The Five Best GBA RPGs of All Time
Updated: Mar 28
The Game Boy Advance was home to many RPG's old and new, but which ones were pixel perfect?
When it comes to gaming, many of us have been enthralled by it since our early years and, in my case, my enthusiasm for this pastime has endured throughout my 36 years of life.
Gaming has been a part of my life since I first observed my father playing on his NES console. I would spend hours entranced by his playing of iconic titles such as Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda. When I was eventually given the chance to hold the controller, I quickly became enraptured by The Legend of Zelda, setting me off on a journey that would lead me to my true passion within gaming: the immersive RPG genre.
"If you don't play any game from this list, make sure this one is the one you play."
In my insatiable quest for more RPGs, as I grew up, the first handheld system I owned was a Gameboy Advance. The GBA was a powerful gaming machine and my favorite handheld of all time and I never left home without it (it was also likely the cause of my afternoon detention woes as I would play in class).
With that being said, these are my top five favorite RPGs on the GBA that I recommend you give a shot.
5. Yggdra’s Union: We’ll Never Fight Alone
If you have ever experienced Yggdra Union, you know that it is one of the most challenging and quirky RPGs on the GBA, with a unique battle system that has you take command of armies instead of individual characters.
A majority of the game’s difficulty stems from learning the mechanics behind its morale-based combat.
The quirky characters and story will keep you engaged for hours as you dive into this challenging gem while mastering the combat system.
4. Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis
When it comes to an RPG my favorite always involves tactical/strategy elements, and Tactics Ogre: The Knight of Lodis was an instant purchase when it was released.
The story is rife with political drama which captivates and keeps you playing for hours, especially to see the various endings given depending on your choice as a player.
Not only is the story incredibly engaging, the overall gameplay is sublime. The ability to persuade enemy units to join you mid-battle, a deep combat system, and a bevy of classes to learn and master make for an unforgettable experience that will always be different every time you play.
3. Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age
What do you do when the game you create has a story so massive that it cannot fit onto one cartridge? You split it into two and truly give fans of the RPG genre something to enjoy.
When it comes to discussion of the best games on the GBA Golden Sun is always in the mix.
Camelot Software Planning hit a home run with Golden Sun and its incredibly deep expansive story. From engaging visuals and puzzles to capturing the many djinns or the amazing cutscenes, this entry hooked you and didn’t let you go until both games were finished.
2. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Did I mention that tactical/strategy RPGs were my favorite? Then it should come as no surprise that this phenomenal title is so high on the list. This game shattered my expectations and was one of my most replayed games on the GBA.
Like its predecessor Final Fantasy Tactics, released on the PlayStation, this game is filled with an engaging story, amazing battle mechanics, and one of the best job systems ever introduced in gaming.
If you don’t play any other title from this list, make sure this is the one you play.
1. Final Fantasy V Advance
The GBA gave us many amazing remakes like Breath of Fire 1, Final Fantasy VI, and many others however, none were more enchanting than Final Fantasy V.
What makes this game truly unforgettable is the robust job system. Whether you want to be a Blue Mage slinging enemy magic or a Summoner dealing massive AoE damage, there is a class for you.
The story is rich, filled with emotional moments (looking at you Galuf), a nefarious villain in Exdeath, and let’s not forget the wonderful silliness of Gilgamesh. This version even adds four new classes and also features a new optional dungeon with a new boss!
Final Fantasy V Advance is pound-for-pound the best RPG on the GBA and one you should experience the first chance you get!
About the author:
James Crow is an avid enthusiast of all things gaming, especially RPGs. He is an aerial photographer and digital marketer in the Air Force. His ideal weekend is spent relaxing playing an RPG and recording the next episode of the Games with Jon & James podcast.