Top 10 GBA Games for your DS

2 – The Legend of Zelda – The Minish Cap

The Legend of ZeldaNow, I know a lot of people didn’t find Minish Cap to be a great game. Yet, it actually executed the classic overhead Zelda formula while adding thrilling and new experiences. Perhaps the most notable thing about this Zelda game is how vibrant and colorful every pixel is.

However, the most notable thing about Minish Cap is that it actually changed the Zelda time line and added some new lore to the legend of Link. Explaining why Link actually wears his very green hat.

The game also uses some of the elements from Four Swords Adventures. In certain parts of the game you to create identical copies of Link using glowing tiles on the floor. This is a very unique puzzle and fighting element only available in this Zelda title.

1 – Castlevania – Aria of Sorrow

CastlevaniaAria of Sorrow is by far one of the best Castlevania games  on the Game Boy Advance. After two previous titles, Konami, actually perfected the formula of Sprite design, Music, and exploration on a portable Castlevania.

This is also one of the only Castlevania games to actually spawn a direct sequel, Dawn of Sorrow, on the Nintendo DS. The first being Dracula X (Rondo of Blood). Yet, the most notable thing about this game is that the game is set 2035 and years before in 1999 Dracula was finally put to rest. Yet, his castle has risen again, and you have to find out why that is.

Honorable Mentions:
Astro Boy: Omega Factor, Golden Sun I & II, and Mother 3.

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33 Responses to Top 10 GBA Games for your DS

  1. Alan Ellis says:


    Nah it does though. I could never get into castlevania as much as Zelda. I do like this list though.

  2. Ptolemy says:

    I’ve had Metroid Zero Mission in the GBA slot of my DSlite for so long, I’ve contemplated taking the cart apart and seeing if I could cram its guts into the filler piece that goes there when you don’t have a game in that slot. Something about disassembling one of my favorite games doesn’t sit well with me though.

    Anyway, that game is so good. I can 100% backwards and forwards. Low percent. Sequence break. Play it straight up. It just never gets old. I hope that Other M has elements like that.

  3. Fuzz says:

    Make that 2 for Zero Mission. What an awesome game.

  4. Eric says:

    …Wow. I thought that it was just that I was browsing in Chrome, but I opened the page up in Firefox and it’s the same – almost HALF of your entire site is ads. 40% of the screen horizontally, almost the entire left hand side. And then another one embedded above the comments block. Right now all I can see is a screen full of ads and the textbox I’m typing in.

    I’m not saying your content isn’t good, but when it actually starts to be a minority of screen real estate compared to advertising, that’s a bit of a turn-off. I have to imagine for folks with ad blockers they just see a mostly blank page. :-p

  5. Will says:

    Thanks for your great comment Eric. It was an insightful and meaningful contribution to my article.

  6. Lance says:

    Nice list. I agree with most of it other than Pokemon being on there. I think Golden Sun is a much better series of games than Pokemon. Only because Pokemon still relies on the same principle mechanic every time and it’s gotten stale in my opinion. The games are fine don’t get me wrong, they’re a good RPG series, just one that I think has gotten stale.

    However Golden Sun, while it too is relying heavily on turn based random battles, it has one of the coolest mechanics in RPG’s of it’s time. The Djinn system is unique in that it controls your class and also builds upon your base stats and psynergy (magic).

    I just started replaying them again and I still love those games and now I’m pumped up for Golden Sun III. Overall great list of games that everyone should at least play once.

  7. Ptolemy says:

    Ah, Golden Sun! I had the first one and sadly never completed it. I should hunt that down. I’m also remembering some really good times with both Advance Wars games. Man those were good.

  8. Sean Buckley says:

    I was almost sad to see the GBA fade – having a GBA was like having an overpowered SNES in your pocket – and it was wonderful. Truly an excellent sendoff to a classic age of traditional cartridge based gaming. (DS games are more “card” than Cart to me.)

    Pretty darn good list, a third of which I’ve been slowly getting to, and missed when they were new.

    I have to say I was a bit disappointed by Tactics Advance – a good game, fundamentally, but I preferred the epic and dramatic story of the PS1 original to the weird “sucked into a book with rabbit creatures and by the way if you use steel weapons during this battle you go to jail” thing.

  9. frstOne says:

    Advance Wars is missing. And maybe F-Zero too. But good list.

  10. Kale says:

    I heartily agree with you, Will: The SP is more comfortable to hold than the DS. I still have my NES-styled SP, works beautifully. As far as this list goes, though, Metroid Fusion, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance were the only ones I agreed with. Personally, I liked Metroid Zero Mission more than Fusion and I’d just as soon put both of them in the GBA Top Ten. I’d have put the GBA version of A Link to the Past on there somewhere, too. The rest of my list would probably be rounded out with Castlevanias and Golden Suns.

  11. Will says:

    Whenever I make lists I try to avoid remakes of games. Zero Mission is awesome, but I’d rather play it on my SP or the GBA GCN Adapter.

  12. Blake says:

    I second Metroid Zero and Minish Cap as no. 1. That is all.

  13. Kyle says:

    Will – thank you thank you thank you

    I have been browsing for good GBA recommendations over the past week or so and now I’m set for a good year or so. Thanks again

  14. gojiguy says:

    Is there a reason that all but, like, three of those games are RPGs?

    Terrible list. Where’s Gunstar Heroes? Alpha 3 Upper? Warioware? It’s almost ENTIRELY RPGs.

  15. EdEN says:

    I own all of the games on the list. For me ALL of the Castlevania GBA games are worth a visit every two years or so.

    I currently own a DSi so no GBA slot, but that’s what my micro is for. And since my GB Color got stolen from my placed, I use my SP for GB and GBC games.

  16. InvisibleMan says:

    Kudos for including Riviera: The Promised Land!
    But points off for not including an Advance Wars game nor Yggrda Union, which I consider even better than Riviera!

    Thanks for bringing back the memories, Will!

  17. rdaneel72 says:

    WarioWare needs to be included. The original is still the best.

  18. Jamie says:

    Lol I had a great time with my nephew the other week, getting his DS to play Mario without a DS cart in the console. He thought it was magic or something lol. (He doesn’t seem to know about the GBA slot)

  19. Eric says:

    My comment on your article was that its content gets lost behind the fact that it’s split across 6 pages, all of which are nearly more ad than article and some of which also have a full-page ad delaying them. I apologize if you don’t find that constructive, but the folks who run this site should. It means that they’ve caused visitors to the site to focus more on the obtrusive advertisements than the writing. As a writer for the site (no idea whether you help run it as well), you also probably should care about this, as your work is being tangibly detracted from.

    As for the list, I think it’s weighted too heavily towards strategy and RPG titles, but I guess those do tend to hold up well on older systems so maybe that makes sense. I agree with rdaneel72 that WarioWare probably belongs on here, and I can’t really get behind putting a Mega Man Battle Network game on there when there are so many other great titles (some listed by others) not included. The MMBN games always struck me as pretty generic.

    Still, with that exception, it’s a solid list of games that anybody would do well to play through as long as they don’t mind a whole lot of SRPG.

  20. Curlystraw says:

    Ahhhh, Final Fantasy Adventure. Great game… except for the cave of the Medusa. Darn palm trees and the number eight! Never knew sword of Mana was a remake, might have to make a trip to Ebay…

  21. CZsWorld says:

    Yeah, I would have upped minish cap.

  22. Mark says:

    No A Link to the Past?! D=

    I mean, I know its a remake and all, but still…

  23. nin says:

    i don’t think i’ve ever had anything but a pokemon game in my gba slot……….pokemon ftw

  24. Noremakk says:

    Don’t forget… pretty much every game that isn’t an RPG for the gameboy! Gunstar Super Heroes deserves at least a top-5 spot, if not #1.

  25. Agent_G says:

    Nice list, but I’m thinking Warioware: Twisted needs to be up there. It’s gotta be the best (and most creative) Warioware game prior to DIY. Gotta love how that game was doing motion-based control well before the Wii came out.

    Also, I agree that Minish Cap is over underrated by Zelda fans. Though the collecting aspect was a bit too much…

  26. Rene says:

    Wow, the comments are quite a good read today 🙂

    Put me down for Advancewars and Golden Sun. I strongly disagree with Pokemon being on this list, it’s ok, tried and tested, but your talking top 10 here! The best of the best.

    FF6 is pretty good too.

  27. Will says:


    The Kin Stones and the trading sequences were the only thing that made it lose the #1 spot.

  28. Zachs Kappler says:

    Where is Sonic Advance or WarioWare? And if this list is meant to not include remakes, Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen shouldn’t even be mentioned, just the other three.

  29. ninjaluke84 says:

    My Top ten is as follows:
    1. The Legend of Zelda the Minish Cap
    2. Golden Sun
    3. Metroid Fusion
    4. Pokemon LG/FR
    5. Fire Emblem
    6. Metroid Zero Mission
    7. Castlevania Aria of Sorrow
    8. Mario & Luigi Super Star Saga
    9. Pokemon R/S/E
    10. Golden Sun the Lost Age

  30. eric says:

    hey how could you forget GOLDEN SUN series and HARVEST MOON.

  31. eric says:

    hey how could you forget GOLDEN SUN series and HARVEST MOON.

    my top ten;
    1.golden sun
    2.golden sun 2
    3.harvest moon
    4.pokemon soul silver.
    5.pokemon sapphire
    6.pokemon leaf green.
    7.the hobbit
    8.lunar legend

    why is the hobbit not so popular? it is interesting..

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