Still a fan of the handheld console of Game Boy Advance by Nintendo? Well, it is the time that you should know about the best GBA games. Actually, you do not have to have a real console as in today’s world with the evolution of technology, you can easily play these games with the help of GBA emulator.
30 Best GBA Games of All Time
If you are still wondering that what are the top games which you can play on this console then do not worry because I have a wonderful solution for you. I picked out some of the best games which can be played on GBA console belonging to various genres and types. You can explore the full list provided right below.
1. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
How can someone even forget this extremely popular game series ever? Counted amongst the best GBA games ever, The Minish Cap is the 12th installment in Zelda series. It is an action adventure game which was released in 2004.
If you know the previous story of Four Swords then you would be glad to know that The Minish Cap serves as its prequel.
You are supposed to play the role of the protagonist named Link. You are set out on a quest for which you need to navigate through some dungeons and each of which rewards you with some enhancements. It is important to defeat each dungeon’s boss in order to come out as winner.
To keep the player entertained enough, these are some side quests available in the game too.
2. Metal Slug Advance
As the name reveals a lot about the theme of this game, it is a run and gun video game developed by Noise Factory. There is no doubt in this fact that it is one of the best Gameboy Advance games which was released in 2004.
The game belongs to coveted Metal Slug series and the only game in which Marco Rossi does not feature as a playable character.
There are two protagonist option as either Ryan or Tyra Elson who is a new recruit and need to survive on an unnamed island. Throughout the game, the player needs to take care of life bar which depletes when player gets hurt and card system where the player requires to collect strategically placed cards in the gaming world.
3. Boktai: The Sun is in Your Hand
Boktai is a Japanese action adventure game released as Our Sun in Japan. The game also involves the element of role-playing in it and released in 2003.
The player is supposed to take the role of Django in it who is a vampire hunter. The main weapon of the player is going to be a type of solar gun which emits sunlight on enemies in order to kill them.
Surely quite different in terms of concept from other best GBA games enlisted here. The game also runs on real-time basis which means the time set by you initially determines sunset and sunrise in the game. The combat in the game is stealth based and the additional sound and visual effects in the game makes it more realistic.
4. Pokemon Emerald Version
Pokemon has various versions and here I am talking about the Emerald one. The game is an enhanced version of third installment of Pokemon game series called Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire. It is a role-playing game and set up in overhead perspective.
As everyone knows Pokemon is one of the most popular and amongst the best GBA games, this is why I enlisted it here.
The player is going to take up the role of a Pokemon trainer who needs to discover various Pokemon and use them in order to challenge other trainers. You can switch the game between surfing to battle arena version easily. There are Pokemon stats provided which should be taken care of in order to survive in the game.
5. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Pro Skater 2 is the second installment of this skateboarding game series by Tony Hawk. Interestingly, the game is available for various other consoles too and firstly released in 2000.
This next option for the list of best GBA games is actually one of the highest rated sports video game ever. The game can be operated in both single player as well as multiplayer modes and the player needs to take up the role of a professional skateboarder in the game.
The player needs to complete various tasks in the game which brings rewards and in-game cash. When cash is collected, player can use it for buying various skills, tricks and improved versions of skateboards in the game. The game also features the option for character customization too.
6. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
You cannot deny the fact at all that Mario is amongst the top GBA games. This is why I mentioned this first and all-time favorite game in the Mario & Luigi RPG series. It is a role-playing game which released in 2003.
The game setting starts from the usual mushroom kingdom which further moves towards Beanbean kingdom only. According to the theme of the game, the main antagonist Cackletta steals Princess Peach’s voice and now Mario and Luigi needs to bring it back.
The game is staged in the form of some quests which are time bound. With the help of elaborated attacks the game keeps the entertainment quotient high. The game is the 12th most popular GBA game of all time.
7. Final Fight
Final Fight is different from most of the best GBA games mentioned here mainly because of its side-scrolling approach. Developed and published by Capcom, Final Fight comes under the genre of Beat-’em-up and released in 1989.
The plot of the game is set in a fictional metro city and player can pick either from the three roles which are mayor and former wrestler Mike Hagger, Mike’s daughter’s boyfriend Cody or his best friend Guy.
Now, the player needs to complete the task of saving Mayor’s daughter Jessica from Mad Gear Gang. There are various attacks and fighting styles included and player needs to keep up with the Health bar throughout. Attacking styles can be controlled through eight-way joystick and two buttons.
8. Kirby and the Amazing Mirror
Next one in the list of best GBA games is Kirby and the Amazing Mirror which is an adventure based game. This platformer kind of game is available in both single-player and multiplayer modes.
Just like other Kirby games, player needs to take up the role of Kirby in this game as well. The game is set in the theme of maze layout and the entire gaming world is branched out which leads the protagonist into different directions.
The player keeps on moving forward with world exploration and also completes quest by defeating enemies and collecting items. Kirby needs to collect all the parts of a mirror in order to win the game and the continuous encounters of sub-boss and boss provides the parts.
9. Dragon Ball Z: Buu’s Fury
Buu’s Fury is the third and final installment of much-coveted Dragon Ball game series and surely deserves to be in the category of top 10 GBA games.
Released in 2004, it is an action role-playing game developed by Webfoot Technologies. The game focuses on the battle with Majin Buu and hence the name of the game arises. You are going to see various new elements in the game including equipment too.
The game moves forward with different levels completion and there are some stats allocated too. Player also have the choice to be played as Goku, Goten, Vegeta, Gohan or Kid Trunks and each one having different skills. There are some fusion choices available too which are unlocked as you move further in the game.
10. Advance Wars
This is the time to move to some tactics based best GBA games with Advance Wars. This turn-based game is developed by Intelligent Systems and released in 2001. Being the first and most popular game in the series, it can be played in both single-player and multiplayer modes.
The player’s goal in the game is to defeat the enemy army forces either by destroying their units or by captivating their headquarters.
You can use the map to locate the enemies where some of them have special objectives too which are quite like completing side quests. Some of the modes in the game are Field Training mode, Campaign Mode, War Room mode and the multiplayer mode, each one having different objectives to complete.
11. Metroid Fusion
An action adventure game by genre, Metroid Fusion is the fourth game in Metroid series and it was released in 2002. Being an excellent pick for the category of best GBA games, Metroid Fusion also won so many awards too.
The player is supposed to control the character of Samus Aran in the game who is going to explore around in an open-ended platform shooter theme based world.
Samus needs to go through various regions of the gaming world which are connected through elevators. The player keeps on solving puzzles in order to uncover the secrets of the game and proceeds further. The game is more centered towards storyline and hence moves forwards in a linear and organized way as compared to other such games.
12. Contra Advance: The Alien Wars EX
It is the time to mention everyone’s favorite Contra Advance for the list of best GBA games. The Alien Wars EX is the third console based installment of Contra series and focused on the theme of run and gun. The game is developed and published by Konami and released in 1992.
The plot is set in the futuristic world of 2636 where aliens starts a war against the humans on Earth. It can be played in both single-player and multiplayer modes.
Apart from continuously operating a gun, players can grab on to poles, climb walls and interact with another player too. The complexities are also increased and the entire game is divided into levels which are of completely new styles as compared to the previous installments.
13. Car Battler Joe
Although not as popular as other best GBA games enlisted here, Car Battler Joe still makes a decent option for this list. It is a car battling game developed by Ancient and released in 2001. The game includes the elements of action and role-playing too.
Being a vehicular combat based game, it includes action styles battles between cars operated by different players.
The player is supposed to take up the role of 16 years old Joe in it who needs to earn money by battling with other cars in order to buy parts to upgrade his own vehicle. However, visuals are not that impressive and the combat takes place in 16 bit mode 7 style. The game is available for both single player and multiplayer gaming sessions.
14. Grand Theft Auto Advance (GTA)
There is no doubt that the Gameboy version of Grand Theft Auto is one of the best GBA games of all time and played on a very large scale too. It is an action adventure game which was released in 2004 and the cover art and promotional material is same as the normal version of the game.
In GBA it is played from top-down perspective and the plot is set in Liberty City. You as a player is going to take up the role of a small-time criminal Mike in the game.
Much like other GTA games, it is also primarily based on exploration by Mike. There are some side quests available and the weapons are also improved in this version.
15. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
Third and final installment of Castlevania game series, Aria of Sorrow is a side-scrolling game based on the theme of action-adventure and also includes the element of role-playing in it.
Considered as one of the most popular and best GBA games, Aria of Sorrow was released in 2003. The plot of this game is set in the year 2035 and the player takes up the role of Soma Cruz.
The game is set from third person perspective and divided into various levels. Whenever the experience points of player increases above a set number the level of the game is also increased. Other points are hit points, magic points, strength, intelligence and various others. There are variety of attacks and weapons available too.
16. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Just like Tactics Ogre, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a tactical role-playing game made for GBA console. It is a spin-off of FF series and was released in 2003.
The game distinguishes itself from other best GBA games regarding their variety of characters and grid-like battlefields theme. Before the game starts, player can customize their character through classes, skills, stats, abilities etc.
The player takes the role of Marche who is a clan leader who needs to lead everyone in order to complete the given missions. The game takes place in a 3D isometric field and in turn based play, the player needs to compete with the computer’s team.
17. Mega Man Zero 2
This is the time to utilize best Gameboy Emulator to play the second installment of Mega Man Zero series. The game is a mixture of various genres and gaming styles like action-adventure, hack and slash, gun and run and also includes the elements of platform and RPG in it.
The game runs a side-scrolling perspective where player takes control of the character named Zero who needs to fight with forces of Neo Arcadia and also lead through various quests of the game too.
Mainly oriented towards battle, MMZ 2 has a better implementation of weapons in it and the functions of buttons remains the same. However, the game lacks interconnection between its various stages which were a prime element in other installments.
18. Wario Land 4
Not to be confused with Mario, Wario Land 4 is different in concept and this is a type of platform game which can be played in single-player mode only.
Being an excellent option for the list of best GBA games, the game features the protagonist Wario who needs to collect 4 treasures. These treasures are important to unlock a pyramid which saves Princess Shokora from evil The Golden Diva.
Well, quite like Mario in plot, the game proceeds with linear plot and 2D graphics further. The gaming world is kind of open-ended and also offers higher level of difficulty when compared to its previous installments. There are total 18 levels in the game and each one demands a treasure to be collected in order to move to another level.
19. Naruto Ninja Council 2
A Japanese game is something you can’t miss to mention in this list of best GBA games. This Japanese action video game, Naruto Ninja Council 2 is based on the popular anime and manga series Naruto and was released in 2004.
The game is side-scrolling in approach where player needs to fight with enemy ninja in order to keep on proceeding to new levels. With beat them up genre, the game can be played in both single-player and multiplayer modes.
The game starts with similar anime levels and plots and when you start to gain some continuity the proceeds and unlocks new features which are different from manga and anime series. There are some side-levels which can be used for gaining special powers and abilities.
20. Golden Sun
Golden Sun is the first installment of Golden Sun series and this action role-playing game was released in 2001. The game is quite diverse in its approach and offers control over four character which is quite a distinctive feature of tactics based RPGs.
So, here the player is going to control four adepts who needs to save the world of Weyard from a destructive power called Alchemy.
The game runs in a quest like an approach which is a typical feature of other best GBA games too. The theme is fantasy based and you need to fight with monsters which in return yields you powerful abilities and equipment too.
21. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Since Zelda is the most popular game series ever, so I could not resist mentioning another installment of it as one of the best GBA games ever. This action adventure game is the 3rd installment of Zelda series and released in 1991.
Just like the rest of the Zelda games, player is going to take up the role of the protagonist Link and this time he is set on a mission to save Hyrule and needs to defeat Ganon for this.
The game uses an overhead perspective theme, and you are going to see new implements in the game as well. There are new equipment added and some magical elements are also added. The sword moments are also highlighted and improved very well.
22. Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith
Based on the blockbuster movie of the same name, Revenge of the Sith is an action based and very versatile game available for various consoles other than GBA.
You can take up the role of either Obi-Wan Kenobi or Anakin Skywalker when in single player mode and the plot features the scenario of clone wars coming to an end. The game is staged in the form of different missions and reminds you of various moments from the game as well.
There are total 17 levels in the game and it also features lightsaber combat mode too. This is one of my most recommended pick in the category of best GBA games for sure. The attack tactics are quite interesting and effective too.
23. Tactics Ogre: The Knight of the Lodis
One of the most popular tactics based game, The Knight of the Lodis is counted amongst the top Gameboy Advance games. The game is also infused with the element of role-playing in it and was released in 2001.
The plot is set in an isometric playing field where party-based combat is features along with the element of tactical approach and RPG. The game also gives you character choice which differs from each other on the basis of skills and abilities.
However, there are some limitations associated with this game too. The exploration quotient is less and the main focus lays on combat only. The player starts with an army of 6 units which can be increased up to 32 later on. The classic field and class combat remain the highlight of the game throughout.
24. Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure
The Huge Adventure is a type of platform game based on the theme of action and adventure. It is the 7th installment of Crash Bandicoot series which was released in 2002.
What makes it a part of the list of best GBA games is the interesting plot of this game. The player take up the role of protagonist Crash Bandicoot who needs to fight against antagonist Doctor Cortex who has shrunk the earth.
The gameplay demands the player to collect crystals spread throughout the gaming world to power a device which can transform the Earth into its original shape. There are total of 20 crystals and the game proceeds in level like approach where each hub has five levels and a boss level.
25. Spider-Man: Mysterio’s Menace
And finally the last one in the series of best GBA games is Mysterio’s Menace which is based on the Marvel character Spider-Man. The game is developed by Vicarious Visions and released in 2001.
It is a type of action game available in single player gaming mode. The game features spiderman fighting against various villains who are led by Master of illusion, Mysterio.
Mysterio’s Menace runs in stage like manner and has total of 7 stages in it and a boss in each one. The game has Mysterio as the final boss and the player can choose between 3 stages to start the game with. There are typical spider man elements included like web swings, punches, kicks and other attacking tactics.
26. Super Mario World
Yet another installation from the Super Mario franchise is the Super Mario World. It sold like hot potatoes and is the best-selling SNES game till date. Totaling upto 96 levels and 7 worlds the game truly was extensive.
Even though the gameplay was similar to other Mario games, it did bring with itself the new superpowers of flying or floating (for short duration).
The game also is a lot more liberal, letting you take more than one routes to reach your destination. This also was the first time players were introduced to Yoshi, it did soon become my best friend; despite being the enormous dinosaur that it was.
Its friends too are kidnapped by the villain, Bowser; and that is why Mario and the Dinosaur align their goals together.
In current-world scenario, it was pretty much Thor’s hammer, capable of nailing down anything that comes its way although it too wasn’t permanent and had to be “maintained” per say in order to be useful.
If you’re someone like me who looks for the shorter route to the goal, the game features secret routes and hidden worlds which not only make you reach your goals faster, but also change the game’s aesthetics (colours and looks) permanently.
27. Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire
If you loved the Pokemon Emerald version, you’re bound to love this one. Ruby and Sapphire is actually the first installment to which the Emerald version becomes a successor to.
The Ruby and Sapphire version also is the first installment to Pokemon’s “advanced generation” games which later got developed.
Like most other games this too is a TPP (Third Person Perspective) game although the camera isn’t behind the person and is rather overhead as was natural in those good ol’ days.
What this game brings with itself for the first times is the “dual-combat” feature. It’s what let the users use two Pokemon simultaneously during battle. It also introduced for the first time “Abilities” and “nature” for Pokemon.
The primary goal of the game is defeating gym leaders which lets the player take up battles with stronger, higher-up opponents.
Although because of some technical difficulties (or maybe an intended feature) this specific version of Pokemon didn’t have the ability to be paired or linked up with previous versions from the Franchise.
By the end, the player obtains 202 Pokemon, although if you trade with Firered and Leafgreen (other installments from the Franchise) players can obtain all the 306 Pokemon.
As far as user response went, the game was titled “10th best GBA game of all time” in an IGN article. (seems to have earned its spot on this list, hasn’t it?)
28. Drill Dozer
Stolen gifts from dead people are a motive for revenge in quite a few movies of our times, aren’t they? Well the Drill Dozer plot too resembles the same.
There’s a red diamond, a gift from our hero’s (Jill’s) mother to her father, and she has to retrieve it. That’s basically what the whole game is about.
The game has 17 levels in total, while the basic game-mechanics are extremely simple, use the Drill in various ways to kill your enemies. Simple.
Although there can be said to be a hidden message in the finale battle. When fighting Croog, the Drill Dozer breaks up and the only way to defeat the boss is to use your own fists. Which may imply that all the technical advancements are cool, but at the end its we who help ourselves.
It wasn’t always known as Drill Dozer but had a launch-name: Screw Breaker. The “Drill” in the game isn’t a mere weapon or a tool, rather the developers tried to create an emotional, human connection between it and the players.
Hence there’s a scene where the Drill takes on the quest of finding Jill on its own. Also, Jill’s game is directly connected to the Dozer’s health, if it runs out of health it’s game over!
29. Mother 3
Psychic abilities, save the world from being destroyed! That’s Mother 3 in a nutshell. It’s the final installment in the series, and hence in my personal experience is the most exciting.
For a game series that’s been in development for over 12 years, it doesn’t disappoint. It also resembles many modern-day games in the sense that you could interact with NPCs (Non-playing characters) and trade/obtain items.
The player can control not just one single character, rather a party of players. Like almost all RPGs since then, till date, killing enemies and emerging victorious grants users more health points for future battles, better fighting as well as defense skills/points.
The game spans over 8 chapters in total, more of the storyline being revealed in each. The graphics of the game were ahead of its time. If you’ve played Stardew Valley (a modern, recently launched game) you’d notice striking similarities between it and the GBA version of Mother 3!
Because the game wasn’t officially released outside Japan, Starmen.net privately released an English, Fan-version. The nomenclature of the game is extremely interesting. One of its characters is named “Yokuba” which means “Greed”. The fan-version kept this tradition, and even when renaming the characters used similar practices.
It was Japan’s bestseller for quite a bit of time, selling over 200,000 games in less than a week after its release!
30. Astro Boy: Omega Factor
Astro Boy Omega factor is another Japanese GBA game, which was also later released in North America and Europe. The main character, Astro Boy is a kind of a robot (or looks like one) who is able to fly, kick and punch enemies.
The game mechanics was exciting (at that time), for e.g. when I hit an enemy with the right timing and some other factors, the enemy would fly and hit another enemy hence killing two enemies for me at once.
As the game progresses, the character becomes stronger and better. Some of his abilities are flying, and a special-attack which could be performed every once in a while.
The game features over 20 characters in the game, all of which aid or help Astro in one way or other, or just effect the game in some way. It even features animals! There’s a rabbit, a duck and a horse (I’ve forgotten the names of these though).
You love nature? Beautiful aesthetics? Eye-candies? This game has got them all. The looks and backgrounds were one of the most praised elements in the game. The storyline is grasping as well, there’s time-travel at the core of it!
In a nutshell, it totally deserves a place in this list of best GBA games even today, and for all eternity.
31. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
I won’t insult the popularity of the Harry Potter series trying to explain what it is. This however was the last game from the series to be launched for the PlayStation.
Majority of the gameplay is about attending classes just like in the Movie or the book. That’s fitting considering how it’s only the second installment in the series, and Harry still needs to learn his spells.
Most of these spells once learned, have to be mastered in a challenge by Harry (the character). What amused me most was the relevance of the challenges to the actual story-line of the movie/book. If you’re a Harry Potter fan, it’s essentially alike living the story to quite an extent.
My personal favorite has always been the “Flying Lesson 1” mission, who doesn’t like the first time they get to fly, right?
The game also released for a number of other consoles such as PlayStation, Xbox, Windows, Gamebox, OSX etc. I did notice slight differences in the versions though, additional parts of the map, mini games and more sync with previous versions in some than others.
Another appealing feature of the game, atleast to me was that most missions/items/collectibles aren’t one-shot. Meaning, we can go back (not always, but mostly) and redo said mission.
32. Metroid Fusion
If you’re into science-fiction, space and aliens, Metroid Fusion is right up your alley. It did also win Best GBA Adventure Game award and Best Action Game on GBA from IGN and Gamespot respectively.
The storyline of the game is no less than a movie, infact that’s one of the primary elements which personally connected me to Samus, the protagonist. Being attacked by parasitic organisms which can clone physical appearances, gaining supernatural abilities, double-crosses by organizations you trust it does squeeze the attention out of the players.
The gameplay however was basic (by today’s standards) but pretty impressive for its time. It featured a 2D, Side-scrolling controls. There were powerups, secrets to unlock, and a computer which was more a friend than a machine!
And the fact that Samus is impervious to almost everything except the ice-ray/gun because of mutated genes gives the game a chilly feeling.
The gameplay would run for around 12-15 hours for aggressive players, however easily a week for more controlled beings. Financially, it hit a number of milestones. By November 2002 it was the 10th best-selling game on all platforms, and did a business of over $30Million USD in its first 5 years of release!
33. Harvest Moon: Friends of Mineral Town
If you’ve played Stardew Valley, you should have a basic concept of Harvest Moon. Infact, when Stardew Valley game out I was astonished as the concept was astonishingly similar to this game which I had played nearly a decade ago! Even if you’ve played Minecraft, some similarities could be found.
Taking a break from most of the action-adventure genres above, as the name suggests this instead is a “Farming game. The story is pretty intriguing by itself, a lost child, found by a farmer, leaves his will after his death to this child.
This child is the character controlled by the player, who then inherits the farm and begins his farm-life. Most aspects of an actual farm-life is captured in detail by the game. The player needs to clear weed, plant crops, water them, sell crops, fish, make money and so on.
The inclusion of “animals/livestock” further adds to the interest. The player can rear livestock and even have a “social life“! Marrying and having a baby are not sky-castles and rather are indeed possibilities in the game. Bewitched tools, a church which can free the tools of the curse and the ability to obtain and upgrade items are among some other possibilities. Let’s not forget that this game was released in 2004, and for its time the gameplay was more than overwhelming.
All in all, if you needed a game on the lighter note without compromising on any of the immersive experience offered by those action games, this totally is even worth a try (even today!)
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Feeling excited? Well, you should be because it is the time to either grab that GBA console or use the GBA emulator to play these games all night long. Ditch the High Definition, amazing visualized games for a while and enjoy something which deeper approach and the fun is guaranteed too.
I am sure you are going to love this change and these best GBA games are instantly going to become your favorites. Also, some of the games are available on other operating systems too so check them out right away and start playing.