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 doesn’t mean that we don’t 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 3DS and Nintendo Wii U, each of which have 4 awards; eShop Most Wanted, eShop GOTY, Most Wanted, and GOTY. For the sake of these awards we define eShop as anything that appears in North America 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 in North America as a retail product
The Wii U in 2015 arguably lacked that one killer game that stands above the rest, but that made for an interesting GOTY battle for once! Some new IPs and some old friends combined to make a decent, if a bit slow year for the Wii U.
Wii U eShop Most Wanted
The Wii U might be struggling for 3rd party support, but the eShop is still picking up a fair amount of solid titles.
Not quite: Shantae: Half-Genie Hero (31 points) Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night(25 points) SteamWorld Heist (17 points)
A spiritual successor to Banjo-Kazooie from many of the team members who worked on said game is tough to beat, though our very own Matthew's Tadpole Treble did make it a battle. Just like on handhelds, our previous most wanted winner for 2 years in a row Mighty No. 9 slipped a bit, though it managed to hold out against Shantae to stay in the top 3. The Castlevania-inspired Bloodstained follows up, and SteamWorld Heist takes the last spot, though surely it would have fared better if it were not already out on the 3DS.
Wii U eShop GOTY
We had a pretty good mix of nominations for the Wii U eShop GOTY this year, ranging from platformers to puzzle games to racing games, a game about programming and more!
And the winner is…
FAST Racing NEO (50 points)
Runner-ups: Freedom Planet (28 points) Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (18 points)
Not quite: Human Resource Machine (16 points) Runbow (11 points) OlliOlli (3 points)
Heavily inspired by Nintendo fan favorite F-Zero GX, FAST Racing NEO speeds ahead to grab our Wii U eShop GOTY award. Sonic-inspired Freedom Planet takes second while Mario vs Donkey Kong edges out Zero favorite Human Resource Machine and Runbow to fill out the top 3. OlliOlli, a great little game, might have come too late to get much attention.
Wii U Most Wanted
There isn't a whole lot that we know of coming to the Wii U, but there are definitely some big hitters on the way.
And the winner is…
The Legend of Zelda: Wii U (141 points)
Runner-ups: Star Fox Zero (68 points) Pikmin 4 (48 points)
Not quite: Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem (25 points) Pokkén Tournament (10 points) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (0 points)
There aren't many games as anticipated as a new Legend of Zelda game, and although details are still a bit sparse, the upcoming Wii U (maybe?) Zelda game is by far our most wanted Wii U game, though Star Fox Zero and the acknowledged in development with no details given Pikmin 4 did alright as well. The SMT X FE and Pokémon X Tekken crossovers both picked up some votes, while Twilight Princess HD couldn't garner a single vote.
Wii U GOTY
While not the most prolific year of the Wii U, 2015 saw some new ideas and some twists on old ones, and we got a pretty decent set of games to play with.
And the winner is…
Splatoon (102 points)
Runner-ups: Super Mario Maker (82 points) Xenoblade Chronicles X (49 points)
Not quite: Yoshi's Woolly World (25 points) Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (7 points) Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water (0 points)
Splatoon came from nowhere to dominate the consciousness of not just typical Nintendo fans, but gamers as a whole, leading to one of the most devoted Internet fanbases I have ever seen for a game. Suffice to say it stole our hearts at Negative World as well, though Super Mario Maker put up a pretty good fight. A sequel to one of our previous GOTY games, Xenoblade Chronicles X only managed to take third this time around, with Yoshi and Kirby following behind. Poor Fatal Frame just couldn't get any attention, not even a single vote.
PS. Thanks again to the members of the Negative World for an excellent 2015! Sorry I wasn't around as much as in the past, game dev is serious business! 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!
2015 was my favorite year for the Wii U so far. Splatoon was a surprising phenomenon that completely swept me up in its inky tidal wave, and Super Mario Maker is a delightfully kooky canvas that has inspired so much creativity from its players. Those two games kept me from finishing and even starting some games last year!
But 2016 could be even better! Both Most Wanted categories are filled games that I'm very excited about.
2015 was a pretty weak year for Wii U for me personally, but I can see why I'm an outlier. Splatoon's a legitimate sensation, Super Mario Maker is a dream come true for so many people, and solid titles like Xenoblade Chronicles X, Yoshi's Woolly World, and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse filled out a lot of the year. And considering I played hundreds of hours of Smash throughout the year, it's not like my Wii U collected dust...
Glad to see Freedom Planet got some love, too. That's my personal Wii U GOTY, easily.
I haven't played too much Wii U this year, but it was a great year nonetheless. Mario Maker has been a ton of fun, what I played of Woolly World was great and I really ought to get back to Xenoblade X as that game is fantastic to play.
If Splatoon offered Wii remote and nunchuck support, I could totally see this game being my GOTY, as it looks like something I'd enjoy the heck out of. I just can't get used to the controls. Or maybe I just don't want to? I think I voted for Super Mario Maker, with Woolly World being a very close second. Definitely looking forward to all the most wanted games, especially Yooka-Laylee. I just hope they change up the gaming formula for Pikmin 4. Not sure how, but I think it needs a refresh. And I definitely need to try out Freedom Planet.
I personally voted for Super Mario Maker, but I think I put Splatoon in second, and not really surprised it won since it offered some fresh gameplay. I had to go with Super Mario Maker though, as making Mario levels is something I've thought about since I was little. I've also been impressed at the large variety of levels possible, as I was worried the toolset might be a bit limited, and there are even some things you won't find in normal Mario games.
This was definitely the best year of the Wii U so far, and I think it will remain that way even if Zelda U is awesome (and releases), and Pikmin 4 is real and comes out.
@NoName Agreed, Splatoon might be my number one if it had control options. And if my level of enjoyment weren't at the mercy of the awful rotation system.
@Zero Yeah, I generally use the sticks (with sensitivity turned down), but I try the gyro every now and then to see if I can get the hang of it. Hasn't happened yet, it just feels too unintuitive. I don't think the stick controls work very well either though, because they don't respond to slight movements very well.