it's just unacceptable. In fact, it's science.
As I waited for the time I could get one of these extremely cool devices, I discovered there were actually a few products like this on the market. I began reading & watching reviews to compare the FC-16 Go, the Retro Duo Portable, and the SupaBoy. Frankly, I was immediately drawn to the SupaBoy as it actually looks like an over-sized Super Nintendo controller. I did all I could to push aside my aesthetic preferences as I knew the most important thing to me would be the controls. If it doesn’t play well, who cares how cool it looks? After doing my homework, I was fully set on getting Hyperkin’s SupaBoy, and as it turns out, that's actually the product Saint's son got, HAHA!
The only disappointing aspect of Hyperkin’s SupaBoy was that it only had a two hour battery. The first handheld SNES I saw (the Retro Duo Portable) had an eight hour battery. When I purchased the SupaBoy at my local game store, I was pleased to find that there is a new version of the SupaBoy that comes with a 5 hour battery. That’s a significant increase in battery life! There are some other issues that were addressed as well in the latest version of this product.
If you buy a Hyperkin SupaBoy, make sure you get the one in the black box (Supaboy V2.0). This is the latest version that comes with a five hour battery. I think it's a nice touch that the box has a similar design to the original Super Nintendo box.
In most of the reviews I read & watched, the reviewers focused on the fact that the SupaBoy works with basically any SNES cartridge you put in it, including Super Famicon cartridges from Japan. That's all well and good, but the thing I really wanted to know was just how well it played compared to the Super Nintendo itself. So I decided that before I wrote my own review for the SupaBoy, I was going to play through an entire game on the system; and the game I chose was the one I was most familiar with - Super Mario World. This is the first game I ever got for the SNES & it's also the game I've probably played more than any other game, period. My goal wasn't just to get to Bowser's castle, but to complete it entirely, including all alternate exits, Star Road, and SPECIAL.
Here's a picture of my SupaBoy, paused at the end of the very last SPECIAL level. I got 96*, which is the highest completion I'm aware of in the game.
The d-pad initially feels stiff, but I didn't really notice it when I was playing. There were a few instances where my character would quickly rush forward in a way that wasn't normal to the game, but I never found any of them to be game breaking. The most challenging instance was during one of the SPECIAL levels where I was floating with a P-Balloon. I lost control of Mario several times & he rushed right into enemies or floated in the path of their projectiles. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to complete the game because of this, but I was able to work around the problem & reach the end of the level.
The Hyperkin Supaboy is one of the coolest products ever made. I can play my Super Nintendo cartridges on it & even though it's not an official Nintendo product, it really does look & feel like one. I'm very impressed with this device. The display is great, the controls work well, and the sound is great (SupaBoy V1.0 had audio issues, but that's been corrected in V2.0.) If you are nostalgic for Super Nintendo like me & still have your SNES games, I can't recommend it enough. Sure, it's not as portable as a 3DS or PSP, but come on... it's a HANDHELD SUPER NINTENDO. Trust me, you'll get over it.
A Few Extra Notes:
This review was written while listening to the Blood Dragon soundtrack. No, the Super Nintendo is not an '80s thing, but I don't care. I do what I want. That's the attitude of the '90s, right?