The Best GBA Games of All Time | Digital Trends

    Before we had Nintendo Switch video games, the Game Boy Advance was the hand-held gaming system.  Nintendo introduced again fashionable franchises from its previous, together with perennial hits resembling Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Mario, to construct the transportable system right into a venerable powerhouse. Luckily, these collection had a easy transition to the hand-held console, boasting acquainted gameplay and different degree designs that made a splash on the small display screen. Better but, followers have been enthralled by the expertise that allow them have such a high-quality expertise within the palm of their hand.
    No matter what your favourite gaming franchise is, you’ll doubtless discover it on this record of the best Game Boy Advance video games of all time.
    Further Reading
    1. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
    The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap tops our record for a lot of causes: Endless appeal, good overworld and dungeon design, good puzzles and even smarter puzzle mechanics. The Minish Cap instructed the backstory of Vaati, the principle antagonist and necessary determine in Four Swords. After Vaati petrified Princess Zelda, Link rescued a magic sentient hat with a hen head that, when worn, lets him shrink right down to a microscopic measurement identical 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 really is. The Minish Cap had the entire outstanding options of a profitable Zelda sport, 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 probably the greatest Zelda video games of all time.
    Look, earlier than you get mad that we positioned Minish Cap above A Link to the Past, we wished to prioritize the brand new expertise. In phrases of recent experiences unique to GBA, Minish Cap takes the cake. Plus, Minish Cap has Tingle!
    2. Golden Sun
    Camelot Software Planning, recognized for Shining Force and Mario sports activities titles, shocked everybody with 2001’s Golden Sun, a valiant try at delivering an unique Final Fantasy-type expertise to a handheld platform. And boy, did Camelot ever succeed. Golden Sun starred Isaac and three different adventurers of their quest to avoid wasting the world of Weyard. It had all the trimmings of a Final Fantasy sport — 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 due to a wealth of dialogue and exposition. Its sequel, Golden Sun: The Lost Age, instructed the story by the angle of the antagonists. Both video games are wonderful in their very own proper, however the unique isn’t solely the perfect GBA RPG ever; it’s probably the greatest turn-based RPGs launched to this present day. If you missed out on Golden Sun, discover a solution to play it, resembling by the Wii U. A sequel known as Golden Sun: Dark Dawn additionally got here to DS, as effectively, if you would like much more Golden Sun in your life.
    3. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
    The third and last GBA Castlevania sport, Aria of Sorrow confirmed that it was nonetheless doable for the collection to succeed in the extent of greatness proven in Symphony of the Night. That’s proper. First we mentioned Metroid Fusion was higher than Super Metroid, and now we’re placing Aria of Sorrow on the identical pedestal as Symphony of the Night. Unlike its predecessors, Aria of Sorrow took the vampiric collection to the long run, putting 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 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 to this point. It nonetheless stands immediately as probably the greatest Castlevania video games, and for a style of an identical fashion sport, attempt Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night on Switch.
    4. Metroid Fusion
    It’s no shock Metroid Fusion was developed by the identical crew that made Super 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 Super Metroid and launched quite a few new power-ups and mechanics within the course of. It could also be blasphemous to say, however Metroid Fusion is not only probably the greatest video games on GBA; it’s the perfect 2D Metroid ever made.
    5. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and Four Swords
    Not a lot must be mentioned about A Link to the Past, the basic top-down Zelda journey for the SNES. The GBA port introduced the mesmerizing Light and Dark Worlds of Hyrule to handheld completely. The port additionally launched a brand new function, nonetheless, known as Four Swords. This cooperative mode lets two to 4 gamers crew as much as resolve puzzles and defeat baddies in dungeons. Although the principle marketing campaign is what in the end earns A Link to the Past a excessive spot on this record, the addition of Four Swords made the GBA model the definitive solution to play one of many best video games of all time, even in comparison with the Nintendo Switch Online model obtainable by a subscription.
    6. Advance Wars
    Intelligent Systems, the studio behind Fire Emblem, was additionally behind the best turn-based technique sport on GBA: Advance Wars. The premise was easy:  A blue military faces off in opposition to a crimson military, every comprised of tanks, soldiers, and artillery. Featuring powerful strategic gameplay, a deep marketing campaign, and a map creator, Advance Wars had all the things a method fan might need. Like Fire Emblem, Advance Wars got here from a Japanese unique collection 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 Hole Rising. While additionally nice, it felt extra like add-on content material for its already sturdy predecessor, and the DS sequels weren’t fairly as basic as the unique. For an identical expertise, try Wargroove on Nintendo Switch.
    7. Metroid: Zero Mission
    What do you get if you mix the ambiance and nostalgia of the unique Metroid with trendy mechanics? Well, a darn advantageous sport. Metroid: Zero Mission, a reimagining of the 1986 basic, retold the story of Samus Aran’s first journey with the refined fight seen in Super Metroid and Metroid Fusion. Beautiful to have a look at and even higher to play, Zero Mission made returning to Planet Zebes really feel fully recent once more.
    8. WarioWare: Twisted!
    Building off of the frantic “microgame” system of WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!, WarioWare: Twisted! added drive suggestions — one in every of solely two GBA video games to have the function — and a gyro sensor. The end result? An expertise in contrast to some other on the hand-held. Microgames required gamers to finish rapid-fire duties in seconds. None of the video games have been notably complicated, however all of them entertained. Even the plot, which concerned Wario getting mad at a sport on GBA and flinging the hand-held on the wall, fell completely according to the sport’s irreverent tone. On a scale of sheer “fun value,” you’d be hard-pressed to discover a extra satisfying GBA sport, particularly when you performed it in public, ferociously twisting and turning your GBA like a madman. Some of the video games may also be discovered within the 3DS launch WarioWare Gold, together with microgames from the remainder of the collection.
    9. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
    Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga kicked off one in every of Nintendo’s greatest Mario video games and spinoff collection. Although 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. Broken right down to its core thought, Superstar Saga was a turn-based role-playing sport. But 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. Superstar Saga stands out immediately as one of many GBA’s greatest RPGs.
    10. Final Fantasy VI
    Final Fantasy VI didn’t come to Game Boy Advance in North America till 2007, greater than two years after the Nintendo DS launched. In some ways, it launched as a “thank you” to Game Boy followers for his or her long-standing help. As probably the greatest entries within the long-running role-playing collection, Final Fantasy VI was a pitch-perfect 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 Final Fantasy I & II, Final Fantasy IV, and Final Fantasy V, however Final Fantasy VI rightfully earns a spot on our record. It’s merely probably the greatest RPGs ever made and one of many prime Final Fantasy video games of all time.
    11. Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2
    We’d be remiss to not embody Super Mario World, one of many best side-scrolling platformers of all time, on this record. Released as Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2, this GBA port of the SNES basic hit the entire proper notes and launched one in every of Mario’s most unbelievable adventures to a brand new era of players.
    12. Fire Emblem
    The first Fire Emblem sport to reach in North America, Fire Emblem launched western players to a method sport with tons of depth, stable writing, and a medieval aesthetic gushing with character. Fire Emblem‘s rock-paper-scissors, turn-based techniques gameplay is well-known by now, however we have now Fire Emblem for GBA to thank for the truth that we proceed to obtain wonderful video games within the collection outdoors of Japan. A follow-up, Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones additionally got here to the Game Boy Advance.
    13. Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3
    Ported from the SNES, Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3 introduced the completely beautiful platforming journey starring multi-colored Yoshis and one crying Baby 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. In phrases of SNES-era platformers, Yoshi’s Island was one of the crucial complicated when it comes to 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 might argue that Mario Golf: Advance Tour was the perfect handheld golf sport ever. A sequel to GBC’s Mario Golf, Advance Tour maintained the RPG mechanics and carried out an overworld by which gamers progressed by a collection of challenges at 4 distinctive programs. Featuring nice three-click arcade gameplay, a strong marketing campaign rife with challenges, and multiplayer sport modes, Advance Tour rivaled its GameDice counterpart, Toadstool Tour, which launched a yr prior.
    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-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 turning into the easiest Pokémon coach by working your method by eight gyms and the Elite Four. 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. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
    The greatest Mario sport from the NES period, Super Mario Advance 4; Super Mario Bros. 3 is a must-play for all Mario followers. Not solely did it introduce quite a few mechanics which have turn out to be Mario staples — sliding down slopes, throwing blocks, and climbing vines — but it surely additionally introduced Mario’s flying raccoon go well with into the fold. The eight distinctive worlds featured a number of the greatest selection in a mainline Mario sport. Simply put, Super Mario Bros. 3 is an all-time basic that got here again to life on the GBA.
    17. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon
    A launch sport, 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 with a view 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 Night in its RPG components. In the top, Circle of the Moon felt like an journey tied to 2 eras, however by some means, it got here collectively splendidly and bought the GBA off to a rip-roaring begin. However, we suggest enjoying it on a console with a backlit display screen, as it is extremely darkish by default.
    18. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
    Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is likely to be the deepest sport of the GBA period. A by-product of the mainline collection, Tactics 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 crew that labored effectively for the lengthy haul required tons of forethought and experimentation. Tactics Advance wasn’t for the faint of coronary heart, although it was most likely the perfect sport on GBA for severe technique sport buffs.
    19. Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble
    Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble looks as if a forgotten sport within the DK Country collection. It initially launched on SNES two months after the Nintendo 64 introduced Nintendo video games to 3D, which restricted its publicity. But the journey starring Dixie Kong and her lovable cousin Kiddy Kong bought a second likelihood in its GBA port. Varied degree design and difficult platforming gameplay made Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble a pure delight to play. The first two DKC video games have been additionally ported to GBA, however we have now a delicate spot for the hair-swinging Dixie and her always distraught younger cousin.
    20. Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories
    Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories got here alongside when the whimsical Disney-Final Fantasy mashup nonetheless made sense. A direct sequel to the unique, and the primary spinoff within the now confusingly expanded collection, Chain of Memories stays probably the greatest entries within the franchise immediately. Trading motion gameplay for real-time technique mechanics paid off in an enormous method on GBA. Using an impressed card battling and deck constructing mechanic, Sora and pals made their method by Castle Oblivion, hopping from Disney worlds utilizing Sora’s recollections. Chain of Memories each appeared and performed nice. If you need to play a prettier model of this wonderful technique sport, 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 Pro Skater 2
    It’s nonetheless stunning simply how good the GBA port of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 turned out. Besides a number of minor tweaks, THPS2 got here to GBA absolutely featured, together with the excellent profession mode that tasked skaters with working their method by ranges finishing ten targets inside a time restrict. The GBA port used an impressed isometric perspective that basically hid the restrictions of the GBA {hardware}. THPS2 stays probably the greatest skateboarding video games of all time, and it held its personal after which some on Game Boy Advance.
    22. Mario Tennis: Power Tour
    Mario Tennis: Power Tour introduced again the RPG mechanics seen within the GBC’s Mario Tennis. Playing as Clay, an up and coming tennis star, gamers navigated their method 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 certain why Nintendo has largely deserted the wonderful RPG components in latest Mario Tennis video games, however Power Tour stays enjoyable even immediately.
    23. Mario vs. Donkey Kong
    A religious successor to Donkey Kong, Mario vs. Donkey Kong was a intelligent rebranding of the basic 2D puzzle platforming system. This model is the one one within the collection that lets you play with Mario.
    Further, 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 expertise. 
    The fundamental 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 basic boss battles in opposition to DK himself. The entire sub-series is nice, however Mario vs. Donkey kicked issues off in thrilling trend.
    24. Kirby & the Amazing Mirror
    Kirby & the Amazing 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 importantly, this sport doesn’t use the normal level-based system. Instead, gamers can freely discover the world and in the end uncover their very own path to victory. 
    The construction is considerably much like Metroid video games with totally different worlds. You can progress from one world to the following by a labyrinth. Amazing Mirror has all of the cuteness you’ll count on from a Kirby sport, together with the flexibility to name on colourful pals for assist. Yet this sport model is surprisingly deep and sophisticated in comparison with different video games from the Kirby franchise.
    25. Baseball Advance
    Sports video games sometimes don’t do effectively on handheld consoles, particularly in the event that they attempt to use reasonable graphics. Baseball Advance could also be one of many few exceptions to this rule. 
    Released in 2002 by Smilebit, a defunct division of Sega, Baseball Advance options sharp visuals and stable hitting, pitching, and fielding mechanics. MLB followers will discover licenses for all of the groups and gamers of the time, and enjoying by 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 return to GBA. However, there is no such thing as a two-player functionality, so that you’re by yourself.

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