At a glance, one might be tempted to conclude that 8-Bit Boy was nothing more than a cheap Super Mario Bros. knock-off. While the game unashamedly barrows from said title (not to mention a number of other classic platformers), 8-Bit Boy nonetheless manages to please. Ironically, it is because it harkens with such transparency back to many-an-old-school side-scroller that this title is such a surprising joy to play.
The controls are very good--much better, in fact, than many of the games from which it models itself. Level-design does not disappoint either; while simple, they are all just about the right length and offer some pretty rewarding treasures for those adventurous enough to explore all the nooks and crannies. In fact, once you have beaten the game, you are able to select any stage in order to collect anything you may have missed on your first path.
The difficulty gets kind of steep in places (I had to resist a rage-quit or two), but it is not so brutal that the challenges cannot be overcome with a little persistence. Keeping at this one and making progress turns out to be very rewarding, and the bosses are fun to tackle and put away.
The soundtrack, while not mind-blowing, is a notch above serviceable, making it plenty good for this sort of outing. The composer certainly succeeds in capturing the old-school tunes of yesteryear, which actually get to be rather catchy after awhile rather than annoying.
Graphically, the game appears a "bit" archaic, but since every ingredient in 8-Bit Boy is designed to evoke late-80's gaming, they are perfectly suitable.
I have returned to old games like Super Mario Bros., Mega Man, and Donkey Kong Country again and again. 8-Bit Boy is like any of these titles in the sense that it can be enjoyed more than once on account of it being well-designed, fun, and relatively short--especially once you get dialed back into the "twitch-thumb" playing you used to do while sitting in front of the old cathode ray tube, Nintendo controller in hands.
So if you have a hankering to revisit those crusty-old NES cartridges, you might want to grab this inexpensive game as an appetizer. You likely won't be disappointed.