Ranking Every Advance Wars Game Ever Made

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Get ready for some portable military action as we check out the best Advance Wars games of all time!

Advance Wars is a Nintendo institution – there’s no other way to describe it! And,If you’re a Retro Dodo newsletter subscriber, then you’ll have also read about Brandon’s recent discovery of this series and how much he’s found it impossible to put down.

A tactical military strategy game, Advance Wars tests your brain in so many different ways. It’s fun, it’s challenging, and it’s so addictive it should probably come with a warning.

If you’re a fan of board games that require you to think before you move and where a wrong turn could spell disaster (and I don’t mean Scrabble when I say that), then Advance Wars is a series that will keep you occupied for months and years to come.

But which are the best titles, and which game came out top?

Find out below!

5. Advance Wars: Dual Strike (2005)

best advance wars games - Dual Strike game case

First up on our list of the best Advance Wars games is Advance Wars: Dual Strike, the third game in the Advance Wars canon.

And you know what they say; third time’s a charm!

Selling over 35 million copies in the first 10 days after release alone, Dual Strike isn’t just one of the best Nintendo DS games ever made; it’s also one of the best strategy games ever created.

Talk about starting this list off strong!

Advance Wars: Dual Strike  gameplay

As you’ve probably picked up from the intro to this article, the Advance Wars games are all based on turn-based military tactics, waging war on an opposite army and thinking with cunning in order to get ahead.

Dual Strike is no different, with players heading out into Omega Land to fight the forces of the Black Hole. They’re trying to mine the world of its energy, which kind of sounds familiar to our current predicament if you ask me.

Exercise your brain as you plan attacks from all angles including from the sea and the air, capturing important areas vital to the opposition’s attack plan and defeating their soldiers in the field!

4. Advance Wars: Days Of Ruin (2008)

best advance wars games - Advance Wars Days of Ruin game case

Two DS games in a row! Advance Wars: Days Of Ruin is up next!

Listen, I know the title has ‘Advance’ in it, and we are going to get to some Gameboy Advance games very soon. The series was so successful that it just carried on past the GBA’s shelf life, including moving onto the Nintendo Switch!

Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

I love the fact that Days of Ruin has a bit more of a mature feel to it in the sense that it’s less bright and boasts a darker colour scheme. It’s still the same gameplay as before, but if anything it just feels more like a war title, and that’s the name of the game, after all!

Advance Wars: Days Of Ruin gameplay

Like its younger sibling, Days of Ruin is all about capturing, destroying, and winning the war.

With 26 missions to play through, the campaign offers fans a chance to really test their strategic skills in some exciting scenarios. All of the characters from the previous game have been replaced too, keeping the same gameplay feel but a fresh new look.

The puzzle element in this game has been made tougher due to the fact that CO powers play a less prominent role and arrive later on. You’ve got to rely on your smarts more and be sneaky, which is why I’m ranking Days of Ruin higher than Dual Strike in our list!

3. Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp (2023)

 Advance Wars Switch game case

Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp takes the 3rd spot in this list of the best Advance Wars games of all time!

As you might have guessed from this game’s title, it’s a remake of the first 2 Advance Wars titles, and at the time of writing it has just released on the Nintendo Switch!

The graphics have received a big update, with the game looking a little like Links Awakening after it dropped on the Switch.

The thing is, and I know that this is a new title and that we love the Nintendo Switch, and I know it plays super well and that we’re really enjoying writing guides on this game for you… but the title is ‘Advance’ Wars.

That means we’ve gotta place the two GBA titles higher than the remake… we’ve just got to!

Listen, if you don’t own a GBA or a GBA SP AGS-101 with the sweet backlight, then definitely grab this game for the Switch.

If, however, you’re looking to increase the number of games in your GBA collection, then step right up and check out the final 2 games in our best Advance Wars games list!

2. Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising (2003)

advance wars 2 game case

So, with that surprise ruined and the last two games basically announced, let’s kick off our final countdown with Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising

As you might expect from the 4th game you’ve come across in this list so far, the aim here is still to battle and conquer enemy troops.

The main difference from this sequel to the very first Advance Wars title, however, is that you don’t have to pick missions in order.

There are multiple missions based on each in-game continent, with players taking charge of different factions as they fight a common enemy – The Black Hole.

Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising gameplay

Design mode is one of the coolest features of this game, with players working to make their own maps to battle on and using the in-built editing features.

The other main differences bar the non-linear gameplay are the inclusion of more characters and maps from the first game. New Black Hole buildings made an appearance, as did Super CO powers, meter-draining abilities that can turn the tide of a battle.

1. Advance Wars (2001)

advance wars game boy advance

The war has been won, and only one title can come out victorious. Advance Wars rightly takes the top spot in our best Advance Wars games list!

It’s not always the case that the first game in a series ends up being the best of the bunch, but that’s certainly the case here. Don’t get me wrong; all of the sequels are amazing, but you just can’t beat the original game, the first title that started it all.

If you love Risk or Stratego and can’t get enough of turn-based, tactical gameplay, then look no further. It’s just such an intuitive game, with a tutorial section that you actually want to play through and not button mash in order to skip.

This first GBA game has been heralded as one of the greatest games of all time, and we completely agree with that statement. To think that this game was only ever supposed to be a Japanese exclusive title blows my mind.

Imagine a world without Advance Wars!

Your mission is to lead the Orange Army to victory. You’ve been wrongly accused of wanting to take over the world, and now you have to defeat everyone who is attacking you in order to set things right.

With incredible level designs to play through and some of the best skirmishes known to portable gaming kind, you’ll soon be gaming on the edge of your seat wherever you are, sticking out your tongue in concentration and finding this addictive game insanely hard to put down!


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