7 Best Game Boy Color Platformers for you to bounce around

Platformers have always been a staple of Nintendo, its affiliated developers, and third-party studios releasing their games on the Big N's platforms. With improved visuals and enhanced capabilities compared to its original incarnation, the Game Boy Color showcased some of the finest platformers of its time. In this list, seven of the best platforming adventures available on the Game Boy Color are featured.

Best game boy color platformers

7. Oddworld Adventures 2

While the first installment on the original Game Boy was underwhelming, Oddworld Adventures 2 stands out as a solid game, correcting the mistakes of its predecessors this time on the Game Boy Color. This game shines due to its diverse gameplay. It offers a mix of action and puzzle elements, primarily revolving around trial and error.

It presents a unique puzzle-adventure experience, a rare gem on the Game Boy Color. With 24 levels and a password save option, you can easily track your progress. Abe possesses numerous abilities, like any action game protagonist. He can run, creep, jump, climb, talk, and even fart.

Each skill plays a crucial role in overcoming encountered obstacles. You'll need to rescue creatures and locate tokens that must be destroyed to unlock level exits. Abe's communication skills become invaluable when interacting with rescued characters. Using a limited vocabulary, you can issue commands such as "Hello," "Follow me," "Wait," and "Work." These obedient allies aid in rescuing others and assisting with essential tasks.

Don't let the unpalatable art style or the hideous cover art discourage you from experiencing this gem of a game. Despite its visual shortcomings, this title stands out as one of the finest offerings on the platform.

6. Shantae

In this cute platformer, Shantae's home has been destroyed by the mischievous lady pirate, Risky Boots. Risky Boots, despite her cuteness, has nefarious plans to conquer the world using a stolen steam engine and four special stones needed for her doomsday device. It's up to Shantae to retrieve these stones before Risky Boots can get her hands on them.

Shantae draws inspiration from various games, and while it's challenging to pinpoint a specific resemblance, it shares some similarities with Castlevania 2 on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The game features a day-to-night cycle, where enemies become stronger at night, and you must navigate labyrinthine areas similar to the mansions in Castlevania 2.

Transformation dances play a significant role in Shantae's gameplay. After freeing a labyrinth genie or meeting certain requirements, Shantae can transform into various creatures such as a monkey, an elephant, a spider, or a flying bird. Each form serves a specific purpose and is essential for completing quests. Additional optional dances can be learned.

Visually, the game boasts one of the best art styles for a Game Boy Color game. Shantae, looks fantastic, even though she lacks an idle animation. Other characters, particularly the female ones, are nicely designed, with Risky Boots standing out. While some minor characters share sprites across different towns, they are generally unique, with notable exceptions. The enemies exhibit excellent designs, with smaller ones resembling classic game foes and larger enemies, particularly female-themed ones, being visually striking.

5. Inspector Gadget: Operation Madkactus

Inspector Gadget for the Game Boy Color is a surprisingly great platformer where players control not just Inspector Gadget, but also Penny, and Brain in their quest to stop Dr. Claw's evil plans. The game features 15 stages, 5 boss battles, and the ability to switch between characters with unique abilities.

The gameplay follows the standard platformer format with each of the controllable characters having unique abilities. Inspector Gadget is powerful and agile, capable of taking multiple hits and defeating enemies efficiently. Brain is fast and nimble, excelling in running and jumping, although he is weaker in combat. Penny's usefulness is limited to swimming and deactivating computers, but she is not as effective in other areas.

The game introduces various enemies, some of which can pose a challenge, especially early on. For instance, the mud enemy in the first level requires careful maneuvering to avoid getting hit by its stinger. Enemies that shoot projectiles can be tough as well, with their fast and relentless attacks.

Inspector Gadget stands out due to its engaging core gameplay, despite lacking the polish seen in other games on this list. While it may have some weaknesses, the strength of the gameplay easily overshadows them, making it a highly recommendable Game Boy Color platformer.

4. Bionic Commando

The original Bionic Commando for the NES is one of the most highly regarded video games of all time. This Game Boy Color installment surpasses it in many ways. Developed by Nintendo's American division, the game stays true to the series' core gameplay and will appeal to fans of the NES and Game Boy versions.

The standout gameplay feature of the Bionic Commando series is its bionic arm, which allows for unique and challenging gameplay. In this platforming game, the controlled character cannot jump, and the focus lies heavily on using the bionic arm for swinging and navigating the levels. The swinging mechanics are brilliantly simple yet provide a great deal of depth, allowing for exhilarating maneuvers and precise platforming. The game progressively introduces more complex jumping puzzles, adding to the excitement and sense of mastery.

The game features 16 levels, with additional exclusive levels for each of the two playable characters. There are also bonus levels and top-down stages that provide extra lives. The gameplay revolves around finding items, weapons, and armor to progress through the levels. The game's length is relatively short, but its replayability is high, thanks to the enjoyable gameplay and the desire to improve and master the bionic arm mechanics. The graphics are impressive for a Game Boy Color game, with colorful visuals, smooth animations, and well-designed levels.

3. Ghost 'n Goblins

Ghost 'N Goblins holds a special place in gaming history, particularly in the memories of those who experienced it on the NES. In this classic side-scrolling action game, players assume the role of Arthur, a brave knight on a mission to rescue Princess Guinevere from the clutches of Hades' demons. Despite the familiar "rescue-the-princess" storyline, Ghost 'N Goblins stands out as one of the finest action games ever created.

The gameplay revolves around precise platforming and overcoming numerous enemies that often feel secondary to the game's focus on platforming mastery. However, one noteworthy aspect of the game is encountering Firebrand, a character from the Ghosts 'N Goblins series, who appears multiple times throughout the quest.

Ghost 'N Goblins remains one of the best side-scrolling action games ever made, offering a unique and notoriously challenging experience. While it may lack additional features or unlockables, the game is a must-play for those seeking a nostalgic trip through action game history or sadomasochistic first-time players who are willing to get tortured.

2. Super Mario Bros. Deluxe

Super Mario Bros. Deluxe for the GameBoy Color is a repackaging of classic game. It retains the original's charm while introducing a wealth of additional features. It is the pocketable version of the game that saved the video game industry itself.

The graphics, although reminiscent of the NES version, are still impressive and flawlessly replicated on the GameBoy Color. The gameplay is where this version shines. It features the original eight worlds and fights against Bowser, but it also includes Super Mario Bros. Lost Levels, which can be unlocked.

This version offers increased difficulty, additional enemies and items, and more challenging gaps to navigate, along with puzzles and obstacles. The "Challenge" feature allows players to replay any level and complete specific tasks. The "You vs. Boo" challenge, multiplayer compatibility, and customization options are new features that should give old fans brand-new experiences.

With its plethora of content, Super Mario Bros. for the GameBoy Color offers high replayability. Even after completing the main game, players can engage with additional challenges, play the Lost Levels, or strive for 100% completion, ensuring long-lasting enjoyment.

1. Wario Land 3

Wario Land 3 is able to achieve the most impossible task: surpass its predecessors, Wario Land 1 and 2. The objective is to find four keys in each level to unlock corresponding treasure chests, with each key and chest coming in different colors. The game presents various challenges, including secret actions and obstacles, along with enemies that require specific items to defeat. As players progress, they unlock new abilities and moves, enhancing the gameplay experience. With its multitude of challenges and tasks, Wario Land 3 offers a fun and demanding game that will keep players entertained for hours.

Starting with basic moves, players gradually acquire new abilities through treasure chests, adding depth to the gameplay. The game's story revolves around Wario's adventure, starting with a crash landing in an unfamiliar forest and being transported into a magical music box. The shadowy figure he encounters tasks him with finding five magical music boxes, promising treasure as a reward. The intriguing story sets the stage for Wario's journey through the game.

Wario Land 3 also has impressive visuals. Each level and enemy is intricately designed, and the overall presentation pushes the Game Boy Color hardware. The sounds and music in the game complement the gameplay, with distinct and clear audio cues.

Wario Land 3 boasts high replayability, with numerous secrets and the desire to achieve 100% completion driving players to come back for more. The game offers a satisfyingly challenging experience that will keep players engaged for extended periods. The game is literally perfection in all of its aspects.