The Game Boy was the first handheld that reached major pop culture success, helped in large part to a legendary library of games. Everyone's heard of Tetris and Pokémon, but Nintendo's handheld also had tons of great games that didn't get the attention they deserved. In this article, we explore the 10 hidden Game Boy gems you've probably never played. It's time to give these unsung legends their long overdue time in the limelight.
Stranded Kids (or Survival Kids in the US) boasted core survival game features decades before DayZ and Minecraft popularized them. You could hunt for food and scavenge raw items, which could be merged to create weapons and tools — sound familiar? Survival Kids even featured hunger, thirst, and fatigue meters.
If you want to see the proto-survival game in action, Stranded Kids still holds up today. Good luck finding a physical copy, though.
Motocross Maniacs 2
Motocross Mania 2 is a more exciting Excite Bike with power-ups and wild loop-de-loops. With a variety of tracks, custom course creation, and multiplayer support, Motocross Maniacs 2 is easily one of the most feature-complete racing games on the handheld.
Bomb Jack on Game Boy is a classic action game released in 1984 by Tehkan (Koei Tecmo Games). Players control superhero Jack, using his jumping and gliding abilities to collect bombs in various stages. The game offers simple yet addictive gameplay, challenging players' precision and timing skills. The Game Boy has no shortage of great action titles, and Bomb Jack is unfairly overlooked.
Metal Walker on the Game Boy Color is a captivating RPG that combines elements of Pokémon with a unique evolution system. Set in the late 21st century on the mysterious "Rusted Land" island, players acquire valuable Core Units, a metal that transforms into various machines.
After Pokémon exploded, the Game Boy was flooded with monster-catching wannabes. Metal Walker stands among the best of them with a captivating story, evolution mechanics, and strategic gameplay that make it an excellent choice for RPG fans looking for something that flew under the radar.
Warlocked is an overlooked strategy game that adapted the formula of popular RTS games like Starcraft onto the handheld console. Released in July 2002 by Bit Studios, Warlocked takes players on a journey through over three dozen challenging missions, where they can choose to play as the Beast Army or the forces of Queen Azarel.
RTS games don't generally translate well to console games, but Warlocked is the exception. Even more impressive is that they did it for a handheld that only has two face buttons!
Robopon might look like a Pokémon clone, but it has its own cool twists. You play as Cody, who is trying to take over his grandfather's Robopon Trading Company on Porombo Island. To do so, he must collect over 150 Robopon creatures is super fun, and the battle system with elemental weaknesses keeps things interesting. The best part is the robot customization. You can equip different parts and software to boost your Robopon's abilities. This may be another Pokémon copycat, but it's a unique and engaging adventure that's definitely worth trying out.
The fighting game genre on Game Boy was dominated by SNK and Capcom through the '90s and early 2000s, so it's refreshing to see not only a new IP but one from someone other than the Big Two.
Power Quest lets players choose from various futuristic characters, each with their own special moves and abilities. The graphics are nice, the controls are responsive, and the character designs are varied and interesting. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, especially as the balancing is a bit off, but if you like exploring lesser-known fighting games, Power Quest won't disappoint!
Lufia: The Legend Returns
Lufia: The Legend Returns on Game Boy Color impresses with its storytelling, gameplay, and visuals. Set 200 years after the first Lufia game, it follows the adventures of Wain and Seena as they stop the Sinistrals.
By largely porting over the main gameplay loop of the mainline Lufia series, The Legend Returns is a compelling and complete JRPG experience that rarely gets the accolades it deserves. If you're a fan of JRPGs from the '90s, don't skip over this hidden gem.
Alfred Chicken was a silly game with silly box art that was destined to be overlooked in stores. It's a shame, too, because its charming and quirky gameplay, engaging level design, and delightful visuals make it one of the handheld's best action platformers. The platforming is simple and fun, thanks to an uncluttered level design based around clever puzzles and collect-a-thon gameplay.
In the era of Mascot Platformers, Alfred Chicken never stood a chance. Give him his just dues and play this game, because it's one of the Game Boy's best.
Burai Fighter Deluxe
Burai Fighter Deluxe is secretly one of the Game Boy's very best action games. Based on the NES game, Burai Fighter Deluxe is a 2D rail shooter with eight-directional shooting that sees players make their way through winding stages filled with monsters and bugs. The shooting is challenging and fun, and the various power-ups and monster designs add a ton of variety and replayability to the action.
If there's any game on this list that you absolutely have to play, it's this one.