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Best GBA Platformers (2023 Edition)

Best GBA Platformers

The Game Boy Advance (GBA) device is undoubtedly recognizable to those who enjoy playing retro video games. But what is the best GBA platformer of all time?

This ancient handheld device, still a favorite among fans of classic video games, was used to create some of the finest platformers of the era.

We'll go further into the greatest GBA platformers in this blog article. The GBA offered a broad range of platformers, each with its own own appeal and gameplay aspects, from Mario to Sonic, Kirby to Donkey Kong.

We'll look at the unique gameplay mechanics, aesthetic elements, and attributes that made these games appealing to players of all ages. We'll also examine these games' longevity and the viability of their current market.

Come along with us as we take a journey down memory lane and analyze some of the finest platformer games the GBA has to offer, whether you've been a fan of the GBA for a while or are just learning about this device.

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1. Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World

gba platformers Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World

The gameplay of Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World is very identical to that of the first game. Gamers take on the role of Mario or Luigi and direct them through a number of levels, battling enemies and gathering power-ups along the way. New power-ups like the cape and feather in the game now allow Mario to fly and have more control over his movements.

A global map in the game allows players to select the levels they want to play. Each level is distinct, with its own set of obstacles and opponents. In order to move through the stages and achieve their objective—defeating Bowser and rescuing Princess Toadstool—players must make use of their abilities and power-ups.

For the Game Boy Advance, Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World was published in 2001. The video game Super Mario World reproduced the 1990 Super Nintendo Entertainment System release (SNES). By making use of the GBA's hardware capabilities, the remake enhanced the game's visual appeal, musical composition, and playability.

2. Mario vs. Donkey Kong

gba platformers Mario vs. Donkey Kong

Navigating through several stages, solving riddles, and eliminating adversaries are all part of the gameplay. Each level requires Mario to navigate obstacles and traps in order to save a group of robotic miniature copies of himself known as Mini-Marios. Gamers of all ages love it because the gameplay is both difficult and addictive.

Mario vs. Donkey Kong's plot begins with Donkey Kong falling head over heels for a series of miniature Mario toys. Donkey Kong kidnaps Pauline, Mario's love interest, after he discovers that the toys have been sold out out. Mario embarks on his mission to save Pauline and thwart Donkey Kong's wicked scheme.

For the Game Boy Advance, the initial Mario vs. Donkey Kong game was published in 2004. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: March of the Minis, Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Mini-Land Mayhem!, and Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars are just a few of the sequels that have been produced since.

3. Sonic Advance

gba platformers Sonic Advance

The 2D side-scrolling action of Sonic Advance is ideal for aficionados of old video games. Four characters—Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, and Amy—are available for players to select from, each of whom has special skills and moves. Players must collect rings and power-ups while avoiding dangers as they speed through stages loaded with adversaries, traps, and obstacles.

Sonic Advance's fast-paced gameplay, which demands quick reactions and accurate timing, is one of its most entertaining features. Each level may be completed by Sonic and his buddies using their ability to run, leap, spin, and attack, making for a thrilling and captivating experience.

With over 2.5 million copies sold globally, Sonic Advance was a commercial success. It was the third-best-selling game for the console in the US in 2002 and the fourth-best-selling game for the GBA in Japan in 2001.

4. Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland

gba platformers Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland

When it comes to retro GBA platformers, Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland would absolutely come to mind if we had to pick.

Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland is a side-scrolling platformer game at its core. Kirby, a cute pink puffball who can absorb foes and duplicate their skills, is controlled by the player. During the course of the game, Kirby must move through a number of levels loaded with adversaries, barriers, and puzzles, making use of his special skills to solve problems and advance the plot.

The emphasis on exploring in Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland is one of its most notable aspects. Players are encouraged to take their time and carefully explore every crevice of each level since it is rich with hidden surprises and collectibles. In order to increase the game's replay value and general enjoyment factor, it also includes a number of mini-games and extra levels.

5. Wario Land 4

gba platformers Wario Land 4

One of the most adored games on the Game Boy Advance (GBA) system is Wario Land 4, and for good reason. A notable platformer game for the GBA, it had interesting gameplay mechanics, an interesting plot, and strong sales.

The platformer game Wario Land 4 tests players' ability to go through levels filled with opponents, barriers, and riddles. But what distinguishes Wario Land 4 from other platform games is its emphasis on discovery and treasure hunting.

Players control the naughty and greedy Wario as he explores a secret pyramid full of traps and prizes in Wario Land 4. Wario may use a number of techniques to get around obstacles, such as ground pounding, dashing, and shoulder charging.

6. Mega Man Zero

gba platformers Mega Man Zero

You'll be on the edge of your seat while you play Mega Man Zero due to its challenging and action-packed gameplay. Players take control of Zero, a skilled warrior who fights a variety of foes with a variety of weapons and talents.

The action is made more interesting and varied by Zero's wide range of actions, which include ranged attacks and sword slashes. The narrative of Mega Man Zero is complex and thought-provoking.

In the distant future, Neo Arcadia, a wicked kingdom, has brought humanity dangerously close to extinction. Zero is awoken from a long hibernation to assist the resistance movement against Neo Arcadia's rule.

7. Astro Boy: Omega Factor

gba platformers Astro Boy: Omega Factor

The platform game with side scrolling Astro Boy: Omega Factor blends adventure, puzzle-solving, and action. The game follows Astro Boy's adventures as he seeks to thwart a dangerous plot that threatens the entire world. Astro Boy is a robot with remarkable skills.

The player controls Astro Boy as he flys, dashes, and blasts his way through a variety of levels, defeating enemies and grabbing power-ups along the way. The dynamic and fast-paced fighting mechanism in the game will appeal to both new and seasoned players.

Sega published Astro Boy: Omega Factor, which was created by Treasure Co. Ltd. It was launched in 2004 on the Game Boy Advance and won praise for its gameplay, plot, and visuals. Then, in 2015, the game was re-released on the Wii U Virtual Console, opening it up to a brand-new audience of players.

8. Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure

gba platformers Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure

In the video game Crash Bandicoot: The Big Adventure, Crash explores many realms, battling foes and gathering gems and power-ups as he goes. Jumping, spinning, and sliding are all common platformer principles in the game, but there are also some brand-new techniques and powers that keep the gameplay interesting.

The boss fights in this game are one of its best aspects. Every planet has a difficult boss battle where players must use their abilities and power-ups to beat an enormous foe. Between stages, these skirmishes provide as a rewarding challenge and serve to break up the action.

One of the most popular GBA games was Crash Bandicoot: The Big Adventure, which had a global sales total of over 1.5 million units. The game's popularity made Crash Bandicoot well-known in the gaming community and opened the path for other titles in the series.

9. Spyro: Season of Ice

gba platformers Spyro: Season of Ice

Season of Ice, like previous Spyro games, has exhilarating gameplay that is both difficult and enjoyable. Spyro, a dragon controlled by the player, has a variety of special skills, including the capacity to fly, glide, and unleash fire. Throughout the game, players will navigate through a series of levels, each with its own set of challenges and enemies to overcome. Players will amass gems, power-ups, and other incentives along the road that will aid in their game development.

Spyro and his pals must band together to confront a wicked sorcerer who has frozen their nation in Spyro: Season of Ice, which is set in the mystical realm of the dragons. Players will come across a variety of intriguing people during the course of the game, each with their own distinct personalities and plots. The game's plot is intriguing and expertly written, with plenty of turns and turns to keep players interested from beginning to end.

Spyro: Season of Ice, one of the most well-known games in the genre, has sold millions of copies all over the world when it first came out. It has received praise from both critics and fans, with many praising its engaging gameplay, heartwarming story, and breathtaking graphics as its standout features.

10. Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc

gba platformers Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc

The platformer gameplay in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is reminiscent of the past and is both difficult and enjoyable. Rayman, a limbless hero that players control, must traverse a variety of locales, battle opponents, and gather stuff in order to advance through the game.

The battle system in Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc is one of its most distinctive elements. Players may employ a number of techniques to beat foes in addition to just hopping on their heads, such as projectile firing and melee assaults. A number of power-ups are also included in the game that may be utilised to improve Rayman's skills.

Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc's narrative is interesting and compelling. The protagonist of the game, Rayman, battles a horde of evil monsters called Hoodlums as he tries to defend the Earth from their invasion. In order to rescue the day along the road, Rayman will need to work with his allies and take down a number of bosses.

11. Disney's Lilo & Stitch

gba platformers Disney's Lilo & Stitch

In the platformer game Lilo & Stitch, the titular characters' exploits are followed. A mischievous extraterrestrial named Stitch and his human buddy Lilo are portrayed by players as they travel around Hawaii's lush and colourful planet. Players use Stitch's special skills to go through several stages, take out foes, and solve puzzles in this straightforward yet entertaining game. There are several game modes available, such as Story Mode, Time Trial, and Survival.

On the Game Boy Advance, Disney's Lilo & Stitch was published in 2002. Disney Interactive and Digital Eclipse collaborated on the game's development and publication. When the game first came out, it was highly received, with reviewers complimenting its fun gameplay, vibrant visuals, and realistic recreation of the plot of the movie.

12. Donkey Kong Country

gba platformers Donkey Kong Country

Donkey Kong Country's gameplay on the GBA is identical to that of the SNES original. As they move through a number of stages, players take control of Donkey Kong and his companion Diddy Kong. They must gather bananas and kill opponents to advance. The game's various landscapes include jungles, ice caverns, and underwater levels, each with its own special difficulties and tasks to solve. In order to aid players in getting through especially challenging areas, the game also features a range of power-ups and gadgets, such as the barrel roll and the invincibility barrel.

The GBA version of Donkey Kong Country follows the same plot as the original SNES version mostly unchanged. King K. Rool and his Kremlings have taken Donkey Kong's banana wealth, and Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong must recover them. They face several adversaries along the road, including Kremlings, vultures, and even enormous bees. The game has been a fan favourite for years because to its endearing characters and whimsical atmosphere.

13. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

gba platformers Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow

The plot of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow centres around Soma Cruz, a high school girl who accidentally travels to Dracula's Castle. Soma explores the castle while slaying numerous creatures and bosses in the game's traditional side-scrolling action.

The "Tactical Soul" system is one of Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow's distinctive elements. As a result, Soma is able to absorb the souls of adversaries he has vanquished, giving him access to new skills and capabilities. As they advance through the game, players may level up their character and utilise a variety of weapons and spells to battle opponents.

14. Sonic Advance 2

gba platformers Sonic Advance 2

Sonic Advance 2 depicts Sonic and his buddies racing across several stages while taking out foes and gathering rings. Sonic's trademark moves, such as the spin dash and homing attack, may be used in the quick-paced action to go through obstacles and take out foes.

The ability to do stunts in mid-air is one of the new features in Sonic Advance 2, which not only makes the gameplay more challenging but also gives players bonus points and speed boosts. Four playable characters are also included in the game, each with their own special skills and gameplay preferences.

15. Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts

gba platformers Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts

The fundamental gameplay elements of Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts GBA are the same as those of its SNES predecessor. The protagonist of the game is Arthur, a knight on a mission to rescue his princess from the evil eye. The game's famously hard adversaries, sophisticated level layout, and harsh mechanics make it demanding.

The game is really satisfying to play while being challenging. The stages that players must pass via each have different challenges and hazards. Throughout the game, Arthur may enhance his gear, giving him a fighting chance against the legions of demons and other foes in his path.


Here are the best GBA Platformers that were discussed in this article:

  1. Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World
  2. Mario vs. Donkey Kong
  3. Sonic Advance
  4. Kirby: Nightmare in Dreamland
  5. Wario Land 4
  6. Mega Man Zero
  7. Astro Boy: Omega Factor
  8. Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure
  9. Spyro: Season of Ice
  10. Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
  11. Disney's Lilo & Stitch
  12. Donkey Kong Country
  13. Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow
  14. Sonic Advance 2
  15. Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts

GBA Platformer FAQs

When did the GBA come out?

  • The GBA (Game Boy Advance) was released on March 21, 2001 in Japan, June 11, 2001 in North America, and June 22, 2001 in Europe.

What was the first GBA platformer released?

  • Alienators: Evolution Continues was the first platformer released on the GBA in 2001

What was the last platformer released for the GBA?

  • Arthur and the Invisibles was released in 2007 and was the last platformer released for the GBA.

Which GBA platformer was the best?

  • Some of the most critically acclaimed GBA platformers include Wario Land 4, Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World, and Astro Boy: Omega Factor

Which GBA platformer sold the most units?

  • The best-selling GBA platformer of all time is Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World, with over 5.9 million units sold worldwide.


Passionate gamer and nostalgia enthusiast. Journeying through the pixelated realms of retro video games, unearthing forgotten gems and sharing the joy. Join me on a nostalgic adventure! 🎮✨