Ah, the Game Boy Advance — a beloved handheld from Nintendo that truly perfected the Game Boy’s formula. And much like the Super Nintendo system, the GBA was a high mark for 2D pixel-style RPGs.
Nintendo went on to focus more on 3D titles with the Nintendo DS, but the best RPGs for the Game Boy Advance truly stand the test of time. This was a tough list to narrow down, but whether you enjoy hack-n-slash RPGs or turn-based RPGs, this list has something for every RPG fan.
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10. Shining Soul II
Shining Soul II is a classic hack-and-slash action RPG. In this game, you create a character and venture into a fantasy world filled with monsters, treasure, and adventure.
Your objective is to explore dungeons, collect loot, and defeat a rising evil. The play is centered around fast-paced combat, character progression, and co-op multiplayer.
Gamers enjoyed the game’s old-school charm, the thrill of hunting for rare loot, and the ability to team up with friends for some epic monster-slaying action.
9. Summon Night: Swordcraft Story
Summon Night: Swordcraft Story blends action RPG elements with crafting, all wrapped in a charming world. You play as a Craftknight, learning to craft and wield powerful Guardian Beasts in a world filled with mysteries.
Your assignment is to win a tournament and save your homeland from an impending disaster. The gameplay involves real-time combat, deep crafting mechanics, and character interactions.
What made this game a hit was its innovative Guardian Beast system, which allowed players to summon unique creatures for combat and the engaging relationships you build with other characters.
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8. Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II
Dragon Ball Z and RPGs might not seem like an obvious match, but “The Legacy of Goku II” pulls it off splendidly. You follow the DBZ saga from the Androids to the Cell Games, controlling various characters along the way.
The objective is to save the world from the impending Android threat. The play involves real-time battles, exploration, and character leveling.
Gamers appreciated how this game captured the spirit of the show, complete with intense battles, energy attacks, and the iconic storyline.
7. Mother 3
Mother 3 is a legendary RPG that never made its way to English-speaking audiences. It had a troubled development cycle that spanned several Nintendo consoles before finally releasing for the GBA. Since the Advance was near it’s end and focus had shifted to the DS, Mother 3 was not translated for the western market.
Your objective is to save the world from a mysterious army and find your missing brother. The play involves turn-based battles, environmental puzzles, and a unique rhythm combo system for combat.
What players adored about this game is its heartfelt storytelling, memorable characters, and the way it tackles profound themes, all wrapped in a charming 2D world.
6. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
While the Castlevania series is primarily known for its platformers, Aria of Sorrow takes a fascinating RPG twist. You play as Soma Cruz, trapped in Dracula’s castle with a mysterious amnesia.
Your objective is to uncover the truth and escape the castle’s clutches. The gameplay involves fast-paced action, weapon crafting, and the unique Tactical Soul system, where you collect and use the abilities of defeated enemies.
What gamers loved about this title is its captivating gothic atmosphere, challenging gameplay, and the intrigue of the story.
Read More: The Best Game Boy Games Of All Time
5. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
The Final Fantasy series is legendary, and Final Fantasy Tactics Advance brings that epic fantasy to the GBA. In this tactical RPG, you lead a group of young heroes who find themselves in a magical world where they take on various quests and challenges.
The objective is simple: find a way back home. Along the way, you’ll be involved in grid-based battles, character development, and strategic thinking.
What made this game a massive success was its deep strategy, memorable characters, and a beautifully crafted world that begged to be explored.
4. Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen
You can’t talk about GBA RPGs without mentioning Pokemon FireRed and LeafGreen. These remakes of the original Pokemon Red and Blue games are all about becoming the ultimate Pokemon Master.
The game’s objective and play involves capturing, training, and battling Pokemon.
What people liked about these games is the nostalgia of revisiting the Kanto region, the introduction of updated features from newer Pokemon games, and the enduring charm of catching ’em all.
3. Golden Sun
Golden Sun is a true classic in the GBA RPG library.
In this turn-based RPG, you control a group of Adepts who possess magical abilities as they embark on a quest to save the world from impending doom. The play involves puzzle-solving, exploration, and turn-based battles.
Gamers were drawn to the beautiful 2D graphics, intriguing story, and the innovative Djinn system that allowed for character customization.
2. Fire Emblem
Fire Emblem made its debut on the GBA and introduced many to the joys of tactical RPGs.
You lead a group of heroes through a fantasy world, and the objective is to thwart political conspiracies, battle foes, and build bonds between characters. The gameplay involves grid-based combat and character management, all amid a gripping narrative.
What players revere is the intricate strategy, permanent death for characters, and the emotional attachment that grows as you lead your army to victory.
1. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap
Link’s adventures never cease to amaze, and The Minish Cap is no exception.
In this action RPG, Link’s quest is to rescue Princess Zelda and defeat the evil sorcerer Vaati. What makes this game a standout is the clever mechanic of shrinking Link down to the size of the Minish to explore the world from a new perspective. The play involves puzzle-solving, epic battles, and classic Zelda-style dungeon exploration.
Players loved its charming art style, engaging gameplay, and the way it seamlessly fits into the Zelda timeline.