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.
It wasn’t the biggest year for the 3DS, but a pair of Zelda games, some key RPGs and a few solid eShop titles kept players busy throughout the year.
3DS eShop Most Wanted
While the 3DS is certainly slowing down, the eShop still has some solid titles on the way, albeit a full 5/6 of our most wanted nominations came from just 2 studios.
Not quite: Treasurenauts (11 points) Mutant Mudds: Super Challenge (5 points) Dementium II: Remastered (3 points)
BOXBOY! Was a surprise hit from Nintendo's Hal Laboratory in 2015, and apparently NWers want more, as the recently announced sequel is our 3DS eShop most wanted game for 2016 and beyond. Might No. 9's 2 year most wanted winning streak was ended as it slipped until second, with a sequel to another Mega Man clone right behind it! Renegade Studio's trio of upcoming games just didn't quite hit the mark, but at least they're still supporting the 3DS!
3DS eShop GOTY
It might not have been the busiest year for the 3DS eShop, but we definitely got some gems, many of which were surprise announcements that we didn't know about last year.
Not quite: Stretchmo (24 points) Mario vs Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars (18 points)
Image & Form's SteamWorld Dig was a big game at Negative World, which only missed its chance at an award in 2013 because a new Phoenix Wright game released on the eShop the same year. Heist may be a brand new concept, but we loved it just the same, and it edged out newcomer BOXBOY! for our 3DS eShop GOTY. The Gunman Clive sequel and the not really even a game Nintendo Badge Arcade tie for third, while Stretchmo sits just a point behind and Mario vs Donkey Kong not far behind that. Close race for third place!
3DS Most Wanted
Whether the NX handheld hits in 2016 as rumored or not, there are still plenty of 3DS games to play on the way, including many RPGs and point & click adventures.
And the winner is…
Fire Emblem Fates (75 points)
Runner-ups: Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam (69 points) Zero Escape: Zero Time Dilemma (40 points)
Not quite: Ace Attorney 6 (26 points) Bravely Second: End Layer (25 points) Dragon Quest XI: In Search of Departed Time (19 points)
It's tough to beat a new Fire Emblem, especially one that looks as stunning as Fates, though the already out and playable as of this posting Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam sure came close! The third Zero Escape game took the number 3 spot, but Ace Attorney 6, Bravely Second and Dragon Quest XI all put up solid numbers as well.
A pair of Zelda games, a bunch of RPGs and more were in the mix for our best 3DS game of 2016.
And the winner is…
The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes (58 points)
Runner-ups: The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D (33 points) Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (23 points)
Not quite: Xenoblade Chronicles 3D (22 points) Code Name S.T.E.A.M. (21 points) The Legend of Legacy (2 points)
It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that the new multiplayer Zelda game Tri Force Heroes takes our 3DS GOTY award, though the remake of a Zero personal favorite Majora's Mask put up an ok fight. Monster Hunter 4, Xenoblade Chronicles 3D and Code Name S.T.E.A.M. all finished within mere points of each other, while The Legend of Legacy barely got any votes at all.
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!