Top 25 Best Atari Lynx Games of All Time Game Download

Atari had a significant number of woes when Nintendo entered the hardware market. The NES overshadowed everything that they had, and was the only worldwide success of its era. Then Nintendo released the Game Boy. Before that the handheld market was mostly ignored, and this caused Atari to try their hand at it. The Atari Lynx boasted better graphics than the Game Boy, as well as a color display, and even a backlight. Unfortunately the system ate batteries like Pac-Man eats pellets. Atari did almost everything else right. The Lynx had a surprisingly large library of quality games. It’s a shame that almost no one played them. Today I wanted to highlight the greatest of what the capable little handheld had to offer. Without further adieu here are the top 25 best Atari Lynx games!

#25. – Viking Child

This one caught me off guard because I had never heard of this title. It was packed in with the Atari Lynx I purchased, and it’s one of my most played games for the platform. Viking Child is a clone of sorts of Wonder Boy in Monster Land and that’s not a bad thing in my book. The game is played like a side scrolling action platformer, but with some distinct RPG elements. You run, jump, and slash your sword at foes. They leave behind money which can be used to purchase upgrades and items in various shops scattered throughout the stages. It’s pretty fun, and has charming graphics. My only complaint is that the action is kind of slow. Your jumps are floaty, and the main character moves at a snail’s pace. If you can get past that you’re in for one of the best Atari Lynx games around.

Front cover for Double Dragon for the Atari Lynx.

#24. – Double Dragon

Every platform prevalent in the 90s needed a good beat ’em up. Double Dragon is the best one here, and one of the best Atari Lynx titles. You play as tough guy Billy Lee who is out to save the day when a damsel is captured by the Black Warriors game. Double Dragon was one of the first beat ’em up titles ever released and plays just as you’d expect. You walk across a variety of different settings fighting off all foes. The action is viewed from the side but you can move in all directions. While this was one of the best looking ports of the original title there are some issues. First of all the screen is zoomed way in. This means the characters are absolutely huge, and it can make escaping foes difficult. Furthermore Double Dragon is tough as nails. Still, this version is worth playing.

Front cover for Checkered Flag for the Atari Lynx.

#23. – Checkered Flag

Playing a game like this was almost unheard of on portable hardware. Checkered Flag is an incredibly ambitious Atari Lynx title using a behind the car perspective to simulate 3D. Terrain, obstacles, and other vehicles scale in as you get closer. The game looks absolutely wonderful on the small screen and is as competent as many similar console releases at the time. Scaling effects, for one thing, are above and beyond what I thought possible on 8-bit hardware. Additionally the graphics are super colorful and everything is surprisingly easy to see even on the washed out backlit screen. The handiest feature however is the map at the top of the screen that shows the entire course as well as your opponents. It makes preparing for sharp turns significantly more easy. Checkered Flag is beautiful, fun, and easily one of the best Atari Lynx games.

Front cover for Toki for the Atari Lynx.

#22. – Toki

Toki is a unique one, that’s for sure. This multiplatform title went mostly ignored on other platforms but shines particularly on the Atari Lynx. Here you play as a cute little monkey named Toki who can shoot a variety of different projectile attacks. There’s not much sense to this, but hey, it was the 90s. At it’s heart Toki is an action platformer but with some run and gun elements surprisingly. I especially like the fact that you can fire shots in multiple directions. This makes gameplay flow a lot more smoothly than many other similar titles from this era. The level designs are seriously on point. There are some light puzzles (and I do stress the word ‘light’) which are nice distractions and keep the action fresh. On other platforms Toki was forgettable, but there’s something special about this Atari Lynx version.

Front cover for Blue Lightning on the Atari Lynx.

#21. – Blue Lightning

Atari copied a lot of ideas from various popular arcade titles of the 80s. This was their take on Afterburner. While Blue Lightning doesn’t quite measure up to Sega’s legendary shooter it’s still one of the best Atari Lynx titles. This is a 3D combat flight sim where you guide your ship into enemy territory with the sole objective of blowing up everything in sight. It’s a simple premise, and there are only 9 stages but you have only six lives with which to complete them. This is yet another title that really shows off what the hardware was capable of. It looks better than any similar title you’d find on the NES or Master System. The background scrolls smoothly, and the screen is often filled with carnage with little slowdown. Your options are limited on the Lynx as far as flight sims go, but this is a good one.

Front cover for Paperboy for the Atari Lynx.

#20. – Paperboy

I never appreciated Paperboy in my youth. I played the NES version multiple times but if I’m honest it never clicked. The Atari Lynx version of Paperboy is where the concept finally clicked with me so many years later. Paperboy has you playing as, well, a paper delivery boy, who is tasked only with doing his job. You have to ride your bicycle and throw newspapers into mailboxes. Simple, right? Well not really. Each stage is littered with hazards. The viewpoint is isometric which makes avoiding them difficult, and also means there’s a big learning curve for aiming your throws. Paperboy is tough and unforgiving, but once it’s quirky sense of humor snags you it becomes very addictive. It’s clearly one of the best games for the Atari Lynx.

Front cover for Shadow of the Beast for the Atari Lynx.

#19. – Shadow of the Beast

Wow, talk about a looker. Shadow of the Beast is a side scrolling action game where you play as a monster who sets out to get revenge on the wizard that transformed him into this otherworldly creature. You can walk, punch, and jump. On paper this sounds rather simple, and it is, but the level design is what will draw you in. It’s kind of a light puzzle game when you enter the indoor areas. You have to activate a number of different switches to open the way forward. It’s a bit easy to get lost but I didn’t mind wandering around because the game is so fun. Now we get to the graphics. In screenshots it looks amazing with a lot of detail. In motion it’s downright gorgeous with parallax scrolling and some of the best character animations of its time. It’s one of the best Atari Lynx games.

Front cover of Battle Wheels for the Atari Lynx handheld.

#18. – BattleWheels

The Atari Lynx has something for just about everyone. I’ve already covered platformers, racers, and flight sims. How about vehicular combat? That’s what BattleWheels is. Years before Twisted Metal hit the scene you could drive around and unleash mayhem in free roaming arenas on the Atari Lynx. What’s more is that for a game this ambitious it also plays well. It’s 3D and the viewpoint is from the driver’s seat of your armored vehicle. From here you drive around various stages firing weapons at your foes with the simple goal of being the last one standing, er… driving I mean. In the custom mode you can even select the various options to outfit your vehicle with. That’s crazy for a portable game on 8-bit hardware. BattleWheels is not only one of the most ambitious titles for the platform but it’s also one of the best Atari Lynx games period.

Front cover for Switchblade II for the Atari Lynx.

#17. – Switchblade II

While not an exact copy Switchblade II is a pseudo Ninja Gaiden clone of the best kind. It’s a side scrolling action game wherein you play as a futuristic cyber soldier set out to bring peace onto the world by defeating all the bad guys. That’s pretty typical for an early 90s game but we didn’t exactly play these titles for their story. All you need to know is you play as a tough guy with a lot of different tricks up his sleeve in a side scrolling action game with excellent level design. One thing I particularly like is that projectiles as one of your main means of attack. You can purchase upgrades and new weapons from a shop including the likes of a flamethrower! That alone makes this one of the best Atari Lynx games, but there’s more. Switchblade II is also a very beautiful game.

Front cover for Scrapyard Dog for the Atari Lynx.

#16. – Scrapyard Dog

This was a port of the Atari 7800 game. There it was ridiculed for being somewhat of a Super Mario Bros clone but not nearly as good. Atari enhanced this version in all the right ways. For one thing it really benefits from being on a small screen. It’s a lot easier to forgive the graphics for being a bit bland on the Atari Lynx because it’s impressive such a game is running on it at all. The developers also went back and added in a significant number of new stages for this version which is always a welcome feature. I also really like how basic gameplay is a platformer, but the action is mixed up in some areas and becomes a side scrolling shmup. Scrapyard Dog was underwhelming on the 7800, but it’s one of the best Atari Lynx games to be honest.

Front cover for Malibu Bikini Volleyball for the Atari Lynx.

#15. – Malibu Bikini Volleyball

I don’t mess with a lot of sports titles to be honest. That hasn’t changed much since I was a child. One video game sport that I do enjoy occasionally is a good volleyball title. King’s of the Beach on the NES is an all time favorite of mine. I was absolutely overjoyed to discover that Malibu Bikini Volleyball is very similar, but on the Atari Lynx. It’s your basic volleyball title with two person teams as you attempt to score points on the AI controlled opponents. I suppose the main draw was that the characters are wearing swimsuits, but honestly I feel like this overshadows the excellent gameplay engine. You’ll find you’re able to serve, lob, and spike with ease here which makes for some very competitive gameplay. If you have any interest in digital volleyball then Atari’s got your back with this one.

Front cover for Pac-Land for the Atari Lynx.

#14. – Pac-Land

Pac-Man was Namco’s bread and butter in the arcades. For all intents and purposes this is the game most people knew the developer by back then. Namco wanted more for their little yellow pellet muncher and attempted to move him into a side scrolling platformer with this release. Unfortunately this one never reaches the heights of Super Mario Bros but that doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the best games on the Atari Lynx. What I particularly like is how simple the controls are. You use the directional pad to move the little guy and there’s a jump button. That’s pretty much it outside of a few power-ups. Despite the simple nature of the title Pac-Land is a real challenge. You have to time some jumps really well, and the ghosts can sometimes be infuriating to avoid.

Front cover for Chip's Challenge for the Atari Lynx.

#13. – Chip’s Challenge

While it is one of the best Atari Lynx games I think it was a mistake to not launch a more traditional puzzle title for the platform. Chip’s Challenge is an overhead maze-like where you guide the titular character on his quest to gather computer chips. The problem is that he has no offensive or defensive capabilities so you must entirely avoid enemies. There are over 100 stages here (which is a massive amount of content for a handheld title of this era) but completing it is no easy feat. Each level has only one solution to complete it. This means you’ll have to experiment, a lot. Also collecting the chips is no easy feat because the enemies offer up a pretty good challenge as far as evading them goes. It’s a great puzzle title but not as easily pick up and play as something like Tetris.

Front cover for Rampart for the Atari Lynx.

#12. – Rampart

I used to enjoy Rampart whenever I rented it on the SNES. To be perfectly honest I didn’t have a lot of hope for it on the Atari Lynx. This is a semi real-time strategy title consisting of two different phases. In the first one you place Tetris shaped blocks on an overhead map trying to close off various areas. Upon doing so they become your territory, and at this point you can place cannons in them. During the real time battle sequences you fire the cannons at enemy ships with the simple goal of eliminating them all. Problem is they shoot back, and can make holes in your territory making it worthless in subsequent rounds. You have to patch the holes, make new territory, and place additional cannons to up your firepower. This Lynx edition is just as fun as it’s console brothers, but benefits from on-the-go gaming.

Front cover for California Games for the Atari Lynx.

#11. – California Games

Admittedly, California Games doesn’t sound all that exciting on the surface. This is a sports title featuring four different events. They’re all mildly fun, but again, I’m not quite sure why Atari decided to bundle this one with the hardware. It was a multiplatform title after all. Either way this Atari Lynx iteration is good clean fun. Each event is easy to play, but takes a lot of practice before you start setting high scores. Of the bunch BMX and footbag are my least favorite events but I still found myself coming back for more. The half pipe mode fares better as you’re completing tricks on a skateboard but it’s no Tony Hawk, that’s for sure. Surfing is the best of the best and is an absolute blast. Honestly they could have fleshed this one out more and made a standalone game of it.

Front cover for Ms. Pac-Man for the Atari Lynx.

#10. – Ms. Pac-Man

It’s pretty amazing that Namco managed to fit the entire playfield of each stage into a single screen on this tiny display. There are also no cut corners; this is Ms Pac-Man, absolutely which makes it a clear contestant to be one of the best Atari Lynx games. Here you guide the yellow guy’s wife through a series of mazes with the simple goal of eating all of the pellets in any one area. The problem is you’re being chased by ghosts, and they alter their movement patterns based on what you’re doing. It’s not uncommon to be chased through the mazes. Thankfully with power pellets Ms Pac Man can eat the ghosts, but these are scattered in different places in the stage. Finding one when you need it involves a lot of strategy and planning. Ms Pac Man is amazing on the Lynx.

Front cover for Awesome Golf for the Atari Lynx.

#9. – Awesome Golf

Usually when a game tells you how good it is in the title you know it’s not going to be great. That’s not the case with Awesome Golf. I’m not typically a fan of the sport but this title had me hooked. I love all of the customization options such as selecting your character and altering the wind. You also have three courses to choose from and they each feature fantastic layouts for the holes and hazards. The interface is fantastic and I was able to get a hang of lining up my shot within just minutes. If you want to play golf (or any sport for that matter) there aren’t a whole lot of options on the Atari Lynx. Take this one’s name to heart because it’s just that; awesome.

Front cover for Robotron 2084 for the Atari Lynx.

#8. – Robotron 2084

I’ll be honest here. Robotron is a game that I thought absolutely needs a dual joystick setup in order to be fun. What’s surprising then is how the developers managed to handle the limitations of the controls here. Robotron fires automatically and you use the two face buttons to turn him. It sounds clunky, but it works surprisingly well. The game itself is a single screen shooter where waves of enemies attack your character and you have to shoot to kill. One of the most impressive aspects of the game is just how many enemies are supported on-screen at once. The mayhem surely pushes the hardware to it’s limits with almost no slowdown. It’s hard to tell from screenshots, but Robotron 2084 is an absolutely incredible looking game on the Atari Lynx. It’s also almost as fun with the new aiming configuration.

Front cover for Raiden for the Atari Lynx.

#7. – Raiden

This was a late and limited release long after the hardware was already dead. Raiden represents a genre that should have been a highlight for the platform in its heyday; shmups. Atari was too busy trying to push the 3D aspects of the handheld that we just didn’t get a lot of more traditional efforts. That’s where Raiden comes in. What’s particularly unique about this title is the fact that you play it by holding the Atari Lynx on it’s side. This allows for a vertical display that no other handheld was offering at the time. The perspective adds a whole lot to the experience allowing your field of vision to see incoming enemies before they’re even a threat. Add to that the impressive graphics, fun gameplay, and great power-ups and you have one of the best Atari Lynx games ever.

Front cover for Ninja Gaiden for the Atari Lynx.

#6. – Ninja Gaiden

If you’re like me then you went into Ninja Gaiden for the Atari Lynx expecting a port of the NES version. That’s not the case at all here as it more closely resembles the original coin-op version. It’s far less of a platformer, and more of a psuedo beat ’em up than anything. You can perform a variety of different acrobatic moves as well and punching and kicking opponents. I’d say it’s more like the original Double Dragon than any other version of Ninja Gaiden to be honest. That’s not a bad thing however, and it’s still one of the best Atari Lynx games. The scrolling and animations are a bit choppy but the action packed gameplay more than makes up for this. I especially like the level design with multi-tiered areas and a nice variety of foes. If you want traditional Ninja Gaiden then you’re best off looking elsewhere.

Front cover for Rygar for the Atari Lynx.

#5. – Rygar

This is another case of me going in expecting a port of the NES game. What I got instead was a title more focused on the action and platforming elements, but that’s not a bad thing by any means. In a unique twist your main weapon is a yo-yo type tool that you throw at opponents. It’s master class from start to finish. The action is pretty steady and smooth, and you’ll find nary a cheap death here. That’s not to say that Rygar on the Lynx is easy, because it’s far from it, but it’s certainly not frustrating. Something really must be said for the graphics. It’s not as beautiful as many other titles on this list but I absolutely dig the art style. The mild parallax effects are also neat, and there’s almost no slowdown to speak of.

Front cover for Hydra for the Atari Lynx.

#4. – Hydra

Have you ever said to yourself ‘the world needs more speedboat shooters?’ If so then I have just the game for you. Hydra on the Atari Lynx is yet another 3D action game with a behind the vehicle perspective and scrolling scenery/enemies. You fire weapons at the enemies to destroy them, and while controls are a bit sluggish I imagine this was on purpose to more closely resemble driving an actual speedboat. The most unique element of Hydra is the fact that you can use a booster to shoot your ship into the air. This is mostly used to avoid obstacles but also to reach items. While I immediately assumed this was a cheap gimmick it’s actually an integral part of gameplay. Hydra is absolutely beautiful and actually compares favorably with games on the Gameboy Advance of all things.

Front cover for Joust for the Atari Lynx.

#3. – Joust

When I say that I love Joust I mean it. It’s one of the few games that regardless of platform I can jump right in and have an absolute blast. Balloon Trip is technically better, but there’s no denying that Joust is good simple fun. In this game you play as knights equipped with lances riding atop ostriches. These birds can flap their wings allowing for some rather clunky physics based flight, but that’s half of the fun. You have to flap their wings to both gain elevation as well as change your direction mid-air. It’s fun to play but tough to master. I’m happy to report that this Atari Lynx adaptation is the bees knees. It’s the full game but shrunk down to the small screen. You really can’t go wrong with Joust on any platform, and this Atari Lynx edition is no exception.

Front cover for Roadblasters for the Atari Lynx.

#2. – Roadblasters

Roadblasters is the absolute pinnacle of graphics on the Atari Lynx. This is another 3D racing title featuring a behind the vehicle perspective, but it’s so much better than almost all of the rest. Your goal is to complete each race before you run out of fuel. The problem is each track is littered with enemies and hazards. Thankfully your vehicle is armed and you can shoot down anyone in your way. Also, there’s a helicopter that for some unknown reason drops power-ups to help you get to the goal. It’s absurd, but fun in an early 90s arcade kind of way. The graphics as I’ve mentioned are absolutely amazing. The 3D scrolling is better than in most 16-bit racing titles which is saying a lot. It’s pure wizardry that this title looks as good as it does, and it’s a blast to play.

Front cover for S.T.U.N. Runner for the Atari Lynx.

#1. – STUN Runner

And here we have it. This is the best Atari Lynx game ever released. It’s another racer, but the developers here took a different approach to the genre. Instead of driving cars you ride inside a futuristic hovercraft. If you’ve ever played F-Zero then you know kind of what to expect with this one. You have little control over your speed which is the only drawback. When you hit an obstacle or run into an opponent the action fades to a crawl and it can be difficult to regain momentum. Large portions of the races take place inside tubes and you can actually ride on the sides of them surprisingly enough. It’s impressive then when they open up to reveal all kinds of different landscape. If you’re going to own one Atari Lynx game make sure this is it.

Top 25 Best Atari Lynx Games of All Time

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