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Negative World 2019 GOTY Awards
by 
(Editor-in-chief)
January 28, 2020, 16:27
 
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 these awards we stick to games that appear on Nintendo platforms only.

Also, for these awards we define eShop as anything that seems more focused on the eShop than retail (indies, etc.), while our regular awards apply to games that seem more focused on a retail release. There is no clear line between the two and we do the best we can to put games into the categories that make the most sense!

So let’s get to it!


Best Visuals

It wasn’t a huge year for visually stunning games on Nintendo platforms, but we definitely had a solid group of lookers to choose from!

And the winner is…



Luigi's Mansion 3 (61 points)

Runner-ups:
Cuphead (47 points)
Astral Chain (20 points)

Not quite:
Yoshi's Crafted World (17 points)
Sayonara Wild Hearts (9 points)
Alien: Isolation (3 points)

It was a close battle, but Luigi’s Mansion 3’s lush and varied 3D environments beat out Cuphead’s spectacular 2D art as our best looking Nintendo game of 2019. Nothing else was really close, though Astral Chain and Yoshi’s Crafted World had a nice little battle for 3rd place.


Best Audio

We saw lots of great music in 2019 from staple Nintendo franchises and indie games alike.

And the winner is…



Cadence of Hyrule - Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda (56 points)

Runner-ups:
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (44 points)
Fire Emblem: Three Houses (26 points)

Not quite:
Sayonara Wild Hearts (19 points)
Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth (15 points)
Pokémon Sword / Shield (11 points)

It’s hard to beat out a Zelda game in the music category, but apparently the way to do it is to be... another Zelda game? The remake of Link’s Awakening couldn’t quite stand with the excellent indie effort Cadence of Hyrule (yeah, indie Zelda games are a thing now.) It’s fitting that a Zelda game based on rhythm would win this award! The rest of the competitors fell around the same place without much drama.


Best Narrative

RPGs led the way for narrative experiences this year, but there were plenty of other great ones as well.

And the winner is…



Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age Definitive Edition (50 points)

Runner-ups:
Fire Emblem: Three Houses (41 points)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (24 points)

Not quite:
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (22 points)
Sayonara Wild Hearts (7 points)
Pokémon Sword / Shield (1 point)

With lots of great RPGs and more to choose from, Dragon Quest XI comes out on top for narrative. I still haven’t played this game yet, so I won’t spoil the narrative for myself by looking anything up on it, but I trust NWers that it’s a good one! Fire Emblem and the port of Witcher 3 round out our top picks.


Mobile GOTY

Four Nintendo mobile games in a single year? I mean yeah, half of them were Pokémon games, but that’s not bad!

And the winner is…



Dr. Mario World (44 points)

Runner-up:
Mario Kart Tour (18 points)

Not quite:
Pokémon Masters (17 points)
Pokémon Rumble Rush (9 points)

Dr. Mario World kills it in our mobile awards, more than doubling the closest competitors. A very solid take on a tried and true classic is a tough one to beat. Mario Kart Tour and Pokémon Masters also got some love.


3DS GOTY

The 3DS is still kicking around, with a mix of new games and ports to check out.

And the winner is…



Persona Q2: New Cinema Labyrinth (19 points)

Runner-ups:
Etrian Odyssey Nexus (14 points) (tie)
Shovel Knight: King of Cards (14 points) (tie)

Not quite:
Kirby’s Extra Epic Yarn (13 points) (tie)
Yo-Kai Watch 3 (13 points) (tie)
Mario & Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story + Bowser Jr's Journey (9 points)

We didn’t get a lot of votes in this category this year, but it was a close one that came down to the wire, with the second game in a spin-off of a spin-off, Persona Q2, taking that top spot right at the end. Try it out if you want to know who Joker from Smash Bros. is! The rest of the pack all fell right in closely behind, with a lot of ties.


Switch eShop Most Wanted

A few surprise announcements near the end of the year made this an interesting category to watch this time around.

And the winner is…



Hollow Knight: Silksong (52 points)

Runner-ups:
Sports Story (31 points)
Axiom Verge 2 (16 points)

Not quite:
SuperMash (14 points)
Kentucky Route Zero: TV Edition (8 points)
Super Meat Boy Forever (4 points)

Hollow Knight was our 2018 eShop GOTY, so it is no surprise that the sequel is our most wanted eShop game. Nothing else really came close, though Sports Story, the sequel to Golf Story, also got a lot of votes. I’m personally a bit surprised that Axiom Verge 2, the follow-up to a great Metroidvania (starring a protagonist that looks just like me), didn’t get a few more points.


Switch eShop GOTY

Yet again there were a ton of great eShop games on the Switch this year, so narrowing it down to 6 nominations was tough.

And the winner is…



Tetris 99 (43 points)

Runner-ups:
Cadence of Hyrule - Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda (29 points) (tie)
Untitled Goose Game (29 points) (tie)


Not quite:
Baba Is You (27 points)
Yooka-Laylee and the Impossible Lair (23 points)
Shovel Knight: King of Cards (20 points)


We had a lot of great indie games again this year, but nothing can top a free-to-play 100 simultaneous player battle royale Tetris game! It’s amazing how they keep finding new twists to add to the tried and true Tetris formula. The rest of the pack all scored about the same, with Cadence of Hyrule and Untitled Goose Game edging out the others for a second place tie.


Switch Most Wanted

Lots of big name Nintendo hitters are coming in the near future for the Switch, which ones are we most looking forward to?

And the winner is…



The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 (75 points)

Runner-ups:
Metroid Prime 4 (65 points)
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (24 points)

Not quite:
Bayonetta 3 (11 points)
Bravely Default 2 (9 points)
No More Heroes 3 (8 points)

In a fairly close battle, The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 pushed past Metroid Prime 4 to become our new most wanted Switch game! They’re both highly anticipated games with little to nothing known about them, but Breath of the Wild 2 at least got a small teaser trailer for it, while we still haven’t seen a lick of Metroid Prime 4. This surely helped Zelda take the top spot. Animal Crossing: New Horizons took a distant 3rd, while the rest were barely on the radar.


Switch GOTY

There was no clear killer GOTY Nintendo game in 2019, but that actually makes this category interesting. It was a tough one to predict for once!

And the winner is…



Luigi's Mansion 3 (56 points)

Runner-ups:
Super Mario Maker 2 (36 points)
Fire Emblem: Three Houses (26 points)

Not quite:
Ring Fit Adventure (22 points)
Pokémon Sword / Shield (21 points)
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (16 points)

This was actually a very close race for awhile, but a few key votes near the end gave Luigi’s Mansion 3 a solid win. A very deserving game with single player and couch co-op story modes, as well as local and online multiplayer co-op and battle modes, Luigi’s Mansion 3 has something for everyone! Super Mario Maker 2 also performed quite well, showing that NWers still want to create and play a variety of unique Mario stages. The rest of our nominations put up some solid numbers too, exemplifying a great year for Switch owners.


And that’s it for our GOTY 2019 awards. If you’re interested, you can view our GOTY results for past years here!

PS. Thanks again to the members of the Negative World for a solid 2019 on NW!

If you're reading this and not a member yet, get yourself signed up, ok? You can sign up right now in less than a minute. All accounts are totally free! Go for it!

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Posted: 01/28/20, 16:27  - Edit:  01/28/20, 16:32
 
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Zelda's sound design was fantastic. I voted for it taking the top spot. The music is stellar but then I really dig all the sounds too. I mean, that teleport sound? YUM.

Posted by 
 on: 01/28/20, 20:20
Who here ever got first place in Tetris 99? I never did...

Posted by 
 on: 01/28/20, 21:17
I look at the art and graphics of Luigi's Mansion 3 and it is almost painful how great it is. I know other games are different, and require different coding/processing and whatnot but DANG that thing should be the new bar everything on Switch shoots for!

And yeah, I'm looking at you, Animal Crossing. U-G-L-Y, you ain't got no alibi you ugly, yeah, yeah, you ugly.

Posted by 
 on: 01/28/20, 22:07
Overall, I'd say this was easily the best year of the Switch. Here's to another good one in 2020!

Thanks for compiling these Zero.

@Secret_Tunnel I was one of the 999 winners in the June Maximus Cup, but I never really tried playing since then so I don't know if the competition got more fierce.

Posted by 
 on: 01/28/20, 22:17
This was a better-than-expected (last) year for 3DS.

Sayonara, 3D-dual screen.

Posted by 
 on: 01/30/20, 04:26
The real Year of Luigi.

Posted by 
 on: 01/30/20, 04:39
nate38's top 17 games played in 2019!
(that'd be all of them)
Games released in 2019 have ***Asterisks
Nintendo system games are in Red

17. POOL PANIC -- Finished all stages. Like its publisher Adult Swim, Pool Panic is off-kilter, unpolished, occasionally brilliant, and often annoying.
16. GOD OF WAR 2018 -- Boy, I don't know. I played for about 6-7 hours and just couldn't work up the enthusiasm to play more. I thought the formula shakeup would do great things for the franchise, but I may actually miss the goofy stupid slashery of the old stuff.
***15. UMIHARA KAWASE FRESH -- Finished the story and some of the challenge stages. The open-world style was a big step backwards, unfortunately.
14. BLADE STRANGERS -- Finished story mode and the combo training mode as all characters. Decently fun and stylish fighter.
13. ICONOCLASTS -- Beat the game on Normal. Pretty good Metroidvania, great sprite art and animations, sorta interesting story. But it just felt like something was missing for me.
***12. BOXBOY + BOXGIRL -- Finished all campaigns, got all crowns and medals and cosmetics. I think these games have gotten easier with each entry.
11. SNAKE PASS -- Finished all stages. 80% completion. Fun experimental game.
10. UNCHARTED 4: A THIEF'S END -- Finished the game on normal difficulty. Uncharted makes a much smaller impression in 2019 than it did in 2009.
***9. SHOVEL KNIGHT SHOWDOWN -- Finished story mode on Normal with every character. Fun party platform-fighter.
***8. SUPER KIRBY CLASH -- Finished all Story quests and Party quests. Sometimes less is more, and I think this line of Boss Rush Kirby games fits my preferences more than the mainline games anymore.
***7. BLOODSTAINED: RITUAL OF THE NIGHT -- Finished the game. It's Igavania, all right. Not the best Igavania, but not the worst either.
6. GOLF STORY -- 100%, except for GALF. Pretty good golf, pretty good story.
***5. UNTITLED GOOSE GAME -- Finished all tasks. Honked a lot.
***4. CADENCE OF HYRULE: CRYPT OF THE NECRODANCER FEATURING THE LEGEND OF ZELDA -- Completed the regular story, single-character mode, co-op, and Octavo's Ode. I don't think it quite surpasses the original*, but it mashes up CotN and LoZ very nicely into its own flavor. *Maybe now with the more roguelite-ish Dungeon Mode it'll have the same replayability as the original...
***3. SHOVEL KNIGHT: KING OF CARDS -- Finished the game, got all medals, finished all Challenges. Maybe the best Shovel Knight game yet.
2. MARBLE IT UP! -- Finished all the singleplayer content currently available, played just about all of the weekly Challenge stages. Some games just scratch a very specific itch just right. Definitely looking forward to the Mayhem update.
1. CELESTE -- Finished all A-sides, B-sides, C-sides, and Chapter 9. I said I'd never play another die-and-retry platformer after The End Is Nigh. I'm glad I changed my mind for this one.

Posted by 
 on: 01/30/20, 05:32  - Edit:  01/30/20, 05:36
ROR2 is honestly a GOTY contender. Such a great game.

If we had a multiplayer category it woulda swept that at least.

Posted by 
 on: 01/30/20, 09:40
@nate38 What about Killer Queen Black? Where would that place?

Posted by 
 on: 01/30/20, 19:03
@Secret_Tunnel I think my best was, like, 20th...

@TheBigG753 THE YEAR OF LUIGI WILL LAST A THOUSAND YEARS

@Mop it up I didn't really play it until earlier this month, so it doesn't go on the 2019 list for me. And I haven't played that much of it yet, but if I had to smoosh it in there it'd go in, like, the 6-9 range for me.

Posted by 
 on: 01/31/20, 01:07
@nate38

What is the worst Igavania IYO?

Posted by 
 on: 01/31/20, 01:44
@GameDadGrant

#8 Harmony of Dissonance
#7 Circle of the Moon
#6 Ritual of the Night
#5 Aria of Sorrow
#4 Portrait of Ruin
#3 Dawn of Sorrow
#2 Symphony of the Night
#1 Order of Ecclesia

And I have a soft spot for Harmony of Despair, the multiplayer spinoff for 360/PS3. That was surprisingly fun for a multiplayer grind that recycled assets even more than the series usually does.

Posted by 
 on: 01/31/20, 02:57
A good list, for once! It's hard to disagree with many of those. Good job, guys!

@Secret_Tunnel
I just got my second Maximus the other day! I thought that it would never happen again...

Posted by 
 on: 02/01/20, 14:56  - Edit:  02/01/20, 14:57
@nate38

I appreciate that you put Dawn of Sorrow above Aria of Sorrow. I’ve always felt the DS game was superior to the GBA game, but few people seem to agree.

Also, not sure if we can count Circle of the Moon, since IGA didn’t have anything to do with that one.

Posted by 
 on: 02/01/20, 20:26
@GameDadGrant
Dawn is definitely more expansive, but it's also grindier. Aria is so tight. It's almost a perfectly constructed game.

Posted by 
 on: 02/01/20, 21:04  - Edit:  02/01/20, 21:04
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