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The Game Boy Color is one of the best-selling handheld gaming systems. It was released in 1998 and was the first handheld gaming device to feature color graphics. 

The Game Boy Color has been discontinued for many years, but its legacy remains. The system has an excellent library of games that are still being played today by many gamers worldwide.

Let’s explore some of our favorite Game Boy Color sandbox titles!

What is a Sandbox Game?

A sandbox game allows players to roam freely through an open world, where they can go anywhere, do anything, and interact with anything they want.

Sandbox games can include anything from RPGs to survival titles, as well as shooters, which can have elements of sandbox gameplay mixed in.

The Game Boy Color: A Brief History

The Game Boy Color debuted in Japan on October 21, 1998. It was a massive upgrade over the original Game Boy — it had an improved color screen and a more powerful processor, but it still played the same games as the original Game Boy. The system was backward compatible with most Game Boy games and could play them in their original black-and-white format.

The new screen also made it possible for developers to create games that were more complex than ever before. For example, Pokémon Yellow was released on the Game Boy Color and included full-color graphics.

To date, the Game Boy Color has sold more than 118 million units since its release, making it one of the most popular handheld gaming consoles ever.

The 7 Best Game Boy Color Sandbox Games of All Time

Let’s dive into the best Game Boy Color games today based on user ratings from Nintendo Life.

#7: Metroid: Zero Mission

Metroid: Zero Mission is one of the best Game Boy Color games. It’s a remake of the original Metroid game, which was released in 1986. 

Metroid: Zero Mission takes place after the events of Super Metroid. The player takes control of Samus Aran, who must fight off an alien invasion and save the universe from destruction at the hands of Mother Brain.

There’s so much to love about this game. It has excellent graphics, fantastic music, and some unique boss battles that keep you on your toes until the end. If you’re looking for a great action-adventure game for your Game Boy Color, then this is one that you should try out.

PublisherNintendo
DeveloperNintendo
Number of Players1
GenreSandbox
Release DateFebruary 9, 2004
metroid zero mission
The Metroid games are a classic for a reason.
Rayman (GBC)
$33.98
  • 8 environments and 30 levels
  • More than 20 different characters
  • Includes a new bonus level
  • Precise and intuitive handling
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/26/2023 12:06 am GMT

Developed by Ubisoft, emRayman/em is a platforming game that was released in 1998. The game features the character Rayman as he tries to save the world from the evil Mr. Dark, who plans to steal all of the world’s children.

emRayman/em was one of the first games to use 3D graphics, and it has been liked for its unique art style. Although it is less popular than other games in this genre, it has been praised for its innovative gameplay and excellent graphics.

You can find it on Amazon here.

PublisherUbisoft
DeveloperUbisoft
Number of Players1
GenreSandbox, Adventure
Release DateMarch 29, 2000
rayman
Rayman has been praised for its great gameplay.

#5: Metroid II: Return of Samus

Metroid II: Return of Samus is a sci-fi action-adventure game released in 2002 by Nintendo for their Game Boy Color console system.

The story follows bounty hunter Samus Aran as she attempts to track down an alien menace before it can spread further into space. 

The game features several new gameplay elements, such as upgrades that allow Samus to gain new abilities, such as power bombs that enable him to destroy walls and other obstacles, along with new enemies, such as parasitic Metroids that must be hunted down.

PublisherNintendo
DeveloperIntelligent Systems
Number of Players1
GenreAction, Sandbox
Release DateNovember, 2002
metroid ii 2 return of samus
Find out why the Metroid games keep making our list!
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

The first game in the Harry Potter series, emHarry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone/em, was released in 2001.

It’s an action-adventure game where you play Harry Potter himself as he goes on his first year of schooling at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The gameplay is similar to Tomb Raider or Uncharted, with lots of jumping across platforms and fighting enemies along the way. There are also some puzzle elements thrown in too. 

Check it out on Amazon right here.

PublisherElectronic Arts
DeveloperGriptonite Games
Number of Players1
GenreAdventure, Sandbox
Release DateNovember 16, 2001
Pokemon Gold Version (Renewed)
$119.99
  • This renewed game will not come with the original case or manual; cartridge only. It has been cleaned, tested, and is in nice condition.
  • The game is an authentic copy and a new save battery has been installed!
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/26/2023 12:02 am GMT

emPokémon Gold/em is one of the most popular Pokémon games ever made for many reasons. The story, characters, and music are all top-notch.

It’s an adventure that can last you months if you’re willing to invest the time. But, even if you don’t want to play through the main story again, there are plenty of other things to do in the game.

You can find it on Amazon here so grab a copy.

PublisherThe Pokémon Company
DeveloperGame Freak
Number of Players1
GenreStrategy, Sandbox
Release DateOctober 15, 2000
Pokemon Crystal Version - New Save Battery (Renewed)
$199.99
  • This renewed game will not come with the original case or manual; cartridge only. It has been cleaned, tested, and is in nice condition.
  • The game is an authentic copy and a new save battery has been installed!
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/26/2023 12:02 am GMT

emPokémon Crystal/em is the third Game Boy Color game in the Pokémon series. It follows Pokémon Gold and Silver, which were released several years earlier.

The game has a similar storyline to the original Pokémon games in that you’re a young boy or girl who travels around collecting monsters and battling other trainers so they can become the best trainer.

The game has over 100 types of monsters to collect, some of them being new and others returning from previous games. The graphics are also improved from previous games with better color depth, resolution, and more detail overall.

You can find your own copy on Amazon here.

PublisherNintendo
DeveloperGame Freak
Number of Players1
GenreStrategy, Sandbox
Release DateJuly 29, 2001
pokemon crystal
Pokemon Crystal is a major fan favorite!

emThe Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX/em is an absolute classic, and the Game Boy Color remake is as good as it gets.

emThe Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX/em is an enhanced version of the original game released on the Game Boy in 1993. The remake featured new dungeons and bosses, improved graphics, and a few other tweaks that made it worth playing again.

If you’re looking for an action-adventure game with a deep story and plenty of dungeons to explore, this is one of your best bets on the system.

Check it out on Amazon here.

PublisherNintendo
DeveloperNintendo
Number of Players1
GenreStrategy, Sandbox
Release DateDecember 15, 1998
legend of zelda link's awakening dx
Link’s Awakening is one of the best Zelda games.

Where to Buy Game Boy Color Sandbox Games 

eBay is where you can find most retro games at fair prices. However, be aware that there are many fakes on the platform. It’s always worth checking multiple sellers before buying.

Amazon has a great selection of used games, but their prices are more expensive than other options. If you’re looking for something specific, it’s worth checking here first.

Wrapping Up

The Game Boy Color is one of the most beloved handhelds in history. It was a significant improvement over the original Game Boy, with better color capabilities and more RAM. It also had a vast library of games from various genres, including some excellent sandbox-style games.

Up Next:

The 7 Absolute Best Game Boy Color Sandbox Games of All Time FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the most popular Game Boy Color sandbox game?

The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX is the most popular Game Boy Color sandbox game released. It is an enhanced version of the original game released on the Game Boy in 1993.

What's the best Game Boy Color Pokemon game?

Pokemon Crystal is the third Game Boy Color game in the Pokemon series and is considered to be the best version for the Game Boy Color.

What games can you play on a Game Boy Colour?

You can play a variety of genre games on the Game Boy Color including RPGs, sandbox, and action games.

What Game Boy is best?

The Game Boy Color, originally released in 1998, was Nintendo’s first handheld game console. It was a huge success, selling over 118 million units worldwide across its several generations. It was replaced in 2001 by the Game Boy Advance, but it remained popular even into the early 2000s.

How many units were sold for the Game Boy Color?

Game Boy Color has sold over 118 million units since its release, making it one of the most popular gaming consoles ever.

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  • Nintendo Life Available here: https://www.nintendolife.com/guides/best-game-boy-color-gbc-games
  • Gamespot Available here: https://www.gamespot.com/articles/best-game-boy-color-games-of-all-time/1100-6496925/
  • Retro Dodo Available here: https://retrododo.com/best-gameboy-color-games/
  • Digital Trends Available here: https://www.digitaltrends.com/gaming/best-game-boy-color-games/
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