It is a great time for Game Boy Advance hunting. Only a few GameStop stores are even carrying carts now and newer DS models aren’t backwards compatible with GBA titles, so demand is going down even more. However, there is so much solid portable gaming to be had, you have to check into these great values.
For those that have and original DS, DS Lite (still backwards compatible) or have a Gamecube with a Gameboy Advance Player, these inexpensive GBA games will complement any library nicely. For more lists of inexpensive classics, check out the rest of the Cheapest Games Series.
|Metroid Fusion: $10
Metroid Fusion is a must-own for action fans — even if you haven’t had much exposure to the Metroid games. The graphics and audio both show off the capabilities of the Gameboy Advance and the atmosphere and gameplay draw you in a way that very few portable games have been able to do.It’s a shame that we haven’t seen another completely new 2D Metroid game since. Even though the demand is quite high on Fusion, there are plenty of copies up for grabs to keep the price down.
Shop for Metroid Fusion at eBay
Shop for Metroid Fusion at Amazon.com
|Advance Wars 2: $10
Every GBA and DS owner needs to own at least one installment of the Advance Wars series. (Althought the first installment is usually above $10) It is turn-based strategy at its most pure form. What is wonderful about the Advance Wars games is that uses the Nintendo formula of taking a previously complex genre that would normally scare off most gamers and makes it more simplified and appealing while building up to intense gameplay as you go along. The first Advance Wars is currently the cheapest version, so I would recommend starting there if you are on a budget.
Shop for Advance Wars at eBay
Shop for Advance Wars at Amazon.com
|Mario Kart Super Circuit, Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario World, Donkey Kong Country: about $7 to $10 each
If you have already played these classics on the SNES, you will have to decide if it’s worth paying for them again. Super Mario World, Yoshi’s Island, and Donkey Kong Country were some of the SNES’s best platformers and Mario Kart Super Circuit is a respectable racer. These games might be harder to find under $10 at your local game stores (if they still carry GBA games), since the main Nintendo properties have higher mainstream appeal), but you should be game to find good deals online.
Shop for Mario Kart Super Circuit at eBay / Amazon.com
Shop for Super Mario Advance 3: Yoshi’s Island at eBay / Amazon.com
Shop for Super Mario Advance 2: Super Mario World at eBay / Amazon.com
Shop for Donkey Kong Country at eBay / Amazon.com
|Sonic Advance Series: $9 each
Sonic Advance 2 and Sonic Advance 3 were both a step abover the original Sonic Advance mentioned above, but will require a few more dollars for the higher level of polish. But if you are still pining for the 2D glory days of Sonic, give these a spin.
Shop for Sonic Advance Series at eBay
Shop for Sonic Advance Series at Amazon.com
|Sonic Pinball Party/Sonic Advance Combo: $10 (if you shop around)
The Sonic Advance series was essentially the only way for old-school Sonic fans to get their fix of a new 2D Sonic game. They aren’t quite as good as their Genesis counterparts, but better than playing some of the 3D disappointments we are seeing on the new consoles. Sonic Advance is a pretty good value on its own, but if you add on a Sonic (and NiGHTS and Samba De Amigo)-themed pinball game on for a few dollars more, you can’t go wrong.
Shop for Sonic Pinball Party/Sonic Advance Combo at eBay
Shop for Sonic Pinball Party/Sonic Advance Combo at Amazon.com
|Wario Land 4: $8These days, Wario is known mostly for his mini-game compilations, but Wario Land 4 is a great reminder that he boasts some excellent platformers as well. As Nintendo’s first platforming game developed solely for the GBA, it shines in all the right places. The gameplay is tight and varied, the graphics are detailed and bright, and the sound is second to none.
Shop for Wario Land 4 at eBay
Shop for Wario Land 4 at Amazon.com
|Drill Dozer: $5
This action platformer from GameFreaks (developer of Pulseman and other cult classics) received a lot of underground praise as a later release for the Gameboy Advance. Drill Dozer reminded a lot of old-school gamers of the way 2D games used to be while providing them with a refreshingly innovative gameplay mechanic. The cartridge also has a built-in rumble pack to give it some extra kick. Drill Dozer never really caught on commercially, so it can now be found in the bargain bins in game stores and discounted on the online aftermarket as well.
Shop for Drill Dozer at eBay
Shop for Drill Dozer at Amazon.com
|F-Zero: Maximum Velocity / GP Legend: $5
If you liked the original F-Zero game on the SNES, you should check out the sequels for the GBA. I personally prefer the first GBA installment, Maximum Velocity, but the follow-up, F-Zero:GP Legend is nearly identical and can sometimes be found for a little less money. If you want more of a focus on the racing gameplay, go for Maximum Velocity, but if you enjoy the F-Zero storyline a bit more, GP Legend might fit you better. Either way, they are both an excellent value.
Shop for F-Zero Maximum Velocity at eBay
Shop for F-Zero Maximum Velocity at Amazon.com
|Pac-Man Collection: $4
Even after all these years, Pac-Man still holds up as a solid game — especially for portable gaming. The Pac-Man Collection was a budget-minded compilation from the start and can still be found in retail stores on occasion for less than $10. In addition to the standard Pac-Man games, there are also some newer remakes and puzzle spin-offs included. It is an ideal package for quick pick-up games for classic-minded gamers on the go.
Shop for Pac-Man Collection at eBay
Shop for Pac-Man Collection at Amazon.com
|Chu Chu Rocket: $6
One of the Dreamcast’s premier puzzle games was shrunken down to the GBA without losing to much in the process. Chu Chu Rocket will bend you mind with its quirky puzzles. Much like more modern games like Super Monkey Ball, it makes you think creatively to reach your goal. A true classic.
Shop for Chu Chu Rocket at eBay
Shop for Chu Chu Rocket at Amazon.com
|Castlevania: Circle of the Moon: $9
The Game Boy Advance is a great platform for Castlevania fans. The series has been a strong force throughout almost all of the the GBAs lifespan. Most of the attention these days is given to the newer installments, but Circle of the Moon, the first GBA installment is a wonderful value. When it was released, it didn’t always get good word-of-mouth as it was difficult to see on the dim screens of the original GBA hardware. However, if you’re playing this on an SP or GBA Micro, you should enjoy it much more.
Shop for Castlevania: Circle of the Moon at eBay
Shop for Castlevania: Circle of the Moon at Amazon.com
|Final Fantasy Tactics Advance: $7
Of course, the original Final Fantasy Tactics is one of the most popular PS1 titles, but the GBA installment is also one of the best strategy experiences on Nintendo’s popular portable. While it usually will be about $7 on eBay and Amazon after shipping, I’ve been recently surprised to see this one in local GameStops for about $3 or $4.
Shop for Final Fantasy Tactics Advance at eBay
Shop for Final Fantasy Tactics Advance at Amazon.com
|Mario vs. Donkey Kong: $10
It may not be quite as critically-acclaimed as the titles above, but Mario vs. Donkey Kong is a charming game that will work your mind and keep you entertained for quite a while. There is a follow-up on the DS, but I enjoy the mechanics of the original more and it is, of course much more of a bargain. If you have some change to spare, you might want to look into this gem.
Shop for Mario vs Donkey Kong at eBay
Shop for Mario vs Donkey Kong at Amazon.com
|The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night: $10
You might quickly blow of this recommendation, but I REALLY think you should look into this one. It is nothing like the recent Spyro games — including the console or DS version of this same installement. The Eternal Night on the GBA is actually a combo-heavy action title in the league of Metroid Fusion, Castlevania, and Astro Boy Omega Factor. Need more info? Check out my review from 2007.
Shop for The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night at eBay
Shop for The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night at Amazon.com
|Namco Museum: $5
Much like its Pac-Man Collection sibling, the Namco Museum is a top-notch retro compilation that can almost always be found dirt cheap and in high supply. It includes Ms. Pac-Man, Pole Position, Dig Dug, Galaxian and Galaga resulting in a great set of classics to pass the time away.
Shop for Namco Museum at eBay
Shop for Namco Museum at Amazon.com
|Pinball of the Dead: $8
Touted as one of the best video pinball games of all time, Pinball of the Dead is a Sega production that is themed by its House of the Dead franchise and is reminiscent of the TurboGrafx 16 classic, Devil’s Crush.
Shop for Pinball of the Dead at eBay
Shop for Pinball of the Dead at Amazon.com
|Klonoa: Empire of Dreams: $10
Fans of the Klonoa series are sure to notice that Klonoa: Empire of Dreams is nowhere as ambitious of a platformer as Klonoa 2 on the PlayStation 2. However, it is a highly respectable emulation of the general feel of the Klonoa universe.
Shop for Klonoa: Empire of Dreams at eBay
Shop for Klonoa: Empire of Dreams at Amazon.com
|Super Monkey Ball Jr.: $5
Super Monkey Ball is one of the best games from the last console generation as it is filled with endless puzzles that require creativity, concentration, and skill in addition to a good dose of sweet minigames. I was actually quite surprised how well Super Monkey Ball Jr. for the Gameboy Advance actually replicated the Gamecube version while running on the limited GBA hardware. It isn’t full 3D, but it sure feels like it. The puzzle courses are significantly different from the console version, so Jr. serves as an excellent complement. The minigames are still fun, but of course multiplayer is much more limited.
Shop for Super Monkey Ball Jr. at eBay
Shop for Super Monkey Ball Jr. at Amazon.com
|Gunstar Super Heroes: $8
Treasure made a name for themselves with the original Gunstar Heroes on the Sega Genesis with its innovative run-and-gun gameplay. Ever since, hardcore gamers were clamoring for a followup. Gunstar Super Heroes answered the call for the most part, as a slightly modernized remake that had some fresh elements and levels while showing some level and boss design that makes some obvious calls back to the original. It doesn’t quite live up to the original, but its still a good GBA shooter.
Shop for Gunstar Super Heroes at eBay
Shop for Gunstar Super Heroes at Amazon.com
|Final Fantasy IV Advance: $9
This popular installement of the Final Fantasy series (known as Final Fantasy II on the North American SNES) has been ported to many different consoles and handhelds in the past. However, the GBA port underwent a number of enhancements and revisions such as improving the graphics, fixing bugs in the battle system, and refining the story for a smoother experience. RPG fans will find that Final Fantasy IV Advance is definitely worth the small investment.
Shop for Final Fantasy IV Advance at eBay
Shop for Final Fantasy IV Advance at Amazon.com
|Iridion II: $5
The sequel to an on-rails shooter, Iridion II is instead a perfect love-letter homage to 16-bit shmups as a whole. The gameplay is everything you could want out of a vertical shooter with a plethora of visually stunning stages, colorful bullets and unique boss battles.Though the game inexplicably lacks a battery save feature, passwords can both save your progress in the story mode or eventually unlock bonuses including a boss rush mode and more. The soundtrack is of especially high note, and even received a digital re-release in 2010. By far this is one of the greatest shmups that the GBA has to offer.
Shop for Iridion II on eBay
Shop for Iridion II at Amazon.com
Other Cheap Favorites:
- Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc: $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Rayman Advance: $3 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Super Puzzle Fighter II – eBay / Amazon.com
- TMNT (top-notch beatemup): $10 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Virtua Tennis: $3 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Yggdra Union: $9 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Capcom Classics Mini Mix: $4 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Wario Ware: Mega Microgames: $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Iridion 3D: $4 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Lilo & Stitch Series (actually a cool run-n-gun) : $4 each – eBay / Amazon.com
- Riviera: The Promised Land: $9 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Lost Vikings: $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Broken Sword: The Shadow of Templars: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Final Fight One: $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Tony Hawk’s Underground: $5 – eBay / Amazon.
- Jet Grind Radio: $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever (impressive FPS): $6 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Konami Collector’s Series: Arcade Advanced: $4 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Mega Man Battle Network 2: $8 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Desert Strike Advance: $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Castlevania (Classic NES Series): $9 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Mega Man Battle Network 3 White Version: $5 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Mega Man Battle Network 3 Blue Version: $7 – eBay / Amazon.com
- Bomberman (Classic NES Series): $7 – eBay / Amazon.com