10 Forgotten Game Boy Franchises That Need A Comeback

The Switch hosts a well-rounded lineup of gaming throwbacks to some older consoles' games. Yet despite the Switch's portability, there seemed to be few connections to its great-great portable gaming grandfather, the Game Boy - until now. The anticipated revamp of one of the stand-out portable Zelda titles, Link's Awakening, has just been released. Meanwhile, Tetris 99 and the epic Pokémon Sword and Shield, are coming in November. Even the Final Fantasy offshoot, which morphed into the Mana series, is getting some love with a compilation and a completely remade version of Legend of Mana.

This got us thinking: what other Game Boy relics can be dug up and polished off to be crafted into great games for Nintendo's modern, juiced-up handheld? We'll take a trip to the past and look at 10 of these forgotten Game Boy gems that need a comeback, particularly on Switch or mobile.

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

10 WarioWare

This quirky compilation of rapid-fire microgames made its way to the GBA in 2003, granting another memorable handheld outing for Mario's sinister counterpart following Wario Land.

In a sense, this oddball party game paved the way for an era of colorful family-friendy games. This gaming philosophy was carried on in the DS and Wii , and WarioWare got even more chaotic on those platforms. But curiously, this charming party romp has been mostly absent in recent years. A new, more robust sequel would fit the Switch or mobile devices like a glove, given their portability, refined gyro, and rumble features.

9 Tetris Attack

Much like the similarly obscure Tetrisphere for N64, this charming puzzler is, for all intents and purposes, Tetris in name only. Regardless, it stands as one of the more underrated puzzle titles for Nintendo's grey-brick handheld and one that would make for a tremendous Switch or mobile remake.

Like the original Tetris, however, this game also runs with a basic approach that's both addictive and easy to grasp. With its system of matching 3 of the same blocks while piling up combos, Tetris Attack pummels you with consistent enjoyment that's thrilling and simplistic.

8 Mole Mania

One of Game Boy's swan songs was Mole Mania, a criminally underrated Nintendo franchise that got lost in the crowded pages of the company's history. This is even more surprising when you consider Shigeru Miyamoto himself helped develop the game. But thanks to the phenomenon that was Pokémon Red/Blue which was released around the same time, few gamers initially paid much attention to this little puzzler as they busied themselves with "Catching 'em all!"

The game uses a multi-layered level design coupled with a satisfying burrowing ability that makes for some fun, thought-provoking navigation and obstacle-based puzzles.

7 Pokémon Pinball

This satisfying handheld pinball game may seem rather shallow, but it's a large stepping stone in portable gaming with its tactile rumble feature built into the cartridge.

RELATED: Pokémon Gold & Silver: 10 Hidden Areas You Didn't Know Existed

With Poké-mania in full swing once again, this often overlooked Pokémon title would make a terrific fit for both the Switch and Nintendo's mobile line of games, especially with the added tactile feel of the HD rumble. Given the more robust modern hardware, along with tons of new Pokémon to decorate the levels, a Pokémon Pinball sequel could prove a fun arcade-style romp.

6 Dragon Warrior Monsters

Think Pokémon with a Dragon Quest backdrop, and you've got this criminally underrated Pokémon-style RPG for Game Boy and GBC. This massive fantasy adventure was a joy to play because it all but perfected the Red/Blue formula of capturing and battling monsters.

Not only could you hunt for an endless array of amusing monsters, but you could breed them to create new varieties. Sure, fighting with the legendary birds is awesome but it's tough to beat dominating with an army of DQ bosses like the ominous Darkdrium. A Dragon Warrior Monster sequel could stand toe-to-toe with Sword & Shield.

5 Metroid Fusion

While the Prime series is finally getting a long-awaited fourth entry, we're still sorely lacking content from the classic Metroid front. A callback to the sidescrolling action shooter would make a great compliment to the more bombastic, FPS-style Metroid Prime 4.  Much like Link's Awakening relative to BotW 2, this could hold over fans while they wait countless months for the anticipated sequel to Retro's shooter.

Perhaps we could get a game that builds on the interesting lore of Fusion, which fleshed out the narrative of Samus, while opening up the exploration more - like the classic NES Metroid.

4 SaGa (The Final Fantasy Legend)

Similar to how Final Fantasy Adventure proved to be an enduring RPG in its own right by blossoming into the Mana franchise, this FF spinoff is similarly great.

Related: The 5 Best Things About Final Fantasy 8 Remastered (& The 5 Worst)

Also known as SaGa, this twist on a JRPG has cool sci-fi themes, a vast array of badass monsters, and unique player classes like Mutants. Despite its archaic exterior, this adventure is subtly chock-full of depth and content, brimming with great level design, colorful environments, and interesting puzzles. It could be a marvelous cinematic experience to witness the majestic World of Ruin or World of Sky in full 3D on Switch.

3 Wario Land

Nintendo has tapped into the handheld line of Mario platformers with Mario 3D landing on the 3DS, so why not do the same with his more malevolent brother Wario? Despite its lack of relevancy, the Wario Land games are regarded as some of the best platformers for the Game Boy/GBC. They largely took the reigns fromMario Land as the sidescroller that carries the torch of Mario games, featuring Wario's satisfying block-busting moves, neat levels, and epic boss fights.

It's high time this neglected plumber got some love on Nintendo's mainline hardware that doesn't just involve cameos and bite-sized minigames.

2 Advance Wars

Sure, we've got a sort of "spiritual successor" to this in the form of Wargroove, but it would be nice to return to the franchise that largely inspired that one. These enthralling strategy games, featuring a myriad of enjoyable artillery, haven't seen a direct sequel in over a decade. We did get a console spinoff in Battalion Wars, though it was fairly average and lacking the spirit of the originals.

An Advance Wars sequel that perhaps blends stylized graphics with more dynamic 3D environments - like Sword & Shield - could be an awesome follow-up on Switch and/or mobile devices.

1 Golden Sun

Hailed as one of the GBA's best games and possibly one of the best RPGs of the 2000sGolden Sun has yet to see a home console release. This is a shame and a missed opportunity, given this majestic franchise's rich, epic sensibilities, gorgeous soundtrack, and dazzling visual spell effects.

A more open-world Golden Sun game that fully utilizes the admirable Switch hardware should be an instant classic, especially one that allowed you to battle friends online with the Pokémon-esque Djinn. This could give Sword & Shield fans somewhere else to venture to after conquering that game.

NEXT: 10 Classic '80s Video Games That Need A Modern Remake (Or Remaster)

More in Lists