The Sport Boy Advance introduced Nintendo’s iconic platform of handhelds to the 32-bit period. Its huge library of authentic video games and stellar collection of Tremendous Nintendo classics make it certainly one of, if not the, biggest Nintendo handheld of all time. From its authentic 2001 iteration, to the clamshell and backlit Sport Boy Advance SP, to the peculiarly tiny Sport Boy Micro, the Sport Boy Advance household of techniques holds a particular place in lots of hearts. The GBA was the final iteration of the Sport Boy line earlier than Nintendo launched into its twin display Nintendo DS in 2004. Within the spirit of nostalgia, let’s countdown the 25 finest GBA video games of all time, all of that are nonetheless romping good occasions immediately.
25. ‘Baseball Advance’
Sports activities sims, particularly those who lean into realism, have by no means accomplished properly on handhelds. Smilebit, a defunct division of Sega, modified that with 2002’s Baseball Advance. With licenses for each MLB crew and participant, Baseball Advance served as a worthwhile counterpart to console sims of the time. Sharp visuals mixed with stable hitting, pitching, and fielding mechanics made for enjoying by a 162 recreation season a grand and thrilling endeavor. Not counting Mario sports activities titles, Baseball Advance was simply essentially the most spectacular sports activities sim to return to GBA.
24. ‘Kirby & the Superb Mirror’
Kirby & the Superb Mirror launched on the very finish of the GBA’s life cycle in 2004, and it reworked the Kirby formulation in stunning and welcome methods. Abandoning the normal level-based development system, Superb Mirror was structured extra like Metroid video games, that includes 9 distinct worlds linked by a winding labyrinth that progressively unfurled. Superb Mirror saved all of the sequence’ cutesy allure, but it surely had a degree of depth that few Kirby video games each earlier than and since have seen.
23. ‘Mario vs. Donkey Kong’
A non secular successor to Donkey Kong, Mario vs. Donkey Kong was a intelligent rebranding of the basic puzzle platforming formulation. That includes a dearth of content material — 48 ranges and a bevy of secret challenges — Mario vs. Donkey Kong examined each your platforming and puzzle fixing expertise. The fundamental premise: securing keys, packages, and lovely mini-Marios en path to clearing rooms. Nintendo and developer NST even threw in basic boss battles in opposition to DK himself. The entire sub-series is nice, however Mario vs. Donkey kicked issues off in thrilling vogue.
22. ‘Mario Tennis: Energy Tour’
Mario Tennis: Energy Tour introduced again the RPG mechanics seen within the GBC’s Mario Tennis. Taking part in as Clay, an up and coming tennis star, customers navigated their means by the Royal Tennis Academy within the Mushroom Kingdom. The leveling system promoted longevity and the core tennis gameplay shined in each singles and doubles matches. We’re not fairly positive why Nintendo has largely deserted the wonderful RPG components in latest Mario Tennis video games, however Energy Tour stays enjoyable even immediately.
21. ‘Tony Hawk’s Professional Skater 2’
It’s nonetheless stunning simply how good the GBA port of Tony Hawk’s Professional Skater 2 turned out. Apart from just a few minor tweaks, THPS2 got here to GBA totally featured, together with the very good profession mode that tasked skaters with working their means by ranges finishing ten goals inside a time restrict. The GBA port used an impressed isometric perspective that basically hid the constraints of the GBA . THPS2 stays one of many biggest excessive sports activities video games of all time, and it held its personal after which some on Sport Boy Advance.
20. ‘Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Reminiscences’
Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Reminiscences got here alongside when the whimsical Disney-Closing Fantasy mashup nonetheless made sense. A direct sequel to the unique, and the primary spinoff within the now confusingly expanded sequence, Chain of Reminiscences stays among the finest entries within the franchise immediately. Buying and selling motion gameplay for actual time technique mechanics paid off in an enormous means on GBA. Utilizing an impressed card battling and deck constructing mechanic, Sora and pals made their means by Fortress Oblivion, hopping from Disney worlds utilizing Sora’s reminiscences. Chain of Reminiscences each appeared and performed nice. If you wish to play a prettier model of this glorious technique recreation, the PS2 remaster is accessible in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix on PS4 and PS3.
19. ‘Donkey Kong Nation three: Dixie Kong’s Double Hassle’
Donkey Kong Nation three: Dixie Kong’s Double Hassle looks as if a forgotten recreation within the DK Nation sequence. It initially launched on SNES two months after the Nintendo 64 introduced Nintendo video games to 3D, which restricted its publicity. However the journey starring Dixie Kong and her lovable cousin Kiddy Kong bought a second likelihood in its GBA port. Different degree design and difficult platforming gameplay made Dixie Kong’s Double Hassle a pure delight to play. The primary two DKC video games had been additionally ported to GBA, however now we have a delicate spot for the hair-swinging Dixie and her continually distraught younger cousin.
18. ‘Closing Fantasy Ways Advance’
Closing Fantasy Ways Advance is perhaps the deepest recreation of the GBA period. A derivative of the mainline sequence, Ways Advance tasked gamers with assembling a clan of warriors to struggle on grid-style battlefields in turn-based tactical fight. With customization choices galore — together with 34 distinctive jobs — making a crew that labored properly for the lengthy haul required tons of forethought and experimentation. Ways Advance wasn’t for the faint of coronary heart, although it was in all probability the perfect recreation on GBA for severe technique recreation buffs.
17. ‘Castlevania: Circle of the Moon’
A launch recreation, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon felt like an ode to early titles within the sequence. Armed primarily with a whip, Nathan, a vampire hunter, seeks out Dracula as a way to rescue his mentor. Circle of the Moon, whereas clearly nodding again to SNES and NES Castlevania titles, additionally took cues from Symphony of the Evening in its RPG components. In the long run, Circle of the Moon felt like an journey tied to 2 eras, however in some way, it got here collectively splendidly, and bought the GBA off to a rip-roaring begin.
16. ‘Tremendous Mario Advance four: Tremendous Mario Bros. three’
The perfect Mario recreation from the NES period, Tremendous Mario Advance four; Tremendous Mario Bros. three is a should play for all Mario followers. Not solely did it introduce quite a few mechanics which have change into Mario staples — sliding down slops, throwing blocks, and climbing vines — but it surely additionally introduced Mario’s flying raccoon swimsuit into the fold. The eight distinctive worlds featured a few of the finest selection in a mainline Mario recreation. Merely put, Tremendous Mario Bros. three is an all time basic that got here again to life on the GBA.
15. ‘Pokémon Emerald’
We might simply as simply embody Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire on this record, as Emerald is the improved model of the third technology Pokémon video games. We’re going with Emerald, although, because it included Pokémon from Gold and Silver. Like all mainline Pokémon video games, Emerald tasked you with changing into the perfect Pokémon coach by working your means by eight gyms and the Elite 4. Emerald was a pleasant time sink that compelled you to fill out your Pokédex and discover its giant open world till, properly, the following Pokémon video games arrived.
14. ‘Mario Golf: Advance Tour’
At launch, one might argue that Mario Golf: Advance Tour was the perfect handheld golf recreation ever. A sequel to GBC’s Mario Golf, Advance Tour maintained the RPG mechanics and carried out an overworld wherein gamers progressed by a sequence of challenges at 4 distinctive programs. That includes nice three-click arcade gameplay, a sturdy marketing campaign rife with challenges, and multiplayer recreation modes, Advance Tour rivaled its GameCube counterpart, Toadstool Tour, which launched a yr prior.
13. ‘Yoshi’s Island: Tremendous Mario Advance three’
Ported from the SNES, Yoshi’s Island: Tremendous Mario Advance three introduced the completely beautiful platforming journey starring multi-colored Yoshis and one crying Child Mario to a handheld. Amazingly, the sport’s hand-drawn look carried over properly to the GBA’s small display. It performed like a allure, too. When it comes to SNES period platformers, Yoshi’s Island was some of the advanced by way of design, with multi-part ranges and secrets and techniques aplenty. Yoshi’s Island for GBA didn’t miss a beat, and we’re grateful for that.
12. ‘Fireplace Emblem’
The primary Fireplace Emblem recreation to reach in North America, Fireplace Emblem launched western avid gamers to a method recreation with tons of depth, stable writing, and a medieval aesthetic gushing with character. Fireplace Emblem‘s rock-paper-scissors, turn-based ways gameplay is well-known by now, however now we have Fireplace Emblem for GBA to thank for the truth that we proceed to obtain glorious video games within the sequence outdoors of Japan.
11. ‘Tremendous Mario World: Tremendous Mario Advance 2’
We’d be remiss to not embody Tremendous Mario World, one of many biggest sidescrolling platformers of all time, on this record. Launched as Tremendous Mario World: Tremendous Mario Advance 2, this GBA port of the SNES basic hit all the proper notes and launched certainly one of Mario’s most unbelievable adventures to a brand new technology of avid gamers.
10. ‘Closing Fantasy VI’
Closing Fantasy VI didn’t come to Sport Boy Advance in North America till 2007, greater than two years after the Nintendo DS launched. In some ways, it launched as a “thanks” to Sport Boy followers for his or her longstanding help. As among the finest entries within the long-running role-playing sequence, Closing Fantasy VI was a pitch excellent port that introduced the epic story, strategic gameplay, and wondrous soundtrack to a handheld gadget for the primary time. The GBA additionally obtained nice ports of Closing Fantasy I & II, Closing Fantasy IV, and Closing Fantasy V, however Closing Fantasy VI rightfully earns a spot on our record. It’s merely among the finest RPGs ever made.
9. ‘Mario & Luigi: Famous person Saga’
Mario & Luigi: Famous person Saga kicked off certainly one of Nintendo’s finest Mario spinoff sequence’. Though beginning within the acquainted Mushroom Kingdom, the sport rapidly transitions to Beanbean Kingdom, a big world that the brothers should traverse to get better Princess Peach’s voice. Damaged right down to its core thought, Famous person Saga was a turn-based role-playing recreation. However Nintendo and developer AlphaDream layered the fight by including timing based mostly maneuvers that nodded again to Mario’s platforming roots. Controlling Mario and Luigi concurrently additionally contributed to the sport’s many enjoyable space puzzles. Famous person Saga stands out immediately as one of many GBA’s finest RPGs.
eight. ‘WarioWare: Twisted!’
Constructing off of the frantic “microgame” formulation of WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!, WarioWare: Twisted! added power suggestions — certainly one of solely two GBA video games to have the function — and a gyro sensor. The consequence? An expertise in contrast to every other on the hand held. Microgames required gamers to finish speedy fireplace duties in seconds. Not one of the video games had been significantly advanced, however all of them entertained. Even the plot, which concerned Wario getting mad at a recreation on GBA and flinging the hand held at wall, fell completely in keeping with the sport’s irreverent tone. On a scale of sheer “enjoyable worth,” you’d be exhausting pressed to discover a extra satisfying GBA recreation, particularly if you happen to performed it in public, ferociously twisting and turning your GBA like a madman.
7. ‘Metroid: Zero Mission’
What do you get once you mix the environment and nostalgia of the unique Metroid with trendy mechanics? Properly, a darn superb recreation. Metroid: Zero Mission, a reimagining of the 1986 basic, retold the story of Samus Aran’s first journey with the refined fight seen in Tremendous Metroid and Metroid Fusion. Lovely to take a look at and even higher to play, Zero Mission made returning to Planet Zebes really feel utterly recent once more.
6. ‘Advance Wars’
Clever Programs, the studio behind Fireplace Emblem, was additionally behind the best turn-based technique recreation on GBA: Advance Wars. The premise was easy – a blue military faces off in opposition to a purple military, every comprised of tanks, squaddies, and artillery. That includes robust strategic gameplay, a deep marketing campaign, and a map creator, Advance Wars had every little thing a method fan might need. Like Fireplace Emblem, Advance Wars got here from a Japanese unique sequence known as Famicon Wars, so we’re fairly fortunate to have it North America. The GBA additionally obtained a sequel in Advance Wars 2: Black Gap Rising. Whereas additionally nice, it felt extra like add-on content material for its already sturdy predecessor.
5. ‘The Legend of Zelda: A Hyperlink to the Previous and 4 Swords’
Not a lot must be mentioned about A Hyperlink to the Previous, the basic top-down Zelda journey for the SNES. The GBA port introduced the mesmerizing Mild and Darkish Worlds of Hyrule to handheld completely. The port additionally launched a brand new function, nonetheless, known as 4 Swords. This cooperative mode let two to 4 gamers crew as much as resolve puzzles and defeat baddies in dungeons. Though the primary marketing campaign is what finally earns A Hyperlink to the Previous a excessive spot on this record, the addition of 4 Swords made the GBA model the definitive solution to play one of many biggest video games of all time.
four. ‘Metroid Fusion’
It’s no shock Metroid Fusion was developed by the identical crew who made Tremendous Metroid. Fusion virtually felt like an unrelated sequel when it launched in 2002. Fusion featured a equally prolonged open-world to discover, letting gamers scour and uncover secrets and techniques and methods ahead at their very own tempo. The crew at Nintendo R&D1 refined the fight from Tremendous Metroid and launched quite a few new power-ups and mechanics within the course of. It could be blasphemous to say, however Metroid Fusion is not only among the finest video games on GBA; it’s the perfect 2D Metroid ever made.
three. ‘Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow’
The third and remaining GBA Castlevania recreation, Aria of Sorrow confirmed that it was nonetheless attainable for the sequence to succeed in the extent of greatness proven in Symphony of the Evening. That’s proper. First we mentioned Metroid Fusion was higher than Tremendous Metroid, and now we’re placing Aria of Sorrow on the identical pedestal as Symphony of the Evening. Not like its predecessors, Aria of Sorrow took the vampiric sequence to the long run, inserting customers within the footwear of Soma Cruz, a teen with occult energy who might carry concerning the reincarnation of Dracula. Aria of Sorrow has the non-linear exploration of SotN, significant RPG mechanics, a bunch of cool weapons, and a sequence of dauntingly wonderful boss battles. Throw within the Tactical Souls mechanic, which tweaks gameplay and stats by defeating enemies, and Aria of Sorrow was the richest entry within the sequence so far. It nonetheless stands immediately as among the finest Castlevania video games.
2. ‘Golden Solar’
Camelot Software program Planning, recognized for Shining Drive and Mario sports activities titles, stunned everybody with 2001’s Golden Solar, a valiant try at delivering an authentic Closing Fantasy-type expertise to a handheld platform. And boy, did Camelot ever succeed. Golden Solar starred Isaac and three different adventurers of their quest to save lots of the world of Weyard. It had all the trimmings of a Closing Fantasy recreation — a save the world storyline, random turn-based battles, and summons — but it surely additionally had a good number of overworld puzzles and far deeper story because of a wealth of dialogue and exposition. Its sequel, Golden Solar: The Misplaced Age, informed the story by the angle of the antagonists. Each video games are glorious in their very own proper, however the authentic is just not solely the perfect GBA RPG ever; it’s among the finest turn-based RPGs launched to this present day. Should you missed out on Golden Solar, discover a solution to play it (you may obtain it on Wii U). You gained’t remorse it.
1. ‘The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap’
The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap tops our record for plenty of causes: countless allure, sensible overworld and dungeon design, good puzzles and even smarter puzzle mechanics. The Minish Cap informed the backstory of Vaati, the primary antagonist and necessary determine in 4 Swords. After Vaati petrified Princess Zelda, Hyperlink rescued a magic sentient hat with a chook head that, when worn, lets him shrink right down to a microscopic dimension similar to the Minish, the tiny creatures which have labored tirelessly to assist illuminate the world. The hat, the sport’s central quirk, made exploring Hyrule a a lot totally different expertise than earlier than. It opened up new locations and provided new views, illuminating simply how majestic the world of Hyrule really is. The Minish Cap had all the distinguished options of a profitable Zelda recreation, from glorious dungeons to whimsical townspeople to the sheer delight offered when opening a treasure chest. And do you know The Minish Cap was developed by Capcom, not Nintendo?
Look, earlier than you get mad that we positioned Minish Cap above A Hyperlink to the Previous, we wished to prioritize the model new expertise. When it comes to recent experiences unique to GBA, Minish Cap takes the cake. Plus, Minish Cap has Tingle!