When a game reaches critical acclaim, it’s rare that it doesn’t receive some kind of handheld port or spin-off at some point. While there used to be quite the track record for games with relatively poor hand-held ports, that trend has seemingly mostly disappeared over the years. Even during that time of not-so-great ports, there still were plenty of treasures missed by gamers.
Some of the biggest console games took ambitious steps into the world of handheld consoles and made some absolute smash hits. Gamers won’t be surprised to see the number of fantastic handheld games from Nintendo since they’ve just about always been in fans’ minds when thinking about handheld gaming, but there have been several other games put on handhelds that were received incredibly well.
10 Phantom Hourglass
The Legend Of Zelda series is no stranger to handheld consoles. The series has practically existed on handheld consoles since its inception. The Phantom Hourglass is one of the best titles on the original Nintendo DS in the eyes of many Zelda fans.
Many fans like the game because it’s almost like a sequel to the excellent Wind Waker. The game centres around Link with a new group of companions as he sets out to both save Tetra and defeat the evil Bellum. For fans that wanted a great Zelda game on the go, they could do far worse.
9 Uncharted: Golden Abyss
While the Uncharted series has more than thrived on home consoles, it has tried its hand on handheld consoles with the PlayStation Vita. While the console is mostly forgotten about these days, Uncharted’s adventure onto the handheld is fondly remembered.
One reason fans of the series may want to seek out Golden Abyss is that it is actually a prequel to the first game in the series, Drake’s Fortune. While the story isn’t the best in the series, the game looks and plays surprisingly well for a handheld title.
8 Resident Evil: Revelations
Most games are so popular on home consoles that they receive a handheld port, but Resident Evil Revelations did the exact opposite. Over the years additional versions of the game have been featured both on PC and just about every home console.
Revelations is the perfect Resident Evil game for players who love experiencing the Resident Evil world alongside Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine. Many gamers seem to thank Revelations for being the game that showed Capcom that many fans still prefer survival-horror over wild action.
7 Kingdom Hearts: Chain Of Memories
The Kingdom Hearts series has a relatively unique relationship with its fanbase. For years, fans cried for more of the game’s complex story, but the developers replied by releasing handheld titles that acted as prequels and in-between games.
The game may not play like much of the other games in the series (at least in its GBA port), but it’s actually meant to be a direct sequel to the first Kingdom Hearts game. The game uses a unique card battling system throughout its fun, but complex story that weaves into the wider Kingdom Hearts lore.
6 Mega Man Battle Network Series
While it may sound weird to hear that many fans think the Mega Man Battle Network games are some of the best Mega Man games ever made, the handheld series of RPGs is a delight to many. Even better for fans of the series, there were countless entries into the series on the Gameboy Advance.
Most of the games revolve around Lan Hikari and his best friend Mega Man as they protect the world from villainous figures. As it is a Mega Man game, many of the game's events are all caused or in part caused by Dr Wily.
5 The Minish Cap
The Legend of Zelda series seems to outdo itself constantly. While many gamers prefer the series’ sprawling 3D adventures, some of the smaller 2D outings are fan favorites, and for good reason.
There is still a huge portion of the Zelda fanbase that argues that Minish Cap has the best music in the series, despite the hardware limitations the soundtrack had to deal with. The game is a great story that surprisingly doesn’t prominently feature the iconic villain Ganon. Fans of the series are sure to love watching Link shrink to the microscopic size of the fantastical Picori race from the game.
4 Metroid Prime Hunters
Nintendo hasn’t always treated the Metroid series in the way that fans of the franchise had hoped. It wouldn’t be that surprising to learn that most DS players assumed the console wouldn’t actually get a Metroid game at all, but little did they know, a Metroid game for the DS would be one of the best on the system.
The story is relatively simple as it can be easily boiled down to Samus squaring off against a group of fiendish bounty hunters while investigating a strange message. The controls can be a bit tough to get used to, but once a player understands the controls, they’re bound to have lots of fun.
3 Kirby’s Dreamland 2
Nintendo has released plenty of incredible Kirby games for consoles over the years, but many fans agree that the pink puffball’s best games tend to land on Nintendo’s handheld consoles. Almost all of Kirby’s handheld titles are of high quality in the minds of its fans.
One of Kirby’s earliest games, Kirby’s Dreamland 2 is a title that many gamers grew up with that was constantly packed into their Gameboys. It’s a simple adventure game with all of the classic Kirby gameplay every Kirby-lover dreams of.
2 Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade
The Fire Emblem series is perfect for gamers who love to think strategically. It seems to have truly risen to mainstream prominence with the release of Fire Emblem: Three Houses, but the series' numerous handheld efforts are incredible in the eyes of millions.
There are many gamers who were confused by the Super Smash Bros. Melee inclusion of characters like Marth and Roy, which made this game a must-play. One of the main characters, Eliwood, is actually the father of Roy. Fans of strategy games with deep stories can’t go wrong with this title.
1 Castlevania: Aria Of Sorrows
Over the last few years, fans of the first Castlevania games have become split between the franchise’s directions. Some fans want the series to continue in 3D, and others want it to stick to 2D action platformers.
Castlevania fans who love Symphony Of The Night will find a lot to love about the Gameboy Advanced entry into the series. The game is incredibly highly-rated in just about every aspect, including its few attempts at unique mechanics. A game like Aria Of Sorrows makes a solid case for Castlevania sticking to a 2D style.
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