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The 10 Best Games on Game Boy Advance

The 10 Best Games on Game Boy Advance

Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance is among the most important gaming consoles ever. The handheld console differed from its predecessors by displaying games in landscape rather than portrait format. The Game Boy Advance was released on March 21, 2001, in numerous colors as well as several limited edition systems. Now over 20 years later gamers look back on the system’s charming graphics and backwards compatibility. Game Boy Advance games are one of the most emulated titles of today and are even the backbone of a booming ROM hack scene. Gamers love Game Boy Advance games but here are some of the definitive best titles on the console.

10. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

©Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow Box Art

  • Release Date: May 6, 2003
  • Metascore: 91 (Universal Acclaim)

Kicking off the list is Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. This game is celebrated as one of the best Game Boy Advance games of all time due to its innovative gameplay mechanics, compelling storyline, and atmospheric-level design. Aria of Sorrow introduced the Tactical Soul system allowing players to absorb abilities from defeated enemies. This system added a strategic layer to the traditional action-platformer formula.

Fans praise the game’s graphics and soundtrack for pushing the GBA’s capabilities and creating an immersive and visually stunning experience. With its tight controls and well-crafted level design, Aria of Sorrow is a standout title that continues to resonate with fans and critics alike.

9. Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3

©Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3 Box Art

  • Release Date: September 24, 2002
  • Metascore: 91 (Universal Acclaim)

It wouldn’t be a Nintendo list without at least one Mario title. Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3 is loved by many gamers and many consider it a must-play game. This title is known for many things but specifically for its charming art style. The game stands out with its hand-drawn graphics and pastel-like visuals which create a whimsical and colorful world that is both nostalgic and visually appealing.

Originally a port of the SNES classic, this version includes bonus content and mini-games adding to its replay value. Yoshi’s Island: Super Mario Advance 3 successfully captures the essence of the original while enhancing it for the handheld experience, solidifying its place as a beloved entry in the GBA library.

8. Final Fantasy VI

Final Fantasy VI title card and artwork

©Final Fantasy VI Pixel Remaster key art - Original

  • Release Date: February 5, 2007
  • Metascore: 92 (Universal Acclaim)

When you take on the best RPGs of all time and port it to the Game Boy Advance of course it’s going to become one of the best games on the handheld. Final Fantasy VI is loved for many reasons. Its rich narrative, complex characters, and intricate gameplay systems are only a few. The GBA version of this iconic RPG retains the depth of the original SNES classic while also adding new content for fans to discover.

The game’s story explores themes of rebellion, loss, and redemption and is driven by one of the most diverse Square Enix casts. It doesn’t matter what you play this title on. Final Fantasy VI is an experience that continues to steal the hearts of handheld gamers all over.

7. Metroid Fusion

Metroid Fusion gameplay

©Metroid Fusion gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date: November 17, 2002
  • Metascore: 92 (Universal Acclaim)

The Metroid franchise is one of Nintendo’s most underrated IPs. Metroid Fusion is one of the best games in the series. The sequel to Super Metroid, Metroid Fusion builds on the series’ renowned exploration-based platforming while introducing a more linear narrative. Gamers looking for one of the best Metroidvanias you can play owe themself a playthrough of Metroid Fusion.

The game has some of the best graphics on the console, as well as interesting challenging boss battles complemented by responsive tight controls. Metroid Fusion is a standout title and a favorite among fans of the franchise.

6. Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2

©Super Mario World Super Mario Advance 2 Box Art

  • Release Date: February 9, 2002
  • Metascore: 92 (Universal Acclaim)

Super Mario World is a top 50 game ever. So of course its ports would land on a list like this one. Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 is simply timeless. You could boot it up on pretty much anything today and enjoy a game that outshines modern titles. The game features vibrant graphics and a catchy soundtrack that taps into that 90s nostalgia.

The title was released with some enhancements unique to it. Such as the ability to play as Luigi a character with distinct physics and new voice clips. Luigi was technically playable in the original SNES version but he was just a recolor of Mario’s sprite. With its expansive world map, secret paths, and numerous power-ups, Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2 offers immense replay value and a polished gaming experience that continues to be a benchmark for platformers.

5. Advance Wars

©Advance Wars Box Art

  • Release Date: September 9, 2001
  • Metascore: 92 (Universal Acclaim)

One of thebest Nintendo DS titles has a prequel on the Game Boy Advance. Advance Wars is just as good as the DS title and is widely regarded as one of the best Game Boy Advance games. This franchise is known for its strategic depth and engaging gameplay. Players command a variety of units across diverse battlefields, requiring thoughtful planning and adaptation to different terrain and enemy strategies. Very similar to the Fire Emblem series.

Advance Wars’ intuitive controls and perfect balance ensure that both newcomers and veterans of the genre can find a rewarding challenge. Those who love strategy or combat that feels like chess will adore this series. That being said those who just want a great story can find that here too. Advance Wars is one of the best.

4. Mario Kart: Super Circuit

©Mario Kart Super Circuit Box Art

  • Release Date: August 26, 2001
  • Metascore: 93 (Universal Acclaim)

As the first handheld entry in the Mario Kart series, this title had big shoes to fill. It succeeds flawlessly in bringing competitive racing action to the portable format. Everything there is to love about the Mario Kart series can be found in the handheld version. The game features vibrant tracks, tight and responsive controls, and a smooth and enjoyable racing experience.

The game even has multiplayer though it requires the Game Boy Advance link cable. It isn’t easy making a series as bombastic as Mario Kart work on much weaker hardware. However, Mario Kart: Super Circuit is not only a great Kart Racer but a great game overall.

3. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

Super Mario Advance 4 gameplay

©Nintendo Co., Ltd. - Original

  • Release Date: October 21, 2003
  • Metascore: 94 (Universal Acclaim)

The Game Boy Advance library is carried by its phenomenal ports of previous Nintendo titles. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3 is a port of the critically acclaimed NES classic, it retains the original’s engaging gameplay while enhancing it with updated graphics and sound for the GBA. Players who opted for this version over the original can play brand-new levels.

The port enhancements don’t end there either, Super Mario Advance 4 also has new power-ups. Even if you’ve played the original there are a lot of new things to see and experience in the GBA port. The quality of life changes this port brought make the game worth it for any fan of Mario.

2. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2

©Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 GBA BOX ART

  • Release Date: October 25, 2000
  • Metascore: 91 (Universal Acclaim)

Everyone loves the Tony Hawk Pro Skater series. Well, most of them. No one could have expected the phenomenal Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 to translate so well to Game Boy Advance. This title perfectly captures the essence and the fun factor of the other versions. Everything from the roster of professional skaters, customization options, and the complex trick mechanics made it into this handheld port.

The GBA version of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 even included a Park Editor allowing players to create and share skate parks. This title pushed the hardware to its absolute limits and will go down in history as one of the greatest games ever made.

1. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past / Four Swords

A Link to the Past gameplay

©Gameplay screenshot - Original

  • Release Date: December 3, 2002
  • Metascore: 95 (Universal Acclaim)

It really feels like the Game Boy Advance was more so a sequel to the Super Nintendo with how many great ports were released for the console. TheLegend of Zelda: A Link to the Past is a Nintendo fan favorite. The Game Boy Advance port is a faithful port that follows the same pattern as the previous entries on this list.

This title brought new content and other quality-of-life changes — one major change being the implementation of quick saving. On top of being a phenomenal port of A Link to the Past, the port also includes Four Swords, an entirely new multiplayer Zelda title. If you haven’t played A Link to the Past then search no further. This is the best way to play, and the best game on the Game Boy Advance.

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