Emulators for still-in-copyright games are a thorny issue, but the apps exist on almost every computer and mobile phone device. On Windows Phone, two emulators stand above the others: Blue Tomato, a Sega Master System emulator, and now Purple Cherry, an app that plays Game Boy .gb files. Both are available from the same developer, priced at $1.29 each. This review will focus on the latter, though you can assume that both work essentially identically.
Unlike emulators for home consoles, apps like Purple Cherry scratch a very specific nostalgic fix: old portable games, built for quick gameplay, on a modern phone a tenth the size of the original Game Boy. Nintendo’s current portable, the 3DS, offers a similar experience: downloadable Game Gear and Game Boy titles at a price. If you have any qualms in regards to legalities, licensing, or copyright, that’s the place to go for your portable nostalgic fix. Because Microsoft allows these apps to stay in the marketplace shows that they’re seemingly okay with their existence.
Of course, to procure .gb files still requires rowing out to the legally-grey areas of the internet, but once safely downloaded, can really easily be added to Purple Cherry, either by syncing to your Skydrive account or via public URL. The roms are then imported and can be played with saves, freezing, and screenshot-shooting for sharing on Facebook. Purple Cherry has a small list of games that don’t work, but all the popular titles seem to play just fine. I tested Tetris, Links Awakening, Metroid 2, and Pokémon Red, and experienced none of the funky errors that can plague emulators.
The colour options are appreciated: you can opt for pure black and white, or a medley of browns, reds, pastels, blues, and greens. You can play in portrait or landscrape, and there’s a toggle in the options to switch. One option is for both, which allows rotation to change on the fly. Unfortunately, sound is missing entirely, which can be a blow considering just how infectious and surprisingly memorable so many Game Boy jingles were. But you can listen to your own music while playing, and if the missing sound is the thing that allows this emulator a pass, I’ll take it.
Control quality utterly depends on the game, but it’s the same issue any game with virtual buttons has, because they’re always inferior to the real thing. But being an emulator, virtual buttons have to do, and they work as well as expected. Games that don’t require fast d-pad movements end up feeling the best: the Final Fantasy Saga games are likely just as good here as they were in 1992, but Tetris might get impossible after level 5 (and, really, the Xbox Live version of Tetris is right there, people. Play that instead).
Oh, and what should be obvious: Two-player options don’t work, as there’s no link cable. Don’t expect the Game Boy Camera rom to access the camera. Really, don’t expect any game to work perfectly, or at all. Though I had no issues, roms can be unpredictable. Proceed at your own risk. Purple Cherry is a fantastic nostalgia trip: though I’d never really want to play these games for more than a few minutes in 2012, that’s enough to get my money’s worth.
Purple Cherry Gameplay Video
Purple Cherry Screenshots
Version Under Review : 126.96.36.199
There is a trial version available and the full version is available for $1.29, we are not sure what are the limitations of the trial version.
Our Rating for Purple Cherry