The Game Boy Advance boasts an impressive library of great games, but surprisingly, the puzzle genre is somewhat underrepresented. However, don't let that deter you, as the puzzle games available are an absolute delight to play on the portable console. Here are seven of the best puzzle games on the platform.
Best game boy advance puzzle games
7. Boulder Dash EX
Boulder Dash EX, a part of the Boulder Dash series that originated in the arcades in 1984, offers an engaging and challenging puzzle experience in a portable package. Released for the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color in 2002, it retains the core gameplay mechanics of its predecessors while introducing a story-driven campaign with cutscenes and various tools to aid players in solving mazes.
The objective is to collect diamonds in mazes and reach the exit while avoiding enemies and obstacles. The character has various tools like axes, bombs, and speed mushrooms to navigate through levels. The stages start simple but become increasingly complex, providing a mix of action and puzzle challenges.
With dozens of stages and additional content like trading cards and a full campaign, Boulder Dash EX offers a satisfying gaming experience. It may not have extensive replay value, like the next featured puzzle game, but the core gameplay is incredibly satisfying the first time around.
ZooCube is a compelling puzzle game that offers an enveloping experience, drawing players back time and time again. The concept is simple yet genius - match shapes to their likeness as they drift through the air toward a cube suspended in the sky. Rotate the cube using directional buttons to place the shapes correctly. The game starts with one shape at a time and gradually increases in difficulty as more shapes and challenges are introduced.
The game's simplicity doesn't undermine its difficulty, as players need excellent three-dimensional vision and quick reflexes. ZooCube also features a "KO Mode," where players aim to clear the cube of pre-existing shapes in each level.
The controls are responsive, and the distinct, brightly colored shapes prevent confusion. Hence players will not have to grapple with both the controls and presentation. Though the graphics are not world-beaters and the music is limited in number, ZooCube's addictive and challenging gameplay compensates for any shortcomings.
ZooCube’s core mechanics are extremely original and entertaining. ZooCube's replay value is where it’s at, and the pursuit of higher scores makes it highly recommended for puzzle game addicts.
5. Mr. Driller 2
Mr. Driller 2 follows the adventures of Susumu, aka Mr. Driller, as he tackles an outbreak of puzzle blocks threatening the Earth's core. Joined by Anna Hottenmayer, another driller, they compete to stop the outbreak and become the excavation king. The game features humorous Japanese voice acting.
Consistent with the Japanese brand of puzzle madness, Mr. Driller’s graphics are bold, colorful, and cartoon-style, while the animations are fluid and smooth. The cutscenes are entertainingly presented through stylized cartoons.
The gameplay is simple to grasp but offers deep challenges, requiring players to drill down to the bottom of levels, collecting oxygen tanks while managing the depleting oxygen supply. The levels change every 100ft, introducing various block types and oxygen challenges. Players will encounter blocks with special properties, which can aid or hinder their progress. The game offers a satisfying and addictive experience, with multiple modes and characters to play.
4. ChuChu Rocket!
ChuChu Rocket! for the Game Boy Advance is reminiscent of the Dreamcast version, known for its manic gameplay. In the Battle mode, players aim to collect as many mice as possible in their rockets by strategically placing directional arrows on a grid. The mice blindly follow the arrows' paths, avoiding dangerous orange cats along the way.
Various types of mice, such as normal, gold, and special, add variety to the gaming experience. The GBA version introduces new events like Kitten Mania and Night Time, enhancing the multiplayer experience for up to 4 players with only one cartridge.
The Puzzle mode is akin to the classic game Lemmings, where players must guide mice into rockets while avoiding cats. With an impressive 2500 puzzles to solve, this mode promises hours of engaging gameplay.
The graphics, although not polygonal like the Dreamcast version, are vibrant, cartoony, and well-suited for the GBA's capabilities. The sound includes memorable music from the DC version, creating a delightful auditory experience.
The addictive gameplay and smooth controls with three set-up options are only few of its great qualities. With a plethora of content, including various modes, challenges, and level editing features, ChuChu Rocket! provides a long-lasting puzzling and dashing.
3. Dr. Mario / Puzzle League
Dr. Mario was originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1990 and has seen a few remakes, including one on the Game Boy Advance. On the GBA, this game is paired with Puzzle League, also known as Panel de Pon or Pokemon Puzzle Challenge. Both games are considered the best puzzlers on the original platform they first appeared. Having them both in a single package is one heck of a deal.
For those who are not familiar with Dr. Mario. Dr. Mario's core gameplay features three different colored viruses and capsules that match the viruses. The capsules fall in colored pairs, resulting in six different pills: Red-Red, Red-Blue, Red-Yellow, Blue-Blue, Blue-Yellow, and Yellow-Yellow. Matching four of the same color makes them disappear.
The objective is to eliminate all viruses, but if the pills stack to the top, the player loses. The Vs. CPU mode adds a sense of urgency, as players race against another player to clear viruses. Combos or chains allow players to send garbage pills to the opponent. The AI can be set to Easy, Normal, or Hard. Flash mode is similar to Vs. mode, where players aim to destroy all flashing viruses.
On the other hand, Puzzle League involves swapping around colored blocks to make them disappear as the blocks rise. Players must prevent the blocks from reaching the top. As players discover chains and combos, the game becomes even more addictive. There are various modes, including Marathon mode, Vs. CPU mode, Timed mode, Line mode, Garbage mode, and Puzzle mode. Just like Dr. Mario, the AI on Puzzle League can be adjusted only this time on a scale of 1 to 20. Each mode offers a unique challenge and different ways to play the game.
2. Denki Blocks
Before you decide to purchase this game, it's important to know that it's not for the faint of heart – only seasoned puzzle enthusiasts will likely conquer the later stages. Despite its Souls-like difficulty, Denki Block remains highly enjoyable and rewarding.
The game fools players into thinking this should be an easy-peasy game with its cute art style. The childish appearance should not be the reason for anyone to put their guard down, this game is indeed challenging. And speaking of gameplay, that's where Puzzle League shines. It offers a fun and challenging experience that will keep players engaged for a long time. Controlling colored blocks in a square arena, the task is to match them up.
In the early stages, players deal with one color, but as it progresses, the challenge intensifies with up to three colors to match. The real depth comes from puzzles that require players to create shapes shown on the screen's side for bonus points and stars. While completing the game is achievable, getting all the stars is a tough endeavor even for avid puzzle gamers, making it a truly rewarding challenge.
1. Super Puzzle Fighter II
In an unexpected turn of events, a Street Fighter game ranking on a best puzzle game list is truly head-spinning. This spinoff captivated both Street Fighter fans and puzzle game aficionados in the arcades. The GBA port is able to retain the game's addictive qualities.
Every great puzzle game has one thing in common: a simple concept. Players have four different-colored square gems that fall in pairs, similar to Tetris. Matching four same-colored pieces in a 2x2 square merges them into a large gem. Players then continue to expand it by piling more and more gems of the same color.
Additionally, there are round "bomb" gems that shatter all gems of a single color in a chain, strategically dropping counter gems on the opponent's side as an attack. The character sprites performing signature moves while dropping counter gems add incredible production value.
Super Puzzle Fighter II features ten main characters from Street Fighter and Darkstalkers, three hidden characters, and two alternative lineup choices. Each character has unique counter gems, adding strategic depth and individual style. The game also offers a Street Mode, challenging the AI to unlock in-game secrets, but be warned, the AI fights hard and fast in this mode.
Graphically, the game is well-done with colorful sprites and backgrounds. The animations are also smooth. The sound is a nostalgic delight, offering remixes of songs from Street Fighter Alpha 2 and Darkstalkers, along with familiar voice clips from the characters.
Super Puzzle Fighter II is an excellent game with fun, addictive gameplay and nostalgic sights and sounds. It offers hours of entertainment, making it worthy of its number 1 placement.