Final Fantasy Legend III is a fitting end for the trilogy of Game Boy games; a very solid RPG experience that features a surprising degree of depth. If you like your quests long and your combat systems very basic and traditional in design, you’ll find much to like in this release, although you might find it a little tedious if you've got used to more modern RPG trappings. However, RPG enthusiasts are old hands when it comes for flirting with tedium in classic titles, and there’s still plenty to enjoy in this game – the final in the SaGa series to carry the 'Final Fantasy' moniker in the west.
Beautiful in its simplicity, satisfying in its depth and assured in execution, Gargoyle's Quest is one of the best games on the system and a solid indication of how potent a gaming platform the Game Boy was, even during its fledgling years. Technically a Ghosts ‘n Goblins game, it actually plays much more like The Adventure of Link, with top-down overworld gameplay giving way to side-on platforming battles. This is a truly timeless release that should be experienced by gamers of all ages.
The second game in the SaGa RPG series (rebranded as 'Final Fantasy' in the west thanks to that series’ popularity), Final Fantasy Legend II provides a party of four characters as you explore the world searching for shards of MAGI, a divine magical substance that grants the bearer immense power. Its challenging turn-based battling went down well enough to warrant another follow-up and then some, with over a dozen entries in the SaGa series to date.
17. DuckTales 2 (GB)
Scaling down the NES sequel as the original game did, the Game Boy interpretations of Capcom's classic platformers did an excellent job of giving Ducktales fans a version of the game to keep themselves occupied in the back of the car on the weekend trip to the grandparents’ house. With solid gameplay and great music, it’s worth tracking down if you only know the NES version – the level layouts are very different and there’s a plethora of items not found in the home console game.
While it’s certainly true that many monochrome Game Boy titles haven’t aged particularly well, playing Belmont’s Revenge today is a humbling experience. Like so many games of the era, the gameplay is pure, unhindered by modern concerns such as plots, 3D visuals and other fripperies. With superb level design, tight controls, engaging gameplay and a soundtrack that is so good you’ll seriously consider obtaining it on CD, Belmont’s Revenge ranks as one of the utterly essential Game Boy games and is as enjoyable today as it was all those years ago.
15. Mole Mania (GB)
Mole Mania is a first-party game headed up by Shigeru Miyamoto himself. Some minor control issues aside, it plays a little bit like an endless series of puzzle rooms from the dungeons of The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, albeit without the direct combat. The visuals are great and the music is phenomenal; it’s a worthy addition to the library for anyone who won't get frustrated over finding themselves stuck again and again. After all, in Mole Mania, getting stuck is part of the fun.
14. DuckTales (GB)
Another GB version of a NES classic, the portable version of Ducktales scales the look of the original down very nicely to the Game Boy’s monochrome screen and manages to include all the mechanics you’d expect, remixing the levels but retaining much of what makes the NES version so special. It’s a challenging little game, but another winner from Capcom in the Game Boy catalogue and Disney or Ducktales fans shouldn’t overlook this port.
13. Mega Man V (GB)
Mega Man V was the Blue Bomber’s first wholly original entry in the Game Boy, with the preceding games being mashups inspired by his NES adventures. Against all odds and exceeding any reasonable expectations, it turns out to be one of the best Mega Man games, period. The difficulty might be a tad low, and the soundtrack only intermittently hits the peaks we've come to expect from the series, but all of that is made up for by an endlessly creative experience, ten new special weapons, and a whopping fifteen main bosses. This might be one of the most overlooked games in the Blue Bomber's catalogue, but that just means it's primed for rediscovery. If you have any interest at all, you'd be doing yourself a great disservice by passing on Mega Man V.
Kirby's Dream Land 2 is great, simple fun and one of the better traditionally-styled Kirby titles. The technical mastery of Game Boy really shines through even now, with great presentation and a fairly big world to conquer. Even though its low level of challenge makes it seem smaller than it actually is, its length and numerous power-ups to experiment with makes it ideal for repeat playthroughs. After all these years, it still plays like a dream.
With 192 "regular" puzzles and an additional 64 Time Trial puzzles, the value of Mario's Picross is impressive, containing over 250 puzzles that can easily be taken with you anywhere you go. They're not very hard compared to some of the brainteasers in the later games, which also have various extra features, but it's still a great, addictive piece of software, and a nice start for Picross beginners or those who just want some more puzzles to crack.