This GameBoy working phone case is the best time and money waster

Robert Treggs / Android Authority

Yes, this is the case of GameBoy. The GameBoy case is fully functional, to be exact. Well, of sorts – it’s not an officially licensed Nintendo product.

In fact, I doubt the manufacturer has the right to market such a close resemblance to a handheld game console, let alone use the name or sell the games. But this is the current state of Chinese manufacturing, and it’s not as if Nintendo will ever make something great.

Read more: The ultimate guide to buying phone cases

The design perfectly captures the classic GameBoy vibe, which initially attracted me. The Kicker is a collection of nostalgic games to give those idle thumbs something to do. If you are looking for the absolute retro look of your phone and accompany it to leave time, then this case is just what you are looking for. At least if you own a recent iPhone or Galaxy, as the range of supported models is very limited.

What is the form of use?

GameBoy TheCaseUniverse case play in hand

Robert Treggs / Android Authority

This gaming part runs on a Chinese game emulator, complete with some poorly translated game titles when the English language option is selected. You need to do every reboot.

Includes 36 games combined with classic GameBoy titles such as Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Tetris.

Includes 36 built-in games in total; A handful of GameBoy classics, titles picked up from other platforms, and some that I doubt have been released commercially due to the lack of newness. The list includes Super Mario Bros, Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, Tetris(a), Ice Climbers, “Boom Man” and a variety of slick titles like Soccer, Pinball, and Chinese Chess. Selecting may keep you busy while waiting for the bus, but it’s not a GameBoy highlight reel.

The case features a soft D-pad and A/B buttons (not as hard plastic as the original), along with the on/off, reset, start/pause, and volume keys. It charges via micro-USB and has a little LED light to let you know when it’s charging.

It works well as a case too, meaning it’s bulky. Now I’m more concerned about the console breaking than I am about the phone. There are well-set cutouts for the usual things like the camera housing and a USB-C port, and you can continue to store the Galaxy S22 Ultra stylus with the case. A soft power button and volume keys complete the design. It sure looks and feels part of a very sturdy phone case.

Cheap manufacturing at its best

List of TheCaseUniverse GameBoy games
Robert Treggs / Android Authority

Well, with the good stuff out of the way, I regret spending $37 on this example of spoiled consumption (actually $74 – I bought two of them!). While the aesthetic appeals to you, once it’s in your hand, it’s immediately obvious that it probably costs around $7.

With no battery indicator, knowing when you need to charge the thing is a game in itself.

For starters, the rubber buttons have come out of the case on numerous occasions. The speaker is bad and distorted, the screen isn’t centered correctly, and it makes the already large Galaxy S22 Ultra more than a centimeter thicker. Not to mention that you lose wireless charging capabilities with the case in place, and have to charge it separately via the micro-USB port. Obviously asking for the battery level indicator is too much. The screen only darkens and then goes black when the juice runs out, but the games continue to run for a few more minutes. Knowing when you need to charge the thing is a game in itself.

There are at least some other things the manufacturer could have done to make this product even better. I missed the opportunity to take advantage of reverse wireless charging, or at least the USB-C facility to draw power from the phone. The microSD card slot for loading other games would have been great too, rather than being stuck in the built-in library that you’ll get tired of pretty quickly. It’s really not a proper GameBoy experience without Metroid, Pokemon, or Zelda. Obviously, serious Nintendo fans would be better off with an Android emulator.

See also: Best Game Emulators for Android to Play Old Favourites

This is definitely a case of form over function – I guess that’s what I should have expected anyway. While it still looks undeniably cool and a warm nostalgia, it’s not a well-thought-out product enough to garner a $37 purchase, regardless of the supposed retail price of $74 (it appears to be a perpetual “today only” discount). If that doesn’t stop you, you can buy the case from the button below.

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