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.
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. We also combined our eShop and regular “most wanted” awards this year, mostly due to a (at the time of voting) lack of knowledge of many eShop games on the way.
2016 marks a year of transition for Nintendo, with a new portable console on the way, as well as their first real dip into mobile gaming. Things were a bit slow on the current platforms, but there were certainly still some gems, and there is a lot to look forward to!
A brand new category! This is the first year of our Mobile GOTY awards, and although there are only 3 entries, they all made a pretty big impression on Nintendo fans. But which one came out on top?
And the winner is…
Pokémon GO (74 points)
Runner-up: Super Mario Run (57 points)
Not quite: Miitomo (22 points)
You just can’t beat Pokémon! Pokémon GO wasn’t just a game, it was a worldwide phenomena, and that helped propel it to a decent victory over Super Mario Run. The social network / sort of game Miitomo couldn’t quite hang with the others.
3DS Most Wanted
Did you think the 3DS was dead? Nope! We still have quite a fair amount of great content coming, including some new spins on familiar properties and a brand new franchise.
And the winner is…
Lady Layton: The Millionaire Ariadone's Conspiracy (44 points)
Runner-ups: Dragon Quest VIII: Journey of the Cursed King (41 points) Dragon Quest XI: In Search of Departed Time (37 points)
Not quite: Ever Oasis (33 points) BOXBOY 3 (31 points) Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World (6 points)
It was a very close race, but Lady Layton pulled ahead at the last moment to edge out a pair of Dragon Quest games. Fans of Layton are looking forward to the first mainline game starring his daughter. In the battle of the Dragon Quests the port of VIII barely topped the brand new XI, but both were heavily anticipated. Brand new RPG Ever Oasis and the third iteration of the popular BOXBOY eShop series were close behind, while poor Poochy & Yoshi barely picked up any points. Perhaps most of us have already played the game on the Wii U?
3DS eShop GOTY
It wasn’t a bad year for the 3DS eShop, which included a lot of sequels / remixes / etc. of some beloved properties. Not bad at all.
Rhythm Heaven: Megamix barely squeezes above Phoenix Wright, but both of them put up quite a hearty battle! The first sequel to Picross 3D also puts up some solid numbers, as well as the sequel to BOXBOY! Azure Striker’s sequel falls a bit behind, while Noitu Love gets little love. Yeah I said it.
3DS was still kicking strong in the retail space in 2016, with a bunch of hot titles, including a few that had multiple versions.
Not quite: Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma (26 points) Dragon Quest VII: Fragments of the Forgotten Past (22 points) Final Fantasy Explorers (12 points)
You just can’t top Pokémon! Pokémon Sun / Moon won our 3DS GOTY awards by a pretty solid margin. Fire Emblem, Kirby, Zero Escape and Dragon Quest VII all battled strong in the middle of the pack, while Final Fantasy Explorers fell a bit behind the others.
Console Most Wanted
The reason this is console most wanted and not Switch most wanted is a certain Zelda game that many people are still anticipating playing on the Wii U. Otherwise we have a load of Switch games on the way and many of them are highly anticipated.
And the winner is…
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (101 points)
Runner-ups: Super Mario Odyssey (82 points) Splatoon 2 (27 points)
The amazing looking Super Mario Odyssey put up a good fight, but in the end nothing could top The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Whether you plan to play it on the Wii U or the Switch, it is sure to be an amazing time. Splatoon 2 finished in a distant third, with Xenoblade Chronicles 2 and Yooka-Laylee not too far behind. ARMS looks interesting, but it just didn’t have enough to get NWers more excited.
Wii U eShop GOTY
The Wii U might be on the way out, but it still received a pretty solid crop of eShop titles, including a game from one of our own, as well as strategy games, platformers, and… whatever Severed is.
Not quite: Severed (11 points) Noitu Love: Devolution (6 points) Chronicles of Teddy: Harmony of Exidus (3 points)
Tadpole Treble swam its way to our hearts and the top of our list with its unique rhythm-based gameplay (disclosure: this is the one developed by one of our own), with SteamWorld Heist not too far behind. Jotun barely edged out Severed for its spot in the top 3, while Noitu Love and Teddy couldn’t quite stand up with the rest.
Wii U GOTY
It may not have been the most proliferous year for the Wii U, but there were still some great games to spend your time on, including a Paper Mario sequel that surprised many with its quality and an oddball pair-up between Persona and Fire Emblem, among others.
And the winner is…
Paper Mario: Color Splash (54 points)
Runner-ups: Star Fox Zero (33 points) Tokyo Mirage Session #FE (25 points)
Not quite: Pokkén Tournament (19 points) Minecraft: Wii U Edition (10 points) Star Fox Guard (9 points)
Paper Mario: Color Splash wins our 2016 Wii U GOTY without much trouble, though the often controversial Star Fox Zero managed to put up a decent fight. Tokyo Mirage Session and Pokkén fill out the middle of the pack, while Minecraft and Star Fox Guard just didn’t have what it takes to compete.
PS. Thanks again to the members of the Negative World for a solid, if not particularly standout 2016 on NW! As usual I was pretty deep in game development so if I wasn’t as attentive to things around here as I should have been, I apologize.
Nothing too wild this year, although I was honestly a bit surprised by Lady Layton because she was sitting in 4th or so up until nearly the end. I even went and double checked the votes / people who voted just to see if it was some kind of weird alternate account thing by a huge Layton fan but nah, everyone who voted was a known regular. Rhythm Heaven was another late win, Phoenix Wright was leading that one from the start to nearly the end, but Rhythm Heaven popped up on top at the buzzer.
The rest of the winners were fairly well decided early on, though there were a lot of changes in the runner-ups.