The 8 Best Game Boy Advance Games of 2019

You don't have to be a 90s kid to enjoy this classic handheld

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You can thank the Game Boy for creating the mobile gaming industry. When that little handheld system first launched in 1989 it would sell only 40,000 units in the United States on its first day, but by the end of its run in the late 90s, more than 118.7 million Game Boys were sold around the world. The Game Boy Advance — the last “Game Boy” in the product family, would release in 2001, bringing to the table portable gaming with similar power and graphics akin to the Super Nintendo. Upon launch, was the fastest-selling video game console in America, and it would see later iterations with fold out models similar to the original Game Boy design, even coming out with a micro version you can fit in the palm of your hand.

To this day, the Game Boy Advance (GBA) holds up. If you don’t have time for gaming and find mobile phone games too boring or predictable, the GBA can keep you company with many diverse titles you’ll love and can sit down with for hours on end.

Below are the best Game Boy Advance games of all time, and whether you’re a 90s kid or not, you will find a game to love. Among the list of games are replicated ported titles for the Super Nintendo that may strike a nostalgic chord, games that redefined the industry with interactive controls and unexplored genres and even games that were never supposed to exist. The Game Boy Advance can even play all your original Game Boy and Game Boy Color games, making its library one of the biggest for any handheld gaming console in existence. So take a peek below to find the best Game Boy Advance Games to purchase today.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: WarioWare: Twisted!

WarioWare: Twisted! is the most addicting game on the list, and perhaps, the best Game Boy Advance game ever. It builds on the foundation of making a game fun and simple: WarioWare: Twisted! is packed with 200 microgames in a sequence that lasts only a few seconds and require you to rotate your Game Boy Advance or just press the A button. That’s it.

The game cartridge has a built-in gyro sensor that detects when you tilt your Game Boy Advance sideways, so you may run into a game where you need to pilot an airplane, adjust someone’s earmuffs or stay still as an egg to avoid breaking. WarioWare: Twisted! is categorized as a puzzle game, and with its various game modes, nonsensical humorous story plot, and innovative gameplay mechanics (that won it numerous awards) it makes it to the top of our list.

Best for Strategy: Advance Wars

The thinking person’s game, Advance Wars, is a turn-based tactics video game where players command an army of different units they build up and wage war with against other armies. Considered to be one of the best games of all time, Advance Wars’ success changed Nintendo’s attitude about Western gamers’ taste for genres, ultimately relieving a thirst in America where gamers have a history of love for strategy war games such as Command & Conquer and Starcraft.

Advance Wars is just as addicting other games on this list, but in a different way. It builds on delayed gratification by rewarding players for planning ahead by building and controlling units on grid-based maps while battling enemies, moving around obstacles and capturing neutral buildings or their foe's abodes. Different units such as helicopters, tanks and mech robots have unique strengths and weaknesses that can counterbalance each other in combat. Best of all, if you have a cable link for your GBA, you and three other friends (with just one game pack) can fight each other, so you can finally settle the score over who the best war tactician is.

Best Mario: Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island

Okay, it’s a port of Yoshi’s Island for the Super Nintendo, but Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island is a redefining platform side-scrolling game where players get to control Yoshi who carries a baby Mario and is set on reuniting him with his brother Luigi. The game’s coloring book aesthetic, puzzle-solving/item-collecting gameplay and fun abilities (throwing eggs, flutter jumping and transforming into vehicles) make it a charming Mario game unlike any other.

Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island contains 48 levels across six worlds, having you traverse flower field-filled lands and chippy rocky mountains on escalating carousels while battling enemies such as carnivorous plants with teeth and even stoic caterpillars. Players can project their long dinosaur tongue, eating less-imposing enemies and digesting them into eggs that can be thrown at other enemies. Yoshi’s Island has a unique life system: You don’t die, but if you get hit by an enemy, you lose baby Mario in a floating bubble and only have 30 seconds to retrieve him until he’s kidnapped and you lose.

Best for Racing: Mario Kart Super Circuit

It just wouldn’t be a list of great Nintendo games without Mario Kart on the board, and Mario Kart Super Circuit brings all the joys of the classic racer with over forty different tracks and eight characters. The best racing game for Game Boy Advance is also one of the best multiplayer games, where you and three other friends can race together using a single game cartridge and a cable link.

Mario Kart Super Circuit blends together the original Super Mario Kart game for SNES and Mario Kart 64 to make an exciting handheld 2D racer. The game includes unlockable tracks with a Time Trial mode to practice your lap speed times and a Grand Prix that acts as the main game where you compete in a championship against other AI players.

Biggest Fanbase: Mother 3

Mother 3 for the Game Boy Advance is considered one of the most controversial and popular game series (called Earthbound in America) for Nintendo with endless theories about its dark undertones, a 12-year development and a dedicated fan base that amassed over 30,000 signatures for an American release. The game never officially left outside Japan, but that didn’t stop fans from making an English translation, reproducing the game (a big no-no for Nintendo) and Nintendo…just allowing it.

What is Mother 3? It’s an overhead, 2D, turn-based, role-playing style game with a story akin to a moving Spielberg movie; a well written, cartoony but serious plot about a young psychic boy who joins a party of diverse characters (a cowboy and a princess, to name a few) who are fated to stop an evil cabal from corrupting and destroying the world.

Players control four different characters, each with their own special powers and abilities, fighting enemies such as unethical lab made chimeras, malevolent inter-dimensional beings and even a men’s room sign. Sounds weird? Part of Mother 3’s appeal is not just charming graphics, unforgettable characters and a catchy soundtrack, but a game that takes on a life of its own due to its boundless imagination met with heart. When you finish it, you will cry.

Best Run & Gun: Gunstar Future Heroes

Gunstar Future Heroes is the sequel to the 1993 Genesis game, Gunstar Heroes, Sega’s dream answer to popular run-and-gun games such as Contra, where fast-paced action and intense fights are always around the corner. Despite the game not selling well, it received universal praise, having won multiple “Best GBA Game Of E3 2005” awards for its compelling action-adventure gameplay.

Gunstar Future Heroes uses a unique approach to run-and-gun-style gameplay with advanced versatile controls that have players perform multiple melee attacks and use three different weapon types at any time. Players can super charge their weapons as they dodge an onslaught of mechanized enemies and explosions all while traveling on various moons. Aside from it being the best run-and-gun pick on the list, it’s also one of the most underrated secret gems of the portable system, with even Nintendo’s official magazine urging players to try it out — now you can.

Best for Adventure: The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past

Originally, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was a Super Nintendo game where you played as a young boy named Link, going on an adventure to save a princess and ultimately entering and exiting a different strange world. The best adventure game held up then, upon its re-release on the Game Boy Advance, and even now, absorbing players in a world that pays close attention to detail (including fluttering leaves of trees) and allows you to take your time to save the world.

The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past starts you off on a rainy night as you toss and turn in your bed, hearing the psychic prayers of Princess Zelda, and getting up to go for a walk. From there, players enter into a world ruled by an evil wizard, sneaking into castles, finding their Uncle’s sword and then collecting items and information from in-game characters that lead you on your adventure.

You save the princess early, but your goal is to break a seal by collecting three pendants from three dungeons, entering enchanting forests full of thieves, learning magic tricks, deflecting arrows with your shield in dark caverns and diving in and out of a corrupted dark world and then back to your own again.

Best for Maturity/Adults: Grand Theft Auto

Yes, Grand Theft Auto, an M rated game, made it to the Game Boy Advance, and is the best mature rated game on the list. Live out your fantasy of being a felon in the over-the-top, top-view game where the story unravels as you pick up various organized crime goals and missions and enter into the deep seedy underbelly of the criminal world right in the palm of your hand.

Grand Theft Auto has you exploring Liberty City, an urbanized landscape filled with wide streets and buildings, unpredictable weather and pedestrians, as well as a multitude of vehicles such as sports cars, tanks and taxi cabs that you can… “borrow." The unique thing about this game is you don’t have to commit a crime: Players are given their own free will to walk around and even take hundreds of side missions (you can take the role of a taxi driver, paramedic, firefighter, and even street racer). But, if you just want to go around and blow objects and building up with a bazooka, you can do that, too.