Even though now we have our cell phones and laptops along with the internet which aids us in our gaming needs, the Game Boy has turned to a fond memory and an old-school collectable which brings nostalgia. Game Boy Advance was the latest Game Boy released and was out and available in 2001 as the long-awaited full-colour successor to this line of gaming hardware.
The developer’s of this handheld filled its library with perfect 16-bit classics and new games which were considered the best of Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. But due to many factors, Nintendo lagged in maintaining GBA with the advent of the Nintendo DS in 2004. Still, a lot of GBA games are remarkably good and is worth trying out. Check out this list of best GBA games that are all-time stars of the GBA library.
Top 20 GBA Games You Need to Play:
1. Super Monkey Ball Jr
Super Monkey Ball Jr is one of the best GBA games developed by Realism and published by SEGA. It was released in the year 2002. This series of the game began in the arcades and on the GameCube as an action game with lots of unlocj=kabe features and modes. When it was released, Super Monkey Ball JR really managed to offer the same fun experience by making efficient use of hardware.
You can play as one of the four monkeys – Alai, Meemee, Gongon or Baby – who are all trapped in Monkey Balls and you have to get them out through mazes. The game also features four classic monkey party games – Monkey Fight, Monkey Race, Monkey Golf, and Monkey Bowling. You can aslo play multiplayer with up to 4 players with the GameLink cable.
2. Ninja Five-O
Ninja Five-O was developed by Hudson and published by Konami in the year 2003 and is a complete old-school kind of game with action and designs reminiscent of Capcom’s Bionic Commando, Sega’s Shinobi and more. It is one of the toughest GBA games in the used cartridges market and is so valuable in the gameplay’s sense though it doesn’t cost much in real life.
You can take on the role of detective Joe Osugi as he becomes Ninja Five-O to save the cities and return honour to the ninja arts. Authentic ninja swords, shuriken and magic combined with a unique Kaginawa hook system is responsible for the acrobatic moves and innovative fighting methods. Use stealth, skills and magic to rescue hostages and defeat enemies in a series of missions.
3. Golden Sun
Golden Sun was released in 2001, the same year as the release of Game Boy Advance and is one of the most hyped games on the GBA. It was developed by Camelot and published by Nintendo. The game is praised for the visuals, dynamic soundtrack and complex story. The game has a sequel called Golden Sun: The Lost Age tweaked a bot from the first game and has enabled data transfer from the first game in the series.
The game is an enormous role-playing game with an amazing magic system. Head to head battle is possible with the game link cable. Even though it focuses on the random turn-based battles, the game fulfils a console-style experience on such a small handheld and made a great impact on the game boy advance gamers.
4. Legend Of Zelda: Minish Cap
Legend Of Zelda: Minish Cap is one game that every Nintendo system must have and it took the Game Boy Advance years before the development team created an original adventure for the portable system which is this charming and fun game. It was developed by Flagship and published by Nintendo in the year 2005 and brought back a lot of 2D overhead game mechanics that were already established in the other systems. The ability to shrink and grow is an added plus because it allows you to explore a whole new world that you would have missed if you were just a fixed size.
The game has got a new set of puzzles that are challenging and more enemies also add to the classic Octorocks, Tektites and more. The game has a story driven action as you explore the Minish world with animated cutscenes and interactive dialogues for a lot of characters. You can collect Kinstones as you play to uncover secrets and match them by face to open up new points of the map, new characters and a lot more.
5. Mario vs. Donkey Kong
Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a cool game developed by NST and published by Nintendo in the year 2004. It is one of the best GBA games which fits the Game Boy Advance’s pick up and play environment since players could solve a puzzle and keep it for later. The game also sports advanced visuals and new puzzle ideas in the updated version with over 100 levels.
The game also has a fun animation and graphics and obviously has a classic gameplay feel. Mario has cool new movies like backflips and handstands and even catches barrels with his feet. You can link your GBA to GameCube and use the level editor on your TV screen using the GC-GBA link cable. Use the recaptured toys as clues to move to the next level.
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6. Metroid Fusion
Metroid Fusion is a throwback to the gameplay mechanics of the classic Metroid, Super Metroid and Metroid II with a sleek new look to Samus, the bounty hunter. It was developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo in the year 2002. The game is a fun adventure sort with a classic Metroid Twist and is considered one of the top GBA games of the time.
Samus Aran fights through the BSL ship which is infested with a parasite that replicates itself by killing its victims. You can collect both classic and new weapons as you explore the ship and absorb the X and gain new abilities while also replenishing your supplies. The animated cutscenes look really good which keep the game’s storyline unfolding.
7. Mario Kart Super Circuit
Mario Kart Super Circuit was developed by the Intelligent Systems and is one of the best GBA games of all time. The game took several months to be released after its launched and was published by Nintendo in 2001. It was the game that proved that Game Boy Advance has the ability to bring super NES experience as a portable system with great visuals and audio. It even supports multiplayer function so that 3 players can try some classic SNES course without having to buy a copy of the game.
It has over 40 tracks and 8 characters and you can play with up to three different people with a single or multiple cartridge links and includes Grand Prix and Time Trial model. This portable game blends features from SNES and Nintendo 64 classics and is one of those games worth trying.
8. Harvest Moon: Friends Of Mineral Town
Harvest Moon: Friends Of Mineral Town has a rather obvious name and you know it has to something to do with fields and cows and other such tasks. The game sucks you into the gameplay with its tasks which are economy focused and the game is very addictive. It was developed by Marvelous and published by Natsume in the year 2003. The goal is to live your life in the farm and you will get sucked right in as you try to reach the mark.
You can also play as a girl with the ‘Harvest Moon: More Friends Of Mineral Town’ version with slight tweaks and changes to translation and gameplay. The game is the foundation of the Nintendo DS version of Harvest Moon. The game has no set game path and you can do whatever you want and follow any route you wish to. the game also connects to the GameCube version of the game for even more adventures.
9. Mario Tennis Power Tour
Mario Tennis Power Tour is a GBA game developed by Camelot developers and published by Nintendo in the year 2005 and is a follow up of the Game Boy Color game on the Game Boy Advance. It gives a fantastic single-player experience brought forth by Mario characters and moves and especially the power moves were a great addition. But if you wish for something more traditional, then power moves needn’t be enabled at all times.
The power-ups include Mario’s hammer and DK’s banana boomerang along with slices, topspin shots and a new special shots for elite players. You can turn your tennis courts into Mushroom Kingdom odyssey and build your character up from a tennis rookie to a seasoned pro in an intricate storyline with RPG like gameplay and stat building. Also, once you are all seasoned and skilled, take on your friends in a 2-4 player link matches.
10. Fire Emblem
Fire Emblem is another GBA game developed by the Intelligent Systems and is a very good one at that. It was published by Nintendo in the year 2003 and it was with this game that Nintendo brought the unique RPG focused strategy games to the states and is easily one of the top games in the GBA library. Incredible fantasy elements are at your disposal from pegasus riding knights to deadly dragons to choose as you like.
A young woman names Lin has discovered she is the heir to the throne of Rikea and you are her guardian and advisor. As she fights hostile lands to build an army and battle for her rightful throne, you should make plans to defend her against the assassins and dominate the battlefield by controlling the soldiers and powerful wizards. You can also use magic and collect items and weapons that will help you conquer the opposing side.
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11. Ultimate Card Games
Ultimate Card Games is one of the best GBA games in the sense that it has an incredible replay value and has a pickup and play appeal. It was developed by Cosmigo and published by Telegames in the year 2004 and is one of the must-have collection of card games with games like Solitaire, Cribbage, Poker, Black Jack and more available on the cartridge. Any multiplayer game can be sent to other systems without the need for an additional cart.
The cartridge has got eleven single and multiplayer card games and five different video poker machines add to the action as well. You can also create up to 4 different online personas with the fun face tools and each game also has statistics tracking plus brief background on its origin and an incredible soundtrack accompanying the gameplay. If you haven’t tried it yet, then it’s worth a shot.
12. Mario And Luigi: Superstar Saga
Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga was developed by Alphadream and published by Nintendo in the year 2003. This game is the portable equivalent of both Super Mario RPG and Pare Mario of the GameCube and the Nintendo 64. Both Mario and Luigi work together in this RPG game and you can manipulate both of these plumbers simultaneously which gives the game a very unique feel.
Mario and Luigi travel with their old enemy Bowser to the neighbouring kingdom to try and remove the curse put on princess peach by the witch. You can set up the game so that you can manipulate both Mario and Luigi separately or both at once for super combos. The game is best described as a combination of puzzle solving and role-playing games with a class platform gaming experience.
13. Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire
Pokemon Ruby/Sapphire is a great game developed by the Game Freaks and published by Nintendo in the year 2003. The Game Boy Advance offers so much strategy and everything you do in the package can be moved to the console versions of the Pokemon battle games. It is nothing to be marvelled at, both visually and audio-wise but it sure got gameplay and is aimed at the younger crowd of gamers.
Collect, battle and trade Pokemon while trying to stop a shadowy group with plans to alter the Hoenn region forever. Travel along the beautiful Hoenn that contains a cave that shows a scene described in the legends. Get even closer to the mysteries of Mega Evolution as more Pokemon gains this powerful ability and experience the Primal reversion, an extremely powerful transformation undergone by the legendary Pokemon Groudon and Kyogre.
14. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is one of the earliest games of Square, the developers of the game as they weren’t ready to go full out on the Nintendo’s handheld. The game brought back to life the Playstation’s excellent game theme in a new and original storyline. It was published by Nintendo in the year 2003 and offered great strategy and characters.
Three young men unleash a magical tomb by opening it which turns their town into a kingdom of swords and sorcery. They have to take up the arts of magic and combat to fight to get their hometown back. There are dozens of turn-based conflicts through which you have to battle through using strategic thinking and you can command your squad of fighters, mages and monsters and create battle plans that suit their abilities. You can also team up with your friends to battle deadly enemies but follow the rules of combat or you will end up getting imprisoned.
15. Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island
Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island is one of the best GBA games till date and is even considered the best 2D platform game or at least one among them. It was developed and published by Nintendo in the year 2002 so we know the game is made for the handheld. The original game had many new gameplay elements driven by the power of FX chip but Game Boy Advance had enough power to bring back these elements without the need for additional hardware.
The stork delivered a set of twins but a Koopa named Kamek interfered and made stork drop one of the kids which fell on Yoshi’s back and now Yoshi is going to reunite the twins. Guide Yoshi along the dangerous traps set by Kamek and his soldiers and use Yoshi’s unique abilities to beat the bad guys. There is also a morph bubble that will allow Yoshi to shapeshift and give him new powers. Find the bubble as well as all the flowers, stars and coins to unlock all the cool secret and enjoy the awesome gameplay.
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16. Mario Golf
Mario Golf was developed by Camelot and published by Nintendo in the year 2004 and is one of the top ‘pick up and play’ game designed for Game Boy Advance. This game is the portable version of Camelot’s Game Boy Color Golf game which was a port of the Nintendo 64 console design. The GBA version took all the elements of the GameCube version of the game and shrunk them to fit the portable and is one of the finest take away 2D golf game ever created.
You can play 18 holes with your favourite Marioland characters and use power-ups and each character’s unique abilities to get past obstacles and to improve the gameplay. You can also unveil secret characters by playing through sandtraps, tall grass and other obstacles and it is the most fun you can have while playing golf. It includes a new swing control and tons of courses from deserts to forests to unique Mario-themed courses with a bunch of surprises.
17. Advance Wars
Advance Wars on the Game Boy Advance is a deep and fulfilling design that challenged the gamers in its own ways with all the cool features it could possibly have. It was another one of the GBA games developed by the Intelligent Systems and was published by Nintendo in the year 2001. the game has it all from very difficult strategic gameplay, extensive single player campaigns with a lot of characters and situations. There is also a lot of user customization in the form of a map creator and a full-on four-player multiplayer mode which only requires a single copy of the game for the network.
The game was initially released and shipped to the US only but had an unfortunate timing because it was during the time of 9/11. The game sports 114 battle maps and battery save features, map creation modes, link cable support for four players and is designed exclusively for Game Boy Advance. The sequel has more gameplay elements which were followed up on a dual screen version on the Nintendo DS a few years later.
18. Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow
Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow is another one of the best GBA games released in the year 2004 and was developed and published by Konami who backed Game Boy advanced right from the start. This game is a series started with Castlevania: Circle Of Moon and was an instant hit that by the time the third game hit the system, it gained so much popularity and ended the series with a bang. It has a lot of new gameplay elements of all of the games in the series with enhanced visuals and awesome soundtrack.
The gameplay happens in the year 2035 when Soma Cruz is about to witness the first solar eclipse of the 21st century when he suddenly blacks out only to awaken inside a mysterious castle. You play as Soma and have to navigate the castle’s maze-like structure and fight your way with monsters at every turn and escape the evil hands before it consumes you. You can collect the souls of the enemies to learn their abilities and exchange souls with your friends using the game link cable. You can also collect and use different weapons with their own attacks.
19. Wario Ware Twisted!
Wario Ware Twisted was developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo in the year 2005 and is one of the must-have game in any all of the Game Boy Advance libraries. A gyroscopic sensor fixed inside the cartridge turns the GBA into a twistable controller and it has awesome challenges that use this concept efficiently. But unfortunately, the game was missed by a lot of people and never really reached the mark of the ‘million sellers’ that many GBA games reached though it really deserved to.
You can play all 200 new lightning-quick microgames by rotating the GBA or by pressing the A button. Each game pack is fixed with a gyro sensor that detects sideways motion and you can unlock over 130 souvenirs from Diamond City which includes moveable figurines, bonus games, music, instruments and more. The cartridge also has a rumble pack for force feedback and a lot of spin-controlled games waiting to be played.
20. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 is a great game developed by Vicarious Visions and published by Activision in the year 2001. The game is absolutely stunning by the standards of the games of the time even though due to system inhibitions, the game has to remain in a fixed overhead perspective. Even after dozens of sequels over the years, it is still a wonder to see how well this game is holding up and doesn’t look or play like it’s other incarnations.
The game has got a lot of tricks that you can pull off to defy death and serious injuries and has a wild level design, graphics and responsive controls which all works awesomely well with the handheld. The visuals are clear and detailed with the skaters being well animated and initially, 6 levels are available. After picking a skater you must perform tricks to earn loot so that you can buy new gear which will help you improve your skater’s stats and continue to next skate park.