Seasoned gamers know the greatness of the classic Game Boy, Nintendo’s 8-bit handheld gaming console, released in 1989. The device offers the essence of the NES home system and Game & Watch handheld console. Even today, Game Boy is a popular portable gaming option in Japan, North America, and Europe.
Nowadays, we have the latest versions of Game Boy—the Game Boy Advance and Game Boy Color. But the original one is different. You can even use cartridges on Game Boy as physical media for many games.
From the classic Tetris and Super Mario Land, Game Boy games have come a long way. If you’re a sandbox games lover, you’re in for a treat. You can enjoy the classics, including “The Legend of Zelda,” “Metroid II: Return of Samus,” and “Pokemon Red and Blue Versions.” All of these are hands down the greatest sandbox games out there! If you’ve just found your old Game Boy from the attic, you should try the 7 absolute best Game Boy sandbox games listed in this article. Believe us; you won’t be disappointed! So, let’s check them out.
Which Games Classify As Sandbox Games?
A sandbox game is an interactive video game that allows players to be creative. These games don’t have any predetermined task, objective, or goal. Instead, the player sets the goals for themselves. That’s why you may have seen gamers referring to sandbox games as “software toys” or “non-games.”
Sandbox games come from the word “sandbox,” where children create whatever they want. As a result, these games combine creative gaming elements from different genres for immersive gameplay.
Many people associate sandbox games with open-world ones as they allow players to progress in the game with freedom. So, games from the action-adventure and role-playing genres can be classified as sandbox games.
The 7 Best Game Boy Sandbox Games
Now, let’s check out the 7 amazing Game Boy sandbox games of all time.
- Space Hunter Samus Aran returns to battle a planet crawling with evil creatures bent on universal domincation in this bigger than ever sequel to the NES classic, Metroid.
- Take control! Guide Samus through cavernous corridors, ancient ruins and alien traps. On the mysterious planet of the Metroid, you'll find artifacts of a lost civilization that grant amazing powers....
- A battery back-up allows you to save your progress as you fight to the heart of the planet and search for the merciless Metroid leaders. If you are a cunning explorer, you'll earn the best of several...
- Enter this exciting Metroid sequel and experience the thrills of Game boy like never before!
Metroid: II (Return of Samus) id=”194930″ ref=”metroid-ii”] is a Nintendo action-adventure game specially developed for the Game Boy. It is the successor of the original Metroid from 1986, which was initially released in 1991 in November and then in Europe and Japan in 1992.
If you’ve played the original Metroid, you will love playing with Samus Aran, a bounty hunter wanting to remove Metroids from their home planet, SR388. You must do it before Super Pirates obtain the Metroids to progress further.
The game also includes special features like Space Jump, Spider Ball, Spazer Beam, and a round-shouldered Varia Suit. All these things became the identity of Metroid II. The game became quite popular among gamers and received immense praise for its gameplay, story, and setting.
Many Game Boy users complained about its audio and graphics. But that didn’t impact the game’s popularity. Metroid II sold 1.72 million copies globally by 2003. The developers had to release special versions for the Nintendo 3DS Virtual Console service and the Nintendo Switch Online in 2011 and 2023, respectively.
Check out the Metroid: II (Return of Samus) on Amazon.
#6: Final Fantasy Legend III
Popular as SaGa 3: Jikuu no Hasha in Japan, is the last addition to “The Final Fantasy Legend” franchise. It is a role-playing game released in Japan in 1991 and later in North America.
The game is set in a sci-fi world where players perform in a four-person group of warriors while traveling between different timelines. They explore many environments to find mythical creatures in the past, future, and future. The game will progress from a top-down perspective.
The best part about The Final Fantasy Legend III is that it gives players the freedom to take the story further. You can buy and sell items from shops and enter battles while exploring the world. You’ll have the option to choose from two different races, including humans and mutants. Then, you’ll raise their character power through experience points, character classes, and skill leveling.
The Final Fantasy Legend III received massive praise from gamers, especially for its narrative and graphics. Almost 650,000 copies of The Final Fantasy Legend III were released in Japan by 2002.
Check out the on Amazon.
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX is a Nintendo 1993 sandbox game developed especially for Nintendo. It is the first installment in “The Legend of Zelda” franchise for portable gaming consoles, packed with lots of fighting and exploration.
Contrary to the common plot of the series, Link’s Awakening DX doesn’t take place in Hyrule. In fact, it doesn’t even feature the Triforce relic or Princess Zelda. Instead, the entire game continues from an overhead point of view.
The main character is Link, who is stuck on Koholint Island. The Wind Fish, a creature similar to a whale, protects the place. As Link, you’ll have to fight monsters, explore hidden dungeons, and solve puzzles to search for eight musical instruments required to awaken the sleeping Wind Fish. Doing so will help Link escape the island.
The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX is ideal for those who love the character of Link and want to explore his powers even more.
Check out the The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening DX on Amazon.
#4: Pokémon: Gold and Silver
Pokémon: Gold Version and Pokémon: Silver Version are amazing additions to the Pokémon franchise released in 1999. Although they were released especially for Game Boy Color, you can still play them on your Game Boy through a cartridge. That’s cool, especially when you are in the mood for a modern Game Boy sandbox game.
Both these role-playing games introduced almost 100 new Pokémons. You’ll be progressing through the game to master Pokémon battling. Gold and Silver are independent releases, but you may find their plot almost identical. You’ll also have to trade between both versions to complete every game’s Pokédex.
You must simply buy a Pokémon Gold and Silver cartridge and incorporate it into your original Game Boy to enjoy. Remember to check the color of the cartridge before buying it. Only purchase it if it is black. If it’s transparent, this means the cartridge is designed especially for Game Boy Color.
Check out the Silver Version on Amazon.
#3: Pokémon Pocket Monsters: Red and Green
- Pokemon Red/Blue is the first installment in the franchise
- Ingenious story hook
- Fun gameplay and strategy
- Fantastic replay value
- Brilliant game design
Nintendo released Pokémon Pocket Monsters: Red and “Pokémon Pocket Monsters: Green” in 1996 in Japan as role-playing video games. They are the first two releases in the Pokémon game series.
Game Freak invested several years in developing both versions. Later, both set standards for upcoming additions to the franchise. Both Red and Green versions feature the Kanto region. The player has to collect eight Gym Badges to become the champion and complete the Pokédex with all 151 Pokémon.
The games became major hits in Japan, encouraging Nintendo to release international versions of both “Pokémon Red” and “Pokémon Blue.” In 2004, the Red and Green versions were remade as Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen for Game Boy Advance.
This shows the game’s popularity among gamers, as it also allows them to discover the roots of the classic Pokémon franchise. So, if you’re willing to catch some iconic Pokémons, try playing the Pokémon Pocket Monsters: Red and Green on your Game Boy.
Check out Pokémon Pocket Monsters: Red on Amazon.
Pokémon: Pocket Monsters Blue was released in 1996 in Japan, a few months later than the Red and Green versions. You can use your Pokémon to fight with other Pokémons.
The game is played from an overhead perspective, where the player moves through three primary screens. One is the “overworld,” where you’ll navigate the main character, the second is a side-view battle screen, and the third is a menu interface where you can manage your gameplay settings, items, and Pokémons.
Whenever a wild Pokémon or a trainer challenges you, your game’s screen will change to a battle screen with the pictures of both Pokémons. Once you accept the battle, you will have multiple options, including fighting, using an item, switching to another Pokémon, or fleeing.
Your Pokémon’s hit points (HPs) will increase as you keep winning battles. It will allow you to use advanced moves with your Pokémon. Your interest in the game will boost even more when your Pokémon evolves into its strongest form.
Check out the Pokémon: Pocket Monsters Blue on Amazon.
#1: Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition on Amazon.
Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition on Amazon.is an exceptional remake of “Pokémon: Red and Blue” released in 1999. Like the rest, it is also based on the TV series plot. But instead of choosing the three default Pokémons (Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Charmander), you will have another option. Pikachu! As the leading player, you’ll get Pikachu, while the opponent will be Eevee.
This cute little yellow Pokémon will accompany your character throughout the game. Your goal will be the same—to defeat Team Rocket and pave your way toward becoming a Pokémon Master. When pressing the START button, you will hear the adorable “Pikachu” voice.
Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition became an instant hit among gamers, similar to other releases in the franchise. Even so, Nintendo had to re-release it besides Pokémon Red and Blue for the Nintendo 3DS in 2016. This was to celebrate Pokémon’s 20th anniversary.
Check out the Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition on Amazon.
Summary of the Absolute Best Game Boy Sandbox Games of All Time
|Rank||Game Boy Sandbox Games|
|1||Pokémon Yellow: Special Pikachu Edition|
|2||Pokémon: Pocket Monsters Blue|
|3||Pokémon Pocket Monsters: Red and Green|
|4||Pokémon Gold and Silver|
|5||The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening DX|
|6||The Final Fantasy Legend III|
|7||Metroid: II (Return of Samus)|
Last update on 2023-10-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API