• Publisher: Konami
  • Release Date: May 6, 2003

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 29
  2. Negative: 0 out of 29
Buy On
  1. 100
    With all of its unique features and amounts of item/soul collection, Aria could be considered second to only one other game in the Castlevania series – the masterpiece, "Symphony of the Night."
  2. 90
    A superior GBA adventure in every respect and a marked improvement on "Harmony of Dissonance." Still, it is another "Symphony of the Night" clone—if you’re feeling a little sick of the same ol’ thing, this game may be the breaking point.
  3. Play Magazine
    As transfixing and hand-drawn inspired as any Castlevania before it, or any game for that matter, even if it does lost some of its hold on the handheld platform. [June 2003, p.56]
  4. Aria of Sorrow comes the closest of the three Game Boy Advance titles to replicating the look and feel of Castlevania on the original PlayStation, and one-ups it by the inclusion of the addictive soul collecting.
  5. Cheat Code Central
    It's more fun that the last two games and the production values have been improved. I find this game has a better balance of gameplay variety and unique level designs that keep it from becoming repetitive.
  6. 80
    Exactly what we've come to expect of this steadily improving franchise - the same formulaic design conventions balanced with just enough new stuff to keep fans from getting bored.
  7. 80
    A great game. Harnessing the power of your enemy's soul at least superficially changes the ancient formula and incorporates a limited link cable mode for the bartering of souls.
  8. GameNow
    It's the closest a GBA Castlevania adventure has come to achieving "Symphony's" level of atmosphere, and it has a crazy power-up system that makes you want to keep playing and playing and playing. [June 2003, p.43]
  9. GMR Magazine
    If "Harmony" was dinner, then Aria is surely dessert: short, sweet, and to the point. Not bad if you don't mind too much of a good thing. [June 2003, p.76]
  10. Better graphics, sound, story, gameplay and style all add up to a brilliant action adventure with a touch of RPG about it.
  11. Nintendo Power
    The graphics are unparalleled, the mosnters are original and challeng[ing] and the scope of the game is impressive. [June 2003, p.136]
  12. Pocket Games
    Probably the prettiest of the three recent Castlevanias. [Fall 2003, p.35]
  13. Not enough can be said for how much fun this game is, how the action keeps coming at you, and how the soul system truly adds a layer of customization and replayability that wasn't in previous Castlevania games.
  14. Despite having these RPG-like features, Aria of Sorrow is not at all an RPG! What it is, is an amazing, exciting, must-have game that'll keep you entertained for many, many years.
  15. Even if you’ve never played one of the recent Castlevania titles, and especially if you were bothered by the unbalanced design of the last two games, go out right now and pick up Aria of Sorrow.
  16. 93
    "Harmony of Dissonance" was, and still is fantastic. Aria of Sorrow is better.
  17. Quite simply the best Castlevania on the system, and an impromptu contender for best game – period – on the system itself. With link capabilities, a hidden character, and a bevy of secrets, Aria of Sorrow also has substantial shelf life and replay value.
  18. While I didn’t like it at first, I grew to like the ability to only save your game in the special sanctuaries. Yeah, it makes the game more challenging, but it really fits in with the Castlevania world.
  19. Game Informer
    Aria of Sorrow totally enraptures me in its world, more so than most environments made up of seemingly obscene numbers and polygons. [June 2003, p.119]
  20. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    All I know is that Aria of Sorrow is the best GBA title to date. [Shane; June 2003, p.116]
  21. 93
    The best portable Castlevania game yet created.
  22. An excellent game and easily the best in the GBA Castlevania series... Put[s] a dramatic spin on the gameplay and the general premise for the story, but it retains just enough of the series to keep veterans happy and newcomers entertained for countless hours.
  23. 90
    Another fantastic chapter in the Castlevania saga and warrants a purchase. Be warned, the game is not very long and only clocks in at about 10-15 hours. There are multiple endings which will keep you coming back for more, though!
  24. In so many ways that truly count, Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow is the best 2D outing the series has seen since "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night."
  25. From what I've seen so far in Sorrow and its predecessor, this attentive, almost meticulous craftwork put into Castlevania ought to be transferred to a mainstream console or even the PC; my own backhanded compliment to the developers.
  26. netjak
    It ain’t that same ol’ thing.
  27. Just a really great action game in the same vein as classics like "Symphony of the Night" and "Super Metroid" before it, and it stands tall among the GBA's best action games, including "Circle of the Moon" and last year's "Metroid Fusion."
  28. The best action-adventure game if you're looking for something more to get your teeth into once Metroid Fusion is done and dusted. [NGC]
  29. Since Aria Of Sorrow is the third Castlevania in as many years, I'm also concerned that Konami is growing increasingly content to simply rest on their laurels.

Awards & Rankings

#9 Most Discussed Game Boy Advance Game of 2003
#2 Most Shared Game Boy Advance Game of 2003
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 164 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 164
  1. RyokenI.
    Mar 23, 2008
    Brilliant! If you like super metroid, wonderboy 3- dragons trap, and of course SOTN, you will love this to pieces. Exploration, platform Brilliant! If you like super metroid, wonderboy 3- dragons trap, and of course SOTN, you will love this to pieces. Exploration, platform gaming, rpg and collection game (think pokemon) this game should appeal to a broad audience, the only possible fllaw being it''s difficulty level... too easy. But with a bit of creativity, you can even devise a challenge game (try beating it with one kind of weapon, or no armor!) 38/40 Full Review »
  2. May 18, 2011
    After having played more than a dozen of Castlevania titles, I think Aria of Sorrow is still my favourite. The game takes place in the yearAfter having played more than a dozen of Castlevania titles, I think Aria of Sorrow is still my favourite. The game takes place in the year 2035, many years after Dracula's defeat, but now Dracula's power is about to be reborn in a new dark lord candidate. You play as Soma Cruz, a student who found himself in the castle and realises that he has the ability to steal the souls of the monsters after defeating them. With this soul system the player gets access to an enormous variety of secondary attacks as well as permanent buffs. Just like with Symphony of the Night, the player is not limited to only one weapon, but can use a lot of different weapons he/she finds throughout the game, ranging from swords, to hammers, to spears, and even to guns. Also just like SOTN, and the other GBA Castlevania games, this is a Metroid style Castlevania, meaning the whole game is like a one huge map, where certain parts can only be reached later in the game after acquiring a certain ability or an item. Aria of Sorrow, despite having rather simple GBA graphics is a very beautiful and stunning looking game. The level design is fantastic, and the soundtrack is just as beautiful, complementing perfectly with visual beauty of the game. The controls are easy, making it convenient to control your character, and the game has just about a perfect level of difficulty, without it seeming too easy or too frustrating. There is literally nothing bad I can say about Aria of Sorrrow. The only thing I think SOTN has over it are the graphics. Full Review »
  3. Dec 16, 2010
    Castlevania was a great franchise and it still a great one!The GBA got so far the best Castlevania games EVER!Aria of Sorrow is a action-sideCastlevania was a great franchise and it still a great one!The GBA got so far the best Castlevania games EVER!Aria of Sorrow is a action-side scrolling game where you control Soma Cruz(the hero).The graphics are not very colorful, but they are very realistic for the GBA!The tunes aren't bad either!The gameplay is great, you discover a lot of good things, you unlock endings, is just one of the best Castlevania games EVER!If you don't like this game, that means you don't like video games!Well, this game is not perfect, but very enjoyable!MUST BUY! Full Review »