Game Boy Advance Golden Sun
Image: Nintendo Life / Zion Grassl

The Game Boy Advance celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Japanese debut on 21st March 2021. Nintendo's first true successor to the original Game Boy line (the Game Boys Pocket and Color notwithstanding), the GBA in all its forms — original horizontal console, clamshell SP model, and ludicrously small (and sexy) Micro — would be the company's final handheld to carry the Game Boy branding; the experimental Nintendo DS came along in the mid-2000s and swiftly ate the GBA's lunch.

GBA Worm Light
Playing GBA, old-school. — Image: Nintendo Life / Zion Grassl

One of the cleverest things about the DS, though, was the GBA slot in the bottom of the original and Lite models. You could happily transition to the new portable (and ditch the worm light if you never picked up an SP or a Micro) without losing access to the huge library of Game Boy Advance titles.

And what a library it is! Much like many of our Best Games and Series rankings, in order to find out definitively the top 50 Game Boy Advance games ever we asked Nintendo Life readers to score for their favourite GBA titles out of 10. Those User Ratings are tabulated in real time and form the ranked list below — it's entirely possible to change the order, even after publication. Even GBA games in our database that are bubbling under the top 50 can elbow their way in if they get sufficient love from your lovely selves!

So, don't worry if you missed out on 'voting' in Advance (see what we did there?) — simply scroll down and rate them now. Alternatively, use the search bar below to search for any GBA game in our database and rate it for a chance to see it rise through the ranks and appear. For now, though, we proudly present the 50 best Game Boy Advance games ever...

Note. In order for games to become eligible, they need a minimum of 50 User Ratings in total.

50. Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire (GBA)

Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire (GBA)
Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire (GBA)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Jupiter Corporation
Release Date: 25th Aug 2003 (USA) / 14th Nov 2003 (UK/EU)

Pokémon Pinball: Ruby & Sapphire is an enjoyable entry-level pinball game designed to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. Its colourful, charming visuals look great, and the vast number of Pokémon available to catch and evolve means that if you’re looking for a long-term dip-in, dip-out sort of game, you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied. It can become a bit tedious if played extensively, so it’s much better to play this charming little game in short bursts.

49. Mega Man Zero (GBA)

Mega Man Zero (GBA)
Mega Man Zero (GBA)
Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 10th Sep 2002 (USA) / 31st Oct 2002 (UK/EU)

Mega Man Zero kicks off a series that will challenge you endlessly, but is very rewarding to master. Its brutal difficulty is bound to turn off a lot of gamers, but those who stick with it will find the richest world in any Mega Man series, populated with interesting characters and pulsing with a predictably brilliant soundtrack. Its sword-heavy combat and Cyber Elf approach to upgrades aren't going to resonate with everybody — and the grinding is a genuine obstacle to enjoyment — but if you have even a passing interest in Mega Men, it's worth seeking out. Just don't expect to be very good at it for a long time.

48. Sonic Advance (GBA)

Sonic Advance (GBA)
Sonic Advance (GBA)
Publisher: SEGA / Developer: Dimps
Release Date: 3rd Feb 2002 (USA) / 8th Mar 2002 (UK/EU)

In the decades since the shocking first appearance of Sega's mascot on a Nintendo handheld, it's fair to say that not every team that's worked on a 2D Sonic game has nailed the delicate sense of inertia and tight physics that characterise the classic 16-bit titles. Sonic Advance is one such example that just gets it. Developer Dimps retains the classic feel and course design that made the originals special while adding fresh elements that prevent it from feeling like a re-tread of old ideas. Vibrant visuals, charming animation, excellent audio; add multiplayer into the mix — as well as the Tiny Chao Garden that linked to the Gamecube — and Sonic Advance is a platforming treat up there with hedgehog's finest.

47. Kirby & The Amazing Mirror (GBA)

Kirby & The Amazing Mirror (GBA)
Kirby & The Amazing Mirror (GBA)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: HAL Laboratory
Release Date: 2nd Jul 2004 (USA) / 18th Oct 2004 (UK/EU)

While the Metroid-esque gameplay is a refreshing change of pace for the Kirby series and works well in some parts, it also fails in others. The Metroid games have backtracking as well, yes, but it's not nearly as frequent and annoying as it is in Kirby & The Amazing Mirror. The multiplayer features are optional, but the game was arguably designed around the multiple Kirby aspect and it's at its best with other people.

46. Game & Watch Gallery Advance (GBA)

Game & Watch Gallery Advance (GBA)
Game & Watch Gallery Advance (GBA)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 28th Oct 2002 (USA) / 25th Oct 2002 (UK/EU)

The gameplay is simple, but the included titles in Game & Watch Gallery Advance are still fun to play decades after they appeared in Game & Watch form. High-score chasing should keep players occupied, especially with twenty games to chose from — eleven of which also include an updated "Modern" mode. It can feel repetitive at times and the method of unlocking games has the potential to annoy but this volume of titles remains an excellent compilation of Nintendo's first foray into portable gaming.

45. Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival (GBA)

Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival (GBA)
Super Street Fighter II: Turbo Revival (GBA)
Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 30th Oct 2001 (USA) / 2nd Nov 2001 (UK/EU)

The characters, moves and music that made Street Fighter II great are all here and you can certainly have fun with this particular version. Of course much of what appeals with this game is available in the other versions of Street Fighter II and as well as multiplayer they have less awkward controls. The new artwork and stages (even if there wasn't anything wrong with the old ones) generally work well, but unless you have a strong desire to experience Super Combos and Akuma on GBA, it's hard to recommend this over other versions, even if it's a pleasant little port.

44. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (GBA)

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (GBA)
Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 (GBA)
Publisher: Activision / Developer: Vicarious Visions
Release Date: 11th Jun 2001 (USA) / 22nd Jun 2001 (UK/EU)

Vicarious Visions managed to distil the essence of the full-sized Tony Hawk titles into an incredible isometric version that feels tight, responsive and very much not the obligatory downgraded handheld port you might have expected. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on GBA is genuinely one of our favourite entries in the overall series, with great music and cracking visuals. And Spider-Man.

What's not to love?

43. Super Mario Advance (GBA)

Super Mario Advance (GBA)
Super Mario Advance (GBA)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo R&D2
Release Date: 11th Jun 2001 (USA) / 22nd Jun 2001 (UK/EU)

The first of the Super Mario platformer ports (and the one that kicked off the most convoluted naming convention in gaming history), Super Mario Advance brought Super Mario Bros. 2 to the GBA in the 16-bit style of Super Mario All-Stars. With the ability to choose between four characters carrying over from the original, it gained a point system in addition to its facelift, as well as several collectibles to find throughout each stage. Overall, it's still one of the best ways to revisit the game, and you also get the remake of original Mario Bros. bundled in — that little multiplayer bonus would feature on multiple other entries in this GBA port series going forward.

42. Mega Man Zero 2 (GBA)

Mega Man Zero 2 (GBA)
Mega Man Zero 2 (GBA)
Publisher: Capcom
Release Date: 14th Oct 2003 (USA) / 31st Oct 2003 (UK/EU)

Mega Man Zero 2 does a great job of ironing out the wrinkles of its predecessor. With both audio and visual improvements, it also significantly reduces grinding, and provides the same brutal challenge in what feels like a much more fair way. Unlockable forms and EX Skills are also added to the mix, which gives the game an additional layer of replayability. It's a sequel done right, and it's no surprise that it's remembered so fondly all these years later.

41. F-Zero: GP Legend (GBA)

F-Zero: GP Legend (GBA)
F-Zero: GP Legend (GBA)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Suzak
Release Date: 20th Sep 2004 (USA) / 4th Jun 2004 (UK/EU)

If the story missions in F-Zero: GP Legend become too gruelling, there's always the option of tackling Grand Prix mode across a variety of difficulty tiers, which helps scale up the challenge as your skills improve. Before long you will be snaking your way around eye-watering turns and hazards in an unblinking state, where your muscle memory kicks in and nothing can break your concentration. That is the true F-Zero experience — the same one that has held up since GP Legend hit Europe in 2004, and indeed when the SNES classic tore onto our shores in 1992. That the format remains endearing is testament to the developer's gripping, yet savage design. With hours of content and gruelling challenge this is a stellar F-Zero experience.