Press Start: The Best Nintendo Handheld Games



Yesterday, we walked through my favorite games on each of Nintendo's main home consoles. Today, I want to go through the highlights of the handhelds.


Game Boy: Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins


I just played through this game for the first time a few weeks ago, and I was surprised with how much I enjoyed it. The art style is very unique, and the graphics as a whole are a huge step up from the first handheld Mario game, Super Mario Land. There are some really unique levels in here, like the Lego Mario level, that haven't really been revisited in other 2D Mario games. It's a short game, but it's fun from start to finish.


Game Boy Color: Link's Awakening DX


I really enjoyed my time with Link's Awakening DX on the 3DS Virtual Console. This is a very quirky Zelda game, and I think it pulls off that quirkiness much better than Majora's Mask does. It's a very unique entry in the Zelda series, with no Hyrule, no Zelda, and a bunch of Mario enemies thrown into the mix. The dungeons are a lot of fun, and the island of Koholint is a joy to explore. The Switch remake is fantastic, too.


Game Boy Advance: Pokemon Sapphire


I think there's always something special about your first Pokemon game. Journeying through Hoenn in Sapphire will always be an extremely memorable experience for me. I love the cities, the secret base system, and most of the new Pokemon designs. Unfortunately, the 3DS remake didn't capture the same joy I had from the original, but I always enjoy booting up the GBA game and revisiting my old save.


DS: Pokemon Diamond


Out of all the games in the series, I easily put the most time into Pokemon Diamond. I played with friends on the playground all the time at recess, trading, battling, and roaming the underground area. This game felt like a cultural moment for me growing up, as it was the first game on the DS at what I consider to be the height of the Pokemon craze for my age group.


3DS: Kid Icarus Uprising


Kid Icarus Uprising is an underrated gem on the 3DS due to its weird control scheme. Using only the circle pad, touch screen, and L button, it was a new take on the action genre. Once you get used to the controls, the game is fantastic. The on-rails scenes are action-packed and very cinematic, the ground sections provide great variety and challenge, and the boss fights are unique and epic. On top of that, the game's dialogue is the perfect amount of cheeky for my taste, and I even enjoyed the multiplayer a fair amount.


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