The past 12 months saw Nintendo support three consoles and announce another, so there was always going to be fierce competition for the ultimate prize of Nintendo Life Game of the Year 2011.
For the final verdict, Nintendo Life staff chose their number one game of 2011. No rankings, no tiers, just one vote each for the absolute best game of the year.
In the end it came down to two titles: Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Both titles received the same number of votes, leaving the directors and editor to make the final decision.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Link's stunning adventure was awarded a coveted 10/10 score in November and richly deserved every point. A triumph of visual and audio design married with one of the finest control systems we've ever used, Skyward Sword is a fantastic example of what Nintendo does best. As the conclusion to our The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword review put it:
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is a game of stunning creativity: the work of master craftsmen and women, it's a breathtaking technical achievement in many ways, with subtly beautiful visuals and audio blending with rampantly imaginative design. It's as good a Zelda game as we've ever played, and one that fully delivers on the revolution Nintendo promised back in 2005.
Runner-up: Super Mario 3D Land
Mario's first true 3D adventure was easily one of the highlights of the 3DS's first 12 months: full of the series' classic spirit, it's a hugely enjoyable trip to the Mushroom Kingdom that should please fans of the plumber's 2D and 3D outings. As our Super Mario 3D Land review says:
It's obvious that Nintendo played it fairly safe for Mario's first 3DS outing — something that will likely make the game seem like a bit of a step backwards from the brilliance of the Super Mario Galaxy series — but it's impossible not to be impressed by the vast number of classic Super Mario elements that have been squeezed into the package, especially given how fresh they all look and feel in their new 3D presentation. If you've been looking for a reason to pick up a 3DS, you've just found it.
Xenoblade Chronicles — North America, you get to play this in spring next year. You'll enjoy it.
Rayman Origins — 2D platforming a-go-go with Rayman and his friends. It's quite cheap now, so you should go get it.
Radiant Historia — Quality RPGs might be ten-a-penny on DS, but Radiant Historia is up there with the best.
Tomorrow we have the results of the Game of the Year 2011 reader poll. We've had 6,000 votes over the past week — what games will you have voted to the top spots, and what will miss out on the honours? Check back tomorrow to find out!