NintendoFuse Game of the Year 2013

The year is finally over, and over the past month gamers have been looking back on their favourite titles of 2013. On NintendoFuse’s year-end podcast Greg, Steve, Hassan, Barry and Alex got together to discuss their top games in a variety of categories. If you don’t have time to listen to the nearly three hour-long discussion, then you’re in luck; we’ve compiled some of the top games from each category, and have even included some personalized thoughts from each of the staffers.

Here are what the NintendoFuse staffers think of A Link Between Worlds and 3D World, as well as a few of their other favourite games this year!

Greg
The thing about Link Between Worlds was that it was absolutely gorgeous and has amazing quick action gameplay.  The out of order dungeons allowed customized experiences and challenge not found in most Zelda games.  From Hyrule to Lorule, this game was a full package excellent experience that everyone should be able to enjoy.
Super Mario 3D World (click for review)
This game has to be considered one of Mario’s latest and greatest titles as many favorite powerups return in addition to the greatness that is the cat suit.  Many stylish levels and even some levels designed after Mariokart, and Super Luigi U, this game takes it up a notch when you reach the end of the game.
The Wonderful 101
One of the most unique style and a game that fully utilizes the capabilities of the Game Pad.  This game will test your skills to keep you on your feet to attack and defend against an alien invasion as you draw shapes to wonderize your team.  A completely simple technique for a pretty difficult game making this game very enjoyable.
Fire Emblem Awakening (click for review)
Being a huge fan of RPGs and turn-based strategy, this game was a shoe-in for Greg.  Not only those elements stood out though, as the game allows custom relationships to create new characters, the ability to level up your skills to use stronger weapons, incredible DLC offerings, and a completely enjoyable story made this a top pick.
SteamWorld Dig (click for review)
This game deserves major credit as this was my favorite eShop game.  Not only was it a completely enjoyable experience, but the game allows you to create your path as you dig your way to the bottom with pick axe and drill while having steam powered technology to assist you on your journey to find your uncle lost in the depths of the earth.  Not only was the game fun, it was gorgeous and well designed as the player had options to get to town quickly and even a self-destruct button.

Steve
The Legend of Zelda – A Link Between Worlds
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is not only one of the best Zelda games, it is one of the best Nintendo 3DS games to date. I do not know if I would go as far to say it is the best game of all time, but I will say it ranks up there with some of the best. The gorgeous world, the innovative gameplay, and the new story all combine for a high quality adventure. If you have been craving more Zelda, look no further than A Link Between Worlds.
Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario 3D World takes what we love about classic Mario platforming and combines it with the 3D style we began to love in Super Mario 64, the multiplayer from New Super Mario Bros. Wii, the ability to play as the Princess from Super Mario Bros. 2, and the creative level design of Super Mario Galaxy. In all seriousness, how could this game not be in the home of every Mario fan? In fact, I would go as far to say that every Wii U owner needs to own this game.
Pikmin 3
Pikmin 3 is a game many have waiting a long time to play. Initially, I was not too fond of the new characters, but they quickly grew on me. Similarly, the new style of play, controlling multiple characters at a time was a bit challenging, but it gave the game a new flavor, which was really good. The graphics looked amazing in HD, and the fun factor is definitely there as well. As far as strategy-adventure games go, this is a must-buy.

Barry
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
As a die-hard Zelda fan since 1986, I always hold the franchise up to high standards. While I have always enjoyed each installment in the series, A Link Between Worlds brings some refreshing changes that shakes up the formula a bit. While tackling dungeons in any order isn’t new, it’s something we haven’t seen a lot of and it’s great that it returns. Having each item be upgradable is also a welcome return since I felt it was one of the best parts of Skyward Sword. Being able to rent/buy almost every item from the start allowed for every player to play their own way, instead of a set order which I enjoyed. While the over-world was a blast to run around in again after all these years, I’m really glad that didn’t make Lorule just a copy of the Dark World and it had its own personality. This is hands down the game I enjoyed the most in 2013.
Super Mario 3D World
This is one game that I knew would be fantastic, yet I couldn’t help but notice how many people were crying about it online when it was first announced. While Galaxy 3 would be nice, and still has a chance to come out, I’m glad they were able to deliver to us a refreshing 3D Mario that up to 4 people could enjoy at once. The challenge was right on, the secrets were great, and it controlled like a dream. This is the Wii U’s flagship game and should be praised as such. If you own a Wii U, you MUST play this game.
Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan
If you’re an old school RPG fan, you really owe it to yourself to give this a try. Especially with the free demo allowing you to level to 20, and pass that progress onto the full game. I’m not usually a fan of first person RPGs, but it adds to the feeling that you really are exploring these dungeons and areas. Especially where the game doesn’t spoon feed you a map but instead tasks you with drawing your own. While this may sound like a chore, it’s actually quite addicting and makes for some added fun. The story isn’t terribly heavy, but it works to draw you from chapter to chapter. You can also pilot an airship in 3D and explore several maps for all sorts of hidden areas, dungeons, and enemies. It even has great post game content.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
Back in 2003, when the Wind Waker was released, I was a bit unsure. Especially after the change from Space World 2000 till release. But once I got my hands on it, I felt the magic of the art style and the vision of an open sea. It truly was a masterpiece. One that I felt stood the test of time. I was a little surprised to see this game get the HD treatment but I wasn’t upset. The game looks great in HD and it’s great to be able to sale the open seas once again. It would have been wonderful if they did add in the two cut dungeons and if they had, this game would most likely be higher on my list. Regardless, it’s a great Zelda adventure and it makes me look forward to what they have in store for the next Zelda on Wii U.
Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Mirror of Fate
The original Lord of Shadow was certainly one of those love it or hate it games, but I thought it was okay. I was most intrigued with the story. When they announced that Mirror of Fate would show us what happened next and link Gabriel Belmont with Trever, Simon, and Alucard, I really wanted to see how they would handle it. From a story perspective, I was very pleased with playing through the 4 chapters of Mirror of Fate. The game-play is a throwback to the old school Castlevania’s with some elements of the Metroidvania’s of more recent times. While not a perfect game, there is a lot here to like. The atmosphere fits well and the character and enemy designs fit with the overall design. Occasionally I had a few control issues, but they weren’t big. This game is often overlooked but if you’re a fan of the series, you really should give it a chance.

Hasssan
Super Mario 3D World
The HD graphics make this latest 3D Mario title really pop. The great level design always keeps you interested in the game, and there is plenty of variety in what you’ll find. Multiplayer is also a blast, bringing extra chaotic fun to the game, and it’s nice to have different characters with different abilities to choose from.
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
This latest entry in the franchise is the most fresh and full experience to date. There is more content in this game than ever before, keeping you entertained for long periods of time. And now being the mayor of the town, the game adds new elements of customization not seen in previous installments. Playing online is fun as always, and the island offers a range of fun games to play. All in all, this game seemingly never ends for me as I often get sucked into game world from time to time.
The Wonderful 101
This game has a steep learning curve, but once you conquer it, the gameplay just clicks. The game gets so chaotic and you never know what to expect next, but rather than make it frustrating, the game’s characters and story provide the entertainment and keep you hooked. This is definitely a must buy for Wii U owners.
Pokemon X/Y (click for review)
After the series had started to feel stale to me, Pokemon X/Y come in and add some much needed change. Having a 3D overworld and 3D Pokemon models makes the world more fun to explore, and there are so many Pokemon packed in here. Add in the super easy to use internet options, and you have the ultimate Pokemon game.

Alex
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
I received A Link Between World for Christmas, but had to wait about seven hours to even start a new file as my father had run off with my 3DS and the game. By the time I had caught up to him we were both three quarters of the way through our quests and had experienced very different parts of Lorule. I found myself going “woah, where’d you get THAT item?”, and he would ask me the same. It really did remind me of the original Legend of Zelda, where you can go pretty much everywhere from the get-go. I really hope Nintendo expands on this formula in the upcoming Wii U Zelda title, as it was a fantastic gaming experience.
Super Mario 3D World
3D World didn’t grab me at first. Sure, it looked absolutely stunning, but the gameplay was exactly what I expected aside from the new cat suit, and the level of creativity wasn’t as mind-blowing as other websites were making it out to be. All that got flipped on its head a few worlds into the game. Gathering all the stars and stamps became increasingly more difficult and creative new challenges were constantly being thrown at me. Towards the end of the seventh world the game was starting to kick my butt, and when I truly got hooked. I love difficult games, and Mario’s latest adventure certainly did not disappoint in that respect. Despite some weird depth perception issues, 3D World is a truly fantastic game that you simply have to play.
Rayman Legends
On the podcast, I explained that Rayman Legends is my personal game of the year. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted from a 2D platformer – dynamic levels, gorgeous visuals, excellent music and tons of challenges to overcome. Unlike in New Super Mario Bros. where the backgrounds are often static and boring, Legends‘ are full of life and motion. There are always things to look at, and almost each area is distinct from the last. Factor in the online Challenges mode, where players can compete for the best completion times across new courses every day and week, as well as unlockable, remade levels from Rayman Origins and you’ve not only got one of the best 2D platformers on Wii U, but one if its top-tier games.
The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Ages/Seasons (click for 5 things to love)
The Oracle games were my favourite 2D Zelda games until A Link Between Worlds came around. They both feature excellent puzzles, colorful characters, and worlds chock full of secrets and unlockables to discover. Ages is the more puzzle-oriented of the two, while Seasons has a larger focus on action and combat, but both are absolutely fantastic. The best part? After you’ve played through one, you unlock a special code that will treat the other game as a sort of “second quest”, where characters from the first game you played return to interact with you and send you off on additional quests so you can acquire more powerful weapons than you could if you just played one of the games.
Earthbound (click for review)
I’ve never played a game half as fascinating as Earthbound. Hiding below what seems like a typical RPG are some of the weirdest and funniest characters you’ll ever encounter, an intriguing and unique combat system, an adventure unlike any other. You’ll trap zombies in a gigantic circus tent, encounter strange creatures called Mr. Saturns, and even find a hidden paradise full of Dinosaurs deep underground. Earthbound will constantly surprise you, make you laugh, and keep you glued to your screen for hours and hours and hours.

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About the author:

When Alex was young, he used to cry whenever his parents tried to hand him a game controller. Having complete control over the life of a red-clad Italian plumber was just too daunting to him. Nowadays, he only cries when the controller’s taken away.

Hailing from the frigid tundras of Canada, Alex plays video games not only to entertain himself, but also as a source of warmth to get him through the winter. He loves all genres of video games, the more difficult the better. Some of his current favourites include VVVVVV, Pikmin 3 and Rayman Legends.

Alex – who has written posts on NintendoFuse.


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