The spirit was willing but the programming was weak in Masaya's After Burst

An interesting premise, let down by some extraordinarily bad programming.

I try not to rage too much about the technical shortcomings of games. For one thing, I'm certainly no tech expert — I can't really explain in educated terms why one game plays like mushy garbage while its contemporary is a delight to experience. For another, I get it. Making video games is hard work, often thankless work. I don't want to be the kind of person who reeks of entitlement and makes ad hominem attacks against people working uphill against the stark limitations of a platform like Game Boy.

On the other hand, sometimes technical issues do bring down a promising work. Such is the case with After Burst, an inventive and deeply troubled Game Boy platformer.

Combining mech combat and puzzle-solving, After Burst feels like a real breath of fresh air at this point in Game Boy's life (October 1990). Sure, it's a puzzler, but it's an inventive one. It's also frustrating to play due to its constant slowdown and stuttery controls. Ah well.

I'd love to see a do-over on this one — there's a pretty solid idea for a handheld game here, and some tricky puzzles. The presentation just doesn't quite hold up its end of the bargain.