Tech reviews

retro gaming greatness at a brilliant budget price

Super Pocket details

Company Blaze Entertainment
Release date Out now
Price $59 / £49

Having already made its game carts extremely accessible last year with the release of the Evercade EXP, it seems like Blaze Entertainment wasn’t quite done with its affection for all things analogue and emulation. This is evidenced by yet another new handheld revision (of sorts) known as the Hyper Mega Tech! Super Pocket, being an all-in-one handheld game machine out now that’s available in multiple SKUs – depending on which publisher’s classic game library you’d prefer to access.

Though technically produced under Blaze’s new label, Hyper Mega Tech!, the Super Pocket’s compatibility with existing Evercade cartridges suggests more synergy between the two brands than you might initially suspect. The good news is that for just a fraction of the Evercade EXP’s price, the Super Pocket features most of the same functionality, only shrunken down to a smaller screen size, and being engineered in the style of the classic Game Boy rather than, say, a PSP.

Given the Evercade EXP is sitting at No.1 in our best retro game consoles guide, this smaller, cheaper model is certainly catching the eye. Right now there are only two different types of Super Pocket available, the Capcom and Tatio variants, but the truth is the device is cheap enough that even picking up both wouldn’t break the bank. If you’ve ever wanted some of the best games from either publisher almost instantly within reach, the Super Pocket boasts a lot of appeal.

Super Pocket review: what’s in the box

Super Pocket review; two boxed handheld consolesSuper Pocket review; two boxed handheld consoles

Super Pocket review; two boxed handheld consoles

For $59 / £49 (less than the price of some modern video game controllers) each, what you get out of the box is extremely simple. You get the Super Pocket itself presented in a slim and neat package, complete with a small quickstart guide, an advertisement for current and forthcoming Evercade cartridges to expand your library, and a standard USB-C cable for charging. Hyper Mega Tech! really has kept the presentation as simple and slick as possible.

Super Pocket review: design and build

Super Pocket review; a boxed handheld console and unboxed consoleSuper Pocket review; a boxed handheld console and unboxed console

Super Pocket review; a boxed handheld console and unboxed console

The design of the Super Pocket will be instantly familiar to anyone with a fondness for handelh devices. As mentioned earlier, it pretty much apes the look and feel of the classic Game Boy, it’s a lot smaller with a 2.8-inch IPS screen.  There’s also the addition of four buttons on the back, though calling them “shoulder” buttons would be a tad disingenuous. Rather they lay flush against the back of the device itself, which takes a bit of getting used to at first but I found eventually felt pretty natural.

The usual front-facing D-pad and face buttons are all accounted for, with the addition of a dedicated game menu button in the middle for easy access to whichever library or game cart you happen to have built in. In a home to the publisher’s classic logo, the Capcom Super Pocket variant touts a blue look with an appropriate yellow edge trim. The Taito variant, meanwhile, opts for a muted black tone with an illuminated green edge trim, being more evocative of the 8-bit era.

Overall, from a design and build perspective, the Super Pocket isn’t breaking boundaries, but then it isn’t really trying to. For such an affordable device there’s a decent sense of heft to it while playing, at least, even if the inner back buttons are a tad harder to reach than they should be for players with bigger hands. Importantly, the D-pad feels solid, which is important when playing arcade classics.

Super Pocket review: performance

Super Pocket review; a small handheld console switched onSuper Pocket review; a small handheld console switched on

Super Pocket review; a small handheld console switched on

The Super Pocket is an emulation machine, true, but there really wasn’t much delay that I noticed while playing. Button inputs always felt snappy and responsive, and whenever I lost a life or died outright in any game it was down to my own inability rather than any one prompted by the device itself. Although there are no bonus materials for any of the games included, you can choose to play titles in one of three ratios: original, pixel perfect, and full screen. These, combined with two different scanline settings (strong or subtle) really sell you on the retro feel.

Other than these brief display options, the Super Pocket really is just a grab-and-go solution, consisting of very little frills to instead let the games speak for themselves. The only thing that might disappoint is the measly four-hour battery life, which won’t be enough to keep you playing on a hefty flight or plane journey, but is enough to satisfying the dip-in-and-dive nature of a lot of these arcade classics. A nice touch, though, is the embedded Easy mode option, which can be toggled on/off at any time to make the nature of the games less punishing for younger players.

Super Pocket review: the games

Super Pocket review; a colourful platform gameSuper Pocket review; a colourful platform game

Super Pocket review; a colourful platform game

Here’s where the Super Pocket packs a real punch. The Capcom variant features the same library that the Evercade EXP had built in, including much of the publisher’s greats such as Street Fighter 2, Mega Man, Final Fight and Ghouls ‘n Goblins. There are 12 classic Capcom games featured in total, and all are worthy of being here – especially if you’re less familiar with the arcade scene of the time.

The same can be said for the Tatio variant, which ups the total game count to a generous 18 and features such all-timers as Bubble Bobble, Space Invaders, Rastan, and a whole lot more. This edition appeals, as classic platformer The New Zealand Story in which you help a kiwi bird rescue his mates from evil, checks notes… penguins riding geese.

I would say that the Tatio Super Pocket has a more niche appeal overall when compared to the Capcom one. That said, if you’re a fiend for gaming history and somehow totally missed some of Tatio’s very best arcade games, this is an ideal way to play (providing you don’t mind the small screen).

Both editions come with a removable back pack, however, which lets you slot in any of the some 500+ Evercade games available to play via cart. I played the much newer top-down shooter Xeno Crisis this way and had a total blast.

Super Pocket review: should I buy one?

Super Pocket review; two colourful retro consoles on a wooden tableSuper Pocket review; two colourful retro consoles on a wooden table

Super Pocket review; two colourful retro consoles on a wooden table

Purely when taking into account price and the games featured alone, there’s no denying how much of a great deal the Super Pocket is. Especially if you’re someone with an existing stack of Evercade carts, the value of it then increases tenfold.

If, like me, you already own the Evercade EXP, which has a far superior screen and better battery life, the Capcom Super Pocket will be less enticing, but even then Blaze Entertainment has you covered with the Taito. Sure, the back buttons are a tad awkward, the lack of bonus materials sucks and the battery life is poor, but everything else represents a great investment.


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