Bandai WonderSwan Logo.gif

The Bandai WonderSwan was a competitor to the Game Boy that never made it outside of Japan, and so it doesn't have many games in English. Much of its titles are anime-licensed and RPGs, but it also has a decent number of (import-friendly) fighters, platformers, and action games.

The WonderSwan comes in three versions: the monochrome classic, the Color, and the Crystal. The Color and Crystal run on the same hardware, but the Crystal has a superior TFT screen and shorter battery life. All of them run on a single AA battery, with the following expected life:

  • Classic: 30-40 hours
  • Color: 20 hours
  • Crystal: 12 hours

There are also AC adapter and rechargeable battery pack accessories for those who'd prefer less battery expenditure.

The List

Title Genre Description Box Art
Beatmania Rhythm Drop some phat beats in a game that should need no introduction. Seems like it's in black and white only, but the sound is surprisingly impressive! Take a listen for yourself. Beatmania WS.jpg
Bistro Recipe RPG It's like Pokemon but you make your own monsters, really good spritework and high difficulty. You may vaguely remember seeing the anime localized as "Fighting Foodons". Kakuto-Ryori-Densetsu-Bistro-Recipe.jpg
Blue Wing Blitz Strategy Excellent strategy game by Square, the graphical quality is just amazing it looks like a GBA game. Bluewingblitz.jpg
Chocobo no Fushigina Dungeon RPG / Dungeon Crawler A port of the Playstation game in nice monochrome 2D, just as good but some prefer this for portability and such. Chocobo no fushigina dungeon.jpg
Dicing Knight Period RPG / Dungeon Crawler Infamously rare dungeon crawler that has some damn good gameplay. It's also very fast paced for the genre, especially impressive given the hardware at the time. This game has a translation patch for the ROM, but it's so rare, that even the ROM itself can be hard to find! Still, check this out and you'll see why so many have begun the trek to hunt it down. Dicing Knight Period.jpg
Digimon Tamers: Battle Spirit (Ver. 1.5)

Battle Spirit: Digimon Frontier

Fighting/platformer There are three Battle Spirit games on the WonderSwan (all in color), and they're all fighting games in platform-filled arenas, like Smash Bros. or the Jump games on DS. Instead of health, you grab your opponents' balls ("D-Spirits") which fly out in varying amounts when hit, while trying not to get your own balls grabbed. The first and third games were lazily ported to the GBA in English (a static border makes up the difference in screen size), but Ver. 1.5 (pictured), an enhanced version of the first game, is still only available here. They're all fun and easy to play regardless of the language and Digimon barriers. DigimonBS15.jpg
Final Fantasy 1 / 2 / 4 RPG Pretty cool ports/remakes of the SNES/NES games, lots of the sprite work is redone and improved. In FF1/FF2 the alot of glitches and bugs were fixed, and weapons acted how they should have (i.e. exploit enemy weaknesses). In FF4, you can choose between the original and easytype versions. These were used as the basis for the PS1/GBA remixes, which added much more extra content. Still, they're interesting to try if you ever wanted to hear how the music might have sounded in 8-bit-esque sound. Final Fantasy WSC.jpg
Ganso Jajamaru-kun Platformer A remix/remake of the NES game with improved controls and monochrome graphics. Ganso Jajamaru-kun.jpg
Guilty Gear Petit 1 & 2 Fighting That funky fast-paced fighter now in bite-size form. The action has transferred impressively well, the graphics are amusingly/accurately re-recorded in SD style, and the music, though not as rockin' still retains the flavor of melodies nicely enough. Sadly, there's only a small handful of characters as a result, but these do have an exclusive character not seen in the main series. Guilty Gear Petit WSC.jpg
Hataraku Chocobo Life Sim Roughly translated: "Working Chocobo" or "Chocobo on the Job". You raise a Chocobo while "completing various tasks to earn items." Most of these tasks seem related to farming or building up a town. Not to be confused with Dice de Chocobo, a board game, that was canceled before it was released on this (but ended up on PS1). Hataraku-Chocobo.jpg
Judgement Silversword -Rebirth Edition- Shoot 'em Up A fast-paced score attack game with heavy focus on aggressive play through eliminating enemies quickly. Your shield cancels bullets and destroys enemies, yielding multipliers, but recharges slowly, requiring a bit of tactical use. Available as a port on the Eschatos 360 release alongside its sequel Cardinal Sins. Somewhat of a rarity in cartridge form as it received a limited reprint, being made by an independent developer on the WonderWitch development kit, though it's easy to emulate. Judgement Silversword.jpg
Klonoa: Midnight Museum Platformer A decent entry in the Klonoa series. Unfortunately it's pretty easy, and there's NO BOSSES. Still, if you want some double-jumping and wind-bullets for your Wonderswan, here ya go. This is pretty much the basis for the GBA platformers though, which ended up addressing the few problems with this. Klonoa Moonlight-Museum.jpg
Makaimura for WonderSwan Platformer An original game that basically remixes content from the first game (so no magic, double jumps, or aiming) with new bosses and level design. It's well animated and the action is spot-on, but enemies tend to spawn like the dickens and bosses have tiny hit-boxes require some damn precise shooting, versus that of others in the series. Thankfully, Arthur has the power to rapid-fire all of his weapons to help even the odds, but he'll need your skills to get over those perilous platforms! Makaimura for WonderSwan.jpg
Makai Toushi SaGa RPG Excellent remake of Final Fantasy Legend for the Game Boy. This version jacks up the graphics to SNES-like levels (though the music is still 8-bit sounding, it's also improved a bit, too) and is totally worth the $5 bucks or so that your average Wonderswan game costs. And yeah, you can still exploit the chainsaw for the final boss.

Has a translation patch.

Final-Fantasy-Legend WS JP.jpg
Mr. Driller Puzzle It's basically a port of the original, without any extra bells and whistles. Drill to the bottom, match colored blocks to get there faster, and try not to run out of air. At least it's in color and not as squished as other early portable ports! Mr. driller WSC.jpg
Namco Super Wars Tactical RPG A title that's vaguely like the Super Robot Wars series, but has some interesting action-based aspects of its own. Use various Namco characters and their skills to defeat the threat of evil. Namco x Capcom for the PS2 used this as a basis and expanded upon it, both gameplay and roster-wise. NamcoSuperWars.jpg
One Piece: Chopper no Daibouken Rougelike/Action-RPG The One Piece cast has been turned into animals and its up to their reindeer-moose mascot thing to help them return to humans. Thankfully, they haven't lost all their powers, and can offer some assistance. However, Chopper himself does most of the work. Curiously, there's a number of action-based segments that are not tile-based, such as boss battles, mini-game exploration segments, and bonus games. Even if you're not a fan, you may want to check this out. One-Piece WSC.jpg
Pocket Fighter Fighting The only handheld port of the game, and it's a damn good one too. Features all the characters, but this game is one of the most expensive. Pocket Fighter WS.jpg
Puyo Puyo Tsuu Puzzle
Romancing SaGa RPG Port of the SFC/SNES classic with a few extras. The series proper is known for its numerous attacks and avant-garde leveling system, both of which are quite cool once you get the hang of them. In addition, the narratives are not entirely linear, giving you numerous story-based choices to select, many of which change the path your adventure follows. In addition, there's also the super-rad music by Kenji Ito, which sounds good even on the Wonderswan. Romancing-SaGa WSC.jpg
Slither Link Puzzle Monochrome version of the number-based newspaper puzzle. Create a single circuit around the grid using the clues offered and logic. A decent version of the game and not too tough to learn the menus for, but busy, black and white graphics can sometimes make it hard to tell what you're looking at. SlitherLinkWS.jpg
Tekken Card Challenge Fighting A strange title revolving around using cards as attacks. There's also an adventure mode where you explore dungeons in a roguelike-ish environment. Tekken Card Challenge.jpg
Tetris Puzzle Pretty standard Tetris version. The graphics are fine, music includes the standard Korobeiniki, and the menus are all in English. Has Hold and shows the next three pieces. For Tetris nerds: follows the "Tetris Guideline". TetrisWS.jpg


The WonderWitch was a full blown development kit with rewritable cartridge, sold via mail order with Bandai's approval. It's basically the official WonderSwan flash cart. While it won't run commercial ROM dumps, there are hundreds of homebrews up on the official site, owing to the WonderWitch Grand Prix coding compos run yearly from 2001 to 2003. Many are of surprisingly high quality, and two (Judgement Silversword and Dicing Knight) were good enough to receive commercial releases on regular Swan carts. Pages for each year's winners are on the Qute site: 2001, 2002 and 2003. There was also a cheaper "WonderWitch Player", which omitted the dev stuff but ran all the same software, but you're going to be paying out the ass either way if you buy one now.

Title Genre Description Screenshot
Cardinal Sins Shoot 'em up The sequel to WonderWitch-gone-commercial hit Judgement Sword, Sins adds some strategy with its "seven deadly sins" theme, where the goal of each stage is dictated by the current sin, rather than just being to kill things while not dying. Even if you lose all your lives, only the current sin is failed, and you're shuffled off to the next sin, with your final grade being an average of all seven. CardinalSins.png
Charaga Shoot 'em up A decent Galaga-style static vertical shooter, where the enemy patterns actually spell out words if you leave them to their own devices for long enough (that's them spelling out "HELLO" in the screenshot). Obviously, it can't hold a candle to the likes of Judgement Silversword or Cardinal Sins, but it's an OK game taken on its own merits. Charaga.png
LolitaQueen Puzzle A sort of not-quite Tetris Attack clone; all the rising blocks, combos, chains and garbage blocks are here, but instead of sliding pieces around, you're using the X-pad to change blocks to the color of your choice. However, you can only change colors a limited number of times, so you'll need to build up chains and combos to refill your color supplies. Can be hard to get used to if you're used to Tetris Attack, but worth a try. LolitaQueen.png
Rave Hunter Puzzle Excellent arcade puzzler in which you're a dancer who attracts girls in droves. Each time you do a dance move, the four girls in cardinal directions from your location will come towards you, and once you've lined up a few girls in the same color outfits, you can cheer to make them disappear. The trick is in lining up multiple, long lines of girls before cheering, in order to get bonuses, but if you plan poorly, you'll end up trapped between four girls and unable to move. In these cases, you'll have to start buying girls off with your limited supply of cocktails to make an escape route. Brilliant. RaveHunter.png
Self-Produce Shoot 'em up Yet another shooter from M-KAI, the developers of Judgement Silversword and Cardinal Sins. After two abortive attempts to develop the game under the title Project E-Force, the game wasn't finally finished until 2006, long after the WonderSwan had been abandoned as a commercial platform. As a result, the game is by far the most graphically complex of the series, with animated, scrolling backdrops and pseudo-sprite rotation for bosses. This game's approach is more around weapon power-ups ala the Raiden series than were the first two games, so it has quite a different feel. Clearly, though, if you've enjoyed their other games, a must-play. SelfProduce.png
TankQ! Shoot 'em up Multidirectional shooter in the vein of Battle City on NES/GB. You're a tank, shoot the other tanks. Uses the vertical orientation and Robotron-style dual-pad controls. A very simple concept, but difficulty ramps up hard after the first couple of stages. Pretty nice graphics for a homebrew title round it out as a solid game. TankQ.png
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