Hard to find but worth it
Released in 2001, the GameCube followed the N64 and brought an impressive library of titles with it. It featured one of the best controller designs of all time (which is still used by dedicated Switch players today) but faltered due to a lack of online features and a limited launch library.
Compared to its competitors, the Xbox and the Playstation 2, many players felt the GameCube lacked a certain something. That said, the system featured a library of fantastic games that are still worth playing today—if you can get your hands on them.
This list of best GameCube games are not easy to emulate or find in the wild, but if you do, they are well worth it.
Published in 2001, Animal Crossing has a strange concept: you live in a town and befriend your neighbors, pay off debt to expand your home, and live an otherwise simple, idyllic life. It’s also played in real-time, with the seasons in the real world reflected in-game. Sure, you could “time travel” by changing the clock on your GameCube, but doing so detracted from the point of the game.
If you failed to save before turning off the console, the next time you started playing, a mole named Mr. Resetti appears and begins to yell at you. It developed a cult following that is still seen today, especially with the recent release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons for the Nintendo Switch.
TimeSplitters 2 was one of the wackiest games in the GameCube’s lineup. One of a limited number of FPS titles on the console, TimeSplitters 2 had an odd single player mode whose story consisted of ten levels centered around traveling through different time periods and stopping an evil group from destroying history.
The true value of the game lay in its multiplayer mode, however. It offered fun on par with GoldenEye on the N64, offering levels set throughout history with weapons to match. There’s just a certain charm to rampaging through early 20th century Chicago with a laser gun. The game also features a Map Maker for you to design your own level and characters that range from a fish bowl on a robot body to a Harley Quinn lookalike.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker breaks away from the traditional formula and teams Link with a sentient boat named King of Red Lions. The world of Hyrule is submerged in water, with only scattered islands remaining. The Wind Waker also departed from the previous title in favor of a more cell-shaded graphical style.
The sailing element is different than anything seen in a Zelda title before (or since) and it’s worth checking out for yourself. Wind Waker will provide hours upon hours of adventure that places it firmly in the top five top Zelda titles of all time.
Super Smash Bros Melee
Considered one of the greatest video games ever created – and definitely one of the best GameCube games – Super Smash Bros Melee took the phenomena that was Super Smash Bros and launched it to a new level. Melee retained all of the characters from the original games and introduced brand-new faces, including characters from Fire Emblem—a game that had never before been released outside of Japan.
Super Smash Bros Melee introduced new single-player gameplay elements, trophies, and multiplayer modes that helped transform it from a fun mash-up fighting game to one of the most popular competitive fighting games in history.
Super Mario Sunshine
The Super Mario series has always distinguished itself with new gameplay elements and settings in each iteration of the game, and Super Mario Sunshine was no different. Forgoing the usual stomp-and-smash gameplay in favor of the F.L.U.D.D., a backpack that shot water that could clear graffiti left behind by the Shadow Mario.
It all takes place on the Isle Delfino, a tropical resort that Mario, Peach, and Toad are vacationing on. Super Mario Sunshine isn’t as talked about as Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Galaxy, but it’s the best Mario game on the GameCube.
Pikmin is a game that blends puzzle and real-time strategy elements together for a result that’s equal parts adorable and challenging. The game is named for the plant-like creatures known as Pikmin, beings that inhabit an unknown planet the protagonist crash-lands on.
You take the role of Captain Olimar and must befriend Pikmin and use their unique abilities to recover parts of your spaceship before your air supply runs out. There are several different colors of Pikmin, each with different abilities to utilize to help repair the ship.
The Metroid series has been a longtime favorite of fans, but until Metroid Prime, it was always a 2D side scrolling platformer. Metroid Prime re-imagined the series as a first person shooter but held on to the same feeling as the previous games.
Metroid Prime is exploration-heavy, with many areas locked behind doors that can only be opened once you have gotten the right ability. You take on the familiar role of Samus Aran and fight your way across the planet Tallon IV, eventually encountering old fan-favorites like Ridley and a Metroid.
While definitely a departure from Super Metroid or any of the 2D titles, Metroid Prime remains one of the best games in the series. Even now fans eagerly await the release of Metroid Prime 4 on the Nintendo Switch, years after the first three titles.
What is your choice for best GameCube game? Did we leave off any games worth mentioning? Let us know in the comments below.