10 of the best handheld games ever

Check out on-the-move gaming's creme de la creme

Tetris (Gameboy)

The most fiendishly addictive (or "addicting" if you're an idiot) puzzler on the planet, and a marquee title for the Gameboy. Pretty much every one of the many millions of gamers who bought Nintendo's monochromatic handheld console owned a copy of the block-building, line-creating Russian classic – and it's still a killer today. Read Gadget Flashback – Nintendo handhelds

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (PSP)

Pretty much a full Metal Gear Solid game squeezed onto the PSP, Peace Walker is set 10 years after MGS 3: Snake Eater and features a similar mix of sneaking, camouflage-wearing and combat. Also, there's a character called Hot Coldman, which is brilliantly crazy even by MGS naming standards.

 

Animal Crossing: Wild World (DS)

It's hard to explain what Animal Crossing is without making it seem a bit boring, but here goes: you move into a cute town populated by cute animals and the game is all about your interactions with them, building up your house and simply exploring the world. There's no ultimate goal, but when a game is this more-ish, you really won't care.

Sonic The Hedgehog Chaos (Game Gear)

Let's be honest: the Game Gear wasn't a great handheld console, and a big part of that was the lack of must-have titles. Sonic Chaos is one of the few genuinely fun games: it featured the fleet-footed rodent when he was still a bona fide gaming star and Sonic games weren't regarded as a massive joke, and was the first time we got to play as his little ginger buddy Tails.

Angry Birds (iOS, Android and more)

Just got your hands on a new smartphone? Chances are this the first game you're going to download for it. It has its haters, but Angry Birds' phenomenal levels of popularity stem from its low price tag, its simplicity (you catapult birds into structures in an attempt to kill egg-stealing pigs), its well-modelled physics engine and the regularity with which extra levels are added.

Super Mario Land (Gameboy)

Mario's first handheld outing (aside from Game & Watch machines) is a neat update on the NES original, boasting simple but fiendish platform gaming and unforgettable music. It added a couple of new features to the Mario series, namely the ability to collect hard to reach coins using fireballs and shoot 'em up-style levels where Mario piloted a plane or submarine.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (DS, PSP, iOS)

This top-down GTA game pushed the DS to its limits with its scope, and also made clever use of the console's touchscreen and microphone – you could whistle in real life to attract the attention of an in-game cabbie. It was later brought to the PSP and iOS platforms.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap (GBA)

Quite possibly the best handheld outing for Link, The Minish Cap featured a classic Zelda mix of dungeon exploring, puzzle solving and combat, while the titular chapeau allowed our hero to shrink himself to minuscule size to navigate certain sections of the game. Despite attracting criticism for its brevity, The Minish Cap's beauty and gameplay means it's rightly remembered as one of the Gameboy Advance's best titles. Read Gaming Flashback – Zelda

Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (PSP)

An action RPG that blends sword-swishing combat with exploration and mini-games, this Kingdom Hearts prequel also features cameos from Disney and Final Fantasy characters. Each of the three main protagonists has their own campaign to play through, so there's plenty of plot to keep you busy – plus voice acting from the likes of James Woods and Leonard Nimoy.

Pokemon Gold (GBC)

While many found the whole Pokemon phenomenon baffling, there's no denying that the video game section of this Japanese empire actually included some pretty darn fun games. Released for the Gameboy Color (and compatible with the original Gameboy), the game saw you striving to collect over 250 different Pokemon by using your existing Pokemon to fight them in turn-based JRPG-style.

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