It’s so wild to think just how inaccessible retro gaming used to be compared to how it is now. Gone are the days when you needed to keep your CRT in the attic alongside a box full of random cables (just in case), as there are so many ways of playing old games these days. In fact, it can almost feel like there are too many options, especially when it comes to the ever-growing handheld space. However, if you’re just after a simple retro handheld that lets you play classic games with a few modern trimmings, the Super Pocket from HyperMegaTech is as fuss-free as you can get at a more than fair price point.
I was given two different versions of the Super Pocket, one stuffed with Capcom games and another full of Taito’s back catalogue. I instantly erred more towards Capcom personally, as the handheld features certified all-timers like Street Fighter II, Mega Man, Strider, Bionic Commando, and Ghouls ‘n Ghosts — all games that I fondly remember kicking my arse in my childhood. However, the Taito version is no slouch either, with Space Invaders, Bubble Bobble, and Operation Wolf being some of the key highlights, though I very unexpectedly found myself playing an hour of Football Champ. I very much enjoyed doing the crescent kick to opposition players.
Getting into that crescent kicking was super easy thanks to the Super Pocket’s sleek, simple interface. Just choose the game from the many available in a carousel, and away you go in a matter of seconds. Everything loads up pretty fast, and there’s even a built-in easy mode function for younger players that brings the difficulty more down to modern standards, as in a level that isn’t trying to gouge you for every penny you have in the arcade. The inclusion of save states is a very welcome addition for some of the more intense games across the collections, while the display options to add scanlines and play around with the aspect ratio are also unexpected bonuses.
It’s also surprising how many deaths in Ghouls ‘n Ghosts you can crank out on this thing before the battery gives out, too. 3-5 hours is a pretty long time for such a small unit, but it charges really fast as well thanks to the USB-C port.
The Super Pocket also manages to cram in a lot of inputs for such a suitably pocket-sized handheld, even featuring L1, L2, R1, and R2 back buttons, though it’s a shame that you can’t reassign controls. However, this is because the Super Pocket is actually compatible with Evercade cartridges that can easily be slid in and out of the top of the unit. The Super Pocket is a pretty decent gateway to the rest of the Evercade catalogue and is overall an absolutely fantastic deal, though it does have a couple of drawbacks.
The first is the screen, which certainly does the job, offering bright visuals with a nice colour range across most of the games. However, it does feel like sometimes games have been scrunched down just a little too much to fit the 2.8” IPS 320x240px screen, as smaller text can often be a little illegible. Similarly, the sound output isn’t very strong at all, which is hardly a surprise considering the size of the handheld itself. The headphone jack does a lot to allay any audio drawbacks, though.
However, maybe the single biggest issue with the Super Pocket is that it doesn’t offer any multiplayer functionality at all, which is a bit jarring when you’re playing so many arcade games with PUSH START emblazoned in their top right. I couldn’t imagine cramming around the single screen with another player, mind you.
Any criticisms of the Super Pocket do really have to keep the price in mind. £49.99/$59.99 really does get you a lot here, a handheld with about a dozen games built-in per version and also something that can be expanded upon with other cartridges. Really, it’s like the Game Boy Micro to the Evercade EXP. Nothing about this feels cheap either — the Super Pocket is leagues ahead of so, so many other handheld throwbacks that are thrown on the market with little thought.
If you’re searching for a simple nostalgia machine at a very affordable price, the Super Pocket might be exactly what you’re looking for.
Review units provided by PR.
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