The Nintendo GameCube may have its dedicated fans, but it’s far and away one of Nintendo’s most underrated consoles. Following up the Nintendo 64, the GameCube was home to some truly incredible exclusives but ultimately failed to keep up with the PlayStation 2, just like how the N64 struggled to keep up with the PS One before it.
Of course, this doesn’t mean the GameCube is a bad console with bad games. Far from it. It’s catalog still holds up well today. The problem is that most people never got the chance to actually play beyond what the GameCube offered on a surface level. As a result, the GameCube is home to hidden gems still being uncovered today.
10 Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings And The Lost Ocean
Developed by none other than the same studio behind Xenoblade Chronicles, Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean is one of the strangest RPGs on the GameCube. Card-based, visually mesmerizing, and downright weird when it comes to story, it’s hard to get Baten Kaitos out of mind after playing it.
It also has a much-improved sequel titled Baten Kaitos Origins, but it’s a very different experience, one that isn’t nearly as eclectic as the original. Both are worth playing, but, where Origins is a better game, Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean is a far more memorable one.
9 Battalion Wars
A spiritual sequel to the Advance Wars series, Battalion Wars ditches traditional turn-based strategy gameplay in favor of third-person shooting. As a sequel, Battalion Wars shouldn’t work, as it fundamentally contradicts just about everything that made Advance Wars so good, but it’s still a great game in its own right.
A charming visual style, good level design, and fun gunplay turn Battalion Wars into quite the underrated gem. It has a sequel on the Wii, but it’s the first one that fans should place their effort into playing. Not only is it cheap, but it also holds its value well and is one of the most unique first-party Nintendo games.
Half platformer and half adventure game, it’s hard not to immediately fall in love with Chibi-Robo. It’s an incredibly difficult game to hunt down, granted, so most people won’t be playing it, but anyone who does will find plenty of charm in its world, story, and gameplay. It’s one of Nintendo’s cutest first-party games, if nothing else.
It also has a few sequels here and there, but, like with Battalion Wars, it’s the GameCube original that fans should be striving to play. Finding a copy for a good price will be hard, but don’t pass up a great game like this if an affordable version pops up somewhere. It more than holds its value.
Published by Atlus and developed by Intelligent Systems, Cubivore is one of the rarest games on the GameCube. Simply finding a copy can be an exercise in futility, let alone finding one that’s actually affordable. The game wasn’t too well received by critics, but it remains a fan favorite by those who have gotten a chance to play it.
An adventure game about natural selection with RPG elements, there’s nothing else quite like Cubivore even today, though that makes sense. This is a game that had absolutely no cultural impact despite its high level of quality. Finding a copy may be borderline impossible, but Cubivore really is worth playing.
6 Custom Robo
Custom Robo is a franchise that actually dates all the way back to the Nintendo 64. It not only saw a direct N64 sequel, but the franchise’s third game released on the Game Boy Advance in 2002. The 2004 GameCube Custom Robo is actually the fourth entry in the series, although only the first of two that would release in the West.
While Custom Robo Arena on the DS would immediately kill the series, Custom Robo on the GameCube is one of the most creative titles on the platform, offering players fast-paced action with an incredible amount of customization. While the plot is a bit on the lousy side, the game on a whole is one of the GameCube’s best entries.
Geist looks more like a late Nintendo 64 game than even a GameCube launch title, but it’s still a fantastic first-person shooter that does a lot of good for the genre. A lot of good that would be ignored by everyone else, but Geist was Nintendo’s way of creating a mature FPS that didn’t betray their own design philosophies.
As a result, both platforming and puzzle-solving play an important role in the game, but they’re both handled well alongside the actual gunplay. With a genuinely intriguing story and a justified M rating—Nintendo’s second-ever—Geist isn’t just one of the most creative GameCube games of all time; it’s one of the most creative games, period.
It’s hard to keep track of what Ikaruga hasn’t been ported to at this point, but there was a time where its GameCube release was the best way to play it. Hell, even to this day, Ikaruga on the GameCube remains the single best release of the game as it’s the only one to actually allow players to practice specific portions of a stage.
Considering just how brutally hard Ikaruga is, this ends up making quite the difference for dedicated players. The Xbox 360 and Switch versions are perfectly playable, but they’re lacking the same extras as the GameCube version.
Odama is by far the strangest game on the GameCube. It’s an RTS pinball hybrid that takes place in Feudal Japan. It’s… odd, but also incredibly hard to play thanks to its insane difficulty curve. Still, those who have actually played it are likely to sing its praises. There’s literally nothing else like it.
That said, Odama isn’t unfair. Its greatest strength is actually how well designed it is. It is a game that will take an obscene amount of time to both master and finish, but it’s worth all that time and effort since Odama is unlike anything else the industry has seen.
2 Phantasy Star Online
A port of one of the single best Dreamcast games, Phantasy Star Online on the GameCube is incredibly rare, incredibly expensive, and incredibly fun. There are even private servers that can still be accessed through the GameCube’s Broadband Adapter, ensuring that the game remains more than just a novelty.
Even solo, though, Phantasy Star Online is just an incredibly competent action RPG. No, it doesn’t have too great of a story, but it has excellent bosses, good level design, and fantastic world-building. Of note, the game was re-released on the GameCube as PSO Plus, which is even rarer and more expensive, but it comes with more single-player content.
1 Phantasy Star Online Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution
Yes, there are two Phantasy Star Online entries on this list, but not without reason. Where the standard Phantasy Star Online offers traditional action RPG experience, Episode III: C.A.R.D. Revolution is a turn-based deck-building game with RPG elements that also places a greater emphasis on both story and character.It’s an incredibly strange sequel to Phantasy Star Online, but it’s ultimately better for it. Its community isn’t as active as the main game (for obvious reasons,) but Episode III often goes far too overlooked for its own good. It’s a unique game that tried something new and, aside from the grinding, it knocks it out of the park.