Six of the best Game Boy Advance games we’d love to see on Nintendo Switch Online

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With the introduction of Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games to the Nintendo Switch Online lineup, a lot of folks have been discovering some classic handheld games for the first time. But while there’s already a strong selection of titles for both platforms so far, there’s always the potential for more.

Having already talked about six of the best Game Boy games we’d love to see on Nintendo Switch Online, it’s time to turn our attention to its younger brother and consider what Game Boy Advance games we’d love to see get another chance. And yes, we know some of these will never, ever happen, but it’s nice to dream sometimes, no?

Shining Soul

Shining Soul II for Game Boy Advance

Nintendo already seem to have a cosy relationship with Sega, as evidenced by the presence of the Mega Drive collection on Switch Online, so it’d be nice to see some of Sega’s releases for the GBA show up. The Shining Soul games are two excellent, highly replayable action RPGs with absolutely gorgeous presentation and satisfying gameplay.

These games could also be a great showcase of the ability to play online with the Nintendo Switch Online app. Previous rereleases of these games on the Virtual Console storefront have omitted the ability to play multiplayer, so it’d be great to be able to finally enjoy these games with friends — perhaps for the first time, in the case of those of us who never knew anyone else with a GBA in the local area!

Game & Watch Gallery Advance

Game & Watch Gallery Advance for Game Boy Advance

We’ve already got the excellent Game & Watch Gallery 3 on the Game Boy app, so it’d be great to see a complete collection eventually, including the Game Boy Advance take on the series. The system’s wider screen allows for a more accurate recreation of those Game & Watch devices that had a larger display area, and the Game Boy Advance’s increased capabilities over the Game Boy Colour allow the “Modern” takes on the games to feature even more charming presentation.

This version of Game & Watch Gallery features one of the biggest lineups of games in the series, too, featuring 11 titles with both Modern and Classic modes available to play, plus an additional 9 that only play in Classic mode.

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy Dawn of Souls for Game Boy Advance

This will almost certainly never happen due to the impending release of the Final Fantasy Pixel Remasters on Nintendo Switch, but it’d be great to see the Game Boy Advance versions of the Final Fantasy games show up on the service — specifically Final Fantasy I & II: Dawn of Souls, Final Fantasy IV Advance, Final Fantasy V Advance and Final Fantasy VI Advance.

For the unfamiliar, these Game Boy Advance versions of these classic games are enhanced ports rather than simple emulation, and they all incorporate additional game content over their original 8- and 16-bit incarnations. This is probably most significant in Final Fantasy I & II, which feature a host of challenging optional endgame dungeons and boss fights that extend both games’ playtime considerably. And, notably, the Pixel Remasters of Final Fantasy I-VI don’t include these bonus dungeons, instead opting to remake the games in their original form.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance for Game Boy Advance

Now here’s one worth considering separately, because it was unique to the Game Boy Advance. Like its illustrious PS1 predecessor, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is an isometric-perspective strategy RPG with a frightening amount of depth and a truly epic quest to involve yourself with.

For longstanding Final Fantasy fans, particularly those who enjoy the Ivalice subseries, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance marks the first appearance of the Bangaa and Nu Mou, as well as the Judges who formed the basis of Final Fantasy XII’s main lineup of villains. The latter were a controversial inclusion, as they enforced specific “laws” on battlefields, making for an additional layer of challenge that not everyone appreciated!


Secret Agent Barbie: Royal Jewels Mission for Game Boy Advance

No, no, hear me out: I know Barbie games in general are treated as a bit of a joke by a lot of the gaming community, often regarded as some of the worst ever examples of “Games for Girls” as determined by white men in suits. But there’s actually some really solid Barbie games on the Game Boy Advance, developed by some veteran teams who have worked on some fantastic games over the years.

Of particular note are Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus, Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper, and Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses, which are all developed by Shantae creators WayForward; and Secret Agent Barbie: Royal Jewels Mission, developed by DICE. These games are all a lot better than you would ever expect a Barbie game to be!

bit Generations

bit Generations: Dotstream for Game Boy Advance

This series of games from Skip Ltd. and Q-Games deserve another chance, particularly as they remained Japan-exclusive in the GBA era and only saw a western release through the now-defunct WiiWare and DSiWare digital storefronts.

The bit Generations series are deliberately simple, abstract games with easy to understand controls but challenging gameplay, with each individual game having a distinct theme. Coloris, for example, is a puzzle about shifting and matching colours, while Soundvoyager is a game intended to be playable by blind people thanks to its heavy use of stereo sound cues. They were great handheld games back in the day thanks to their straightforward but highly compelling nature; the very essence of “just one more go” challenge.

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Pete Davison
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