The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap carried on the trend of giving Link a talking piece of equipment to accompany him on his quest. This time around, it was the Minish Cap — a hat named Ezlo that could shrink Link to microscopic proportions so he can locate the Kinstone fragments and save the Minish people, or 'Picori'.
Another Flagship-developed entry after the company proved itself with the excellent Oracles pair, this was a traditional Zelda adventure that still looks and sounds wonderful, even if it didn't do an awful lot to shake up the formula. It introduced a few new items, though – Mole Mitts, Gust Jar, and Cane of Pacci – and allowed Link to learn new sword techniques throughout the game, as well as gain the ability to fuse elements to his sword. All-in-all, a brilliant bite-sized adventure.
Coming a couple of years after the original GBA entry in Intelligent Systems' Wars series, Advance Wars 2 might not have shaken things up a whole lot, but it offered a slew of nice additions, as well as a fun new campaign to work your way through. Certain COs were tweaked to be less overpowered (Max, anyone?) making this a more balanced game than its predecessor. It's arguably more of the same, but when the first course was so delicious, who wouldn't want a second helping?
Mother 3 began life as a Nintendo 64 title before eventually transferring to the Game Boy Advance. In the West it's become something of a cult — a near-mythical Japan-only release that fans of Earthbound have been desperate to play in an official capacity since 2006. That fervent fanbase has taken matters into its own hands with unofficial translations, but beyond the Lucas Smash Bros. amiibo there's been no indication we'll see it any time soon.
Or has there? We've seen games like NES game Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon & the Blade of Light come to the West with a belated official localisation. Then there was the Wii U release of the original NES Mother, renamed Earthbound Beginnings, and more recently the Western debut of the Famicom Disk System Famicom Detective Club duo boasting a brand new localisation...
If we had to put money on it, we'd say that we will see this given an official English release at some point. Goodness knows there's an appetite for it!
Golden Sun is a fine RPG, perfecting the classic formula whilst introducing unique mechanics of its own. An intriguing setting, likeable characters, and gripping story are the bread-and-butter of any good RPG, and Golden Sun doesn't disappoint on those fronts. The first few hours are a slog, but stick with it and you'll be rewarded with a rich, deep RPG that desperately deserves a modern day instalment.
The microgames on offer in WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgame$! may be simple affairs, but the frantic, fast–paced and challenging experience that results from knitting them together in quick succession is incredibly addictive, and Wario's patented brand of mania is well suited to a handheld. It isn’t the longest game, and beyond the single-player mode there isn’t much else to do, but it’s stuffed full of magical, creative moments, not to mention an abundance of that classic Nintendo nostalgia and charm.
Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga's lengthy main adventure felt pretty unique back in 2003. It was only the third RPG-style Mario adventure, but developer AlphaDream's Mario debut hit the jackpot right away with its addictive battle systems and dual brother gameplay. With plenty of side quests to seek out and minigames to replay for high-score chasers, Mario and Luigi's amusing animations and "voice acting" played into the game's great sense of humour and it hasn't lost its ability to raise an ear-to-ear smile.
Veteran developer Camelot proved it was still top seed with this one. With a comprehensive story mode, tight and entertaining tennis gameplay mechanics and a surprising amount of depth, Mario Tennis: Power Tour (or Mario Power Tennis as it's known in Europe) is a winning on-court return for the plumber (and his pals). It's pretty dialogue-heavy, but there’s a deep, rewarding experience to be found underneath all the waffle, with the story mode serving up a satisfying sense of progression from the very beginning to the Game-Set-Match.
Pokémon Emerald is the upgraded version of Ruby and Sapphire, and — as you might expect — it was more evolution than revolution. It included some new story elements in the Hoenn region, updated the locations where you could nab certain Pokémon, allowed you to catch a greater pool of Pokémon than in its predecessors and added the Battle Frontier — a competition island you can visit after beating the Elite Four to earn badges, buy items and get new moves to teach your 'mon.
Perhaps a little lacking in 'wow' factor for Poké Fans who had been there from the beginning, Emerald was nonetheless solid entry in the Pokémon canon.
Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land is a worthy remake of the pink puffball's first home console adventure. While what it offers is a tad basic compared to what more modern Kirby titles offer, it's still very playable, and there are little creative moments where game occasionally shines. As with practically every other game featuring the Kirbster, its delightful, colourful visuals make it a supremely charming experience, and one which will be most appreciated by players looking for only a very light challenge.
Wario Land 4 is a testament to quality over quantity, with the clever nonlinear level structures that lend themselves to multiple playthroughs and further exploration to unlock all the extras. It's a platformer for platforming veterans, full of impeccable level design and a quirky audiovisual presentation that would go on to set the precedent for the WarioWare series. If you're a fan of platformers — which will probably be the majority of you if you're Nintendo aficionados — Wario Land 4 is an absolute must-play.
This Treasure-developed take on Osamu Tezuka's classic character was a real looker in the GBA's library — fitting given the prestige of the property and the adoration of manga and anime fans around the world. As opposed to Treasure's usual output, Astro Boy: The Omega Factor is more platforming beat 'em up than run-and-gunner (with a few shmup-style stages thrown in for good measure). It successfully blends traditional manga-style presentation of the characters in dialogue portraits with more rounded 3D-esque sprites and backgrounds for the action. It's a real winner; a licensed game that lives up to the source material.
As a strictly single-player experience, F-Zero: Maximum Velocity still holds up today as a result of its smooth, skill-based gameplay. There may only be four cups in which to compete, but the varied difficulty and surprisingly steep learning curve when it comes to mastering the vehicles and tracks make this a game you want to keep coming back to. This is an enjoyable dose of the franchise that also highlights what the last Game Boy could really do.
What's better than some friends? More friends, of course! Silly title aside, Harvest Moon: More Friends of Mineral Town may be very quaint by modern standards but it has the same charm as its predecessor with just a bit of icing added on the cake. Those who have already played the original Friends of Mineral Town wouldn't be missing much by passing on this version, although this one does enable you to play as a female and take on a new set of potential mates.
For those who have yet to play or own either title, however, More Friends of Mineral Town has the edge with more suitors and the ability to increase funds quicker by flogging them to travelling merchant Won. When all's been tilled and it's time to bring the chickens home to roost, it's hard to go wrong with either of the classic Harvest Moon experiences — this one just has a tad more.
Actually, maybe it was a good title after all.
What was the best Game Boy Advance model?
Most fans tend to agree that the best GBA model is the GBA SP AGS-101, which has a clamshell design (so the screen is protected during transit), a back-lit screen (which is better than the front-lit version on the GBA SP AGS-001) and a rechargeable battery.
However, even this model has its drawbacks; there's no 3.5mm headphone socket, so you have to purchase an additional adapter to use headphones.
Did the GBA have gyro?
No, but certain GBA games have a gyro sensor built into the cartridge itself.
What games can you play on the Game Boy Advance?
The GBA is backwards compatible with all existing Game Boy and Game Boy Color software.