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The Best GBA Games of All Time

Earlier than we had Nintendo Swap video games, the Recreation Boy Advance was the handheld gaming system.  Nintendo introduced again common franchises from its previous, together with perennial hits reminiscent of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Mario, to construct the moveable system right into a venerable powerhouse. Fortunately, these collection had a easy transition to the hand held console, boasting acquainted gameplay and diverse degree designs that made a splash on the small display screen. Higher but, followers have been enthralled by the know-how that permit them have such a high-quality expertise within the palm of their hand.

It doesn’t matter what your favourite gaming franchise is, you’ll probably discover it on this checklist of the best Recreation Boy Advance video games of all time.

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1. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap tops our checklist for numerous causes: Limitless appeal, good overworld and dungeon design, good puzzles and even smarter puzzle mechanics. The Minish Cap informed the backstory of Vaati, the primary antagonist and essential determine in 4 Swords. After Vaati petrified Princess Zelda, Hyperlink rescued a magic sentient hat with a fowl 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 light up 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 actually is. The Minish Cap had all the outstanding options of a profitable Zelda recreation, from wonderful 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? It stays among the finest Zelda video games of all time.

Look, earlier than you get mad that we positioned Minish Cap above A Hyperlink to the Previous, we needed to prioritize the brand new expertise. By way of contemporary experiences unique to GBA, Minish Cap takes the cake. Plus, Minish Cap has Tingle!

2. Golden Solar

Camelot Software program Planning, recognized for Shining Power and Mario sports activities titles, stunned everybody with 2001’s Golden Solar, a valiant try at delivering an unique Remaining 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 avoid wasting the world of Weyard. It had all the trimmings of a Remaining Fantasy recreation — a save-the-world storyline, random turn-based battles, and summons — however it additionally had an honest 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 way of the angle of the antagonists. Each video games are wonderful in their very own proper, however the unique will not be solely the perfect GBA RPG ever; it’s among the finest turn-based RPGs launched to today. In case you missed out on Golden Solar, discover a strategy to play it, reminiscent of by way of the Wii U. A sequel referred to as Golden Solar: Darkish Daybreak additionally got here to DS, as effectively, in order for you much more Golden Solar in your life.

three. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

The third and last GBA Castlevania recreation, Aria of Sorrow confirmed that it was nonetheless potential for the collection to achieve the extent of greatness proven in Symphony of the Evening. That’s proper. First we stated 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 collection to the longer term, inserting customers within the sneakers of Soma Cruz, a teen with occult energy who may deliver 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 collection of daunting however superb 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 collection up to now. It nonetheless stands as we speak as among the finest Castlevania video games, and for a style of an identical type recreation, strive Bloodstained: Ritual of the Evening on Swap.

four. Metroid Fusion

It’s no shock Metroid Fusion was developed by the identical staff that 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 staff 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.

5. The Legend of Zelda: A Hyperlink to the Previous and 4 Swords

Not a lot must be stated about A Hyperlink to the Previous, the traditional top-down Zelda journey for the SNES. The GBA port introduced the mesmerizing Gentle and Darkish Worlds of Hyrule to handheld completely. The port additionally launched a brand new function, nevertheless, referred to as 4 Swords. This cooperative mode lets two to 4 gamers staff 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 checklist, the addition of 4 Swords made the GBA model the definitive strategy to play one of many biggest video games of all time, even in comparison with the Nintendo Swap On-line model out there by way of a subscription.

6. Advance Wars

Clever Techniques, 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 towards a crimson military, every comprised of tanks, soldiers, and artillery. That includes robust strategic gameplay, a deep marketing campaign, and a map creator, Advance Wars had every part a technique fan may need. Like Fireplace Emblem, Advance Wars got here from a Japanese unique collection referred to as Famicon Wars, so we’re fairly fortunate to have it North America. The GBA additionally acquired a sequel in Advance Wars 2: Black Gap Rising. Whereas additionally nice, it felt extra like add-on content material for its already strong predecessor, and the DS sequels weren’t fairly as traditional as the unique. For the same expertise, try Wargroove on Nintendo Swap.

7. Metroid: Zero Mission

What do you get once you mix the environment and nostalgia of the unique Metroid with trendy mechanics? Nicely, a darn tremendous recreation. Metroid: Zero Mission, a reimagining of the 1986 traditional, 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 contemporary once more.

eight. WarioWare: Twisted!

Constructing off of the frantic “microgame” system of WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!, WarioWare: Twisted! added power suggestions — one among solely two GBA video games to have the function — and a gyro sensor. The outcome? An expertise not like some other on the hand held. Microgames required gamers to finish rapid-fire duties in seconds. Not one of the video games have 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 on the wall, fell completely in keeping with the sport’s irreverent tone. On a scale of sheer “enjoyable worth,” you’d be hard-pressed to discover a extra satisfying GBA recreation, particularly for those who performed it in public, ferociously twisting and turning your GBA like a madman. Among the video games will also be discovered within the 3DS launch WarioWare Gold, together with microgames from the remainder of the collection.

9. Mario & Luigi: Celebrity Saga

Mario & Luigi: Celebrity Saga kicked off one among Nintendo’s finest Mario video games and spinoff collection. Though beginning within the acquainted Mushroom Kingdom, the sport shortly 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, Celebrity Saga was a turn-based role-playing recreation. However Nintendo and now-defunct developer AlphaDream layered the fight by including timing-based maneuvers that nodded again to Mario’s platforming roots. Controlling Mario and Luigi concurrently additionally contributed to the sport’s many enjoyable space puzzles. Celebrity Saga stands out as we speak as one of many GBA’s finest RPGs.

10. Remaining Fantasy VI

Remaining Fantasy VI didn’t come to Recreation 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 Recreation Boy followers for his or her long-standing help. As among the finest entries within the long-running role-playing collection, Remaining Fantasy VI was a pitch-perfect port that introduced the epic story, strategic gameplay, and wondrous soundtrack to a handheld system for the primary time. The GBA additionally acquired nice ports of Remaining Fantasy I & II, Remaining Fantasy IV, and Remaining Fantasy V, however Remaining Fantasy VI rightfully earns a spot on our checklist. It’s merely among the finest RPGs ever made and one of many prime Remaining Fantasy video games of all time.

11. Tremendous Mario World: Tremendous Mario Advance 2

We’d be remiss to not embody Tremendous Mario World, one of many biggest side-scrolling platformers of all time, on this checklist. Launched as Tremendous Mario World: Tremendous Mario Advance 2, this GBA port of the SNES traditional hit all the proper notes and launched one among Mario’s most unimaginable adventures to a brand new era of players.

12. Fireplace Emblem

The primary Fireplace Emblem recreation to reach in North America, Fireplace Emblem launched western players to a technique recreation with tons of depth, strong writing, and a medieval aesthetic gushing with persona. Fireplace Emblem‘s rock-paper-scissors, turn-based ways gameplay is well-known by now, however we’ve got Fireplace Emblem for GBA to thank for the truth that we proceed to obtain wonderful video games within the collection exterior of Japan. A follow-up, Fireplace Emblem: The Sacred Stones additionally got here to the Recreation Boy Advance.

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 effectively to the GBA’s small display screen. It performed like a appeal, too. By way of SNES-era 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.

14. Mario Golf: Advance Tour

At launch, one may 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 through which gamers progressed by way of a collection 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.

15. Pokémon Emerald

We may simply as simply embody Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire on this checklist, as Emerald is the improved model of the third-generation 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 method by way of 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, effectively, the following Pokémon video games arrived.

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 must-play for all Mario followers. Not solely did it introduce quite a few mechanics which have turn into Mario staples — sliding down slopes, throwing blocks, and climbing vines — however it additionally introduced Mario’s flying raccoon go well with into the fold. The eight distinctive worlds featured among the finest selection in a mainline Mario recreation. Merely put, Tremendous Mario Bros. three is an all-time traditional that got here again to life on the GBA.

17. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon

A launch recreation, Castlevania: Circle of the Moon felt like an ode to early titles within the collection. 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 parts. In the long run, Circle of the Moon felt like an journey tied to 2 eras, however by some means, it got here collectively splendidly and obtained the GBA off to a rip-roaring begin. Nonetheless, we advocate taking part in it on a console with a backlit display screen, as it is vitally darkish by default.

18. Remaining Fantasy Techniques Advance

Remaining Fantasy Techniques Advance is perhaps the deepest recreation of the GBA period. A by-product of the mainline collection, Techniques Advance tasked gamers with assembling a clan of warriors to battle on grid-style battlefields in turn-based tactical fight. With customization choices galore — together with 34 distinctive jobs — making a staff that labored effectively for the lengthy haul required tons of forethought and experimentation. Techniques 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.

19. Donkey Kong Nation three: Dixie Kong’s Double Hassle

Donkey Kong Nation three: Dixie Kong’s Double Hassle looks like a forgotten recreation within the DK Nation collection. 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 obtained a second probability 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 have been additionally ported to GBA, however we’ve got a comfortable spot for the hair-swinging Dixie and her always distraught younger cousin.

20. Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Reminiscences

Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Reminiscences got here alongside when the whimsical Disney-Remaining Fantasy mashup nonetheless made sense. A direct sequel to the unique, and the primary spinoff within the now confusingly expanded collection, Chain of Reminiscences stays among the finest entries within the franchise as we speak. Buying and selling motion gameplay for real-time technique mechanics paid off in a giant method on GBA. Utilizing an impressed card battling and deck constructing mechanic, Sora and associates made their method by way of Fort Oblivion, hopping from Disney worlds utilizing Sora’s reminiscences. Chain of Reminiscences each regarded and performed nice. If you wish to play a prettier model of this wonderful technique recreation, the PS2 remaster is accessible in Kingdom Hearts HD 1.5 Remix on PS4 and PS3 and will likely be coming to Xbox One in 2020.

21. Tony Hawk’s Professional Skater 2

It’s nonetheless surprising 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 absolutely featured, together with the excellent profession mode that tasked skaters with working their method by way of ranges finishing ten goals inside a time restrict. The GBA port used an impressed isometric perspective that actually hid the constraints of the GBA . THPS2 stays among the finest skateboarding video games of all time, and it held its personal after which some on Recreation Boy Advance.

22. Mario Tennis: Energy Tour

Mario Tennis: Energy Tour introduced again the RPG mechanics seen within the GBC’s Mario Tennis. Enjoying as Clay, an up and coming tennis star, gamers navigated their method by way of 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 certain why Nintendo has largely deserted the wonderful RPG parts in latest Mario Tennis video games, however Energy Tour stays enjoyable even as we speak.

23. Mario vs. Donkey Kong

A non secular successor to Donkey Kong, Mario vs. Donkey Kong was a intelligent rebranding of the traditional 2D puzzle platforming system. This model is the one one within the collection that means that you can play with Mario.

Additional, there’s a veritable wealth of content material with 48 ranges and a bevy of secret challenges. Mario vs. Donkey Kong examined each your platforming and puzzle-solving abilities. 

The essential premise of the sport is straightforward sufficient, simply safe keys, packages, and lovely mini-Marios en path to clearing rooms. Nintendo and developer NST even threw in traditional boss battles towards DK himself. The entire sub-series is nice, however Mario vs. Donkey kicked issues off in thrilling style.

24. Kirby & the Wonderful Mirror

Kirby & the Wonderful Mirror launched on the very finish of the GBA’s life cycle in 2004, and it reworked the Kirby system in stunning and welcome methods. Most significantly, this recreation doesn’t use the normal level-based system. As a substitute, gamers can freely discover the world and finally uncover their very own path to victory. 

The construction is considerably just like Metroid video games with totally different worlds. You possibly can progress from one world to the following by way of a labyrinth. Wonderful Mirror has all of the cuteness you’ll count on from a Kirby recreation, together with the power to name on colourful associates for assist. But this recreation model is surprisingly deep and sophisticated in comparison with different video games from the Kirby franchise.

25. Baseball Advance

Sports activities video games sometimes don’t do effectively on handheld consoles, particularly in the event that they attempt to use life like graphics. Baseball Advance could also be one of many few exceptions to this rule. 

Launched in 2002 by Smilebit, a defunct division of Sega, Baseball Advance options sharp visuals and strong hitting, pitching, and fielding mechanics. MLB followers will discover licenses for all of the groups and gamers of the time, and taking part in by way of the 162-game season is a enjoyable and thrilling expertise.  

Not counting Mario sports activities titles, Baseball Advance was simply essentially the most spectacular sports activities sim to come back to GBA. Nonetheless, there isn’t a two-player functionality, so that you’re by yourself.

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