Best Portable Gaming of 2006 (The 10 Best List)
This year the Editors talked to all of us about making top ten lists to end the year, which is nice and all… unless you are trapped in an airport or some other area due to severe weather. If you are reading this list on Pop Syndicate then you may be stuck in (or just gotten out of) Denver Airport. Maybe it’s LAX or Salt Lake City’s Airport or an airport in Texas. If you are reading this list on Anime Boredom then odds are you’re trapped in London’s major airport, or perhaps an airport in a major european city. Either way you’re stuck, cooling your heels, and finding something to do to pass the time. If you’re lucky the airport didn’t lose it’s power so you can still plug in your recharger for your gameunit… then what?
Here’s some recommended games for you to have on hand next time you’re out travelling and need something to pass the time while stuck at the airport, starting with choices for the GBA and going right up to the PSP.
Best GBA Games of 2006
Advanced Wars (2 picks)
Before it came out on the Nintendo DS it was winning awards and praise on the GBA. It may be hard to come by, yes, but if you can grab these do so. Recommended gaming right here folks if you have already been hooked by it’s DS version (or the PSP cloner Field Commander).
Boktai : Solar Boy Django 2
From he who is better known for Metal Gear Solid, his GBA contribution is this imaginative little game that utilizes the sun itself to affect it’s gameplay that is a fight against the vampires and darkness that requires the light of the sun to defeat them… or… cough cough… a blacklight since, well, the game doesn’t REALLY track sunlight as it tracks UV light from the sun which means a UV light will do you fine.
Breath of Fire I & II
From the SNES days this old RPG series glows brightly on the GBA, and if you can get ahold of this one (abit hard now) you totally should pick it up somehow.
Donkey Kong Country on the GBA (3 picks)
If you’ve played the originals you know why this is recommended, if not then here’s another worthy sidescroller for your GBA that isn’t as much a frantic shooter (Gunstar Super Heroes) as it is a solid platformer that’ll keep you going for hours on end.
Final Fantasy Franchise (3 picks)
The GBA seems to have the most RPG picks of the three consoles, packing 3 Final Fantasy games alone. Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (it’s story is lame but it’s turn based strategy is solid), Final Fantasy IV Advance and (if I remember right) there should be a Final Fantasy V out to pick up.
As a booster choice you might get Final Fantasy I-II : Dawn of Souls. It’s abit short and limited but it’s still a nice booster if your working on an all Final Fantasy pack for traveling.
Fire Emblem (2 picks)
The heroes may die for real (no Phoenix Down or whatever to bring them back), and this turn based strategy game may be a real challenge to master, but once you get down on this one you’ll find it hard to put down (both of them).
Gunstar Super Heroes
The only sidescrolling hyperactive shooter worth having for your GBA in my opinion.
Harvest Moon : (More) Friends of Mineral Town
Based around one of the few worthy Harvest Moons (Harvest Moon : Back to Nature for the PSOne), these two re-releases (redone for the GBA with refreshing new additions that keep the game vibrant and fun) are recommended for those who are fans of the series or just looking for something a wee different to play on their GBAs.
Legend of Zelda : The Minish Cap
The best Zelda on the GBA to date (unless they’ve released a new one I didn’t hear about), if you are a GBA owner and have a Zelda fixation then this should be on your list.
Best Nintendo DS of 2006
Advanced Wars DS
This is probably quite a few of your first exposures to the Advanced Wars series. A solid turn based war sim that is filled with solid characters, lots and lots of modes and maps to test your skills on, and a great gameplay that really keep you going and going and going.
Animal Crossing : Wild World
Now if only you could find someone else in that airport with this game, because then this game of a real time 24 hour a day/7 day a week/365 day a world sim with talking animals is just more fun when more people join in to play with you! Explore your villages and get into the “simple life”with your new animal pals (and maybe “accidentially” take a few back to your village with you).
Battles of Prince of Persia
It’s like card battle combat meets Risk, but in a good way. If you want something different in your Prince of Persia gaming that takes a wee bit of strategy then maybe sinking your teeth into this card battle combat turn based strategy war sim might be the change of pace your looking for.
Here’s a bloody good sidescroller on the DS… or two. I heard there’s a second Castlevania coming out on the DS so now is as good a time to get the original before the second one hits so you can play both and find out why this one even beat out the recent PS2 Castlevania revamp as a Castlevania worthy of your attention.
Final Fantasy III
Not as much as on the GBA, but here you go… one of the most recommended RPGs for the DS this year. Final Fantasy III. (Also don’t forget to get Final Fantasy XII DS when it hits).
Harvest Moon DS
Yes, for all intents and purposes this game doesn’t really use the technology to it’s fullest, still depending on game mechanics that seem more GBA than DS, but it’s still recommended for being the first DS Harvest Moon and having some DS content in the game (as well as a few game mechanics “borrowed” from the latest console version Magical Melody like the side quest to find 101 Harvest Sprites). Oh… And the Harvest Sprites are into gambling this time out with casino mini-games… what the…
Legend of Zelda DS
Yes it’s not Twilight Princess but if you are looking for your next Zelda fix on the road, and have already played Minish Cap on the GBA, then this might be the game for you. Also if you’re looking for a game set in the Windwaker reality this is also recommended since it is set in that reality.
Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney
It’s not a major length game but this attorney mystery puzzler will challenge your braincells if only you remember to play this one during the day or when people are awake… you don’t want to be locked up in Airport Security’s brig for waking half the airport by yelling “OBJECTION!!” one too many times.
(New) Super Mario Brothers
I don’t know why, but quite a few people have this newly revamped side scroller on their lists.
It does some new things for the franchise, but it doesn’t do nearly enough. It’s good but… well… maybe I just wanted a little bit more. Still it’s recommended by more than enough people to warrant a place here, just remember to expect some limitations in that it is not 100% fresh content (OK?)
Trauma Center : Under the Knife
Just got “Second Opinion” for the Wii and can’t wait to get home to play it? Play this instead while you’re stuck at the airport since, well, for the most part Under the Knife and Second Opinion are one in the same game for the most part. There might be some differences between the two, but for the most part the gameplay is similar between the two versions (though to be fair to the Wii I’m betting it’s easier to do virtual surgery with a Wiimote over the stylus of the DS).
Best PSP Games of 2006
Valkryie Profile : Lenneth
Huh? Top of my list? That’s because this is the most recommended RPG on the PSP right now.
This is SquareEnix’s only RPG on the PSP this past year, and it’s nice to see it’s a good release.
Dungeon Siege : Throne of Agony
Yes this game does have a few flaws in it (like a lackluster ending for starters) but this is also a solid RPG hack and slash in the venue of Champions of Norrath that will occupy your mind for hours on end. Not as expansive or deep as Champions, but still a worthy first entry of the PC franchise Dungeon Siege into the PSP realm.
Advanced Wars for PSP fans, and just as good as the GBA/Nintendo DS series it seemingly is based on game mechanics wise (with some quirks original to Field Commander) even if it is not as detailed as the latest Advanced Wars on the DS.
Grand Theft Auto : Vice City Stories
Yes, you might as well skip the $20 conversion to the PS2 since Grand Theft Auto : Liberty City Stories didn’t fare so well in the translation… but still, the PSP versions are good, aren’t they? Here’s another one to whet your whistle (and whet other things) on. Now all you have to do once you buy this is hold out for Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas Stories and you have a complete set.
Hot Shots Golf : Open Tee
I really do need to get this one, but I have heard nothing but good things about this one (it even scores over Tiger Woods on the PSP) so it has to be worthy of your attention. And by now you can buy the $20 Greatest Hits version so what’s not to like about this one.
The first 5 out of 5 game on the PSP returns with a sequel, what more can I say about this addictive puzzler sequel except that? Try it. (Don’t forget to get the original now that it’s out on $20 Greatest Hits format!)
MARVEL Ultimate Alliance
Simple math. If you enjoyed X-Men Legends I and II then you should love MARVEL Ultimate Alliance. If you didn’t… you should. Why didn’t you like X-Men Legends I & II? They were great, even on the PSP X-Men Legends II : Rise of Apocalypse was a great game… if you can, get it.
Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops
No more card battle combat, this one brings you as close to the gameplay of Metal Gear Solid games (on the PSP) as possible, which makes it a solid (pun intended) addition to your collection. That and you better buy this game because it’s Kojima’s present to those of us who can’t drop $600 to buy a PS3 to play Metal Gear Solid 4 : Guns of the Patriot. Think that’s a good reason to buy this, don’t you?
NCAA ‘07 Football
I don’t usually go for sports games but this one really spoke to me somehow, and not just because it features the Warriors of Hawaii in College Football action either.
Tekken : Dark Resurrection
I am not a Tekken fan by any means, but this PSP release of the popular Tekken series is solid, and if you are looking for an exceptional fighter on the PSP then this is the one for you.
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