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Ranking the Game Boy Advance Launch Lineup for Nintendo Switch Online

While there are only six games in the initial group of Game Boy Advance titles for the Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack, every one is a winner.



GBA Nintendo Switch Online

What is the Best Game Boy Advance Game on Nintendo Switch Online + Expansion Pack?

Last week’s Nintendo Direct had several surprise announcements, not the least of which was the arrival of Game Boy and Game Boy Advance games to the Switch through Nintendo Switch Online. Subscribers can access Game Boy titles, and those who spring for the Expansion Pack can enjoy six Game Boy Advance games, with more from both catalogs on the way in the coming months. Here are all six initial Game Boy Advance games available through the Expansion Pack, ranked.

Mario Kart Super Circuit GBA Game Boy Advance
Image: Nintendo

6. Mario Kart Super Circuit

Ever since the first spinoff debuted on the Super Nintendo, every Nintendo console has featured a Mario Kart title and each one puts its own spin on the series. The Game Boy Advance entry, Mario Kart Super Circuit, was a revolution for its time. Building off of the already solid foundation established by Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64, Super Circuit took the exciting, frenetic gameplay of its predecessors and somehow made it work in handheld form. Super Circuit maintains the variety previously displayed in the franchise, including different single-player and multiplayer options.

There are unlockable tracks from the glory days of the Super Nintendo, and every character from Mario Kart 64 returns. Graphically, the game holds up astonishingly well, and the introduction of online multiplayer makes the Switch version of Super Circuit more than just a novelty. Of course, Super Circuit is no Mario Kart 8 Deluxe; there are times when this 2001 title shows its seams. But overall, Super Circuit remains an incredible technological achievement and is easily one of the best racing games available on the Game Boy Advance.

Kuru Kuru Kururin
Image: Nintendo

5. Kuru Kuru Kururin

There is no other game quite like Kuru Kuru Kururin. Best defined as a puzzle game where the player controls a rotating propeller blade, Kuru Kuru Kururin is experimental and oddly beautiful. Originally a launch title for the GBA in Japan, the game was eventually released on the WiiU eShop as a part of the Virtual Console. In the game, the player’s goal is to make it through a series of mazes without touching the walls, finding collectibles along the way.

There’s a little bit of Operation in Kuru Kuru‘s DNA, with the added stress of trying to beat the in-game high scores. A deep cut in the vast library of the Game Boy Advance, the game is addictively fun, landing somewhere between cozy and maddening. The simple plot doesn’t stand in the way of its easy-to-understand, tough to master gameplay, and the entire zany experience is bursting with gorgeous graphics and adorable characters. Kuru Kuru Kururin‘s inclusion in this first round of Game Boy Advance cements its status as a classic.

WarioWare GBA Game Boy Advance
Image: Nintendo

4. WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Microgames!

Nintendo Switch Online members are lucky to experience the full breadth of Wario. On the Game Boy side, players can enjoy the fairly straightforward gameplay of Wario Land 3. And Expansion Pack subscribers can dive into the wild world of microgames with WarioWare. The first entry in what would become one of Nintendo’s strangest franchises, Mega Microgames! is packed to the gills with dozens of short, absurdist minigames.

Unlike those in any given Mario Party title, the minigames in WarioWare rarely last longer than ten seconds. They pass by in a flash, just long enough for the player to register a command prompt onscreen and then to act on it as best they can. Shotgunning multiple rounds in a row is an absolute blast, and serves to showcase Nintendo’s insatiable desire to innovate. And though the WarioWare franchise is still going strong, the Game Boy Advance version is still one of the series’ best entries. There is nothing else in gaming that compares to plucking nose hairs for victory.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga GBA Game Boy Advance
Image: Nintendo

3. Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga

It sounds strange to say it, but ever since Super Mario RPG released in 1996, Nintendo’s mascot character has starred in multiple incredibly good role-playing games. The Paper Mario series has had its ups and downs, but on the Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS side, the Mario & Luigi series churned out several notable entries.

Superstar Saga brings together a dream team of Nintendo’s finest: Shigeru Miyamoto and Satoru Iwata were producers on the title, and Super Mario RPG composer Yoko Shimomura created the soundtrack. Even the voice of Mario himself, Charles Martinet, lends his talent to the game. Superstar Saga takes the basics of turn-based RPGs and puts a unique Nintendo spin on the proceedings, with each Mario brother’s actions tied to either the A or B button. The game is a stone-cold classic, nailing the humor, gameplay, and overall tone that would come to define the series over the years.

Super Mario Bros. 3 GBA Nintendo Switch Game Boy Advance
Image: Nintendo

2. Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3

If players can make it past the insane naming conventions of the Super Mario Advance series, they’ll find updated versions of some of the greatest games ever made. And it doesn’t get much better than Super Mario Bros. 3. While the classic version of this iconic platformer is available on the Nintendo Switch Online NES app, an entire generation of players’ first introduction to Super Mario Bros. 3 is the GBA update.

Super Mario Advance 4 includes Charles Martinet as the voice of Mario, and includes some quality of life features not present in the original release. Some decry this version as more forgiving than the original, but this is hardly a downside; the original is still easily available. The spritework and animations are just as lovely as ever and the game plays as amazingly as it always has. If the player somehow missed out on this classic, picking it up here is the perfect introduction to what makes a Mario game satisfying. Including a Mario game on the service is a given, so why not include what is arguably the best one?

Minish Cap GBA Game Boy Advance Zelda
Image: Nintendo

1. The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap

One of the most fruitful results of the Capcom/ Nintendo partnership of the early 2000s was a string of Zelda games. Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages will eventually be added to the Game Boy lineup, but The Minish Cap is the crown jewel of this initial group of Game Boy Advance titles. The Minish Cap is playful, shrinking Link down to be smaller than an acorn. But its action is still as fresh as ever, and the puzzles are inventive and unique.

The Minish Cap is a stunning return to form for 2D Zelda games. It features a fantastic mix of unique items and legacy tools, wrapped up in a gorgeous aesthetic. The player’s mileage may vary on Link’s loudmouth sidekick Ezlo, but the gameplay is as fun and engaging as ever. For those who blitzed through the Link’s Awakening remake and want more of that classic Zelda feeling, The Minish Cap is as satisfying to play now as it was in 2005.

Cameron Daxon is a video game evangelist and enthusiastic reader. He lives in Los Angeles, California and once nearly collided with Shigeru Miyamoto during E3. His favorite game is Bloodborne, but only when he’s not revisiting Super Mario World. He’s also in the writer’s room for YouTube personality The Completionist and other places on the internet.