Game Boy Color hit the market after a tremendous response to its predecessor, the original Gameboy. The newer generation had everything, a colored LCD, a faster hybrid processor, and a hi-color mode.
At the time of its launch, Game Boy color had a significant advantage over its competitor, thanks to the backward compatibility. This meant the Game Boy games were compatible with the Color model, amassing an extensive library during its nascent days in the market.
With a combined library of over two thousand video game titles, you will be busy for a reasonable period. Instead of perusing through the never-ending list of games, have a look at some of the best Game Boy Color games that you can play on Game Boy Color or an emulator.
The 20 Best Game Boy Color Games
Let us start with the best Game Boy color game, garnering the tallest commercial success. Everybody is well aware of the game, which is available on virtually all the possible platforms. The Game Boy version stays the same with minor visual adjustments. We find the tetromino shapes containing four blocks each fall down in a random manner.
You can move the blocks in any direction, with the ultimate goal to fit them at the bottom without leaving any space. As you progress further, the speed of tetromino blocks falls faster, and you have lesser time to make the arrangements.
In this installment, we also get a multiplayer mode where you can compete against another player. Each player needs a Game Boy Color and Tetris Game Pak, connected using a Game Link cable.
2. Pokémon Red and Blue
Technically they are the first installments of the Pokémon video game series. Both Pokémon Red and Pokémon have the same plot with minor changes. An improved version, Pokémon Yellow, was also released. The plot remains the same with some visual and mechanics enhancement.
We start the game, playing as the protagonist from an overhead perspective, giving a third-person perspective. In the game, the protagonist navigates through the fictional region of Kanto in the pursuit to defeat eight gym leaders across the game. This will help him become the champion of the Indigo League.
Like Tetris, a player can battle it out with friends having a Game Boy Color, using a link cable. Now do remember that Red players can play other Reds alone. However, you can trade Pokémon’s between the two cartridges.
Press the Pause Button – Game Boy Color has backward compatibility, meaning that Game Boy games work without a hiccup in most cases. Most of the games you find here will be compatible with both Game Boy Color and Game Boy.
3. Dr. Mario
Sharing the gameplay style with Tetris, Dr. Mario has puzzle-like gameplay with colored vitamin capsules instead of blocks. They come in three different colors – red, yellow, and blue.
Mario assumes the role of a doctor who tosses two-color capsules into the medicine bottle. As a player, we have to manipulate the tri-colored capsules to fit the bottle without leaving any space. The capsules appear when four or more are joined together containing the same color, making space for falling vitamins.
And when it comes to multiplayer, you can play using the Link cable as a default feature. Two different bottles will appear on the screen, adjacent to each other, where the goal is to clear their field before the opponent.
4. Donkey Kong Land
With the borrow mechanics from the Donkey Kong Country, this 2D side-scrolling game gets it right. Due to its hardware limitations, a few of the features have been stripped down, but it doesn’t feel like it if you are new to the franchise.
Heading straight the game, we get four different worlds in the game. Each of them contains seven levels apart from the first world. The game revolves around Cranky and the Kongs, having a tiff over the plan to have Donkey Kong’s bananas stolen.
Donkey and Diddy go on the pursuit to defeat K. Pool and the Kremlings to put an end to the planned mischievous activities.
5. Pokémon Gold and Silver
Just like their predecessor, Pokémon Gold and Silver uses the third-person, top-down perspective in the game. This time around, over 100 new species of Pokémon are introduced.
Most of the mechanics stay the same, but the introduction of the time system has changed the overall dynamics of the game. For completing the Pokedex, you will need to trade items, Pokémon between the two games.
Set in the region of Johoto, three years after the last game. As a playing character, you get to choose the first Pokémon with choices of Chikorita, Cyndaquil, and Totodile. From there on, you begin the journey to win eight gym badges, with the ultimate motive to became a Pokémon Master.
Also Read – Play Game Boy Color Games on PC
6. The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening
No Game boy games list is complete without mentioning the Legend of Zelda franchise. The fourth installment makes its way, first for the Color variant.
Unlike the earlier installments, Link begins his journey stranded on Koholint island with the overhead perspective. The protagonist’s boat gets washed away on the island, isolated from the world. A Wind Fish pretends to help Link in finding a way for with nefarious motives.
Link must collect eight different instruments that will help him return home. Along the way, various nightmare creatures attempt to obstruct his quest, who is also looking to take control of the island, more importantly, the Wind Fish’s dream world.
7. F-1 Race
Revving into the racing genre, F-1 Race rakes up all the right energy with its formula cars, racing on realistic F1 track circuits.
We have the option of two different formula one cars with two-transmission, loaded with varying racing parameters. The best racing game for Game Color has ten race tracks set on scenic locations worldwide.
As a player, you must win each race to advance to the next level. Finishing first, second, or third, earns you podium standing. The Game Boy version is comparatively different from the cars, offering longer tracks and better driving mechanics.
8. Donkey Kong
Genre: Platform, Puzzle
Loosely based on Donkey Kong Jr(he makes a brief experience) and other games carrying the same name, Donkey Kong features Mario, who has a mission on his hand.
The objective for Mario is to reach the top level four and rescue Pauline. Once that is complete, the player is presented with an additional 97 worlds across nine different worlds, reaching the end of the game with a boss fight with Donkey Kong.
On each level, Mario must locate a key for advancing to the next stage. You will come across various cut scenes on different levels, with an option to save the progress.
We have another falling block as amongst the best Game Boy color games to play. There are both single-player and multiplayer competitive modes.
Four columns are involved in the game, with Yoshi egg shells falling vertically. Match the identical colors to hatch them before they become too tall.
Single-player has two variations, where the A-type involves playing indefinitely till you receive a game over. On the other hand, B-type has a series of levels that you must clear by clearing all the blocks. The multiplayer mode has Luigi as the second player, where both players compete for clearing the blocks before the opponent.
Rug the carpet and take out your Caddie for playing Golf. The game was initially developed for the Nintendo arcade systems before being ported to consoles.
You play as a white shirt and blue pants wearing lad. Similarly, the opponent wears a red shirt paired with black pants. Gameplay-wise, it follows the standard 18-holes, being placed on the tee. The Gold gameplay mechanics have been a breakthrough that inspired future video games of the sport for Wii and other franchises.
The game was re-released for Switch with a hidden Easter egg in the firmware, paying tribute to the game’s programmer, the late Satoru Iwata.
11. Metroid II: Return of Samus
How often do you see the sequel doing better than original game? Almost never, unless, of course, it’s Metroid II. The side-scroller game continues the story from its predecessor.
Swerving into the plot, we control Samus Aran, the protagonist, advancing on the fictional planet SR388. Samus must kill enemy Metroid along the journey with his weapon to complete the game. Beware that enemies have mutated and gained different development cycles – Original, Alpha, Gamma, Zeta, and Omega. Higher development means more lethal enemies.
Sequel always means new accessories, items and that’s precisely what we get here with two new weapons – Tri-splitting Spazer Laser Beam and the Plasma Beam.
Nintendo did hit a home run by releasing this Game Boy Color game. After becoming a massive hit in Japan, Baseball was released in North America.
Similar to a real game, you have to score the most runs to win. Play against another player or the computer, with an option to choose from six available teams. They all carry the same initials as the Major League Baseball and Central League, only missing out on identical uniforms.
An inspired version was later released in 1989, featuring Mario characters for Game Boy Color and the Nintendo 3DS.
13. Kirby’s Dream Land
Kirby’s Dream Land is one of the finest Game Boy Color platform games in the genre. Similar to others in the genre, we have side-scrolling with two-dimensional games.
Similar to the classic Mario game, Kirby moves right on the screen. Inhaling and swallowing the enemies, objects is Kirby’s primary attacking style.
And for the game length, there are five different levels. They are made of large rooms, connected by other doors, moving in different verticals. The ultimate goal of the game is to defeat the final boss after clearing all the levels.
14. Dragon Warrior Monsters 2
Next on the list of the best Game Boy Color game is a tale of monsters. You form a team of savage monsters and train together for combat.
Cobi and Tara are the two monsters that arrive on the island of Greatlog. They open a monster ranch on the island to earn an honest living. Everything was smooth sailing until a conflict between the duo and the Island prince, Kameha, and his assistant.
Everything flips when the island begins to sink for various reasons, including the duo’s underwhelming behavior. Either of them must find the magic keys by exploring the five worlds for changing the Island’s fate.
15. Super Mario Land
Amongst the first Mario platform to be released for the console, Super Mario impresses both critics and fans. It became a commercial hit with over 18 million copies sold worldwide, pegged as the fourth most sold game for Game Boy color.
Drawn in line-art and a side-scrolling game, Mario moves right on the screen by avoiding different enemies and obstacles. The objective here is to save Princess Daisy from the clutches of the evil Tatanga, an evil spaceman.
Get busy with 32 levels, spanning across eight distinct worlds, each containing four levels each. In the extras, you get up to 3 bonus lives or a Superball Flower power-up on securing the alternate exit at the end of a level.
Genre: Pet-raising simulation
We had our apprehensions, but this deserves to be one of the best Game Boy color games to exist. It began with a virtual key-chain game that gained immense popularity, prompting a transition into a video game.
Tamagotchi means eggs, and hence we get eight at the beginning in which three can be grown simultaneously. Just like a regular pet, you prepare meals, pick up feces, play with Tamagotchi pet and watch him grow into a majestic beast. There is no time-relation with the actual time, so only the time spent on the game is counted.
That is not all; raise your Tamagotchi to increase their mental and physical strengths. Put them in tournaments against other pets and then get the opportunity to give birth to a capable child.
Most of us have watched Disney’s DuckTales in our childhood days. Banking on the popularity in its time, Nintendo initially released the game in North America.
You control Scrooge McDuck as a player and travel around outer space in the quest for the five treasures for increasing the duck’s fortune. There is five features level in the game – African mines, The Amazon, The Himalayas, Transylvania, and the Moon.
McDuck can explore any of the levels in the search for the treasures. After collecting all the treasures, the player will land in Transylvania to fight the final boss, Dracula Duck.
Another amazing Game Boy color game that does not conform to the standard trends of the industry. Made by the game developer couple, Qix found a niche audience that appreciated the unorthodox game.
The objective here is to create a closed shape using the diamond-shaped market. As an area is captured using the created shape, the colors are filled, and points are awarded. You lose a life for hitting the marker.
On the edges of the playfield, you will find Sparx, the enemies, who will cost you life as well. Complete a level by covering 75%(adjustable between 50% to 90%) of the playfield. A bonus can be earned by exceeding the cutoff percentage.
19. Wave Race
Making a splashing entry into our compilation of the best Game Boy color games, we get to control a jet ski in the water. The objective, like other racing games, is to race around a track and beat the opponents.
The game is pretty simple to play with two available game modes. The first one is Slalom, where the player must pass through many posts on the track. Passing each post will earn you a point.
And the second mode is called Race, where the players must go past all the checkpoints and clock in the required lap time. A speed boost in the form of powerups is available twice along the track.
20. Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins
Mario makes a return to our list yet again, this time to reclaim his land from the clutches of the evil Wario. The game’s characters are taken from their predecessor with the villain’s entry for the first time.
We start the game with the objective to finish each level by combating various enemies, which can be defeated by jumping on them. Some extraordinary enemies may require fireballs in weaponry.
All in all, there are 32 distinct levels, with their unique themes carrying different undertones. Also, keep a lookout for secret levels that are hidden behind alternate exits.
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Over to You
This list of the best Game Boy Color games is exhaustive. Fitting in all the great games is one post not possible. There are many amazing niche and indie games that may not have been commercially successful. Don’t forget to check them out apart from our compilation.