The Game Boy Advance (GBA) hosts a lot of hidden gems. In fact, it is one of the most overlooked libraries due to the release of the Nintendo DS taking away attention. Here come the seven extraordinary GBA games that will leave you pleasantly surprised.
Best game boy advance hidden gems
7. Hamtaro: Ham-Ham Games
Hamtaro is one of the animes that are incredibly popular back in the day although they are mostly targeted at a very young audience and not teens. Hence, there is not many squeals about it or any nostalgia-driven discourse. Most, if not all, Hamtaro licensed games are pretty good. The GBA hosts Ham-Ham Games one of the most entertaining titles that is not much known to the majority of the players.
Ham Ham Games is a delightful collection of mini-games reminiscent of Track & Field, promising pure enjoyment for players. The game shines visually with impressive graphics, featuring larger and more dynamic sprites for the adorable Ham Hams. The addition of three-quarter views for Hamtaro adds a refreshing touch to the art style, especially evident in beautifully animated events like Archery.
The story mode cleverly borrows from the Olympics, with each character contributing to the narrative, offering nostalgia and charm for Hamtaro fans. The inclusion of the Ham Studios television network enhances the story experience and provides additional entertainment. In the gameplay department, the controls are generally simple and intuitive, relying on players' reflexes, with clear explanations and tutorials for each event. The game offers 15 challenging games with different difficulty levels, ensuring rewarding experiences for players of all levels.
Ham Ham Games boasts considerable replayability with world records to achieve, Hamigo cards and costumes to collect, and new dialogues and scenes to explore during the night. The game's execution of mini-games sets it apart, making it a fun and enduring experience that stands the test of time. Stop the brooding nonsense and embrace the hamster spirit and embark on an unforgettable adventure in the world of Hamtaro with this excellently executed title.
6. Rugrats: All Grown Up - Express Yourself
Rugrats: All Grown Up - Express Yourself is a hidden gem that successfully captures the charm and nostalgia of the beloved Rugrats franchise. The game's storylines, inspired by episodes of the show, provide a captivating and familiar experience for fans. Non-fans of the show will still find this game captivating due to its clever implementation of story-telling.
Players take on the role of Angelica, reporting on various problems in the town and publishing them in the school newspaper. The inclusion of supporting characters from the show adds depth to the narrative, providing the feel of an interactive episode of the show itself.
In terms of gameplay, the game adopts a 2-D platformer style with exploration elements. Players control Angelica as she navigates a large world, searching for people to talk to and completing objectives for each episode. The gameplay is straightforward, with the objective being to find specific characters and engage in dialogues.
The game's graphics and sound design are commendable, capturing the show's art style and featuring music that complements it seamlessly. The characters closely resemble their animated counterparts, adding to the game's appeal. Moreover, the inclusion of eight mini-games provides variety and fun diversions from the main storyline.
Payback began as an Amiga title and has made its way to the GBA as a Grand Theft Auto-like game. While the story is straightforward, following a lowlife criminal doing missions for a crime lord, the game's strength lies in its engaging and enjoyable gameplay. The controls are well-designed, and players have the option to reconfigure them to suit their preferences.
In terms of gameplay, Payback offers an early, like before GTA 3, GTA-like experience, allowing players to steal cars, terrorize pedestrians, do missions for the mafia boss, race in the streets, and more. Unique to the game is the point system, rewarding players for performing various bad deeds, such as stealing a police car and eliminating a cop with it. The city selection adds another layer of strategy to the game, and the Replay feature allows players to view a movie of their last gameplay session.
Payback also incorporates physics, affecting car performance based on surfaces and vehicle sizes. The Rampage mode allows players to terrorize pedestrians and complete randomly generated missions. The game offers good replay value, including randomly generated missions in Rampage mode, secrets to discover, and multiplayer death matches.
Payback is worth the purchase for fans of GTA-like games or those looking for a game where they can cause chaos and explore an open-world environment. With its great graphical touches, adjustable difficulty, and various gameplay features, Payback is a hidden gem worthy of anyone's time.
4. bit Generations: Dotstream
Dotstream, part of the bit Generations series of games, offers a unique and straightforward gaming experience with its simple and fun gameplay. In this Japanese-exclusive game, players engage in a racing competition where they control a line, competing against other color-coded lines to reach the finish line. While the graphics are basic, featuring lines, boxes, and a black background, they are easy on the eyes and complement the game's minimalist style.
The soundtrack of Dotstream stands out as a highlight with at least one music track for each of the 30 different tracks available. The gameplay focuses on racing against five opponents on various tracks, each with its own obstacles, boosters, and breakers.
Players can increase their speed by running near other lines horizontally, and they can use their limited lives as portable speed boosts. The game also features items such as lightning, arrows, and stars that players can use strategically to gain an advantage. The point-based system for determining winners adds to the game's appeal, allowing players to progress through the five GPs with different tracks.
bit Generations: Dotstream offers a unique racing experience that stands out from traditional racing games. The concept of racing as a line and the simplicity of the gameplay make Dotstream a hidden gem worth trying, especially for those seeking a refreshing and novel gaming experience on the Game Boy Advance.
3. Medabots: Metabee
Medabots, known as Medarot in Japan, is a game series that gained popularity after the success of Pokemon. Medarot Futa Core, released as Medabots in the USA, is the first normal Medarot game for the GBA, designed to resemble the anime. The graphics are not the best for a GBA game but capture the anime's slightly minimalistic style. Battle sequences shine with smooth animation and rotation effects during attacks.
The story follows the anime, centering on a gang of thieves, the Rubberobo Gang, an elite police force, and a masked superhero, the Phantom Renegade. Players take on the role of Ikki, a walking database of Medabots, who gets caught up in the conflict after buying a Medabot with money intended for dinner. The plot unfolds in anime-like episodes.
The gameplay is where Medabots differentiates itself from Pokemon. Instead of collecting monsters to evolve, players collect robot parts and mix and match them to create custom robots. Battles are 3 vs. 3, and each robot consists of six parts: Head+Torso, Left Arm, Right Arm, Legs, Medal (Central Processor), and Tinpet (skeleton). Each part has its own statistics, and battles revolve around breaking the opponent's parts to win. However, the game comes in two versions, Metabee and Rokusho, with specific parts available in each, requiring trading or owning both versions to access all parts.
Medabots may have a kiddish presentation, but it possesses an engaging and deep mechanic similar to what made Pokemon games great. The game offers heavy customization, collecting, and team-building aspects, which can be highly appealing to players who enjoy these features.
2. Robopon 2: Cross Version
Robopon 2: Cross Version is another game that beats the Pokémon-copycat allegations and established its own unique spin in monster breeding. The game features a significant upgrade from its predecessor by introducing a 4-on-4 battle system, allowing for more strategic depth and interaction during battles. Unlike traditional "catching" in Pokémon, players collect batteries and spark them together to create new Robopons, adding an element of creativity to the game. With a roster of 185 Robopons to collect, each with different attributes and oil types, the game offers a hefty amount of content and diversity.
The story is a well-written narrative that should keep players motivated to progress. The dialogues are filled with pop culture references and humor, adding to the game's charm. The game cleverly mocks RPGs, gamers, and even itself, creating a self-aware and entertaining experience. From hilarious encounters to heartwarming moments, the story unfolds with a mix of emotions, making it engaging and enjoyable throughout the adventure.
The graphics have this pleasant shading going on. The battle graphics are well-designed, with detailed backgrounds and impressive Robopon animations during attacks. The ability to change the Robopon's color adds a nice touch of customization, allowing players to personalize their teams to their hearts’ content.
The 4-on-4 battles elevate the gameplay experience, and the easy-to-use command interface ensures smooth and fast-paced battles. The addition of the oil system adds depth to the game, influencing Robopon relationships and interactions with enemies. This strategic element offers complex gameplay while maintaining simplicity and accessibility for players to learn and enjoy.
Robopon 2: Cross Version (and its twin title, Ring Version) delivers a unique and compelling experience, making it a worthy choice for fans of Pokémon seeking a fresh and mechanically engaging adventure. The game's creativity, humor, and well-designed gameplay set it apart from its predecessors and solidify its position as a must-find for GBA enthusiasts.
1. Kuru Kuru Kururin
In the vast world of hidden gems, one title has risen above the rest to claim the crown and it's a puzzle game – Kuru Kuru Kururin. Deceptively simple yet incredibly addictive, this game introduces players to a novel concept that keeps them hooked for hours on end. Controlling a spinning stick, they must skillfully navigate through narrow and winding passageways to reach the goal. With the strategic use of springs to alter the spin's direction, success lies in mastering the art of controlled rotation.
The game follows Kururin, a bird-like creature (or an actual bird), on a quest to rescue his scattered offspring. The plot is the usual, but the engaging gameplay compensates for it. Kururin can gather add-ons for his Kurucopter, offering aesthetic choices and strategic advantages.
The adventure mode takes players through various territories, from oceans to weird locations like Cake Land. Additionally, the challenge mode focuses on achieving the best time and avoiding damage in each stage, providing an immense amount of content.
Visually, the game is crisp and smooth, with well-defined backdrops and colorful environments. The sound design complements the gameplay, with fitting music and sound effects. While the game doesn't push the GBA to its limits, it is still strikingly beautiful and anyone can be beholden by its elegance. It is considered the best puzzle game of all time, it is not just on everybody's list since it was not released in the United States, although it has been localized in both Europe and Australia as launch titles.