Surreal platformer Screenbound has you platforming in 2D and 3D simultaneously with the help of a magical little Game Boy you're constantly holding up to your face like the world's most indoor kid

I spent an embarrassing amount of my childhood glued to Nintendo's Game Boy consoles, and as good as the games were, the hardware is what still has this grip on my psyche: they were these wonderfully designed little toys you just didn't want to put down. As shown off in the PC Gaming Show, surreal dual-screen platformer Screenbound takes advantage of that sense of magic to help deliver an unprecedented blend of 2D and 3D platforming.

Essentially, you're exploring a full 3D world in first person while holding a Game Boy with the serial numbers filed off right in front of your face the whole time like a poorly adjusted kid on holiday. Your actions in the 3D world will influence what you see in a 2D side scrolling platformer on the handheld screen and vice versa, with any jumping or other movement being mirrored in both views simultaneously.

I'm an absolute sucker for rendering tricks like this, especially when a developer commits to them as a full-on backbone of their game⁠—see also the indie FPS Hellscreen, where you can see backwards and forwards at the same time, with combat and puzzle solving incentives to always be checking your rear view mirror.

That kind of creative design would already be enough to win me over, but the skillful evocation of the Game Boy line's hardware magic is prodding the nostalgia lizard part of my brain so hard I want to finally tackle the repair job on my childhood GBA SP I've been putting off. The hollow clack of a cartridge getting slapped into the machine at the beginning of the trailer is exactly like the one you'd hear from a real DMG (the original model from 1989), while the screenshots make it look like there are alternate handhelds you can unlock in the game.

There's a dead ringer for the folding clamshell SP visible in one of Screenbound's Steam screenshots, but I think the one that tickled my fancy the most is the game's riff on the legendary, transparent, "Atomic Purple" Game Boys. Screenbound's version has this almost electric transparency like the console's made of force field or something, with hardly any electronics visible inside and your character's hands showing clear through the plastic.

We don't yet know a ton about Screenbound aside from its look and premise, but the concept has tons of promise for creative puzzle solving and exploration. Developer Crescent Moon Games is targeting a 2025 release window for the game, and you can wishlist Screenbound on Steam to stay up to date. 

Associate Editor

Ted has been thinking about PC games and bothering anyone who would listen with his thoughts on them ever since he booted up his sister's copy of Neverwinter Nights on the family computer. He is obsessed with all things CRPG and CRPG-adjacent, but has also covered esports, modding, and rare game collecting. When he's not playing or writing about games, you can find Ted lifting weights on his back porch.