The GameBoy Advance (GBA) has a rich history of demakes, where modern games are adapted to the standards of older platforms. These demakes offer a unique and nostalgic experience for gamers, allowing them to play their favorite titles in lesser fidelity but retaining the spirit of the original game. Here are seven of the best demakes on the portable game console.
Best game boy advance demakes
7. Google Dino Advance
The Google Dino Game, a simple yet addictive browser game, which appears on the Google Chrome browser if there is no internet connection, finds its way into the GBA by way of Google Dino Advance. The graphics and the mechanics of this game can easily be handled by the GBA, it certainly is more of a port instead of a demake, but again, this is all semantics.
The original Dino game offers users a delightful distraction while waiting for their connection to be restored. Set against the backdrop of a barren landscape, the game features a pixelated dinosaur that responds to players' keystrokes, allowing them to jump over cacti and evade flying pterodactyls. And all can be said the same in Google Dino Advance.
6. Resident Evil 2
Beyond its commercial success, the original Resident Evil 2 played a pivotal role in the revitalization of the zombie genre across various forms of media. The eerie and zombie-infested Raccoon City, depicted in the game, stands as one of the most haunting and atmospheric settings ever portrayed in the gaming medium. Drawing inspiration from classic Romero-era elements, the game expertly weaves its own intricate lore, unexpected twists, and terrifying creatures. Through its masterful execution, Resident Evil 2 modernized the series' classic formula, ushering it into a new era, and offering players an unparalleled avenue to experience the essence of survival horror.
Resident Evil 2's influence reached the realm of the GameBoy Advance (GBA) with a demake. Crafted as a tech demo in the early 2000s by Raylight Studios, an Italian game development company, this GBA iteration was conceived as a showcase of their innovative Blue Roses engine. Regrettably, by that juncture, Capcom's enthusiasm for GameBoy ports had waned, leading to the rejection of Raylight Studios' proposal.
Despite this, the GBA demake got released into the wild but only in a tech demo capacity. Although it is playable, it is nothing but a small taste of what could have been one of the most impressive downporting of a game. Despite the reduction in graphical fidelity, the art direction of the GBA demake remains remarkably faithful to its source material, achieving a near-perfect replication of what few moments it provided.
5. Pocket Meat
Super Meat Boy is a platform game developed by Team Meat and released in 2010. The game was an instant hit and received critical acclaim for its challenging gameplay, precise controls, and charming visuals. Super Meat Boy's success had a significant impact on the indie gaming scene, paving the way for other indie games to achieve mainstream success.
Pocket Meat is a fan game for the GBA that attempts to recreate the popular platform game Super Meat Boy. The game features four levels and challenges players to control Meat Boy as he navigates through various obstacles to save his girlfriend, Bandage Girl, from the evil scientist Dr. Fetus. The controls are simple, with left and right movement and a jump button, allowing players to focus on the challenging gameplay. Pocket Meat also has a global achievement system, thanks to RetroAchievements.org
Minicraft is a 2D game made by Markus “Notch” Persson, the one famous for Minecraft, for the 22nd Ludum Dare. The game was created in two days and has since gained a following among fans of retro gaming and Minecraft. Minicraft is a top-down action game that features elements of survival, exploration, and crafting.
The core gameplay of Minicraft involves the player exploring a randomly generated world, gathering resources, crafting items, and fighting off enemies. The player must also manage their hunger and health while trying to survive in the dangerous world. The game features a day and night cycle, with different enemies appearing at different times. The ultimate goal of the game is to defeat the Air Wizard, a powerful boss enemy that can only be reached by crafting a special item.
Developer Vulcalien created a demake of Minicraft for the GBA. A pause menu and save feature were also added to improve the experience. The developer’s goal is to recreate a version that remains faithful to the original as closely as feasible. Although the GBA's hardware limitations pose certain challenges, given the game's relative simplicity, the porting process proceeded with manageable difficulties. In instances where the constraints proved insurmountable, the developer resorted to clever workarounds, implementing hacks, and modifications, and setting specific limits to navigate the constraints effectively.
Back in 2002, after a two-month development effort, Russ Prince unveiled a complete demake of the original Bust-A-Move (Puzzle Bobble in North American territories), a Taito creation from 1994 for the Neo-Geo arcade platform. This rendition has been meticulously crafted to remain exceptionally true to the original in all aspects: graphics and gameplay.
This demake also encompasses the original 30 arcade levels within the single-player mode and extends to include Link play functionality, offering two distinct modes of gameplay. The first is the iconic "Deathmatch" style, while the second is a race mode employing single-player boards, where players compete to be the first to clear the screen. Furthermore, the game offers the option to play in widescreen resolution, a remarkable feature considering the era of its creation in 2002. Undoubtedly, this demake stands as a testament to remarkable ingenuity. While other Bust-A-Move titles have been released on the platform, none can quite capture the enchanting allure of the original game.
Admittedly, the GBA releases of the franchise brought forth notable alterations and enhancements to the core gameplay, even surpassing this demake in certain aspects. However, the mere existence of this comprehensive and well-performing demake is a testament to programming magnificence of the developer.
2. Sonic the Hedgehog
Sonic the Hedgehog was released in 1991 and became an all-time classic, receiving critical acclaim for its challenging gameplay, precise controls, and charming visuals. Sonic's success had a significant impact on the video game industry, helping to establish Sega as a major player in the gaming industry and paving the way for other games to achieve mainstream success. The GBA port of Sonic the Hedgehog has earned its place on our list of the Worst Game Boy Advance Games. This version stands as a significant insult to the classic franchise.
Sonic the Hedgehog GBA is a port developed by Stealth, bringing the original Sonic the Hedgehog from the Sega Mega Drive to the Game Boy Advance. Created in early 2007, this port emerged as a direct response to SEGA's official attempt, Sonic the Hedgehog Genesis, to bring Sonic 1 to the Game Boy Advance.
In this version, players can experience an enhanced Sonic the Hedgehog with the addition of the Spin Dash ability. Moreover, Tails and Knuckles become playable characters. The gameplay involves traversing through the three acts of Green Hill Zone and the initial two Special Stages. Players can also access a partially complete Labyrinth Zone. Additionally, there is a Debug Mode. But the most important of them all is that this version gets rid of the wonky physics and all the bugs and ugliness of the official port.
1. Another World
Another World is a cinematic platform action-adventure game designed by Éric Chahi and published by Delphine Software in November 1991. In North America, it was published as Out of This World. The game tells the story of Lester, a young scientist who, because of an experiment gone wrong, finds himself in a dangerous alien world where he is forced to fight for his survival.
The core gameplay of Another World involves the player controlling Lester as he navigates through various environments, solving puzzles and engaging in combat with enemies. The game features a unique visual style, with all the game's art and animations created in vector form to reduce memory use. The game also makes use of cinematic effects in both real-time and cutscenes, which earned it praise among critics and commercial success.
A port of Another World was made for the Game Boy Advance by Foxy and Eric Chahi himself in 2005. This version of the game is a demake, as the original game is too complex for the GBA hardware. Despite these limitations, the GBA port manages to be as great-looking as the original including the cinematic sequences. It is by far the most impressive-looking game on the GBA, demake, homebrew, or official release.