View #’s 20-16 HERE.
15- Super Mario Land 2: The Six Golden Coins: Game Boy (1992)
Imagine…32 levels of pure, unadultered Mario fun. Stomping on goombas, wearing bunny ears to give you a floating ability, and beating on Wario. I loved playing this game and even to this day, every now and then I pick it out of my lunch box full of Game Boy games and pop it in my Super Game Boy. Unlike the original Mario Land game, Mario Land 2 really brought a console-like experience to your handheld.
This was a legitimate Mario game that you could take with you. Interesting side note: Super Mario Land 2 was one of the earliest works of composer Kazumi Totaka, who hit it big with Animal Crossing. His 19-note “Totaka’s song” can be heard if you wait one minute on the game over screen. –Marc Sakol
14- Astro Boy: Omega Factor: Game Boy Advance (2004)
More often than not, license games are less than stellar, and devotees of the Game Boy can vouch for that with the best of them. Piles of lackluster games based on cartoons, movies, and even candies littered the system's library, with a special emphasis on "litter" being appropriate for many of the titles. The famed Japanese developed Treasure, however, bucked this trend by delivering Astro Boy: Omega Factor, a licensed game that pleased both gamers and longtime series fans. The game itself offers action platforming with an emphasis on shooting that's satisfying and tightly controlled, which, thanks to a flexible set of difficulty levels, is accessible to almost anyone who might want to pick up the game. It has enough unlockable bonus material to keep gamers occupied for hours upon hours and good enough game play to keep a mission to unlock everything from growing dull.
For fans of Astro Boy's creator, Osamu Tezuka, the game offers an added level of enjoyment, as the story is driven by cameos from the artist's career, both obscure and instantly recognizable. Though any of these things alone would recommend the cartridge to at least some sort of audience, the combination of them makes Astro Boy: Omega Factor one of the Game Boy's top games. –Allison Bates
13– Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga: Game Boy Advance (2003)
The now-well-known Mario and Luigi series got its start on the GBA with the stellar Superstar Saga. Separate from Mario RPG on the SNES and Paper Mario on the N64, Mario and Luigi still retained the higher level of action from its predecessors, and pushed the humor level to eleven. Controlling both brothers at the same time makes the gameplay fast-paced and offers unique puzzle solving and combat opportunities.
With jokes and puns found in almost every conversation, Mario and Luigi SSS has one of the best scripts in a game. This game even encouraged players to use the Cube’s Gameboy Player, supporting the GC controller’s rumble feature. Even if you do not like RPGs, Mario and Luigi should be played by all GBA owners. –Zachary Gasiorowski
12– Mario Kart Super Circuit: Game Boy Advance (2001)
Ever since the SNES, a single Mario Kart game has appeared once on each Nintendo platform. Until Super Circuit was released, GBA owners really only had two decent options to choose from in terms of racing games: F-Zero Maximum Velocity and Konami Crazy Racers. Using Mode 7 graphical techniques similar to the SNES version, Super Circuit is probably the best racing game on the GBA despite being released early in the handheld’s lifecycle.
With the inclusion of the classic SNES tracks along with a ton of new ones, this was one racer that was hard to put down. It even supported numerous multiplayer modes, both single and multi-cartridge. Even though Super Circuit is considered a low point in the Mario Kart series, it made for a damn fine GBA game. –Zachary Gasiorowski
11- Golden Sun: Game Boy Advance (2001)
I forget what first drew me to Golden Sun, but many aspects of this game make it memorable: the story, the battle system and, foremost, the graphics. I’m not what you’d call a “graphics whore,” but GS’s graphics still compare favorably with most DS RPGs today. The battle system also stepped up beyond the normal magic spells and magic point system with the Djinn-cute, cuddly looking magical critters that could summon other magical spirits that were far more fearsome and powerful. The Djinn summons would bring about typical magic spell effects, but on a much more powerful, widespread scale, and was almost like having a second party within your four-character cast of Isaac, Garret, Mia and Ivan. Besides, how could you go wrong with the same developers that made the Shining Force series (and Mario Golf and Mario Tennis, let’s not forget)?
Among hardcore, grind-the-day-away RPGs, Golden Sun was a breath of fresh air at the time, and continues to be one of the most memorable games from the GBA era. We’re waiting on the sequel, Nintendo…so don’t disappoint. –Meghan Ventura
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