Originally released in 2001 the Gameboy Advance was an extraordinary device that really took off with all the gusto of shooting star. The game library was excellent the visuals were detailed fun and quirky. Nintendo still has the majority of the game library under lock and key though (fingers crossed for GBA to be added to NSO) so if you want to indulge in these games your best bet is to look up collections on the eShopm use original hardware or purchase an emulation handheld. Check out the Miyoo mini or Anbernic RG351p to get something that can give you a bit of that retro gaming fix. You can always turn to P.C. emulation to if you don’t mind being tied down.
#10 Mother 3
Fans of the earthbound series probably know of Mother 3 but for those of you who don’t: Mother 3 is the third installment in the series. It never left the Island of Japan, unfortunately.
However, fans of the series got together and painstakingly translated it. So with a handy bit of software, you can patch the original game to the English version and finally enjoy one of the most critically acclaimed JRPGs. This top-down explorative turn-based masterpiece is filled with quirky characters and cute sprites. However, the story is anything but cutesy. I’m hesitant to say anything more regarding the story than that. The gameplay is smooth and the fight scenes are fun to navigate and replay (it’s pretty tough). There are even fun mechanics like a rhythm-based attack. Where if you press the button in time with the music you might land multiple attacks. This is just one of a host of unique little details that belong to this game.
#9 Pokemon Leaf Green/ Fire red
One of the first Pokemon games I’ve ever played, Pokemon Leaf Green was an absolutely wonderful foray into the world of pokemon. Having played the other offerings subsequently I find that early offerings in the franchise can feel a bit needlessly tedious and fetch-questy. However, this is not so with Leaf Green. Players acquire running shoes fairly early on and from there you get your hands on a bike. Then you are speed and you truly own the countryside. This is a wonderful offering to the franchise. As pokemon games haven’t changed much I can recommend this one as a great way to visualize the somewhat original medium and enjoy the nostalgia while seeing all of the original pokemon we remember so fondly.
#8 Good boy Galaxy
Good boy Galaxy is an upcoming game for the GBA, Nintendo and PC. You read that right, an upcoming game for the Gameboy Advance. Let’s get one thing clear, there’s only a demo available at the moment. However, it’s a great way to spend an hour or two and more if you’re willing to dig into it and uncover the secret areas or meet the hidden characters. This cute Metroidvania is a great action puzzle platformer. The artwork is excellent and the controls feel tight. I can’t recommend it more highly. I am eagerly waiting for this one to release so I can snag myself a copy.
#7 Castlevania Aria of Sorrow
Few games have received quite so much praise and fanfare as Castlevania Aria of Sorrow. A game that defined tight platforming and Metroidvania action. I am often amazed at the sheer enormity of the map in these games and it seems there’s always something new to explore or a better weapon or loadout to try and improve your stats and abilities. The game has an interesting way of telling its story that pushes players to explore and uncover what really is afoot in the fabled castle Dracula. If you haven’t played it then do, and if you have played it then play it again!
#6 Wario Land 4
Mario’s childhood rival is back in this Super Mario meets puzzle platformer wacky mashup of worlds. Wario games have always been so and this one is no different. This game benefts significantly from being on the Gameboy Advance hardware. The sprite work is fun and colorful the environments are detailed. The game pushes players to think outside of the box or to even set it alight. This fun wacky world will have you chuckling to yourself as you uncover secrets and solve puzzles as a loud obnoxious Italian antihero.
#5 Sonic Advance 3
One of the original games that I had on my Gameboy Advance. I loved it then as I do now. Nostalgia aside, this game pushes players to explore the world at the typical Sonic breakneck speed. However, it differs somewhat in that your friends are ever present to help you solve puzzles and take on the wicked Dr. Egg Man. The multiple playable characters mean that there’s a character for each play style. As a child I discoverd a cheat code combination on the start-up screen that unlocks all of the characters. So, mash buttons when you boot it up. There’s something special about figuring out how to jimmy the system and start from the first level by busting foes up with Knuckles.
#4 Kirby Nightmare in Dreamland
Kirby games have seen a resurgence in recent years. Nintendo seems to finally be giving Kirby the recognition He deserves. Kirby Nightmare in dreamland is a more traditional Kirby game however the artwork sets itself apart from the rest in my book. The gameplay is slightly more difficult than other Kirby games which a welcome change as now it presents a slightly more fun challenge. Kirby games are routinely critiqued for being too easy. This is a great game for a quick casual pickup and play sessions. As always Kirby is cute and finds a way to be equally tough too!
#3 Megaman Zero Mission
Megaman Zero Mission is a beautiful game with awesom detial environments, an engaging story and some interesting new mechanics that spice up the original forumla. It’s amazingly difficult but in a good way. Zero mission sees you return as one of the penultimate warriors in the Megaman franchise. Zero, however, you’ve suffered somewhat and must work to regain your faculties. There is a great progression to this game has you advance your weapons and find your optimal loadout. The boss fights will have you wailing in rage as you try again and again to kill that sucker. This is an excellent game and it definitely deserves your attention! While I may want to quit at times I always come back to help Zero out. After all, who doesn’t love a challenge?
#2 The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap
This criminally underrated game is a cute top-down Zelda offering. The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap is one of the prettiest Gameboy Advance games that have ever graced the console. This is a typical Zelda game, with great character progression, several collectible items and an awesome story. As with any of the games in this series, the specifics of the story are unique and detailed and you’ll likely find yourself coming back for more. This game incorporates a never before seen mechanic in the Zelda series in which the player shrinks down to interact with a mystical microscopic world. This beautiful offering into the Zelda franchise has a lot of unique characters and is a great game to play while you wait for the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom.
#1 Metroid Fusion
Metroid games are famously regarded as time sinks. Massive maps with hidden secrets and no small share of foes trying to snuff Samus Aran out of existence. Unfortunately, in the modern age folks are a little less patient or might not have the time to sink their teeth into a Metroid game. Metroid fusion is an excellent entry into the series that guides you across the map without actually telling you where to be. There are a vast array of weapons to find and unlock, technical abilities, a variety of foes and a whole host of secrets to uncover. The controls are excellent, the art style is gorgeous. The progression is awesome and I found myself sad to call it finished.
That’s a wrap on the top ten games I feel are worth playing or replaying in 2022. There are more that deserve attention but maybe we’ll include them in a future update. So be sure to check back in a while.