With an overabundance of platformers on the Game Boy Advance (or with Nintendo consoles in general), it can be challenging to uncover the true gems amidst the vast selection. From iconic characters to imaginative worlds and ingenious level design, these seven platformer titles stand out as shining examples of the genre's excellence on the GBA platform.
Best game boy advance platformer games
7. Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
Some titles hold a special place in the hearts of both older players and newcomers to this hobby. One such gem is Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts, a game that has transcended generations and which also found a home on the Game Boy Advance (GBA). Whether you're an old-school gamer reminiscing about its 8-bit and 16-bit days or a new-generation enthusiast exploring its timeless appeal, this classic platformer has something for everyone.
The hardcore, challenging, and sprite-filled action that defined this legendary game is retained—nothing has changed. Absolutely nothing. The GBA version remains a 1:1 faithful rendition of the original Super Nintendo Entertainment System classic, preserving the same hardcore gaming experience that captivated players years ago.
The charm of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts lies in its simplicity, with controls that might take a bit of getting used to but perfectly complement its side-scrolling gameplay. The challenge is real, and players must be precise with their button-mashing skills to conquer this unforgiving world. As they navigate through eerie landscapes and battle monstrous foes, they appreciate the sense of authenticity that the GBA port offers.
The GBA port goes the extra mile, offering players two engaging game modes – "Original" and "Arranged Mode." This innovative twist adds a refreshing touch to a classic, giving players the freedom to choose their preferred course of progression. Additionally, the option to save the game during a pause adds convenience and accommodates the on-the-go gaming experience.
6. Spyro: Season of Ice
Spyro: Season of Ice showcases impressive graphics that effectively translate the series' iconic characters and enchanting environments to the handheld console. The developers have done an outstanding job, of capturing the quintessence of the Spyro universe with well-designed polygonal visuals. The gameplay remains true to the series, with players embarking on platforming challenges and collectible quests. The primary objective is to rescue fairies scattered throughout the levels, while gem-collecting adds an extra layer of rewarding exploration.
The narrative, a hallmark of the Spyro series, does not disappoint. Grendor, the mischievous rhynoc, adds a touch of humor to the plot as he accidentally acquires the Sorceress's Spell Book, resulting in an unexpected twist that leaves him with two heads. To reverse the spell, Grendor embarks on a quest to gather the wings of 100 fairies, and who better to foil his plans than the brave Spyro, accompanied by his dragonfly friend, Sparx? The storyline delivers the charm and whimsy that fans have come to expect from the series, and the introduction of new characters like Hunter and Bianca adds depth to the narrative tapestry.
The sound design on the Game Boy Advance presents some limitations, yet Season of Ice manages to deliver a pleasant auditory experience. The music, while not entirely memorable, complements the gameplay effectively, establishing the game's mood and atmosphere. Although there is no voice acting, the sound effects, particularly during Spyro's signature fire-breathing sequences, contribute to the immersive gameplay experience.
5. Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country, as a 2D platformer, excels in all of the ideal platformer characteristics: tight controls, flawless level design, and a cast of charming characters. The game takes players on a thrilling journey through over 30 levels, from swinging through jungles to underwater coral reefs, collecting bananas, secrets, and bonus areas along the way.
The GBA version offers additional content, such as hidden cameras that unlock gallery images, two mini-games (Funky's Fishing and Candy's Dance), and the DK Attack mode for a fast-paced challenge. While the graphics remain impressive, the music has undergone some minor alterations.
Despite the absence of a co-op mode and slight deviations from the original, the GBA edition compensates with added gameplay and portability. In the end, Donkey Kong Country on the GBA is an absolute must-play and stands strong with its abundant gameplay and replay value, making it a game not to be missed for any platform.
4. Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3
Yoshi's Island is hailed for its exceptional gameplay, mesmerizing graphics, and impressive sound quality. Players control Yoshi, whose mission is to reunite Baby Mario with Baby Luigi, facing an array of enemies and using Yoshi's unique abilities like gobbling enemies and turning them into eggs. The game presents challenging levels with hidden flowers and red coins that contribute to the overall score, encouraging players to explore and master each stage thoroughly.
Yoshi's Island boasts breathtaking scenery, with backgrounds reminiscent of a storybook, and vibrant colors throughout. The environment shifts from lush jungles to snowy mountains, creating a visually captivating experience. The GBA version retains all the original beats and themes that made the game a joy to listen to. Sound effects are equally immersive.
With its secret levels, challenges, and the opportunity to achieve a perfect score in each level, Yoshi's Island offers abundant replayability. Gaining a perfect ''100'' score in every level requires skill and knowledge of the game's mechanics.
Additionally, the GBA version introduces exclusive content, including a different ending and six extra levels, enticing veterans of the SNES version to rediscover the magic of Yoshi's world. While the lack of a two-player mode may be a drawback, the game compensates with engaging one-player mini-games, such as watermelon seed spitting contests and slot machines.
3. Klonoa: Empire of Dreams
When it comes to landmark platformers, the likes of Mario, Sonic, and Rayman typically dominate the spotlight, leaving little room for lesser-known characters. However, there's one platformer that truly deserves recognition and praise – Klonoa: Empire of Dreams. Developed for the GBA, Klonoa offers a delightful gaming experience, standing tall among the best platformers ever created, whether in 2D or otherwise.
Visually, Klonoa may not boast extravagant graphics, but it doesn't need to. The game's colorful, double-scrolling backgrounds, well-animated characters, and easily discernible obstacles make it visually appealing and easy on the eyes.
While the game's audio may not be its strongest suit as compared to Donkey Kong Country, Klonoa manages to evoke the same happiness players get from its core gameplay and its visual representation. The soundtrack, though not outstanding, complements the gameplay effectively.
Klonoa brilliantly blends platforming with puzzles, offering players a refreshing twist on traditional puzzle-solving elements. The game's smart execution ensures that each scenario feels unique and engaging. Players traverse through five worlds, each with multiple levels, incorporating varying gameplay elements such as platforms, puzzles, and fast-paced action. The well-crafted level design, coupled with Klonoa's precise controls, keeps players engaged and entertained throughout.
2. Mario vs. Donkey Kong
The peanut butter and jelly of Nintendo, Mario and Donkey Kong, have never been well represented with a game than this (with a title that succinctly describes exactly what it is) Mario vs. Donkey. Mario vs. Donkey Kong for the GameBoy Advance offers an enjoyable and decently sized game with six different worlds, each featuring unique designs like cityscapes and jungles. Each world is packed with six levels, a Mini Mario stage, and a Donkey Kong battle.
In the levels, players must navigate through stages, unlock doors using keys, and free Mini Mario from its case. Colored presents, One Up Mushrooms, and colored switches add depth to the gameplay, requiring some brainpower to solve the level puzzles.
The game's appeal lies in Mario's diverse moveset, including the triple jump, handstand jump, backflip jump, and ducking. These abilities are crucial for overcoming obstacles and foes, making the gameplay engaging and entertaining. Mini-games provide opportunities to earn extra lives, adding replayability, especially in the expert levels unlocked by achieving high scores and speed. Moreover, the game offers six "Plus Worlds," which are entirely original levels, demanding precise guidance of a single Mini Mario to the door.
While the graphics may not showcase the full potential of the GBA, they are still good, with well-designed backgrounds and characters. The game's replay value stems from its solid controls and clever level design, making it worth revisiting. Although the story is simple, focusing on Mario chasing Donkey Kong to retrieve stolen Mini Mario action figures, it serves its purpose for this type of game.
1. Wario Land 4
Wario Land 4 marks a triumphant exit of the 8-bit world for the beloved anti-hero. In contrast to his previous titles, this game showcases Wario's unique spin on the platforming genre while exploring a pyramid to find its treasure. The graphics are a delight, taking full advantage of the Game Boy Advance's capabilities. Each level is impeccably designed, with diverse and surreal landscapes that captivate players. The character animations, especially Wario's fluid movements, add to the visual appeal.
The gameplay premise may seem complicated at first, with magical paintings containing worlds inside them, but it quickly becomes engaging. Players must navigate through levels, find keys, and collect four pieces to unlock the door to the next painting. The added challenge of returning to the portal in time adds excitement and strategy to the game. Wario Land 4 strikes an excellent balance between challenge and mercy, allowing players to return later for missed pieces without feeling overly stressed. It's a welcome departure from Wario's previous invincibility and adds depth to the gameplay.
The worlds in Wario Land 4 are a surreal delight, each with its own unique rules and creative design. The soundtrack is diverse and well-implemented, complementing the gameplay with serene melodies and motivating up-tempo tracks. The game's inclusion of disc treasures may seem quirky, but it adds to the overall charm and showcases Wario Land 4's playful nature. The recurring hidden bonus puzzle rooms and challenging bosses contribute to the overall enjoyment and depth of the game.
While Wario Land 4 lacks a clear difficulty progression, it compensates by allowing players to adjust their approach and provides opportunities to make bosses easier with the use of in-game currency. The mini-games are not only enjoyable diversions but also impact the gameplay directly, a feature ahead of its time.