Nintendo Switch Online (NSO) aims to deliver nostalgic experiences right out of the Japanese publisher's retro console lineup. With several home console catalogs already available for fans to avail of, there is one area that's still missing. That's their handheld selection.
The Big N's portables are by far the most successful among their niche, so it is odd that we haven't seen any additions to NSO yet. There have been rumors, but only time will tell how things will turn out. Meanwhile, here are five iconic Game Boy Advance games that would make great additions to the online service.
These Game Boy Advance titles offer some of the most memorable Nintendo experiences out there
1) Metroid Fusion
The prequel to last year's acclaimed Metroid Dread, Fusion was first released in 2002. Yes, that is almost a 20-year gap between the two. The acclaimed Game Boy Advance game adds some horror overtones to the traditional Metroidvania gameplay with the introduction of the Parasite X.
As such, Samus must navigate non-linear areas, defeat bosses to acquire new powers, and avoid the SA-X shapeshifter who has taken on the face of Samus herself and is hunting her. Players will amass a variety of new abilities to help them navigate the puzzles and platformer driver levels while they explore and unearth hidden secrets.
2) Pokemon Emerald
The renowned Pokemon series sees the release of its third generation on Game Boy Advance. Emerald marks the ultimate rendition of Nintendo's monster taming series set in the Hoenn region. First released in 2004, players control a young Pokemon trainer who must beat Pokemon Gyms and battle the Elite Four. This can be achieved by creating the ideal team of tamable critters who aid the player throughout their journey while they fight other trainers in turn-based battles.
At the same time, they must contend with the threat of antagonistic organizations, Team Magma and Team Aqua, who aim to revive the legendary Pokemon Groudon and Kyogre, respectively. With an additional subplot focusing on the third legendary monster Rayquaza, Emerald features one of the more unique locales in the series with a focus on water travel.
3) The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap
Developed by Capcom and their Flagship studio in conjunction, this handheld entry in Nintendo's beloved action-adventure series is one of its best. Canonically, it is the second game in the Legend of Zelda timeline and features a race of tiny creatures called the Minish. The sorcerer Vaati is the new villain who is brewing trouble, and Link must stop him to bring peace back to the land of Hyrule.
Clad with a talking cap called Ezio, the hero must traverse different locations. There are several dungeons to explore where players will solve puzzles, defeat enemies, and gain new items. The gimmick here allows Link to shrink at certain spots in the game, adding a new dimension to gameplay, quite literally!
4) Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga
The RPG installments in Nintendo's popular Super Mario series have always been cherished. Particularly since the SNES game Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars.
The Game Boy Advance introduced the first Mario & Luigi entry, kind of a successor to the SNES classic and even the Nintendo 64's Paper Mario. Superstar Saga sees the Italian duo travel to the Beanbean Kingdom to retrieve Princess Peach's voice from the new villain Cackletta.
The adventure sees the two brothers explore handcrafted dungeons and utilizes the synergy between them for both exploration and combat. With each of the two action buttons assigned to one of the two bros, Superstar Saga's gameplay is a more involved process despite the turn-based gameplay. There are collectibles to find, experience points to collect from defeated enemies, and bosses to take it out on - all presented in a comical tone. It also has a remake on the Nintendo 3DS.
5) Advance Wars
The underrated Wars strategy RPG series from Nintendo saw its first handheld release in 2001. Thanks to the Game Boy Advance release, it was titled Advance Wars. However, compared to the Japan-exclusive Famicom/Super Famicom Wars, the handheld entry boasts an appealing cartoon aesthetic, memorable characters, and significantly more refined gameplay.
With the Orange Star nation in a conflict against the antagonistic Blue Moon, players must command units in tactical grid-based and turn-based combat.
Each skirmish takes place on varied maps with a focus on capturing cities, generating resources, and keeping the Orange Star's army sustained against skirmishes with the foe. Each unit has its pros and cons against other units, and so does employing them across different terrain. Throw in fuel costs, ammunition, rearming lost units, and more, and it is a satisfyingly deep loop that is bound to awaken the military tactician among every player. The game and its sequel will also get a Nintendo Switch remake later in the year.