A lot of us have been playing GBA games for years without even realizing it, or having any idea why. For every Mario, Zelda, or Pokemon game that you are familiar with, there are a bunch of lesser known gems that have never risen above their niche status. Whether it’s the novelty of the GBA itself that makes these games so obscure, or the fact that the games just don’t have the same quality as their contemporaries, the GBA has produced some truly obscure games that deserve our attention.

I’m fairly certain that the Nintendo Game Boy Advance is the most underrated handheld console of all time. The system is well known, and has obviously been around in one form or another for the last 15 years, but it has never been as popular as the Game Boy or Game Boy Color, and is easily overshadowed by the more powerful PSP. It simply never got the traction it deserved.

There are a lot of games on the Game Boy Advance (GBA) that most people have never heard of or tried out, and I think this is one of the biggest reasons why. A great example of this was the game Monster Arena by TOSE, which was released in 2003 for the Game Boy Advance. I personally enjoyed this game, and I feel it is one of the most underrated and overlooked games on the Game Boy Advance.

In the days of the Gaming Boy Color, I began my video game adventure. But it wasn’t until I received my original silver Game Boy Advance that I saw the full potential of portable gaming.

The console is not only beautiful, but it also has the computing ability to put handhelds on an equal footing with home consoles.

There are tons of excellent, highly regarded GBA titles like Pokémon Ruby & Sapphire (2002), Metroid Fusion (2002), and The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (2004) – but there are other solid games that never achieved mainstream notoriety.

Let’s take a look at some of the Game Boy Advance’s more underappreciated titles.

 

Denki Blocks, number 30! (2002)

Denki Blocks!, a large collection of puzzles in which you rearrange “gumblocks” on a grid board, is a must-have for puzzle lovers.

The goal is to match blocks of the same hue or to make certain shapes using the available blocks.

The sheer quantity of material in this puzzler is what makes it so enjoyable.

In tournament mode, each of the eight champions you face will prepare 25 problems for you, and if you solve them all properly, you’ll unlock five more.

 

29. Mega Man Battle Network 4: Red Sun & Blue Moon (2004)

Mega Man Battle Network 4: Red Sun & Blue Moon / game screenshot

Since the first game, Mega Man Battle Network 2, considered one of the greatest in the genre, I’ve been a huge fan of the Mega Man Battle Network series.

MMBN4, on the other hand, is regarded as the series’ weakest link.

If you ask me, I believe it has a lot to do with the public’s growing dissatisfaction with receiving more of the same year after year.

If you can get beyond it, the game is really very good.

Dark Chips, Soul Unisons that allow you duplicate slain monsters’ abilities, and a slew of Boktai crossover items are among the game’s innovations.

This game series was ahead of its time, as shown by its resurgence on the Battle Network subreddit.

 

28. Original Generation 2 of Super Robot Taisen (2006)

Super Robot Taisen: Original Generation 2 / Game Boy Advance

Super Robot Taisen: Original Generations 2, a mecha-themed SRPG with a ton of material to explore, is a must-play for giant robot enthusiasts.

Original Generations 2 adds to the mix even more gigantic robot series, with new characters, mechs, and narrative events plucked from previous Banpresto games.

The narrative of the previous game was already a little ridiculous, and this one isn’t much better – but it’s full of moments brimming with fighting energy, which is much more important in the mecha genre.

There are a ton of massive robots to unlock, as well as extensive customization options, which will appeal to both mecha fans and RPG gamers alike.

 

27. Turbo Revival of Super Puzzle Fighter II (2003)

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo Revival GBA gameplay

With Street Fighter Alpha 3 (2002), the GBA finally got a full-fledged Street Fighter game — but it’s far from the only Street Fighter on the system.

Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo Revival is a one-of-a-kind “fighter,” in which characters inflict damage according on how successfully you complete a match-4 puzzle.

It was an unexpected turn for the series, but one that worked well on the Game Boy Advance.

It features all of your favorite SF characters, like as Chun-Li and Ken, as well as characters from the Darkstalkers and Night Warriors series.

 

26. Swordcraft Story 2: Summon Night (2006)

Summon Night: Swordcraft Story 2 / GBA screenshot

Summon Night: Swordcraft Story (2006) is regarded as one of the system’s finest action RPGs, while the sequel is underappreciated.

Sure, it didn’t do much in the way of innovation.

But it’s one of those situations where you shouldn’t repair something that isn’t broken.

The Tales-inspired fighting is fantastic, and the weapon manufacturing mechanism is a joy to use – something that isn’t often true with crafting.

In addition, the sequel does a better job of fleshing out its characters and setting, and the language is more comedic.

 

25. Ogre’s Tactics: The Knight of Lodis (2002)

Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis / game screenshot

Most SRPG fans have already played Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (2003), but there’s another tactical game for the GBA that’s worth checking out.

Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis was the series’ last installment.

Through a rich narrative mode that becomes even better on the second playthrough due to additional mysteries and alternative endings, you’ll expand your army from six to over thirty.

It’s not as complicated as the PlayStation games.

But it’s just as entertaining — and still more difficult than FFTA.

 

Monster Rancher Advance 2 is the 24th game in the Monster Rancher series (2002)

Monster Rancher Advance 2 / GBA gameplay

After Pokémon popularized the genre, a slew of monster-catching series arose, each with its unique spin on the tried-and-true model.

Monster Rancher Advance differs from other games in that it focuses on rearing creatures rather than capturing them.

A sophisticated monster combination mechanism also exists, which creates new monsters with characteristics from both “parents.”

MRA’s simpler creature creating method will appeal to fans of the console Monster Rancher titles.

Unlike the original, which created monsters by feeding CDs into your PlayStation, this game just utilizes key phrases.

 

The Fist of Mars is the 23rd Zone of the Enders (2002)

Zone of the Enders: The Fist of Mars / Game Boy Advance

Hideo Kojima, the renowned celebrity game developer, was behind the creation of Zone of the Enders.

The Fist of Mars was the first portable game in the franchise, and it substitutes the main series’ action-oriented gameplay with turn-based strategy.

Despite the absence of Kojima, the developers have crafted a compelling narrative that addresses issues of segregation and colonialism with the philosophical edge that has been synonymous with the franchise.

On a GBA game, you wouldn’t expect cinematic narrative.

However, there are enough of them throughout the game’s campaign, which is split into 26 episodes in the anime style.

 

Double Dragon Advance is number 22. (2003)

Double Dragon Advance / GBA gameplay screenshot

Double Dragon Advance, a recreation of the 1987 NES/Arcade brawler, is a must-play for beat-em-up fans with a taste for the classics.

This game’s 2-player option shines, putting you and a buddy in the shoes of Billy and Jimmy Lee as they battle the Shadow Warriors over various side-scrolling levels.

After completing the campaign, you may spend hours in the thrilling Survival Mode.

Over four all-new levels, this remake adds many new tactics and weaponry to test out, as well as modest aesthetic and gameplay enhancements.

 

Golden Sun: The Lost Age (#21) (2003)

Golden Sun: The Lost Age GBA gameplay

With its great cast and superb language, the first Golden Sun made an impact, but the sequel to this classic JRPG doesn’t receive nearly enough recognition.

The combat and graphics, for the most part, are unchanged.

However, it differs from its predecessor in a few ways.

There’s a huge global map to explore aboard a magical ship, as well as considerably more difficult challenges.

One of my favorite aspects of this game is how you may switch classes by swapping out your magical companion, or “Djinni.” It grants you additional powers, reorganizes your stats, and changes your job title.

 

Kururin Kururin Kururin Kururin Kururin Kururin Kururin Kururin Kur (2001)

Kuru Kuru Kururin game screenshot

You know what Kuru Kuru Kururin is about if you’ve ever tried to maneuver a long couch or other heavy piece of furniture through a small entrance.

The game requires you to maneuver a Helirin — a spinning gadget – through a series of mazes while regulating the pace with which it spins.

It’s a basic idea, but it was executed well.

The visuals are vibrant and attractive, the puzzles are diverse, and the game’s final stages will test even the most dedicated players.

 

Gunstar Super Heroes (19.) (2005)

Gunstar Super Heroes for Game Boy Advance

Gunstar Super Heroes, a much-improved sequel set several years after the original, is a must-have for fans of the classic Gunstar Heroes (1993).

Despite the removal of the weapon fusing mechanism that made Gunstar Heroes so intriguing, the game is still just as entertaining (if not more so) due to enhanced melee and the ability to select from three weapon kinds.

GSH is also a game with a lot of replay value.

You’ll be treated to somewhat varied campaigns depending on whatever difficulty you select.

Both characters have distinct personalities, and there are many interesting mini-game parts to be discovered.

 

Shining Soul II (#18) (2004)

Shining Soul II GBA screenshot

Many people overlooked Shining Soul II because they disliked or were unfamiliar with the first, but this was a mistake.

Shining Soul (also on the GBA) seemed like a mishmash of concepts with no apparent direction or polish when it first came out in 2003. The sequel, on the other hand, finally brings everything together into one seamless experience.

Warriors, brawlers, and ninjas are among the eight classes available to test out.

Some classes, such as the archer and the priestess, have abilities that are only useful in multiplayer (the game’s greatest feature).

Lovers of Diablo II and JRPG fans alike will like this action RPG dungeon crawler.

 

17. Mana’s Sword (2003)

Sword of Mana GBA gameplay

Sword of Mana is a wonderful recreation of Final Fantasy Adventure, the first game in the “Mana” series, which was first published on the Game Boy (1991).

While Legend of Mana (2000) and later entries in the series have gotten a lot of press, this game has gotten a lot less. Nonetheless, the game’s slick visuals and superb ARPG gameplay have earned it the respect it deserves.

It’s a pity there’s no multiplayer, since it leaves you with an inept computer-controlled buddy.

The single-player campaign, on the other hand, more than makes up for it.

The rich and colorful backdrops in evocative locations that inspire a wonderful feeling of adventure abound in this high fantasy world.

 

Advance Guardian Heroes to Level 16 (2004)

Advance Guardian Heroes / game screenshot

Treasure’s Advance Guardian Heroes upset fans of the Sega Saturn classic Guardian Heroes (1996) by not being a straight successor and instead opting to do its own thing.

In any case, “its own thing” is really very excellent.

The visual style is different from the original, but the gameplay is much superior.

It concentrates on close-range maneuvers and a counter-attack mechanism that may offer you an advantage on more tough settings.

You’ll have a fun unlocking lots of different characters and refining your beat-em-up abilities, whether you’re playing through the narrative or fighting a buddy in Versus using a Game Link Cable.

 

Sigma Star Saga, No. 15 (2005)

Sigma Star Saga / GBA screenshot

SSS is a shoot-em-up in the strictest sense.

However, it is just half of the tale.

When you’re not shooting down hostile spacecraft, you may travel an overworld and interact with people who can provide you with knowledge and things to help you upgrade your ship.

Shot customisation is one of SSS’s most distinctive features.

The game customizes your ship’s weapon systems using “Gun Data” gathered from destroyed opponents – and no two shots are alike.

There are almost 15,000 different shot kinds in the game, if you do the math.

 

14. Medabots: Metabee & Rokusho (2002)

Medabots: Metabee & Rokusho / GBA gameplay

Medabots, which was published in two editions featuring beloved automatons Metabee and Rokusho, is one of the most unusual Pokémon-inspired games on the GBA.

Instead of trekking out into the thick grass to catch Medabots, you’ll concentrate on upgrading the ones you already have with Medaparts, which you may purchase in shops or earn in Robattles.

Medabots’ complex combat, which requires a good amount of strategy and preparation, is one of my favorite aspects of the game.

Grinding levels won’t get you very far in this game!

 

Ninja Five-O (Ninja Five-O) (Ninja Five- (2003)

Ninja Five-O for Game Boy Advance

Ninja Five-O, a great action platformer in the manner of the 1990s NES classic Shadow of the Ninja, is recommended for anyone who grew up with 16-bit video games.

You’ll take control of Joe Osugi, a ninja policeman with magical abilities on a mission to stop a terrorist organization and the cursed masks they use to gain power.

Because to its strange name, unfamiliar characters, and general lack of distribution, the game was likely missed.

With the passage of time, it has evolved into a cult classic, making it one of the most valuable GBA cartridges available.

 

Metal Slug Advance (version 12) (2004)

Metal Slug Advance gameplay screenshot

Since my first experience with the PSX masterpiece Metal Slug X, the Metal Slug series has been an important part of my life (1999).

However, I somehow missed MSA when it was released.

This underappreciated classic plays up to its reputation as one of the finest run-and-gun games on the portable — but it’s not another Metal Slug.

MSA distinguishes itself from previous editions in the series by introducing a life bar and a card collecting system.

You’ll need these cards to increase your skills, magazine size, melee strength, and even access the post-game Dungeon, which are concealed throughout the game’s five objectives.

 

Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak (No. 11) (2003)

Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Heartbreak / GBA gameplay

I’ve been in love with hamsters since I acquired one to keep me company during the quarantine.

They make ideal pets as well as excellent video game characters.

Ham-Ham Heartbreak isn’t Hamtaro’s first video game, but it is his first on the Game Boy Advance. It also vastly improves upon earlier GBC games such as Ham-Hams Unite! (2002).

It adds Bijou, a second playable hamster who is crushing hard on Hamtaro, among other things.

They’ll have to work together to stop an evil hamster wizard from ruining other hamsters’ relationships, such as Pashmina and Penelope’s.

Every level in this adventure game is made up of large common places, which I like.

After all, hamsters are little creatures. It’s adorable.

 

Drill Dozer, No. 10 (2006)

Drill Dozer / GBA screenshot

Game Freak is well known for their Pokémon franchise.

But they’re far from being a one-trick pony, as Drill Dozer exemplifies.

Drilling is the theme of this game.

It’s everything that you do!

Drilling is used for everything: moving, leaping, and destroying your opponents.

However, it isn’t as easy as pressing a button. You’ll have to manually adjust the gears on your amazing drilling machine if you need to drill faster or slower.

It’s also one of the few GBA games with a rumble pack that gives you input as you drill – but it’ll quickly deplete your batteries.

 

9. DemiKids: Dark & Light Versions (2003)

DemiKids: Dark & Light Versions / GBA gameplay

In the early 2000s, Pokémon’s enormous popularity made it the game to imitate, and the creators of Shin Megami Tensei wanted a piece of the action.

DemiKids is a simplified version of SMT for children.

It even has the word “kids” in the title!

Depending on whatever version you choose, the narrative follows adolescents who are called to either paradise or hell. To capture troops, it employs a reduced version of the series’ distinctive demon bargaining mechanism.

It was never as well-known as Pokémon. However, it’s a great game that introduced innovative gameplay and sophisticated narrative to the monster-catching genre at the time.

 

8. Klonoa: Dream Empire (2001)

Klonoa: Empire of Dreams for Game Boy Advance

Since I first played Door to Phantomile (1997) on the PlayStation, I’ve been Klonoa’s biggest fan.

Though the original’s ethereal, dream-like landscapes and stunning 3D visuals drew me in, this portable adventure drew me in with the same unique platforming action.

Namco did a fantastic job converting Klonoa to the GBA’s little hardware while maintaining the game’s spirit. The wind bullet is still used by Klonoa to inflate opponents and utilize them as missiles, puzzle pieces, and props to reach higher ledges.

The visuals are vibrant and attractive, and the game even employs sophisticated rotating effects to imitate the PlayStation predecessor’s 3D platforming.

 

Tactical Command is the seventh game in the Rebelstar series (2005)

Rebelstar: Tactical Command / gameplay screenshot

Rebelstar: Tactical Command will appeal to fans of the well-known tactical alien-shooting classic X-COM.

Julian Gollop, the creator of the original UFO: Enemy Unknown (1994), has created a game that is nearly identical to X-COM.

Given that it’s on a handheld, it’s quite an accomplishment.

The game is a lot of fun if you don’t mind your opponents being ridiculously enormous grays.

The lack of base construction simplifies gameplay, and it’s a little simpler than the original X-COM, so it’s a fantastic way to introduce someone to the genre.

 

Wade Hixton’s Counterpunch is number six (2004)

Wade Hixton's Counter Punch / GBA gameplay

Consider Wade Hixton’s Counter Punch, a slightly rebellious tribute to the classic Punch-Out!! If you’re in the mood for a disrespectful game that would never be published in the 2020s (1987).

This boxing game is quite similar to the NES classic described before.

To effectively avoid your opponent’s strikes and counter-punch them when the opportunity comes, you must understand their tells.

In contrast to other boxing games, you get additional techniques and power-ups as you go through the game, and you can even pay the ring lady to distract your opponent for you.

Hixton’s enemies, which include a gorilla, a pimp named Sweetness, and even a party lady who’ll make the lights go out and attack you with her glow-sticks, are what make this game so memorable and underappreciated (apart from the great gameplay and beautiful visuals).

 

Alien Hominid No. 5 (2006)

Alien Hominid for Game Boy Advance

I feel like I’ve written about Alien Hominid hundreds of times, which is probably true.

It’s a game that continues cropping up in discussions, and it’s wormed its way into a lot of lists because to the fact that it was published on so many platforms.

You’ll play as an extraterrestrial killing machine attempting to take over the Earth against the whole human race’s military might.

The gameplay is reminiscent to the Metal Slug franchise.

You do, however, have a health bar, similar to the GBA jewel Metal Slug Advance.

To operate on the handheld console’s lesser hardware, the GBA version had to be reduced.

However, nothing was lost in terms of enjoyment.

It’s really a little easier, so if the GameCube version is too tough for you, give this a go.

 

Wario Land No. 4 (2001)

Wario Land 4 / GBA screenshot

Wario Land 4 is an example of this.

Despite the fact that it has excellent sales and is well-known, Nintendo has chosen to overlook it.

In the last ten years, there hasn’t been a single new game released.

Wario Land: Shake It (2008) for the Wii and Wii U was the most recent (as of this writing), and it was a letdown.

Unique gameplay choices, such as having the garlic-loving anti-hero make a timed escape from every level after taking the wealth, make this game stand out.

WL4 is Wario’s greatest hour, thanks to its excellent music and visuals.

 

3. Wulf the Sabre (2004)

Sabre Wulf / GBA gameplay

Sabre Wulf – an amazing puzzle platformer with pseudo-3D visuals that pushed the GBA to its limits – is one of the most underappreciated and neglected games of all time.

In it, players take on the role of an English gentleman wearing a pith hat, exploring the jungle and diverting the Wulf with other creatures and tools in order to steal riches from him.

Sabre Wulf might have been the greatest game on the PlayStation, with cutting-edge visuals, precise controls, and an offbeat sense of humor… It wasn’t, however.

Unfortunately, positive reviews do not sell a game. The game soared over everyone’s head due to its late release during the GBA’s lifespan, a drab cover, and the fact that no one remembered the 1984 original.

 

2. Sia, Lady (2001)

Lady Sia for Game Boy Advance

Lady Sia, an action platformer with outstanding visuals developed by RFX Interactive — a firm previously known for dubious licensed products – is one of the most surprisingly fantastic games on the GBA.

That is, however, what made Lady Sia so wonderful.

Licensed games are usually required to include large sprites that highlight the characters that will be used to promote the game.

Lady Sia was given that experience by RFX Interactive, who created a distinctive hand-drawn visual style and infused it with fluid and intricate animations.

With the movie tie-in curse lifted, the creators were able to create a unique and enjoyable experience that will be difficult to forget.

 

1. The Omega Factor (Astro Boy) (2004)

Astro Boy: Omega Factor / GBA gameplay

Some of you may not think of Astro Boy: Omega Factor as obscure, but it’s certainly underappreciated.

We’d all be talking about it as one of the greatest games on the GBA if it wasn’t.

Omega Factor is a unique game that alternates between action platforming and shoot-em-up portions.

The stages and monsters are quite tough, and after beating the game once, you’ll get access to additional difficulties (and even a second narrative mode).

The graphics of Astro Boy: Omega Factor are some of the finest on the system, and they really stand out. The animations are excellent, and the sprites are large and detailed.

It’s as though you’re watching an anime!

We have all played a terrible game, right? We might have even been embarrassed to admit it to anyone. These games fall into two categories. The first are games that we played and we just didn’t like. The second are games that we didn’t even finish.. Read more about most underrated movies – imdb and let us know what you think.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • underrated gba games
  • best gba games you never played
  • most underrated gba games
  • gba games
  • gameboy advance hidden gems
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