Updated with Dr. Mario and the excellent sports RPGs, Mario Tennis and Mario Golf.

Remember, this list evolves as users rate the games within, so head to the game profiles and rate them out of 10 if you'd like to see the rankings below alter. Enjoy!

Game Boy and Game Boy Color titles first arrived on Nintendo Switch Online in February 2023 and pleased many gamers who have been Nintendo fans since the days of its first handheld console. The various Game Boys — the OG, Pocket, and Color — have a vast library of excellent games, the best of which hold up very well today, so seeing some of those gems finally come to Switch was a real treat.

It also gives players who missed out on those Halcyon handheld days decades ago the chance to catch up. But where should you start? What are the best Game Boy games on NSO?

With the help of Nintendo Life readers and the User Ratings they have assigned the games below on our Games Database, we can point you in the right direction if you're struggling to know where to start. Granted, the Game Boy library on Switch is slight at the time of writing, but if you want to know which of the games on offer is the toppermost of the poppermost, the list below will help.

The following ranking of the Nintendo Switch Online Game Boy and Game Boy Color games is compiled using the User Ratings (out of 10) given to each GB(C) game available on Switch in the West. Please note that this ranking is not set in stone and will automatically fluctuate over time depending on assigned User Ratings — and, over time, new additions to the NSO library, of course.

If you think a game deserves to place higher in the ranking below, simply click on the 'star' button and score it yourself. Your personal rating could very well boost its placement in the overall ranking!

Ready to go all 8-bit? Let's take a look at the Game Boy games playable on Nintendo Switch, as ranked by you lovely people. We start at the bottom of the pile...

21. Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare (GBC)

This one was a cross-platform title that also had PlayStation, PC, and Dreamcast versions, and although the diminutive handheld probably wasn't the ideal platform for an immersive Resident Evil-inspired survival horror experience, developer Pocket Studios did an admirable job downscaling the prerendered environments to display on Game Boy Color, delivering a decent approximation of the game as it existed on the far more powerful systems. That's not to say GBC's Alone in the Dark: The New Nightmare is the pick of the ports, of course. But, as massively downscaled 8-bit 'demakes' go, it's really not a bad one and can be impressively spooky given the platform's limitations.

Not one we'd rush to play over Game Boy luminaries like Super Mario Land 2, then, but a long way from terrible.

20. Quest for Camelot (GBC)

An unloved game based on the unloved Warner Bros. animated film, Quest for Camelot launched on Game Boy Color in the final weeks of 1998. Its appearance as part of Nintendo's Switch Online offering may be down to the platform holder's co-publishing of the original game (along with developer and publisher Titus Interactive). This top-down action-RPG might look a little like Zelda, but this is an exceptionally dull entry in the handheld's library, even by the standards of licensed movie tie-ins.

19. Blaster Master: Enemy Below (GBC)

The mixture of old and new elements give Blaster Master: Enemy Below enough new twists to make it a worthy sequel to the amazing original. Sure, many of the same audio/visual elements have been carried over fairly unchanged, but the new bosses and open setting offer up a whole new experience for fans to enjoy. If you never gave the Blaster Master series a chance (and Switch owners don't have much excuse considering that both this and the NES original are available with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription), this great Game Boy Color title is as good a reason as any to get stuck in.

18. BurgerTime Deluxe (GB)

Quite a bit longer than Data East's original arcade game, BurgerTime Deluxe's 24 all-new levels are sure to entertain, but it won't require a lengthy investment. You play Peter Pepper, a chef whose restaurant has been invaded by several pieces of living food, like sausages and eggs. Somehow, the only way to get rid of these pests is to create gigantic burgers by walking across the components — the buns, meat, lettuce — spread out across various platforms connected with ladders. It might not win an award for realism, but its gameplay still holds up well today, with strategy required to outwit the burger-hatin' enemies.

Suitably satisfying fast food fodder, then.

17. Castlevania Legends (GB)

Released in the wake of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night's astonishing critical success, Castlevania Legends introduces the first mainline female hero, Sonia Belmont, who was technically, chronologically the first-ever Belmont to fight Dracula. At least she was until Koji Igarashi became the producer of the series and the game's story became non-canon.

Following the amazing Belmont's Revenge was no easy task, but Legends is an inferior outing in almost every regard, bar the fact that it came with battery backup so you could save your progress. The visuals, controls, and music are all worse than they are in Belmont's Revenge, but that hasn't stopped Legends from becoming one of the most desirable and expensive Game Boy games. It's worth a brief look, but don't pay silly money for it, especially when it's available via Nintendo Switch Online.

16. Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble (GBC)

Released in 2000 in Japan and the following year in North America, this GBC spin-off never came to PAL shores, at least not until it was added to the Nintendo Switch Online retro catalogue in June 2023. The cartridge included a tilting sensor which enabled you to control Kirby by rolling him around levels, guiding him to the goal.

Kirby Tilt 'n' Tumble isn't ground-breaking, but it's a fun Kirby curio and worth playing if you can track it down. Make sure you're playing it in a regular GBC or GBA, though — the accelerometer doesn't like being held upside down in a GBA SP, and you won't get very far plugging it into a Game Boy Player, either. Thankfully, the version on Switch uses that console's gyro sensors.

15. Metroid II: Return of Samus (GB)

Metroid II: Return of Samus expands on the original NES title nicely. There's still no map for the game's giant world, which isn’t necessarily a problem due to this game’s linearity, although it can be an issue if you put it down for a while and don’t remember where you got to. There's a decent amount of exploration and hidden items to find, and the hunt to find and kill the 39 Metroids is fairly fun. Although nowhere near as refined as the 2D masterpiece that is Super Metroid, Metroid II has held up better than the original NES game and as such is still very much worth playing. Of course, the 3DS remake is arguably the best way to play the first return of Samus these days, but the original still has a lo-fi charm of its own.

14. Game & Watch Gallery 3 (GBC)

Game & Watch Gallery 3 mostly sticks to the formula of its predecessors, and it does a fine job of offering up some simple handheld gaming classics in a more convenient form, with a large number of games and a good, varied selection to boot. There are a lot of things to unlock for those willing to put the time in, and if you manage to get everything, you can always revisit any of the titles to improve your scores. Definitely worth a look if you're a G&W fan.

13. Dr. Mario (GB)

The Game Boy port of this pill-dropping puzzler offers a decent game, although it probably isn't top of the must-have puzzler list. Unlike Tetris, where the colours of the blocks are irrelevant, Dr. Mario’s pills are a little more challenging to keep track of, especially on the original system’s blurry screen. Still, if you’re a prolific puzzle practitioner, you could do much worse than this falling-block title with a twist.

12. Kirby's Dream Land (GB)

Kirby’s Dream Land was and remains an exceptionally charming platformer, although you might find that the pink puff’s debut Game Boy adventure feels a bit too elementary these days. Many years' worth of nostalgia gives us huge affection for Kirby, but looking over the top of those rose-tinted glasses for a moment reveals a slightly pedestrian title being carried by that charm, a game that was outpaced by its descendants in virtually every way.

Kirby’s genesis is strong, especially considering the hardware, but the irresistible puffball has done better since. Naturally.

11. Gargoyle's Quest (GB)

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.