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Game of the Year: Nintendo Life's Community Awards 2012

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Your victors have been crowned

It's the last day of 2012 so it's time for you, the Nintendo Life community, to crown the winners of your Game of the Year awards. While the hotly debated Game of the Year Staff Awards were decided by 17 members of the Nintendo Life team, these awards have been determined by hundreds of votes.

The categories and voting rules were the same, and we've painstakingly counted all of the submissions. One particular result will be popular, we're sure of that, with many of the same games appearing from the staff awards. There are some big differences, however, so check them out below.

DSiWare Download of 2012

There are certainly a number of artists and creative members of the Nintendo Life community, which is reflected in this victory for the excellent animation app from Flat Black Films — it's eligible this year due to the delayed European release. For its price and considering the platform, this is an incredibly detailed and powerful animation tool, and is a download that will give you lots to enjoy if you put in the effort.

Second Place: Zuma's Revenge — PopCap Games is a master of addictive games for portable devices, with this block blasting action-puzzler providing plenty of content to swallow the hours.

Third Place: Ace Mathician — Beaten into third place by just a single point, this nevertheless represents an impressive double for the innovative puzzle platformer from Goodbye Galaxy Games — it placed first in the staff list. Who'd have thought that mathematics could be fun?

DS Retail Game of 2012

This result is a surprise to absolutely no-one, with a huge number of votes for this title. It benefited from the limited competition, but it's also a full-fat entry in the main series that, despite being a sequel, offers enhancements and innovations beneath the familiar exterior. It surely represents the end of the series on the biggest selling handheld of all time, but it's a good way to go out.

Second Place: Pokémon Conquest — This crossover with Nobunaga's Ambition clearly had a positive impact on the community, as it surged to a convincing second place. When it comes to 'mon and strategy games on the good-old DS, it seems to be a winning combination.

Third Place: Inazuma Eleven 2 — This is an impressive placing for the football/soccer based RPG, especially as it hasn't yet seen release in North America. Full of charm and crazy special moves that rarely get old, this brings good old-fashioned fun onto the football pitch.

WiiWare Download of 2012

It wasn't really a race to first place in the WiiWare category, with Nigoro's long awaited title (published by EnjoyUp Games) finally arriving on the download platform. It took a long time and lacked the expected DLC, but it's clear that for many it was worth the wait.

Second Place: Horizon Riders — Eligible due to its rather delayed European release, this exciting racing-shooter feels retro and unique all at once, though plays best with a balance board. If you're a fan of these kind of games and have the right peripheral, this is an intriguing experience worth exploring.

Third Place: TNT Racers — When a racing game places great importance on bashing other vehicles as well as getting to the finish line, it sounds like a combination destined to entertain. It may not be perfect, but it's a cool drive.

Wii Retail Game of 2012

There was little doubt that this title would triumph, with lots of enthusiastic voting going its way. With a breathtaking and enormous world to explore, side-missions and a story mode that require dozens of hours of your time, as well as some truly epic battles, this is one of the finest games to grace Wii. Monolith Soft showed itself to be a master of its craft, and we can't wait to see what comes next from the studio.

Second Place: The Last Story — A release with exceptional pedigree under the direction of Hironobu Sakaguchi, it combines excellent presentation with some emotive storytelling and an intuitive battle system. A worthy runner up.

Third Place: Rhythm Heaven Fever / Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise — If you have even a single musical bone in your body, and if you still play games because you primarily want to laugh and have fun, then this is the game for you. Irreverent, bonkers, and unmissable.

3DS eShop Download of 2012

It's the staff and community award double for Mallo's second appearance, cementing the potential of the franchise in the eyes of many on Nintendo Life. Charming visuals and a welcome level creation tool combine with plenty of fiendish, challenging puzzles, with this latest entry shaking up the formula with extra depth to the play area and new items. We suspect that this isn't the last we'll see of the chubby hero.

Second Place: Mutant Mudds — It was a hard-fought battle over second place, but Renegade Kid's retro-styled action platformer seizes the runner up spot. With tight controls and some gorgeous pixel art, this release got even better with free DLC provided by the developer not too long ago, giving it even more bang for its buck.

Third Place: VVVVVV — Terry Cavanagh's relentlessly difficult but ultimately simple title once again secures a top three place, rewarding the efforts of publisher Nicalis to bring the PC indie title to the 3DS eShop. You simply run and "flip" through the environments, but outstanding level design — and there's lots to play through — makes the simplest of concepts one of the best.

3DS Retail Game of 2012

We expect plenty of fist-pumps and whoops from throughout the Nintendo Life community at this result, as there was a clear and sustained vote for the angel's spectacular return. Its intense action and glorious audio/visual presentation has made it a big favourite among many 3DS owners, with enough collectibles and in-game achievements to occupy completionists for years to come. The online multiplayer is also popular, and it doesn't take long for the angels and mortals to be separated in those battles.

Second Place: Paper Mario: Sticker Star — This is the mascot's first handheld appearance in his flat form, and despite mixed reviews and opinions proved popular in the community vote. With its sticker battle system and the usual charm of quirky music and witty dialogue, this is a lengthy and fun title worth strong consideration.

Third Place: New Super Mario Bros. 2 — A 2D Mario title that has seemingly divided Nintendo gamers, with camps generally — though not exclusively — consisting of those that like the fact it carries on where predecessors left off, and others who feel that it simply falls short. It'll continue to split fans, but nevertheless it earns a second top three place in our awards this year.

Wii U eShop Download of 2012

It may be a small field of entrants, but the Wii U eShop race to first place was extremely tight, with Tomorrow Corporation's title just hot enough to take the prize. An intriguing gaming experience that adopts an almost hands-off approach to storytelling, while also leaving the player to progress at their own tempo. While the concept is basically to burn a lot of items, the combo system and the overlying plot have prompted positive responses from many, and earned it a lot of votes at the same time.

Second Place: Trine 2: Director's Cut — The winner in the equivalent staff award, Frozenbyte nevertheless earns a commendable second place in the popular vote, with the graphical polish and lengthy campaign no doubt doing much to satisfy early Wii U eShop adventurers. With more content and a voice chat update on the way, we suspect that this one will get even better.

Third Place: Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition — WayForward Technologies follows up its Nintendo Life Indie Developer of the Year prize with a respectable bronze in the community awards, with this Wii U eShop launch release finishing comfortably ahead of its fourth placed rival. Adding a HD sheen to the 3DS original and also throwing in a series of extra-challenging levels to take on, this one shows that the appeal of this franchise lives on.

Wii U Retail Game of 2012

Once again pushed all the way, Mario's début on Wii U secures the staff/community awards double. This continuation of the series did return to some older ideas with a larger, more visibly connected World Map, as well as a number of hidden exits and secrets tough to track down without resorting to walkthroughs. With Boost Mode and Challenges adding additional content, along with the same manic multiplayer first seen in the Wii title, most seem to agree that this is a strong — maybe the strongest — entry in the "New" series.

Second Place: Nintendo Land — This title provides a lot of fan-service and, perhaps most importantly for Nintendo's new home console, demonstrates how the GamePad can change the way we play. With plenty of varied options for parties or for single players, this title pushed its platforming rival all of the way. It's surely just a taster of what we can expect to see from Nintendo's biggest franchises in the next few years.

Third Place: ZombiU — Comfortably in third place and completing a bronze double for Ubisoft's survival horror exclusive. It makes extensive use of the GamePad to change the way you play and, most importantly, distract you long enough for zombies to creep towards you from the shadows. It's dark, has a punishing difficulty and will introduce many to the wonder of a cricket bat, while the local multiplayer is also fun in its own right.

So there you have it, the Nintendo Life Community Game of the Year Awards for 2012. Let us know what you think in the comments below — they are from your votes, after all — and have a wonderful New Year. Keep an eye on Nintendo Life for our year in review articles in the coming days.

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User Comments (82)



Arianabtd said:

Little inferno deserved to win, it is an amazing game.

I'm glad people agree with me x3.



CanisWolfred said:

It took me a while to realize this was the community awards. Then I saw Kid Icarus as the #1 3DS game. At least the community redeemed itself by putting in Little Inferno as the #1 Wii U eShop game.



XFsWorld said:

Thats more like it, Kid Icarus #1

But Resident Evil: Revelations should have been in third place instead of NSMB2



PuzzleMaster7 said:

These results, at least, seem like they will make the everyone who was complaining before about Kid Icarus Uprising happy, and as usual, I don't have any complaints here! Great job everybody!



Crystalking18 said:

Kid Icarus was a pretty good game, though I honestly would put Virtue's Last Reward as my favorite 3DS game of 2012. I just enjoyed it a bit more than Uprising is all. Still, good year overall, and hopefully next year we'll see more great games come out for the 3DS and WiiU.



Klunk23 said:

Yeah! Go Kid Icarus. And Crashmo got 1st as well. These are great results.



Squashie said:

They seem like quite good awards on the whole! Have a great new year guys!



rayword45 said:

Glad to see Kid Icarus won, Fallblox is overrated as crap and Ace Mathician deserves higher. Don't agree or disagree with anything else besides La Mulana (which I didn't even enjoy much but is still the best WiiWare title out of all 6 this year), didn't play Xenoblade, haven't touched DS mode thus far, and don't got a Wii U (even though I voted Little Inferno).



HugoSmits said:

thirdplace is still an awesome place! thanks everybody for sending in your votes! I'm really happy to close the year like this!



dew12333 said:

Ahh Kid Icarus won. Seems like we know more than the Nintendolife staff. But then I'm not shocked at that.



BenAV said:

Pretty decent looking list. My only complaints are that there were plenty of 3DS games better than New Supar Mario Bros. 2 (where's my Virtue's Last Reward, or at least Resident Evil: Revelations?) and Mutant Mudds is waaaaaay outside the top three eShop games for the year. Mighty Switch Force! HD is my number one Wii U eShop game and should definitely be above Trine 2, but I'm definitely not complaining about Little Inferno winning that because it's amazing. Oh, and Nintendo Land is better than Mario. I'm done.



rayword45 said:

Oh yeah, Revelations, Layton, VLR, Kingdom Hearts, there certainly were titles better then NSMB2 this year. Still haven't even tried Paper Mario: Sticker Star so I can't comment.



Whopper744 said:

I'd say my 3DS retail list would probably be the same for this year. Kid Icarus number 1 for sure.

My Wii U top 3 would probably be similiar...but never played Zombie U.
Besides that, i haven't played any of the other games in any of the other list besides Rhythm Heaven.



C-Olimar said:

Content with the placings, though none of my DSiWare votes made the top 3
Also, for eShop, I wouldn't have Mutant Mudds on there.
Still, none of this matters because Kid Icarus is #1! The community has spoken!



C-Olimar said:

@dew12333 or, perhaps, the Ninty Life staff just might have a different opinion to the community? There are only 17 of them, so opinion will affect the vote more than it does in the community vote.



CanisWolfred said:

What I voted for:

Best Wii U Retail

Assassin's Creed 3
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge
Warriors Orochi 3: Hyper

Best Wii U eShop

Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition
Little Inferno
Nano Assault Neo

Best 3DS Retail

Code of Princess
Rhythm Thief & the Emperor's Treasure
Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward

Best 3DS eShop

Crimson Shroud
Liberation Maiden

Best DS Retail

Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor 2
Pokemon Black & White 2
Pokemon Conquest

Best DSiWare

Inchworm Animation
I Must Run!
Gaia's Moon

Best Wii Retail

Xenoblade Chronicles
BIT.TRIP Complete
The Last Story

Best WiiWare

La Mulana

4/24 isn't...that...bad...I guess...better than usual at least.



Prof_Clayton said:

Kid Icarus: Uprising and Xenoblade deserve GOTY status. I must try Inchworm Animation now! Also, NSMB2 doesn't deserve a place there, it was really lazy.



Knuckles said:

Kid Icarus won, good.
But why didn't Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed even take a spot in the top 3?!



Void said:

I pity those poor people that thought NSMB2 was the best game on the 3DS.



Skotski said:

@CanisWolfred OMG I totally forgot to vote for Code of Princess!
It's not my number one... but it's definitely in my top 3... GRAH! headslam



Odnetnin said:

Although I didn't vote (partially out of laziness and partially because the only game I cared to vote for, Little Inferno, I didn't play it on Wii U), I'm really proud of the community for making Little Inferno its Wii U eShop Download of 2012. A deserving GotY if there ever was one.



I-U said:

Only Xenoblade deserves GOTY status. Kid Icarus Uprising shouldn't even be discussed with it, unless you're simply stating it as the handheld GOTY.



sinalefa said:

Haha, most of them are the same games as the staff's list, and some of them in different order.

I did not want to vote as there are many games that I don't have and don't plan to buy (looks at NSMB2), although this year I enjoyed White 2, KI Uprising, The Last Story, Rhythm Heaven and Theatrhythm. If I don't have Xenoblade there is because of my old, stubborn Wii. Thankfully I should have my Wii U for this Friday, so I can make ammends.

Happy New Year everyone! Thanks to Tom and all the NL staff!



tripunktoj said:

My votes were:

Best Wii U Retail
1. Nintendo Land
2. New Super Mario Bros. U
3. Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed

Best Wii U eShop
1. Little Inferno
2. Mighty Switch Force: Hyper Drive Edition
3. Nano Assault Neo

Best 3DS Retail
1. Kid Icarus: Uprising
2. Paper Mario: Sticker Star
3. Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D

Best 3DS eShop
1. Crashmo
2. Mutant Mudds
3. Liberation Maiden

Best DS Retail
1. Pokemon White Version 2 / Pokemon Black Version 2
2. Pokemon Conquest
3. Adventure Time: Hey Ice King Why'd you steal our garbage?!!

Best DSiWare
1. Doodle Fit
2. Candle Route
3. Ace Mathician

Best Wii Retail
1. Xenoblade Chronicles
2. Rhythm Heaven
3. Kirby's Dream Collection

Best WiiWare
1. La Mulana
2. BurgerTime World Tour
3. Drop Zone: Under Fire



New_3DaSh_XL said:

Meh, Mutant Mudds doesn't really deserve 2 and Crashmo is maybe like 4 or 5, with NightSky and Crimson Shroud as 1 and 2, but YES KIU FTW BEST GAME EVAH!!!!!!!!



TheDreamingHawk said:

Yay! I agree with everything EXCEPT for Crashmo (As I said earlier, TOO EASY AND TOO MUCH TUTORIALS). I voted for PMD 3DS and I guess I was the only one... But, not to worry, It WILL win the 2013 rewards, it has to...



GazPlant said:

Good to see Kid Icarus back above NSMB2 (although I'd argue for Paper Mario at #1!)



RR529 said:

I respect this list, but man is Mutant Mudds way overrated. It's a great game, sure, but I feel that VVVVVV, Liberation Maiden, Denpa Men, NightSky, Cave Story, & Sakura Samurai were all better.

Also dissapointed at the lack of Kingdom Hearts & Tales of the Abyss, but oh well.



Shirma_Akayaku said:

@ThomasBW84 I gotta say, I almost felt a little bias from the results. I'm saying this because of the DS Retail Game: Pokemon B&W 2. In my opinion I feel that the games should be treated separately somehow because this information doesn't tell which of the two did better.



I-U said:

If KI:U had smooth controls for its land segments and multiplayer, something it should have gotten first, I would likely understand where you and others are coming from. It doesn't have smooth controls though, and so I definitely cannot put it into the same GOTY discussion as Xenoblade Chronicles.



rayword45 said:

The controls are as tight as they could be. Get your left handed friend to try aiming with the control stick. You'll see why it sucks.



NintyMan said:

Good for Kid Icarus Uprising getting the most votes in the 3DS category. I knew it would be avenged. It should be respected more for the great music and sheer amount of content it has. It's my overall Game of the Year.



Wonder_Ideal said:

This seems like a solid list. It's nice to see Uprising at the number one spot for the community. Looks a lot of users have similar tastes as I do.



Auracle said:

Very nice list. I'm personally glad that KI:U got the top 3DS spot. I know it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I really enjoyed.



New_3DaSh_XL said:

@I-U I find the controls quite easy, tbh I don't really know what you're talking about, and I'm a lefty. You can even change the controls so they can be easier for you, so tbh, I can't see your arguement as valid.



gundam00 said:

Kid Icarus #1!!! The community is Uprising! Bow down staffers!! Muahahahaha!!!

@rayword45 I'm left-handed. I move with the Circle Pad, aim with ABXY, shoot with R, and have a blast!



rayword45 said:

@gundam00 Like I told X-Factor, could you try moving with ABXY and aiming with the circle pad? Then say if you like it or not.



Chuie said:

wii u retail
sonic sega allstar racing transformed
warrior orochi



gundam00 said:

@rayword45 I did try that in my initial control set-up and preferred moving with the circle pad. The circle pad works better because you're moving in a 3d environment. The ABXY would be the same as using the directional controls + for moving Mario in 3DLand - too slow and linear. For moving in 3D, the circle pad is more fluid and responsive.



mozie said:

Some good titles here but no virtues last reward and nsmb u as best wii u? maybe its the sites demographic but both nintendoland & zombi u were far more deserving of the top spot imho, nsmb u is great and all but its strange to see a title with little to no innovation beat out an exceptionally innovtaive title (zombie u) AND the wii u's own superb instruction manual!! (nintendoland). Perhaps this is one of the reasons the big game developers favor duplication over innovation! Gamers are always calling for something new while eating up the same old games over and over,



grumblegrumble said:

Zuma's Revenge? Ace Mathician? What are you guys on? lol. Ace was alright, but def not worthy of dsiware game of the year. While I applaud the game for it's originality, I haven't played it but once since buying it. My choice for dsiware game of the year would have to be Petit Computer! Zuma's Revenge? Has anyone actually played that?!



LztheQuack said:

@Ulala You do realize they are the same game with some MINOR differences?

I was ready to laugh if Kid Icarus didn't win, but ah well, maybe next year



I-U said:

I don't believe the controls are as a tight as they could be. The fact that it uses a flick mechanic to turn is ridiculous.

I think you misunderstood me. I can play KI:U easily. What I'm saying is that the controls aren't smooth. Lock-on should not be saving this game everytime I decide to turn, which creates a slip slide effect to an extent no matter what option I would go with. My experiences with the controls aren't the only reason why I feel it shouldn't be discussed as overall GOTY with Xenoblade though, so if somehow control complaints aren't valid, there are more reasons why I've been disappointed with Uprising.



LavaTwilight said:

These seem like better results! I only voted for Wii/WiiU titles since I haven't played on enough 2012 3/DS games to justify a vote but it seems like everyone's happy and I def agree with the Wii Results Tho I don't think the NSMBU deserves number 1 but that's just me.



theblackdragon said:

@SanFrisco9er: now, now, we all know there are no girls on the internets. if you'd like to blame anyone for choosing something you personally dislike, blame your fellow gamers, not their potential gender. :/



thanos316 said:

xenoblades is simply awesome. a classic. if you haven't played xenoblades yet get it and enjoy the ride. its good to see a game on a nintendo console that has great quality... glad its gamers choice game of the year for the wii..



Emaan said:

Great list! I'm glad our community voted Kid Icarus: Uprising to a shining spot. I personally Nintendo Land is far better than NSMBU. Nonetheless, it was a good year for games. 2013 looks to be better perhaps? Happy New Year everyone.



GreenDream said:

Didn't see everything I would put up there, but still a good list nonetheless. Just goes to show the 3DS has come a long way from March 2011, the Wii U is bound to have many unique titles, reminiscent of the Dreamcast, and the Wii was far from a casuals-only system.



Arcamenel said:

Kid Icarus in it's rightful spot. I have no experience with anything else in any category so I could careless about that stuff. KI:U just deserves to be #1 8D



Mr-X9000 said:

i agree with all catagorys other than dsiware. really? a drawing game!? who was the idiots who voted for that?! and besides wasnt relased in 2011?



dew12333 said:

Please never doubt my appreciation at the effort you all put into the website, I'm on here everyday so I can see that. I also enjoyed meeting some of you at eurogamer earlier in the year. Let just say I was shocked about the difference in opinion on that.



Phle said:

Glad to see Kid Icarus: Uprising up there as number one under 3DS retail. A well earned place for Pit. I can't say I feel the same for the 2nd. and the 3rd. place though. I haven't played Paper Mario, so I can't say much about that, but I don't think New Super Mario Brothers 3DS should be up there. I have played at least 5 games that I would place above New Super Mario Brothers 3DS... I guess it's up there cos it's a game most 3DS owners have bought, so if you only got 2-4 games this year it could be likely that one of those games are New Super Mario Brothers 3DS and so it made it's way to the list...



Shirma_Akayaku said:

@LZBirdboi Well when it comes to games like that, I usually like to know which of the two performed the best. Especially when it comes to how many were sold (but I know this isn't about how many were sold, I know). But what I find to be perplexing is this: If a number of people like Black, and they voted for it, they're also voting for White as well (and some prefer to vote for just one instead of two). Even though you say that they are the same game with "MINOR" differences, it still doesn't matter to me (one always makes up for the other).




Pretty much agree with ALL those, just a matter of placings. I'd have Nintendo Land as Wii U GOTY. I'd also have games like Tekken TT2 and Art of Balanc Touch in their respective top threes.

Otherwise, amazingly spot on with what I think, wow! :0

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