To celebrate its 60th birthday, Sega got up to all kinds of fun stuff – and that included the release of new hardware. Alongside the Astro City Mini console, the company also miniaturised its Game Boy rival, the Game Gear, releasing it in four colour variants which each came pre-loaded with different games.
When we went hands-on with the Game Gear Micro, we came away somewhat puzzled; not only is this device seemingly exclusive to Japan (there’s been no indication of a western release since we initially covered it), it’s so tiny it’s hardly practical for prolonged play, and the decision to include different games on each model means you have to shell out hundreds of dollars to get the full library.
However, in addition to the four initial colours – black, yellow, blue and red – Sega has also released a fifth variant, which comes in white and ships with the same games found on the recently-released Aleste Collection for Nintendo Switch. We recently reviewed this collection, giving it a glowing 8/10 score.
The limited-edition package contains a physical copy of the game on Switch, the Game Gear Micro, a ‘Big Window’ accessory (which makes the screen somewhat easier to see) and a couple of art books. The version we got also came with a bonus “History of Aleste” book (in Japanese, naturally).
While the seemingly random selection of games seen on the other Game Gear Micros made it hard to find a variant which ticked all of your personal boxes, the games included here (Aleste/Power Strike, Power Strike II, GG Aleste, GG Aleste 2 and GG Aleste 3) are all excellent, although it goes without saying that they’re all shmups so if you’re not a fan of the genre, it’s not going to be particularly appealing to you.
It’s also worth stating that the same issues we had with the other Game Gear Micro models apply to this one; the controls are useable but playing for a long time is painful, and the screen isn’t ideal for fast-paced shooters with lots of small bullets moving around the screen at high speed. The Big Window does make things a little easier, of course.
The biggest catch with this particular model is the price. Retailers are selling it for around $350 now, and thanks to the highly limited nature of the release, you can expect its value to rise over time (Play Asia, where we sourced our copy, has already sold out of the Switch version, but the PS4 edition is still up for grabs). Is it really worth it, when Aleste Collection on Switch offers a superior experience in practically every regard? Probably not, but it’s easily the Game Gear Micro model we’ve spent the most time with.
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