25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games

The Game Boy Advance (GBA) was initially touted as the portable Super Nintendo, so it makes sense that the handheld would also feature a ton of amazing platformers.

The best platforming games on the GBA of course feature Mario and friends, but it also is home to beloved mascots like Crash Bandicoot, Spyro, and Banjo-Kazooie. And the GBA also featured exceptional platformers from licensed properties as well. Simply put, if you're looking for amazing platformers, there is arguably no system better – handheld or otherwise – than the Game Boy Advance, as many of these entries are considered to be must-have titles.

Please note that this list will only include one game from a given franchise, but we will add any relevant entries (i.e. prequels, sequels, etc.) too, so make sure to look out for the “Other Great Games In The Franchise” section under select titles.

The 25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games:

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

Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 26

Description: “Your mission is to rescue the Mushroom Kingdom monarchs who have been transformed into animals by Bowser and his mischievous offspring, and in the process save the princess kidnapped by Bowser. Traverse eight huge worlds and encounter fun minigames and frantic boss battles as you explore the first Mario game to use an overworld map.”

What The Critics Say: “Its timeless design holds up well into its 15th anniversary. But the fact that players can continue the experience with brand new level designs is phenomenal and just opens up a whole new dimension for replayability.” – IGN

Other Great Games In The Franchise: Super Mario Advance, Super Mario World: Super Mario Advance 2

2. Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow

Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrow
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 27

Description: “The year is 2035 and Soma Cruz is about to witness the first solar eclipse of the 21st century when he suddenly blacks out – only to awaken inside a mysterious castle. As Soma, you must navigate the castle's labyrinths while confronting perilous monsters at every turn. But beware, you must escape before the evil consumes you!”

What The Critics Say: “The graphics are unparalleled, the monsters are original and challeng[ing], and the scope of the game is impressive.” – Nintendo Power [June 2003, p.136]

Other Great Games In The Franchise: Castlevania: Circle Of The Moon, Castlevania: Harmony Of Dissonance

3. Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3

Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 28

Description: “When Baby Mario falls from the sky, the big-hearted Yoshis vow to reunite him with his twin brother on the far side of the island. It won't be easy, but you must help them take on a meddling Magikoopa and his entire cast of underhanded underlings. Your journey spans the island's jungles, caves, and snowcapped peaks–each area filled with hidden rooms, secret passages, charming minigames, demented bosses, and all-new pals. Sure, Yoshi looks cute, but he packs some pretty amazing firepower–he can throw eggs, hover, stomp, pound the ground, slurp up enemies, and morph into a toy submarine.”

What The Critics Say: “The variety in what Yoshi can do and the diversity in level designs, not to mention the wonderful use of scaling and rotation for the level structures and the incorporation of a half-dozen clever mini-games makes Yoshi's Island the best damn platformer ever.” – IGN

4. Metroid Fusion

Metriod Fusion
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 29

Description: “While lending mission support on planet SR388, interstellar bounty hunter Samus Aran is attacked by an X parasite, an organism with the ability to mimic the abilities of any creature it infects. Near death, Samus is saved by a vaccine made from the DNA of the last Metroid – the X parasite's only natural predator. When the X spread to a research station in orbit around SR388, a weakened Samus is forced to exterminate them all… or die trying.”

What The Critics Say: “From beginning to end, Metroid Fusion is everything you could want from a Game Boy Advance game… Truly one of the greats. Long live Samus!” – Game Informer [Jan 2003, p.120]

Other Great Games In The Franchise: Metroid: Zero Mission

5. Wario Land 4

Wario Land 4
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 30

Description: “Hey! You! Yeah, you! Listen up when Wario's talking to you! I just read about this legendary Pyramid of Gold, and you're gonna help me go explore it. There's lots of treasure in there for the taking, and I want it all. I'm sure there are gonna be all kinds of weird enemies and big, bad bosses in there, so if you don't think you can hack it, put the game down now. I don't want any losers making me jump into bottomless pits, you hear me?”

What The Critics Say: “The gameplay is tight and varied, the graphics are detailed and bright, and the sound is second to none.” – GameSpot

6. Sonic Advance

Sonic Advance
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Description: “Sonic is back to save the world! The evil Dr. Eggman is at it again, with a brand new scheme to trip up Sonic and his pals. Maneuver your way through obstacles, puzzles, and traps to collect the chaos emeralds and defeat the vile Dr. Eggman before it's too late!”

What The Critics Say: “It's the fluid and perfectly measured pace of Sonic Team's new game that makes it so good… Absolutely superb stuff.” – Yahoo!

Other Great Games In The Franchise: Sonic Advance 2, Sonic Advance 3

7. Rayman Advance

Rayman Advance
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 32

Description: “One fateful day in the Glade of Dreams, the evil Mr. Dark threatens the world and traps the Electoons. It is up to Rayman to free them and defeat the evil forces. Explore six unique worlds and play through more than 70 levels of platforming madness.”

What The Critics Say: “Absolutely gorgeous, offering multiple scrolling backgrounds with [a] superbly detailed, painted look to them.” – IGN

Other Great Games In The Franchise: Rayman 3

8. Kirby: Nightmare In Dreamland

Kirby: Nightmare In Dream Land
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 33

Description: “When King Dedede steals the Star Rod, it's up to Kirby to recover the fragmented pieces from Triple D's underlings and restore power to the Fountain of Dreams. Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land is an action-packed side-scrolling adventure chock full of awesome copy abilities and fast-moving gameplay. Kirby may not look tough, but he can float over dangerous obstacles, eat enemy projectiles, and copy his enemies' abilities. You can use these skills in the single-player story mode or multiplayer mode with up to three friends using the Game Boy Advance Link cable.”

What The Critics Say: “With fantastic level designs, great enemies and power-ups, as well as the addition of some fun and entertaining multiplayer modes, Kirby is a must-have.” – Gaming Age

Other Great Games In The Franchise: Kirby & The Amazing Mirror

9. Donkey Kong Country 2

Donkey Kong Country 2
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 34

Description: “The Donkey Kong Country series returns to the Game Boy Advance in a sequel that features Dixie Kong. She and Diddy Kong must team up to rescue Donkey Kong from the evil Kaptain K. Rool. You'll play as both Diddy and Dixie and master their different attacks. Test your skills and beat the clock in Diddy's Dash, or race against your friends to see who's the fastest. You can play the game solo or challenge your friends in new bonus games such as Funky's Flights and Bag a Bug.”

What The Critics Say: “A diverse platform game with excellent graphics and sound and an impressive list of bonus features. The game's most defining feature, though, is its sharp degree of difficulty, which may prove frustrating for some younger or less dedicated players.” – GameSpot

Other Great Games In The Franchise: Donkey Kong Country, Donkey Kong Country 3

10. Super Monkey Ball Jr.

Super Monkey Ball Jr.
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 35

Description: “Hey party animal! It's time to get your ball rolling! Play as AiAi, MeeMee, GonGon, or Baby! Over 60 floors filled with steps, bumps, moving platforms, and more! Includes 4 of your favorite party games–Monkey Fight, Monkey Duel, Monkey Golf, and Monkey Bowling. Multi-player madness supports up to 4 players.”

What The Critics Say: “It's got the looks, the sounds, the depth, and the reward structure, not to mention oodles of gameplay and one of the most endearing multiplayer ‘party' dynamics ever.” – Eurogamer

11. Mega Man Zero

Mega Man Zero
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 36

Description: “It's your mission to help the exiled scientist Ciel discover the source of a new reploid energy! Play as Mega Man's pal Zero, the reploid from the Mega Man X series turned good by the infectious Sigma Virus and 100 years of sleep. Conquer your adversaries and find the energy source… or risk ultimate defeat.”

What The Critics Say: “The design produced for the GBA is a great, challenging one, with many different missions, non-stop action, and satisfying explosions and other effects.” – IGN

Other Great Games In The Franchise: Mega Man Zero 2, Mega Man Zero 3, Mega Man Zero 4

12. Ninja Five-O

Ninja Five-O
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 37

Description: “Take on the role of Ninja Five-O as he uses all his skill, stealth and magic to rescue hostages and defeat his enemies. Master the art of ninja swords, shuriken throwing stars and ancient ninjitsu magic!”

What The Critics Say: “An exciting, fun and challenging action game that shouldn't be missed.” – IGN

13. Drill Dozer

Drill Dozer
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 38

Description: “In the platformer Drill Dozer, you can take the role of Jill, the daughter of a crime boss who is set on revenge. When a rival gang steals away her family's heirloom, Jill gives chase in her Drill Dozer, an upgradeable piece of power armor equipped with a large drill. This piece of equipment will help you navigate through six different areas, where you will encounter varied enemies and bosses.”

What The Critics Say: “One of the best platformers to hit the GBA in a long time, and definitely not one to miss.” – Nintendo Power [Mar 2006, p.88]

14. Mega Man & Bass

Mega Man & Bass
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 39

Description: “Join Mega Man and Bass's fight for humankind as you face off with the newest menace in town – Robot King. King's captured all of the data plans for Dr. Wily's creations. They will equip King with all the knowledge he needs to build his own indestructible army of robots. As either Mega Man or Bass, you'll set out separate adventures using a variety of battle moves and weapons to defeat robot masters. Hidden bolts and CDs give you extra items to assist in battles.”

What The Critics Say: “Hardcore Mega Man fans (or anyone else looking for a great, challenging action game) should seize this opportunity to take the blue bomber back to his old-school roots.” – GameZone

15. Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament

Klonoa 2: Dream Champ Tournament
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 40

Description: “Floppy-eared hero Klonoa returns in another fast-paced, colorful side-scrolling adventure for the Game Boy Advance. In his latest challenge, Klonoa must race against time and other dream travelers in the Dream Champ Tournament to collect stars, sun and moon stones to become the ultimate Dream Champion.”

What The Critics Say: “The controls are absolute perfection, and the ingenious level design will draw in even those too jaded to appreciate the game's charming presentation.” – Nintendo Power [Apr 2005, p.99]

16. Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure

Crash Bandicoot: The Huge Adventure
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 41

Description: “Tired of endlessly doing battle with meddling bandicoots, the nefarious Dr. Neo Cortex shrinks the entire Earth, and Crash and Coco along with it, to the size of a wumpa fruit. Luckily, Coco invents a machine to reverse the effects, but she needs crystals from around the world to power it. Crash must retrieve the crystals to help return the entire planet to its natural state. Experience Crash's biggest adventure yet, with gameplay modes ranging from side-scrolling to 3D chase levels to aerial dogfight combat sequences. Battle your way through over 20 huge levels and six unique locations to defeat Cortex and save the world.”

What The Critics Say: “The design on the Game Boy Advance is amazingly tight with solid controls and level design.” – IGN

Other Great Games In The Franchise: Crash Bandicoot 2: N-Tranced

17. Spyro 2: Season Of Flame

Spyro 2: Season Of Flame
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 42

Description: “Magic fireflies are the source of fiery dragon breath, and someone has stolen them all! Spyro and his friends must capture all the fireflies and stop Ripto from activating a sleeping volcano and destroying the Dragon Realms!”

What The Critics Say: “The controls are tight, the graphics are great and the gameplay is diverse and filled with mini-games.” – Nintendophiles

Other Great Games In The Franchise: Spyro: Season Of Ice

18. Tak And The Power Of Juju

Tak And The Power Of Juju
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 43

Description: “Tak and the Power of Juju tells a tale of good versus evil, set in an ancient world where magic really works. You'll take on the role of Tak, a shaman's apprentice, as he sets off on an action-filled journey to save his village from an evil Juju Man. Tak's inventory of tools include the pole vault, spirit rattle, blowpipe, and explosive eggs. Through 10 different environments, you must use your wits, your environment, and the power of the Juju gods to complete your quest.”

What The Critics Say: “This version veers even farther from its PC roots, with linear level progression and even (gasp!) RPG-style conversation that gives you options of what to say to people you meet.” – Game Informer [Jan 2004, p.160]

19. Super Ghouls ‘n Ghosts

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 44

Description: “As dauntless knight Arthur you are caught up in the most dangerous of quests! A spell has been cast upon the kingdom. Your fair maiden, Princess Prin Prin has been snatched up by the evil emperor. Only as Arthur can you get her back from the creatures of the undead that haunt the land. Test your courage and skill to the limit. You must keep up the quest. On your journey, your mightiest weapon of all awaits you… MAGIC!”

What The Critics Say: “You must realize Ghouls n’ Ghosts is a very hard game and you have to forgive the occasional instant death. Then you will really get addicted to the gameplay with the help of the good graphics and music that Capcom has created.” – Nintendophiles

20. Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge

Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 45

Description: “Gruntilda is back, and it's up to Banjo and Kazooie to stop her master plan. In Banjo-Kazooie: Grunty's Revenge, you'll play as Banjo and follow him through six worlds rife with trials and contests. Some of the challenges you must overcome include solving puzzles, avoiding obstacles, and battling different enemies. Defeat your foes by using Banjo's array of combat moves. You can also seek help from witch doctors, who can transform Banjo into a mouse, a tank, and other creatures.”

What The Critics Say: “What makes Grunty's Revenge work so well is that it never becomes boring or overly repetitive.” – GameSpy

21. Earthworm Jim

Earthworm Jim
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 46

Description: “Left unconscious by a massive cow-induced blow to the head and clad in his indestructible, high-tech super suit, Earthworm Jim continues the battle for truth, justice, and well-aerated soil. He sure is going to need your to guide him through his 3D fun-house of a brain. But beware, there is an evil lurking, a presence in his mind, a dark unseen force at work – Jim's brain is a dangerous place!”

What The Critics Say: “For fans of the original Earthworm Jim games, this is a real treat that provides an exercise in nostalgia while still being legitimately fun.” – GameSpot

22. Sabre Wulf

Sabre Wulf
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 47

Description: “A mysterious stranger has shattered the fabled Sabre Wulf amulet, unleashing the savage Sabre Wulf from years of imprisonment. Once again, it's up to Sabreman, explorer and treasure hunter extraordinaire, to track and recapture his nemesis. As Sabreman, you'll enter a world rife with magical creatures that you can control. Use each creature's unique powers to survive traps, obstacles, and the dreaded Sabre Wulf.”

What The Critics Say: “Sabre Wulf isn’t quite perfect, but thanks to its originality, great characters, and platforming action, you’ll find that it just doesn’t get any better than this.” – GameZone

23. Lady Sia

Lady Sia
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 48

Description: “Join Lady Sia, bold defender of a world invaded by a race of ruthless beastmen. Help her use her sword and her wits in an intense battle across land, sea, and air to free her people. Acquire the magic of the elements to defeat the giant T'Soa bosses, and invoke Sia's shapeshifting power in a final showdown against an unforgiving foe!”

What The Critics Say: “It offers breadth, scope, and a quality graphical presentation and level design. The game offers plenty of challenges, tempting the more avid gamer into raising their ratings even after completing the fields to fulfill their quests.” – GameZone

24. Blender Bros.

Blender Bros.
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 49

Description: “Leap into the future as Blender, leader of the Cosmo Keepers, and use his super long ears to grab items, fight and fly. Clear multiple levels on different worlds, collect Mini Bros., use their power-ups and defeat the Zooligans! 20 Mini Bros. to find, collect and trade, 7 different planets with unique environments and surprises, 3 mini-games allow up to 4 players to compete using the Game Link Cable.”

What The Critics Say: “All of the features make for top-notch fun for fans of platformers.” – Nintendo Power [May 2002, p.138]

25. Jet Grind Radio

Jet Grind Radio
25 Best Game Boy Advance Platforming Games 50

Description: “Join a graffiti crew, stamp your territory and protect it from rival taggers, but watch out for the angry cops!”

What The Critics Say: “It combines the level structure and characters from the Dreamcast game with many of the story elements from the Xbox game, and it does an effective job.” – GameSpot

Honorable Mentions

So those are our top picks for the best platformers on the GBA, but that's far from all of the great genre titles on the console.

These are just another handful of quality recommendations – if interested, click the links to see pricing at eBay: