Game Boy Advance was a revolutionary handheld console from the early 2000s. Made by the gaming giant Nintendo, it was the successor to the Game Boy Color. With a vast library of popular titles from the franchises of Mario, Zelda, Pokémon etc, the GBA games have stood the test of time. Now it’s 2020, where mobile phones have exponentially scaled to newer heights with powerful processors and larger RAM capacity. Emulating the GBA games now on your phones will be a walk in the park. It is perhaps the perfect time to revisit these classics and get a taste of those good old days of witty, uninterrupted, quality gaming which is lacking on mobile phones these days. Get ready to go retro as we pick 3 of the best Game Boy Advance titles for you to play on your phone!
Before we begin, here are the links to the preferred emulators:
- John GBA Lite – Android
- GBA4iOS – iOS
The ROMS for the following games are easily available with a common google search.
FINAL FANTASY VI ADVANCE
The Final Fantasy VI Advance is a must-play title for RPG fans as it had some of the most redefining aspects of the genre. It is literally an epic in terms of the plot as it ranges from medieval settings to the industrial revolution, resulting in a steampunk-inspired environment. With the turn-based combat system, the gameplay is very diverse with 14 unique characters to play as, each with their own set of skills and special abilities. The character upgrades and grinding of resources is a rewarding experience, through and through. The characters of FFVI also have this compelling personality, adding to the depth of the game. FFVI has one of the boldest endings in gaming history that you don’t really expect from an RPG. The engaging story, interesting side plots, glorious visuals of its time and an amazing background score makes FFVI as the definitive RPG experience.
Curb your nostalgia with Pokémon Emerald as you are introduced to the third generation Pokémon and several new additions. It is a step into the right direction from its predecessors like the Pokémon Red or the Crystal version. In this soft reboot, you play as either Brendan or May, who will set out for a wild adventure through the vast, expansive Hoenn region. Catch wild Pokémon and encounter trainers as they challenge you on the way. Train your Pokémon in the wild or with the trainers and teach them new moves as they level up and evolve. Although it has borrowed many of the same elements from the previous games like the generic Pokémon story, gym battles and the fight against the evil Pokémon teams(Magma and Lava here), the gameplay has reached new heights with the likes of the 2v2 battles, the epic Battle Frontier (accessible post-game) and many more. It was the first time in these Pokémon games where the legendary Pokémon are directly involved in the main plot, making the campaign even better. With so many exploration options, a well-defined Pokémon stats system and an ingenious combat mechanism, Emerald is a near perfect Pokémon journey for the fans and newbies alike.
Advance Wars is a turn-based strategy game. Engage yourself in some serious war tactics on a colourful pixel palette along with manga styled characters. Commandeer the various factions and their different units, each having their own perks. Battlefields involve infantries, tanks, transport vehicles, air units, battleships etc. Placing your units in the right position and the right time is one of the keys to victory. Although there’s not much to its story, the interesting gameplay makes up for it. Strategy games are known for their stigma around the difficulty. But this one is very good for beginners who are interested in the genre of strategy. It comes with quite a long tutorial, so the new players can get comfortable with the mechanics as well. As you progress, the game does get complex in terms of difficulty. With practice and logic on how you pull your strings with strategy, Advance Wars is an amazing, well-balanced venture into this genre.
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One might argue over the list lacking some of the best Game Boy Advance titles like the Metroid games, the Mario games, etc. Undoubtedly, they are brilliant titles on GBA but they have been avoided here due to the lack of the versatile use of the hardware. The on-screen controls on a phone just don’t match with that kind of gameplay, making it unbearably difficult to play. Nonetheless, the games mentioned in the list are some of the all-time GBA classics and it has to be experienced once by the gamers. Remember that these were the good old days when these groundbreaking games were not riddled with microtransactions and annoying advertisements. Happy retro gaming!