Sports games underwent a remarkable transformation, mirroring the impressive evolution seen in fighting games on the Game Boy Advance (GBA). The GBA's advanced hardware capabilities allowed developers to create more immersive and realistic sports experiences, bringing a massive leap in quality compared to its predecessors, the Game Boy and Game Boy Color. Gamers were treated to dynamic gameplay, improved graphics, and refined controls, elevating the excitement of virtual sports to new heights on the portable platform. Here are seven of the best sports games on the portable gamer's paradise.
Best game boy advance sports games
7. ESPN Final Round Golf 2002
Golf games on the Game Boy and Game Boy Color haven't been the greatest, with only a few exceptions like Golf and Mario Golf. However, the Game Boy Advance brings hope for better golfing experiences, and ESPN Final Round Golf 2002 attempts to step up to the challenge.
This game breaks away from the cartoony world of Mario and embraces a more realistic approach, with ESPN licensing. Although lacking real golfers and courses, the game's potential lies in its graphics and sound design.
The game’s control is challenging and rewarding, with the ball’s distance and spin requiring skill and practice. Putting is very satisfying. The game also has replay value, as there are many options to explore. Progressing through courses requires earning money by replaying.
Final Round Golf 2002 is innovative, with original courses and golfers that showcase the game’s creativity and diversity. It provides good, grounded fun for golf enthusiasts who are not too fond of Mario Golf's cartoony direction.
6. Madden NFL 2003
There are six Madden titles on the Game Boy Advance , and Madden NFL 07 has the most "updated" roster and incremental improvements from the previous iterations. Madden NFL 2003 is on the list because it is the game of the GBA Madden series that sets all the foundations. Madden NFL 2002 is a great introduction, Madden NFL 2003 is an improvement in all facets. The subsequent titles plateaued from what the 2003 entry set.
While not groundbreaking, the graphics of this sports game are impressive for the system, with no noticeable slowdown during gameplay. The player sprites change size as they move, adding a nice touch of realism. The gameplay is where Madden 2003 truly shines. With various play modes like free play, season mode, and playoff mode, there's plenty to keep (American) football-heads engaged.
The in-game mechanics are smooth, with easy play selection and enjoyable passing and running mechanics. The Create-A-Player feature adds depth, allowing players to fine-tune their custom players for a personalized experience. The game offers different difficulty modes, catering to both newcomers and seasoned players. Madden 2003 offers high replay value, with a lengthy Season Mode and the allure of creating custom teams with the Create-A-Player feature.
5. Mario Tennis: Power Tour
Mario Tennis: Power Tour boasts superb graphics for the Game Boy Advance, with a marked improvement over the original Game Boy Color (GBC) version. The textures are smooth, and the vibrant colors of the Royal Tennis Academy add to the visual quality.
Character sprites are crisp and unique, elevating the overall look of the game. While the characters during tennis matches have a slightly dated "3D" appearance, the rest of the graphics are excellent, except for the somewhat oversized tennis balls which, to be fair, have their charm.
In terms of story, the game follows a new kid aspiring to become the best tennis player in the world. While the narrative may not be overly complex, it's commendable for a sports game. However, the story loses points for being too reminiscent of the original Mario Tennis for GBC and featuring somewhat tedious cutscenes.
One of the game's significant improvements lies in the stat system, where primary and secondary stats are introduced. This customization allows players to tailor their characters to have unique playstyles, enhancing gameplay variety. Additionally, Powershots from the GameCube version have been added through mini-games. However, the lack of GBA and GameCube connectivity are minor disappointments.
Mario Tennis: Power Tour's improved core gameplay and introduction of the stat system brings one of the most beloved sports game to new heights.
4. Mario Golf: Advance Tour
Another Mario sports game enters the arena. Mario Golf: Advance Tour for the Game Boy Advance offers an enjoyable golfing experience with elements of a fancy golf resort featuring four distinct courses: Marion, Palms, Dunes, and Links. The game combines the Mario theme with Golden Sun-like graphics, making it visually stunning and detailed.
The gameplay is the highlight, with various modes, including a story mode where players train under a legendary golfer named Kid and compete in tournaments to become the best golfer. The game also features side activities like driving ranges and putting zones, where pros teach players different techniques, earning experience points to improve characters' abilities.
Graphics receive a perfect score due to the beautiful courses, character models, and impressive views from behind the characters during long shots. Sound is well-designed, with unique music for each course and voiceovers for shot responses.
The gameplay is highly enjoyable and fun, with numerous tournaments, side games, and secret characters to unlock. The game's replayability is excellent, providing entertainment for months to come, especially with the option for multiplayer on one Game Boy Advance and one game pak.
Mario Golf: Advance Tour is a must-buy, offering hours of fun and a well-rounded golfing experience. Players can expect a rich variety of content and additional unlockables through the Game Boy Advance-Gamecube Link Cable and Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour.
3. Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup
Quidditch may not have a real-world counterpart, but it is still a sports game. Well, Quidditch is a combination of a lot of team sports games but the focus of the game's quality should be the priority in this list. Hence, the wizardly world of Harry Potter is one of the greatest sports titles not just on the GBA but also in the history of gaming.
The storyline is utterly perfection because the game follows the Quidditch Cup system as described in the books, staying true to the Harry Potter universe. This adherence to the original story sets it apart from other EA Harry Potter games, which have often deviated from the source material.
The gameplay is flawless, with passes and all options working well. The game follows the title's premise, allowing players to progress from training to winning the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup and eventually the World Cup. Despite the limited buttons on the GBA, the game manages to include all the necessary moves, which is a remarkable feat. As this game is Developed by EA, it borrows some features from their sports games, particularly Madden 2004. The controls are simple and easy to learn, making them accessible, especially to younger players.
Harry Potter: Quidditch World Cup's training mode, teaches players the basics needed to excel in tournaments. The inclusion of Wizard cards, earned by completing events, adds an extra kick to the already amazing game. The Quidditch matches themselves are fantastic, with players attempting to score goals by putting the quaffle through golden rings and catching the Golden Snitch for victory.
This game is a must-buy for any Harry Potter fan, but even those who enjoy sports games should give it a try. The game's accurate representation of Quidditch and engaging gameplay make it a worthwhile experience for both Potter enthusiasts and casual players.
2. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 for the Game Boy Advance turned out to be a pleasant surprise, a worthy follow-up to the Game Boy Color version.
One of the first noticeable differences in the GBA version was the top-down perspective, which initially took some getting used to after playing the 3D console versions. However, the fixed camera angle and pre-rendered levels allowed for an excellent visual experience. The game ran at a blazingly fast 60 frames per second, a feat that seemed almost unthinkable on a portable console at the time. With each skater composed of 300 polygons, the visuals were jaw-dropping, considering the GBA's primary focus on 2D visuals.
The control scheme on the GBA version differed due to the top-down perspective, and players had to adapt to it. As gamers spent time with the game, they found themselves fumbling initially, hitting the wrong buttons, and forgetting flip tricks and manuals in strings of tricks. However, with practice, the controls became intuitive, allowing players to execute tricks and combos just as smoothly as in other editions of the game.
The developers, Vicarious Visions and Activision should be commended for the brilliant graphics they achieved on the GBA, making Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 the best-looking launch title for the system. The pre-rendered levels were visually stunning, and the smooth frame rate added to the overall experience. Moreover, the sound design was top-notch, with well-done in-game tracks and excellent sound effects, elevating the GBA's audio capabilities beyond the limitations of earlier handheld consoles.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 for the Game Boy Advance is a standout launch title that impressed players with its graphics, smooth performance, and addictive gameplay. Despite the top-down perspective and control adjustments, the game delivered the authentic Tony Hawk experience in a portable format. With its remarkable replayability and diverse content, it remains a must-have for GBA owners and a testament to what the system had achieved.
1. Fire Pro Wrestling
Fire Pro Wrestling for Game Boy Advance is a critically acclaimed wrestling series known for its in-depth features and unique gameplay. The 2D graphics offer a retro NES 8-bit style, and the wrestlers are surprisingly detailed despite their small size. The game runs smoothly with no slowdown or flickering, even with four wrestlers in the ring.
Sound on the GBA is limited, but Fire Pro Wrestling includes background music for matches and various entrance themes for wrestlers. Sound effects are standard for wrestling games, with the referee's calls adding some realism to the matches.
The gameplay sets Fire Pro Wrestling apart with its unique controls, where players initiate grapples by walking next to opponents and execute moves using precise button combinations. Reversals and critical moves add depth to the matches. The game includes various match types, such as one-on-one, death matches with electrified cages, submission-based Gruesome mode, and battle royals with up to four wrestlers.
Several game modes provide variety, including exhibition matches, league, tournament, 5-on-5 matches, and Audience Match, which unlocks more wrestlers as players impress the crowd. The extensive edit mode allows players to create or customize over 60 wrestlers and adjust their attributes, styles, and moves.
Fire Pro Wrestling's replay value is off the charts due to the deep edit mode, game link compatibility for multiplayer battles, and the challenge of mastering the unique gameplay mechanics. Wrestling fans already have this game on their best-of lists, all other types of gamers should too.