Golden Sun

Game Boy Advance

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 29
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 29
  3. Negative: 0 out of 29
Buy On
  1. Nintendo Power
    The beautiful quest is probably the richest, most intricate RPG ever to have hit a handheld. [Nov 2001, p.144]
  2. With a gripping story, slick battle sequence, superior graphics, and a set of good tunes to boot, Golden Sun is a total package.
  3. 100
    A huge, fantastic, creative, and wickedly fun RPG that doesn't seem to care that it's "just" on a GBA. It's easily the best RPG available for the GBA-and may just be the best RPG for any console system this year.
  4. 100
    It's the best original (nonport) GBA RPG to date, sporting stellar graphics, above-average sound, and a worthwhile experience (at least 20 hours of gameplay) that should make that next family roadtrip that much more tolerable.
  5. 97
    The quest is amazingly long, absolutely gorgeous to look at, a joy to listen to.
  6. Whether it be through design, story, or gameplay-– this solid title competes with some of the bigger titles we've played on some next generation systems.
  7. 'brilliant', 'fantastic' and 'a breathtaking work of genius.'
  8. Like a good book that you won't want to put down. Golden Sun is portable role-playing at its purest. Totally absorbing. [Advance]
  9. netjak
    I ended up playing it so much that my hands would literally fall asleep. When not even physical discomfort can keep you from playing a game, you know that's a special game indeed.
  10. 91
    The best RPG on the market. Its exceptional graphics and gameplay will keep you coming back.
  11. Dialogue isn't great, but then, when has RPG dialogue ever been great? The story is good enough to keep you playing, there's lots to see and do - it's a good 'un. If you're an RPG fan then Golden Sun will rock your elf-obsessed world.
  12. Hard-core RPG fans may feel the game is too derivative, to a certain extent it is, but for the rest of us Golden Sun is both a fantastic game and a nice trip down memory lane.
  13. GMR Magazine
    A deep combat engine and brilliant graphics make this the best RPG available on the GBA. [Feb 2003, p.97]
  14. As one of the most critical Nintendo fans around, it's nice to see a game come out for the GBA that's original, pretty, fun, and doesn't involve any one of their stupid mascots.
  15. Gorgeous graphics, dazzling audio, a charming storyline and overall appealing game play -- and it all fits neatly inside your pocket!
  16. Electronic Gaming Monthly
    There is so much to Golden Sun that I can't help but fall head over heels for it. Every aspect of the game is soaked through with quality. [Jan 2002, p.233]
  17. It's enjoyable, playable, and everything that fans of RPG's could hope for.
  18. 90
    If you're one of those many people who continue to pine for a Square RPG on your favourite Nintendo handheld, then rejoice because your prayers have damn near been answered with this game.
  19. 90
    A highly engrossing story told by a set of very unique characters that come to life with witty and intriguing dialogue. If you're looking for a game that doesn't focus too much on pretty cinematics, but rather, interesting plot development and engrossing gameplay then look no further.
  20. Featuring some of the best graphics seen on the system, a rich quest, and classic RPG gameplay, Golden Sun is a throwback to some of the SNES' best.
  21. The crowning glory of Golden Sun lies in its stunning graphics. Great environments, characters, and especially fight scenes.
  22. Pocket Games
    An instant classic that raises the bar for portable RPGs. The story never comes together, but that's what the sequel's for. [Spring 2002, p.36]
  23. Game Informer
    It's an honest-to-God new role-playing game, and I can safely say that Golden Sun rocks.[Jan 2002, p.96]
  24. Definitely worth the purchase despite a cliché plot, Golden Sun is visually and aurally impressive. A deep game that should offer a bare minimum of 30 hours of gameplay.
  25. Works because of the little things-a fact that makes it a refreshing gaming experience in this day and age where everyone seems bent on completely overhauling the basic tenets of what makes a good game.
  26. The story, however, is an area where Golden Sun refuses to go above and beyond the clichéd characters and typical save-the-world plot.
  27. Golden Sun has a ton of potential, and I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.
  28. Play Magazine
    A hand-drawn RPG incorporating exquisite detail and a blazing new look to battle sequences, it's the best thing to happen to portable role playing perhaps ever. [Feb 2002, p.65]
  29. Gameplay seldom strays from long-established RPG convention, but Golden Sun incorporates some of the best elements of classics such as the Final Fantasy, Phantasy Star, and even Legend of Zelda series, in its own distinct and unified style.

Awards & Rankings

#1 Most Discussed Game Boy Advance Game of 2001
#1 Most Shared Game Boy Advance Game of 2001
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 246 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 11 out of 246
  1. Keele
    Jan 7, 2010
    Michael, you're also an idiot. I've played such spectacular games and rpgs, such as Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, most of the Final Michael, you're also an idiot. I've played such spectacular games and rpgs, such as Chrono Trigger, Xenogears, most of the Final Fantasy games and many more. Even so, Golden Sun was/is brilliant. It's graphics, for it's time of release, are exceptional (I don't know what the hell you're going on about with ''CHEEZY''). It had a great captivating storyline. Good gameplay. Fun puzzles. Awesome tunes. I'm unsure that we've both played the same game, or that you've actually played the game at all. Full Review »
  2. Aug 28, 2012
    Simply put... this game is amazing. The story, the characters, the emotion involved all stand out in this RPG. I first played this game as aSimply put... this game is amazing. The story, the characters, the emotion involved all stand out in this RPG. I first played this game as a child many years ago. I'm now a college graduate and I still enjoy the game to this day. The thing that I love the most about the Golden Sun series is the story involved. As you play the game, the lives of these characters unravel before your eyes. Emotion can also be involved while playing. Heartbreak from a character's loss of family to determination in hopes of a better future of the world; it's all woven within this game. Aside from the story, the gameplay is actually great! As usual with any RPG, you get random battles in dungeons and on the world maps and you progress more and more in levels and skills until you are strong enough to take on your foes without fail. There are a large amount of items and gear in the game to keep players occupied with upgrading.

    There is a collection aspect to the game involving these creatures called Djinns. These creatures boost the abilities and power of the characters in which they are attached to. They can be swapped between characters to allow for further combinations of abilities. As characters use the Djinns in battle, powerful summons can be used to take out foes once a certain number of Djinns have been used in combat. These summons are learned or found throughout the game.

    The graphics in this game are fantastic for a gameboy advance title. Everything from the environments to the battles to the summoning cutscenes are all great to look at while playing. I remember when this game was first released. I was in awe at some of the graphical effects in this game. The music in the game is some of the best I have ever heard in a portable title. I find myself just sitting in a particular battle or environment just to listen to the music and themes that play. There is a special mode that allows you to listen to all of the music in the game when you enter the arena mode at the title screen (look it up to find out how to find it). The point is that you may love the music so much that you will want to just listen to it at times.

    Overall, this game is a classic in my opinion. The quality of this game is obvious. I can only hope for a remake of this title one day with modern-style graphics. It could possibly become more appealing to those who don't like Golden Sun in its current state...
    Full Review »
  3. Jul 18, 2012
    I have played the Tales of the World series, the Final Fantasy series and Dragon's Quest series, but none of them came close to comparisonI have played the Tales of the World series, the Final Fantasy series and Dragon's Quest series, but none of them came close to comparison with the Golden Sun series.
    A memorable storyline and cast alongside impressive soundtracks for the period of release and a story crafted with pure perfection makes this one of the greatest Game Boy Advance games to exist. The same goes for its sequel.
    Full Review »