The Game Boy Color era was quite short as the Game Boy Advance console released just 3 years after. Nevertheless, the Game Boy Color was able to push out classic titles including sequels from one of the best gaming franchises.
There were a ton of struggles from studios that were trying to sort out some of their games to the hand-held console because of the hardware’s limitation. This allowed them to be more creative and find new and inventive ways to make a game fun and replayable on a weak portable console. What are the best Game Boy Color games of all time? Here is our list.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons and Oracle of Ages
Boasting similar elements to one of the greatest games in The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening, these two titles deserve the same praise as Nintendo manages to bring it all back to life with new features while staying true to the franchise.
These two games are combined because they were meant to be played together as they were originally made to be based on every single piece of the tri-force. Each of them has a unique world and story while having no specific order in which they can be played.
All of them involve heavy puzzles with Oracle of Ages having the hardest ones. Both Legend of Zelda games are unique on their own while it takes some of the elements from Link’s Awakening because it plays on the same engine, the puzzles and plot make these games fun, entertaining, and different from the Link’s Awakening DX classic.
Pokemon Gold and Silver
Arguably, the best Pokemon game of the whole series was the second generation (Gold and Silver). Introducing a wider variety of Pokemons to catch and collect while adding so many new elements that it feels like a new game while retaining the same elements that made Pokemon Blue and Red successful.
Like the 1st generation Pokemon game, Gold and Silver offers 2nd generation Pokemons that are different and are dependent on which game (Gold or Silver) you select. This limitation allows players to socialize more to collect and even discover the new Pokemons not available to their current version of the game.
Pokemon Gold and Silver added a ton of quality of life changes such as managing your Pokemons better, bicycle usage and overall movement, and easier connectivity. They added more features as well like nurturing your own eggs to have a new way of obtaining Pokemons, Pokemon breeding, new secrets to discover, and a longer story.
With so many new features and differences from the original Pokemon game that was already astounding, Pokemon Gold and Silver was able to deliver a better sequel and lived up beyond the expectations of what it would have been.
Pokemon Crystal is Pokemon’s 2nd generation of Pokemon Yellow which was an improved version of the 2nd generation titles (Gold and Silver). While we all know what to expect from a game like this basing it on Pokemon Yellow, you can already see tweaks and new features right at the start of Pokemon Crystal.
This is the first version of the Pokemon series that allows the protagonist to change gender. They made routing better by adding more signs as the Johto region is completely different from the first version and is way bigger. They also added some animations to Pokemons that made it worthwhile to catch even the weakest Pokemons for your Pokedex.
Legendary Pokemons are the ‘poster boy’ of this title and they made significant changes to the encounters you may have on one of them. This game was a magnificent follow-up to the 2nd generation game as it introduced a ton of new features and quality of life changes that made it worthwhile to play through it again after finishing Pokemon Gold and Silver.
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters 4: Battle of Great Duelists
Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters is a more niche entry on this list because it specifically caters to the enthusiasts of the trading card game. The others might not feel the same way about the game because this title is less story-driven and focuses more on gameplay mechanics which should be the better aspect to improve on for this type of game.
This game really makes you think and has more depth as you will need to ration out the numbers which should be common in most trading card games. The animations are greatly designed and it is highly satisfying for those avid fans of the franchise. Overall, it is a good card game and easy to pick up even for players who are not aware of Duel Monsters but likes to play trading card games.
Pokemon Trading Card Game
The Pokemon Trading Card Game Boy game is literally based on Pokemon’s real-life trading card game. Pokemon was so popular that even the trading card game became one of the most popular card games in the genre. That was how big Pokemon was back then and even up to now.
Without the limitation of obtaining cards and finding friends to play with, the game had a progression system that does not just give you cards willy-nilly but you have to grind for them and battle out against other trainers with the same adventure elements you find in the original Pokemon game but this time, with cards.
The game also offers link battles where you can duke it out against other players as long as you are near each other. The game came out on the Game Boy Color shortly after the device released but this game is also playable on the original Game Boy.
Mario Tennis was ported from the N64 system and was already a flawless classic game before it released on the Game Boy Color console. This lead people to speculate if the controls would be harder on a hand-held console as tennis is a taxing sport that relies heavily on movement.
They were able to implement smooth movement and easier movement that made Mario Tennis a successful port to the Game Boy Color console. This kind of game is perfect for hand-held gaming as this game has unlimited replay value and the RPG-style single-player adventure is already entertaining.
Wario Land 3
Wario Land 3 was the most ambitious title of the series. They added more RPG elements to a platformer game that was already seen as a classic and extremely satisfying to play with unlimited replay value. They added more puzzles to have more variety for your playthrough and not just a simple platformer where you just keep defeating monsters.
With all the added paths and stages, Wario Land 3’s world became bigger and more expansive than the other previous titles. The story was exceptionally written with all the plot twists and boss battles. Wario Land 3 might be one of the best platformers of all time just because of their successful improvement from an already polished franchise.
Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble
Kirby Tilt ‘n’ Tumble was the most original and unorthodox platformer game released by Nintendo. It was the first game on the Game Boy Color console that featured motion sensors and it was an amazing feature for a platformer game like Kirby.
Just like what the title of the game implies, you will be able to tilt your Game Boy Color console to roll Kirby through the stages and if you tilt the Game Boy Color slightly, it will roll at a much slower pace. This feature was revolutionary for a hand-held device and came at the perfect time for this pink puffball to roll on to be the best Kirby title at this time.
Super Mario Bros. Deluxe
One of the greatest Super Mario game ever made got ported to the Game Boy Color from the NES console. Right off the bat, it already became one of the best Game Boy Color games out on the console and they added a ton of features to go along with the port.
The best feature they added is the versus mode where you battle it out in a link battle which might force you to get another copy of the game with another console to play but it is entirely worth it as this might be the most entertaining mode in a seemingly perfect game. The pixel-perfect port was a great accomplishment by Nintendo and it was a high-risk move to successfully do it as the game was already flawless on the NES.
With all the clones coming out from the original Tetris game, they featured a ton of new modes and features that were good enough and added it to Tetris DX. The game was so simple and addicting that made it so perfect and with the new link battle, you can now challenge other players in real-time to see who is better.
The added game modes are a cool feature too and it helps players get better in Tetris which they are trying to push out a competitive scene out of. The game is overall the same but that is what makes Tetris so great and you could not apply the same reasoning for most of the sequels studios come up with.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening might be the highest-rated game in the series up to now. This is because they have perfected almost every aspect important in a game and to do that on a hand-held device that puts limitations on your development made it even more impressive.
The game design is well-thought-out and the art design is charming with great attention to detail. The written story plays with your heart as if it crushes you and uplifts you back up. The gameplay is riveting enough that you can play it for hours assuming you also like puzzle solving. The game is as close to perfect as you can get and to do that on a hand-held device deserves all the praise it can get.
Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country might not be the best title in the series but it was a great game overall. It brings all the elements of a good platformer together as Nintendo has done quite well in the past but players were not accustomed to the graphics that a Game Boy Color can deliver as they would compare it to the NES version of the game.
Overall, the gameplay is good enough to be replayable for countless hours as it also contains some secrets to unlock and fans of the series will definitely enjoy the extra levels added to the Game Boy Color version. The game was not perfect but these are usually the standard of which you want your platformer games to be on.
Pokemon Pinball is a copy of the popular arcade machine that almost every single person in the world knows how to play. It is simply smashing two buttons to hit the ball before it falls and Pokemon added a unique twist to it by implementing Pokemon elements into the game.
This was kind of a ‘money grab’ move by Nintendo as they already have a game like Kirby’s Pinball Land. They used the most popular brand they have and smash it into a game. Surprisingly, this worked well for Pokemon Pinball as they changed the balls into Pokeballs and gave you the added challenge of hitting Pokemons in the stage 6 times to capture them with the Pokeball. The game is fun and engaging with the new challenges and stages but the game is still a regular pinball game.
Dragon Warrior Monsters 2
With monster or pet collecting becoming a thing now all because of Pokemon, Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 was treated like a clone of the game that tries to offer more than just 150 Pokemons. Dragon Warrior Monsters 2 has all the same elements as Pokemon where you capture monsters, breed and nurture them, use and combine them to your advantage, and even collect them all.
Of course, they added an original story of their own and this game is great if you do not compare it to the behemoth that is Pokemon. The story is rather shorter but they have some originality with their gameplay that made it unique on its own.
Harvest Moon GBC
Harvest Moon is a simple management game that lets you take over a farm and cultivate it into something to your tastes. These kinds of games are addicting as long as you do not run out of menial things to do and let your creative mind do most of the game for you.
Harvest Moon is just like the previous one on the Game Boy which of course, added color to this version. They added a few little new features which are kind of disappointing as fans of the game are always craving for more. It is still one of the best in the genre at that time and it deserves a spot on the list.
Metal Gear Solid
Metal Gear Solid is not the kind of game you would expect as the Metal Gear Solid adapted to the 3D feature instead of a 2D one. This title also released after the popular Metal Gear Solid released on PS1. So with the Game Boy Color release, it took a step back as it was the only option they have for the console.
This does not take away anything from the game and the stealth espionage elements are still heavily showcased in the Game Boy Color version. They were not able to show all the graphic presentation a home console has to offer but this game was still ambitious to show how great the game still is even on a 2D version.
The gameplay still feels like a Metal Gear Solid game as the tone is still set the same. The missions are challenging and rewarding at the same time. For a Game Boy Color version, this Meal Gear Solid is a good game on the hand-held console but it is not the best game you want to play anywhere.
Game Boy Color might have had a short period in the daylight but it was a great era overall as the main purpose served to be an improvement from the original Game Boy which had no color and a weaker system. This is maybe why Game Boy Advance came out very soon after as the system got outdated really fast.
Nonetheless, Game Boy Color was able to produce some of the best games including my personal favorite, Pokemon Gold and Silver (2nd generation).