REVIEW: Dimeo’s Jukebox Combines Gameboy Aesthetics with a Modern Chiptune Soundtrack

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The cover art for Rob Dimeo's 2020 Gameboy title, Dimeos Jukebox.

Dimeo’s Jukebox marks a milestone for the classic Gameboy. After all, who expected a brand new Gameboy game in any year, let alone a physical Gameboy game that doubles as an album?  Yet here we are with a brand new Gameboy title, arriving on the first day of the final month of the year. 

Dimeo’s Jukebox, a TGVirtual title, is a nearly-solo effort on part of Canadian musician and creative Rob Dimeo. Dimeo wears many hats for this game, serving as the Developer, Programmer, Animator, Composer, and Level Designer. He shares credit with Miachela Araba for Character Design. Additionally, Danar Dwi Putra worked as the Character Designer for the physical edition’s box art. The logo and background were designed by Elan Yizhak. The insert design was handed by Dia, Rob Dimeo’s sister. His sister also provides a song, ”Desire” for the game’s soundtrack.

As said above, the title is available in two editions: a physical edition and a digital download. The physical edition harkens back to the 1990s with a physical box. This edition includes a digital download of the game, a classic gray game pack, a manual, and a poster. Additionally, the physical edition comes with the game’s soundtrack. Enthusiasts and fans who don’t have a physical Gameboy DMG in the year 2020 aren’t left out: Dimeo’s Jukebox will be available as a digital ROM as well. 

The game kicks off with Rob Dimeo realizing that all of the music from his personal collection was stolen! However, he soon finds that his records are trapped in jukeboxes scattered across the galaxy. Naturally, the only way to retrieve those records is by going on an adventure through the portals in the Avalar Museum. Only then will Rob recover his precious collection. Thus, we have the setting for a true gem of a modern retro title, and retro it is! The game is a Gameboy title to its core, from the simple title screen to the mazes you go through across the levels. Additionally, the sounds and general gameplay mechanics all mirror the things most fans love about original Gameboy games. 

Dimeo’s Jukebox contains two modes: a full-fledged game mode and a jukebox mode. The former drops you into a puzzle-laden adventure, while the latter lets you enjoy the songs included in the game separately. Both are well worth your time, especially if chiptune is your particular thing. However, you don’t have to play through the main game: you can fully access the entire album separately in the jukebox mode. On the other hand, the game mode contains a plethora of mazes, teleport areas, and gem-based puzzles, all backset by a rollicking chiptune soundtrack. There’s a pleasant multitude of songs that players can enjoy as they make their way through the levels in search of Rob’s tunes. In fact, there are over twelve different songs in the game.

The physical edition of Dimeos Jukebox, a brand new Gameboy game set to release on December 1, 2020.

As said above, the game consists of lots of mazes. This means puzzles! There’s no shortage of them either. By and large, the puzzles can be a bit simple, but that’s not a bad thing. If anything, it’s clear that Dimeo has a lot of room to grow. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to review another one of his titles in the near future. It’s clear that a lot of passion went into Dimeo’s Jukebox. It’s a joy to be able to engage with it.

One thing to note about this game is that you cannot save your file. In fact, stopping midway -or simply turning off your Gameboy- sends you back to level 1. It’s the biggest “weakness” when it comes to this title, especially as a physical player. However, Dimeo’s Jukebox is short enough that you’ll be able to play through the full game -and all its perfectly chiptune’d tunes- in less than an hour. Still, players who want to experience the puzzles again will find themselves right back at the beginning with a full game ahead of them. However, that isn’t a bad thing. After all, players can simply skip the game and enjoy Rob’s sweet tracks in jukebox mode.

In the jukebox mode, you can enjoy the songs separate from any gameplay. It’s a nice treat and a reminder that Dimeo’s Jukebox is ultimately an album release that’s also part game. The songs are nice overall, but on a physical Gameboy DMG or any Gameboy device, they really shine. The chiptune elements come through with that nostalgic Gameboy hum. Additionally, reading the signs next to each vinyl show a creator’s credit, making it easy to follow Rob Dimeo, and his musician sister Dia, on Twitter.

Furthermore, fans of chiptune, and retro titles in general, will instantly find themselves in love with the soundtrack’s body and sound. Dimeo’s Jukebox has got all the right clicks and pops, and fits in with the sounds of many classic Gameboy DMG titles. The only major downside is that players can’t save their game. Thankfully, the title isn’t very long. It takes about an hour to play through from start to finish, making it a good title for the weekend.

In the end, Dimeo’s Jukebox is truly one of a kind title that’s full of nostalgia and creativity. It’s wonderful to see Rob Dimeo achieve his dream through such a high-quality title. Players will find themselves delighted to have a new Gameboy title in their collections. 

Dimeo’s Jukebox is out now, players can pre-order a limited edition physical copy or a digital ROM edition now.

Dimeo’s Jukebox
  • 8/10
    Rating - 8/10
8/10

TL;DR

In the end, Dimeo’s Jukebox is truly one of a kind title that’s full of nostalgia and creativity. It’s wonderful to see Rob Dimeo achieve his dream through such a high-quality title. Players will find themselves delighted to have a new Gameboy title in their collections.