This is a list that I've been working on ever since December rolled around last year. It was yet another great year for Nintendo gaming, with lots of great stuff available from both Nintendo's own first-party studios, and several third-party publishers as well. It was actually rather difficult trying to whittle down a list of "just" ten great games that I've played over the last twelve months. But I think I've finally got it down to my favorites of last year, and I'll list 'em all below for your viewing enjoyment.
I must thank TheBigG753 for his list of top games of 2014, because his list finally gave me the inspiration (read: "kick in the pants") to finally get mine done and out the proverbial door. So here it is: GameDadGrant's list of Top 10 Favorite Games of 2014!
Woah Dave is the first to be mentioned. This game is pure...bliss? Chaos? A little bit of both, perhaps? It definitely harkens back to the old days of coin-op arcade machines, where the controls and game design are deceptively simple, yet the challenge becomes greater and greater the longer you play. In this single-screen action game, you play as "Dave Lonuts" and you have him scurry around the stage, jumping on platforms, picking up objects and then throwing said objects at aliens to destroy them. ....and that's basically the entire game.
I had an absolute blast with this one. It's short, it's sweet, but man. Chasing after those high scores is such a rush! And the simple yet catching (yet never distracting) music beat pumping in the background adds to the charm. The sound effects will feel like a rush of nostalgia for Nintendo fans, and the pick-up-and-play accessibility fits the handheld perfectly. This was a surprise hit for me, and I'm glad I played it. Still am, in fact! Definitely check this one out, if you haven't already!
Oh, would you look at that? Square remembered how to make a classic RPG!
This was 2014's answer to 2013's Fire Emblem Awakening, IMO. While maybe not as satisfying as Intelligent Systems' classic SRPG, Square still came to the table with an epic adventure, complete with amazing visuals (check out that art direction!), fantastic music, and a very fun battle system. (the Job System is back! Huzzah!) This was a joy to play. I found it had equal parts new and nostalgic, I got a good amount of use out of the StreetPass feature, and had precious little to complain about. ....not to say there wasn't ANYTHING to complain about (some pacing issues have to be noted) but overall? This was still a very fun adventure, and a wonderful return to form for Square.
Here's hoping for an even better game with Bravely Second!
Mario Golf: World Tour
There wasn't much of "Mario" present this past year, but when one of his games came out, it was a pretty special thing. After a fairly long hiatus, the Mario Golf series makes a triumphant return to the handheld arena. Camelot made excellent use of the 3DS hardware, with some really great visuals, some solid use of the stereoscopic 3D, online play with tournaments, and even threw in a light "RPG" (kinda) mode.
Lots of stuff to unlock, optional DLC, and new mechanics (you can golf underwater!) tied together with the classic gameplay we know and love about Mario Golf, the 3DS's World Tour was a very welcome addition to 2014.
Nintendo introduced a new IP last year, and it was called Tomodachi Life. And I'm trying to be careful not to use the term "game" when describing this piece of software. Because...it's not really a game. I mean, it kind of is, in the same way that Animal Crossing is a game. One that you can play and enjoy, but is impossible to lose or get a 'Game Over' ever. This feels like an experiment is oddity, with random events taking place and your Miis reacting to them. I always felt like this was a flimsy premise for something coming from Nintendo, but...man. I don't know how they did it, but they got me coming back to this again and again, almost every day. Just to see what was going on. Who was doing what. Who was getting along with who, and so forth. I don't know why I did. But it was entertaining. So, on the list it goes.
I loved the "voice" work done in this, too. It was hilarious.
Pokémon: Omega Ruby/Alpha Sapphire
Not much to say about this one. I mean, we're on a Nintendo forum. Everyone here knows what Pokémon is. I felt last year's remake was particularly well done. Improved graphics and game mechanics over X/Y, tons of new stuff added from the original GBA games, and that same addictive quality that made this franchise the giant that it is today. I'm as hooked as ever, so this was a shoe-in (shoo-in?) for the list.
Gotta Catch 'Em All.
One of the most frustrating things as a Nintendo fan nowadays is the lack of new F-Zero games. (at least, in my humble opinion) Where are Wii U and 3DS players supposed to get their fix for current-gen, futuristic, high-speed racing thrills? Well, until Shin'en gets FAST: Racing League Neo out on Wii U, I highly recommend the AiRace series.
In the year prior, AiRace Speed was one of my favorite racing games. And the follow-up, (sequel?) Xeno, ups the ante. I feel like the speed is increased, and the challenges more...um, challenging. This is high-speed racing at it's best, and I've been loving this mostly all year long. This game has some really nice visuals, a thumping techno soundtrack, online leaderboards, and some improved controls over previous iterations of the game.
Highly recommended to racing fans.
Azure Striker Gunvolt
Speaking of frustrating, you know what else grinds my gears? Capcom and their unwillingness to develop or produce new Mega Man games. Well, Capcom's loss is our gain, as Inti Creates and Keji Inafune team up to deliver a high-action, stylish 2D platforming/shooter game with Azure Striker Gunvolt. This new title feels like a spiritual successor to the Mega Man Zero games, a series I absolutely adore. (you can download the first one on Wii U Virtual Console now!) The developers here made a game with tight controls, a unique combat system, and peppered in customization and exploration to make a great little downloadable for your 3DS. As a bonus? For the first several months of its release, you also got an 8-bit "de-make" called Mighty Gunvolt, which paid homage to the Mega Man games on NES.
Definitely worth checking out for 2D action fans. I really liked this one.
Well, this game seems to be going on everyone's list. And for good reason! It's excellent! Yacht Club Games' first project is a complete success, melding old-school game design with the right new-school techniques. A fantastic game, an instant classic....yadda yadda, you guys have heard praise over this game for what seems like forever now. You know it's good.
Theatrhythm: Final Fantasy - Curtain Call
Wow, TWO games from Square-Enix on this list? Geez, either that company was on a roll in 2014, or I'm some raging S-E fanboy. You choose. Take your time deciding. I'll wait.
In the meantime, may I just say how great this game is. Addictive rhythm-based gameplay to the (literal) tune of HUNDREDS of songs from Square's legendary soundtracks, and tons of stuff to unlock and discover. Head-to-head multiplayer, both local and online. An all-new quest mode. Challenges. StreetPass functionality. And optional DLC for those who can't get enough jams from Square.
The capper? There's even a Chrono Trigger track. This is easily one of my favorites of 2014. Highly recommended.
Super Smash Brothers for Nintendo 3DS/Wii U
Yup, who would have guessed? Negative World's most vocal (maybe only?) fighting game fan picked Nintendo's latest brawler as his favorite game of 2014. But I doubt anyone would blame me. Both the handheld and console versions pack in an AMAZING amount of content, sports some of the best visuals on either system, have legendary soundtracks, and so much content it's almost literally staggering. The teams at Namco and Sora did an amazing job, on both versions.
Highly recommended to anyone that owns a 3DS and/or a Wii U. One of the best games of 2014, if not THE best. And my overall favorite of 2014.
And there we have it. My favorite games of 2014. I'll add a couple more as "Honorable Mentions" below, as well as some of the games I'm most looking forward to this year. Thanks for reading, and happy gaming!
Honorable Mentions: Mario Kart 8 Fantasy Life Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth Xeodrifter Shantae and the Pirates' Curse Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars Rusty's Real Deal Baseball Steel Diver: Sub Wars Yoshi's NEW Island
Looking forward to in 2015: Mighty No. 9 The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D The Legend of Zelda (Wii U) Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Xenoblade Chronicles X Monster Hunter 4 ULTIMATE
Best platform: 3DS. No other system in 2014 had as many great games that you couldn't play anywhere else, and it's really not even close.
Biggest surprise:Ultimate NES Remix. This was a surprise announcement (kinda) since the developer (or director?) said that NES Remix couldn't have been done on 3DS. For some reason, it was only possible on Wii U. Which sounded questionable anyway, but I assumed that was just Nintendo's janky PR trying to tell us this game (these games?) were only going to be available on the console. I was pleasantly surprised they went ahead and put this on 3DS anyway. The high-score chasing is just as fun as it is on Wii U, and the portable nature of the 3DS makes this pick-up-and-play game a perfect fit for the platform.
Biggest disappointment: Amiibo. Not really the product itself, but how difficult it has been for some people to collect certain figures. Also, scalpers. Bah.
Best 2013 game I played in 2014:Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move. Got this from the Negative World Secret Santa exchange. Thanks for this, Charles!
Some indie games, you won't see those on very many GotY lists. Nice job.
If you were asking a question, I always thought it was "shoo-in," but Googling it brings up arguments over whether it's that or "shoe-in." The earliest known example appears to be "shoo-in," but people argue that's outdated and it should be "shoe-in," as in "get your shoe in the door." Interesting!
You know, I still have a demo for some 3DS AiRace on my system and I've played it several times and rather enjoy it. It kind of reminds me of unrealized potential from games along the lines of Sewer Shark. Nice to see such a big vote of confidence for the entirety of these games.
Its great to see Mario Golf getting some love, what a fantastic game it turned out to be. I will be playing it for years to come. Sad to see Fantasy Life not make on the list, I simply cannot stop playing it.
That was totally a copy/paste situation! I'm not ashamed at all! Though to be fair, your wording was so spot-on. Even if I wrote it myself, we would have said the same thing. And yeah! Definitely check out AiRace! There's a demo for AiRace: Speed on the eShop, so you can try before you buy!
Interestingly enough, much like the now-beloved SteamWorld: Dig, this series also began life on the DSiWare Shop. There were two versions. One was simply called AiRace and had you flying various kinds of airplanes around various locations. Cities and whatnot:
And there was another (cheaper) version called AiRace: Tunnel. This one had you racing (as the name would imply) through tunnels. And you'd have to guide your plane through said tunnel and avoid obstacles and such as you raced along.
The 3DS AiRace games take after the Tunnel version more, but thankfully ditch the (comparatively) boring bi-planes and such for futuristic high-speed aircraft and cooler-looking environments for you to fly through. Very highly recommended. The series is made by one guy, (I think) which is impressive. I think he's been interviewed on Radio Free Nintendo...or Nintendo World Report's Connectivity podcast. One or the other. Seems like a cool guy, and his games are an absolute blast. Definitely give it a try - at least the demo. It's good stuff.
Some people are apparently hopelessly addicted to it but I actually returned it at the store (they have a full refund option woo!) after a few days. It's sidequests galore, or at least that's how it felt like with the time I spent with it. Kill this, collect that, deliver this. It was driving me insane! A nice concept with all the various classes and style but just executed poorly.
Nice GOTY list but it annoys me when people list Bravely Default above Persona Q.