Before we get started, I want to clarify to anyone who has stumbled upon our GOTY awards that we are a Nintendo-focused site, and our awards reflect that. This doesnít mean that we donít love and play games on other platforms, but for the sake of our GOTY awards, we stick to games that appear on Nintendo platforms only.
This year we have divided our awards into two categories, Nintendo handhelds and Nintendo consoles, each of which have 5 awards; virtual console GOTY, eShop Most Wanted, eShop GOTY, Most Wanted, and GOTY. For the sake of these awards we define eShop as anything that appears as a digital download only (IE cannot be bought at a store as a retail product), while our regular awards apply to anything that can be bought as a retail product. In the future this distinguishment will probably disappear as the lines between retail and digital become more and more blurred, but for now, it works.
2012 was a pretty prime year for Nintendo handhelds, with the 3DS finally getting a full year to shine, both in the digital and retail space, and the DS having a few surprises up its sleeves as well. We saw a few mini-droughts and a couple of unfortunate delays (isnít this always the case?) but for the most part, it was a satisfying year for handheld gamers. But youíre not here to be bored with chatter, so letís get on with this!
Handheld VC GOTY
We decided that the handheld virtual VC GOTY would only include games that originally released on handhelds, lest the awards just be a mirror of the console VC GOTY awards. There was a decent mix of classics this time around, as well as a few gems that many of us passed over back when they originally released.
And the winner isÖ
Wario Land 2 (Game Boy Color) (91 points)
Runner-ups: Mole Mania (88 points) Kid Icarus: Of Myths and Monsters (39 points)
Not quite: Mario Golf (35 points) Dr. Mario (28 points) Kirby's Pinball Land (27 points)
Wow, that one came down to the buzzer! In the end though, the power of Wario cannot be matched (as is often the case at Negative World), and we loved his platforming romp, while newcomer (to most of us) and much loved retro game club game Mole Mania will have to be happy with a hard earned silver medal. Kid Icarus fills out our top three, sliding in right over Mario Golf, while Dr. Mario takes Kirby's Pinball Land by a single point.
Handheld eShop Most Wanted
It was actually pretty hard to get this list down to 6 choices, and many of the games that missed the cut were a bit too quirky to get mainstream support, but will probably be played and loved at Negative World nonetheless. If you havenít bought into the 3DS eShop yet, 2013 may be your year!
Runner-ups: Shantae and the Pirate's Curse (76 points) Picross e (61 points)
Not quite: Mutant Mudds 2 (37 points) (tie!) THE "DENPA" MEN 2 (37 points) (tie!) Ikachan (24 points)
Proving that the rhythm genre isnít dead as long as you have a good idea behind it (either that or proving that we just love Game Freak), Rhythm Hunter: HarmoKnight is our most wanted handheld eShop game looking forward to 2013! Shantae also puts up a good fight, and last yearís winner and perennial candidate Picross e will have to suffice with third this year. Maybe Nintendo will finally release it and get it off our most wanted list and onto our GOTY? Mutant Mudds 2 and ďDENPAĒ MEN 2 tie for fourth, while Pixelís Ikachan is in a lonely last place.
Handheld eShop GOTY
2012 may not have been the most prolific year for the eShop, but a couple of great latecomers (including a key Dec. 27th release) helps pad out a list that, while not overflowing with quantity, certainly contains enough quality to keep most Nintendo gamers happy.
Not quite: Zen Pinball 3D (27 points) NightSky (21 points) escapeVektor (13 points)
Pushmo took our eShop GOTY by a fair margin in 2011, and its sequel, Crashmo, wins it handily in 2012. We just canít get enough of block pushing goodness! Mutant Mudds represents platforming joy in second place while Fluidity: Spin Cycle, coming in last minute, swoops up third. Zen Pinball 3D and a Zero favorite, NightSky donít quite make the cut, and another latecomer, escapeVektor, flies in under the radar.
Handheld Most Wanted
Although the 3DS is definitely a satisfying platform, there are a couple of key games that we have been waiting on since the launch of the system, and we continue to wait into 2013. Only half of the games from our handheld most wanted 2011 have actually released in 2012, so we have a chance to see which of the ones left over are still desired and which have maybe dropped a bit in mindshare.
And the winner isÖ
Luigiís Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS) (102 points)
Runner-ups: Animal Crossing: New Leaf (95 points) Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney (79 points)
Not quite: Monster Hunter 4 (53 points) Fire Emblem: Awakening (52 points) Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate (27 points)
Luigiís Mansion: Dark Moon takes it with a solid 7 point lead! Meanwhile Animal Crossing: New Leaf, which was last place in our 2011 handheld most wanted, moves up to second (perhaps because we actually know some concrete things about it now?) while Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney, only 3 points behind Luigiís Mansion in 2011, drops hard (hey, I still want it bad!) Monster Hunter barely edges out Fire Emblem for fourth, and Castlevania canít quite make the cut.
Ok here it is, the big one. Well, the big one for handhelds anyway! I think a lot of us here at Negative World probably know exactly what to expect, and maybe a lot of non-members have an idea what to expect as well. There were a lot of great games to release on the handhelds in 2012, but only one can be crowned GOTY.
And the winner isÖ
Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS) (141 points)
Runner-ups: Paper Mario: Sticker Star (75 points) New Super Mario Bros. 2 (64 points)
Not quite: Resident Evil: Revelations (57 points) Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask (28 points) Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward (26 points)
Shocked? Probably not, but considering that Kid Icarus: Uprising finished our 2011 handheld most wanted poll in fourth place, only a single point above Resident Evil: Revelations, a lot has changed in a year! Iím not entirely sure what we all expected from this game, but what we got was a fully polished, varied, epic experience with some of the best voice-acting in a Nintendo game (or really, any game) yet. Our most wanted handheld winner of 2011, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, will have to live with a distant second place finish, while New Super Mario Bros. 2 pulls ahead of Resident Evil: Revelations for third. Layton (franchise fatigue?) and Zero Escape (people hate awesomeness?) canít quite hang with the rest.
PS. And even once more I'd like to take this moment to thank the members of the Negative World for an excellent 2012! You guys and girls are the best and you know it. And if you're reading this and not a member yet, get yourself signed up, ok? You can sign up right now for free in less than a minute. Go for it!
It's not 'no interest,' it's just 'less interest' than some of the other games. The DSiWare game Risky's Revenge was good, but I didn't love it as much as some of my fellow gamers, many who praised the game endlessly. Obviously, if WayForward improves on the game even more and make this the best in the Shantae series, I will gladly download it!
Oh, I gotcha. That makes more sense.
Yeah, WayForward's Shantae is probably the best original game series (it's a series now, right?) they've done. It's all very high-quality stuff and you can tell they put a lot of effort into it. And the games are fun, which is always a necessity of course. I was just surprised by the "no interest" statement. But I understand now.