News Article

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

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

There are a few surprises

As 2012 draws to a close it can only mean one thing: annual awards. We've been gathering your votes for the Nintendo Life Community Game of the Year awards, and we have an all new Nintendo Life Gaming Awards article on the way. We'll kick off the next few days of award giving with the Nintendo Life Staff Awards 2012, which we imagine will prompt a fair bit of debate.

To be clear right from the start, these results have come from an entirely democratic process, with every member of staff having the opportunity to cast votes for their top three games in each category, with every vote treated the same. The official review scores on the site have nothing to do with this outcome, but what has mattered are the games that the staff have enjoyed playing the most over the last 12 months.

In some cases you'll see titles listed for the second year in a row; there are two examples where regional release dates made them eligible once again. Of course, results are also influenced by what games we've all owned and played, so if you're expecting any niche titles to win for their respective platform you're out of luck — remember that these awards are voted for by everyone, not as part of a review process.

On the whole, we're happy that the outcome shows some of the best games that have been available on Nintendo systems in the past year, and there are some unexpected results that show the merits of alternative experiences on the various systems. Let's get to it, starting with the oldest system in the categories.

DSiWare Download of 2012

One games library that hasn't struggled for new releases is DSiWare, with regular entries arriving every week on both the DSi Shop and the 3DS eShop. There are a fair number of mediocre titles, but we shouldn't disregard those that are still flying the flag for creative developers making use of limited resources.

This title arguably represents exactly why DSiWare is still worth watching, as it throws up surprises that can capture a gamer's attention despite ageing presentation values. A puzzle platformer that brings mathematical equations to the fore, this is a charming and creative title that also comes with a thoroughly attractive art style. A worthy winner for its willingness to try something new, much credit is due to developer Goodbye Galaxy Games.

Second Place: The voting in this category was particularly close, particularly as the staff's exposure to the extensive library was less than in previous years, so three games tied for second place. These were Magical Whip: Wizards of the Phantasmal Forest, Art of Ink and Castle Conqueror: Against.

DS Retail Game of 2012

To be blunt, the shortlist for DS retail games wasn't particularly long, as Nintendo's last-generation handheld has now been well and truly overshadowed by its successor. There were some new titles released, however, though you can guess which was number one.

When this sequel was announced, a number of fans queried why it was being released for DS and not Nintendo's latest handheld, 3DS. The thinking was sound, however, as Game Freak knew that eager fans would in all likelihood make use of the latter system's backward compatibility, while those yet to make the transition had the opportunity to dive in once again. It also brought plenty of new content to the table, even if the overlying impression may have been that it was more of the same, and this one is still occupying some members of the Nintendo Life team this Holiday season.

Second Place: Inazuma Eleven 2 — This title made it into the top three on the strength of European votes alone, which pays testament to the enjoyable experience that it offers. With a blend of conventional 2D RPG exploration and special-move infused football/soccer action, this one charmed its way into second place.

Third Place: Pokémon Conquest — When originally released in Japan, most assumed that this crossover between the famous series and the lesser known Nobunaga's Ambition wouldn't make it West. The urge to release a Pokémon-branded game was too strong, however, so it was renamed as Pokémon Conquest and, surprisingly, not too much was lost in translation.

WiiWare Download of 2012

This is a category that didn't leave us with much to choose from, with the Wii Shop platform having a particularly quiet year. 2012 did see one particularly notable localisation, however, while a few other gems fought it out to be included in the top three.

A runaway winner in this category, this action platformer provides plenty of old-school visual flair and punishing difficulty. With enormous, daunting boss fights, clever puzzles and a dizzying amount of exploration to be done, this truly is a worthy swansong for the WiiWare service.

Second Place: Rush Rush Rally Racing — A retro-style top down racer, this title was originally developed for the SEGA Dreamcast as part of a programming contest in 2009, but this WiiWare version is put together with great care and is, most importantly, a lot of fun.

Third Place: TNT Racers — A decent year for those that like some wacky racing in their downloads, this title also expected you to crash into other cars and take them out of the race. Frantic and fun, and great for those who enjoy bashing other cars more than racing to the chequered flag.

Wii Retail Game of 2012

While Wii undoubtedly had a quiet year as it waited for its successor to take over the reigns, there was still a small batch of excellent releases for the system this year. We know that Nintendo isn't working on any Wii projects any more, so this may be the last time that this category is included. With that in mind, we're happy with the results.

Some of you with a keen eye and memory will know that this finished second in our 2011 poll, yet we decided that it could be eligible as it was released in North America in 2012. The decision was an easy one, as our staff in the region may have launched protests if it wasn't included, such has been its impact on the system. It's an exceptional JRPG, with enough content to immerse any gamer for dozens of hours; after being defeated by Nintendo's biggest hitter last year, this title gets the victory it deserves.

Second Place: The Last Story — Another part of the so-called Operation Rainfall trilogy, this is a title that took a more linear approach than our winner, but was nevertheless a wonderfully engaging, engrossing experience.

Third Place: Rhythm Heaven Fever / Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise — When it comes to zany fun, we're not sure it gets much better than Rhythm Heaven Fever. You'll play golf, construct robots, stop flying peas with a fork and some far more bizarre activities, all to a catchy beat. Play it with friends, play it alone, just play it.

3DS eShop Download of 2012

We're now into the current generation of systems and, in the case of 3DS, there's been a lot of good content to enjoy this year. This category brought perhaps the most diverse voting among our staff, with a lot of votes spread across the various excellent titles on the shortlist. One of the top three is included due to its exceptionally late North American arrival in 2011 and its European release in 2012, while we think one of the other winners may surprise you.

Mallo's eShop debut, Pullblox, won the equivalent award among our staff in 2011, so this represents an impressive double for Nintendo's rising star. This sequel took all that made the first title a must-have and added extra depth, literally, by applying rows on both sides of the puzzle and opening the possibility for mistakes to lead to a collapse of the whole item. It's clever and utterly charming, and a very worthy winner.

Second Place: VVVVVV — We've seen some top-notch indie games of PC-origin make their way to the handheld's eShop, and this is the prime example of why it's such a good idea. It makes little use of the system's 3D effect or other functions, but serves up addictive and challenging puzzle platforming with the simplest of "flip" concepts. It's wonderfully designed, and includes enough content to keep even the most talented gamers occupied for a long time.

Third Place: Colors! 3D — Here's that surprise entry that we promised you. While a number of excellent games received a smattering of votes from different voters, this title consistently earned a place in a number of top three lists. It's no surprise, as it's a wonderfully detailed and accomplished art app, giving artists a diverse range of tools to create detailed images in impressive 3D, and also includes substantial online and sharing options. It sets the standard for future apps in the genre.

3DS Retail Game of 2012

This is another category that was keenly fought, not surprisingly, among the best first-party releases out there. There was love for third-parties, with plenty of votes for offerings from the likes of Square Enix, Capcom, SEGA and Chunsoft. The most consistent voting was for three particular big hitters however, involving a plumber and a returning hero of the NES age.

Proof that our review scores aren't driving results, this may have received a lower reviewer's score than those games in second and third place, but came first in terms of charming and delighting the Nintendo Life team. A diversion back towards the turn-based battles that were abandoned in the series' Wii iteration, this first handheld Paper Mario plays it safe in some respects, sticking to well known characters rather than being too bold with new personalities. That said, it makes fantastic use of the 3D screen, represents another triumph for Nintendo's localisation teams with plenty of witty text, and is simply fun to play. That's what games are all about, right?

Second Place: New Super Mario Bros. 2 — This is a surprisingly divisive Mario platformer, as its continuation of the "New" series' standards is praised by some as offering more 2D platforming goodness, while others decry it as derivative and repetitive of what's come before. While it wins no prizes for innovation, we have nevertheless enjoyed playing it. It brings more of the same, absolutely — it's still a blast, though.

Third Place: Kid Icarus: Uprising — We suspect that plenty will have this at number one in their personal lists, with good reason: it's frantic, blockbuster action with visuals and sound that are exceptional. Its control scheme should have been optimised with a dual stick Circle Pad Pro option — aiming with the face buttons is included, so this oversight is baffling — and for some the land battles are a challenge to manoeuvre. It's a stand out experience that all should experience on their 3DS, however, and represents a terrific return for everyone's favourite angel that can't fly.

Wii U eShop Download of 2012

With the Wii U eShop only weeks old, we voted on the launch library of titles that have graced the new service so far. While the pickings are unsurprisingly slim, those titles that have arrived are, without exception, all worthy of a download. With that said, our team have picked what they consider to be the best of the opening salvo from the various developers to take a chance on Wii U; it was an exceptionally close vote.

If one game provides a visual indication that Nintendo downloads are moving into a new era, the breathtaking graphics of Trine 2: Director's Cut do the job. That said, Frozenbyte's epic adventure is more than pretty graphics, with plenty of action, puzzles and platforming to challenge a gamer's reflexes and quizzical brain. The interchangeable three characters are ideal for the excellent local and online multiplayer options that are included, and the developer is planning further updates and DLC to enhance the experience further.

Second Place: Nano Assault Neo — A Wii U eShop exclusive, this picks up on the series that Shin'en gave a début on 3DS, substituting stereoscopic 3D for exceptional HD visuals. A twin stick shooter that requires a combination of skill, bravery and some tactical nous, the action is accompanied by a pumping soundtrack that's sure to get you in the mood. High score chasers will love this one, too.

Third Place: Little Inferno — Is this a game, or should we just call it an interactive experience? In any case, it earns a place in our top three, with a unique style and sense of storytelling that's unlike anything else on the platform so far. It's a title that will perplex and, possibly, prompt some genuine emotion and soul searching, all wrapped in an irreverent bow of peculiar humour.

Wii U Retail Game of 2012

The Wii U launch line-up of retail games had a good mix of exclusives, ports, and generally games to cater to any audience. We don't think the top three will surprise anyone, but the order was certainly a close run thing. Just one point separated the top two, while the bronze winner strikes a blow for innovative, challenging mature games on the system.

The second 2D Mario platformer to arrive in 2012, this title brought us our first glimpse of Nintendo's famous mascot in HD. Beyond the superficial, however, it was clear that Nintendo invested a great deal of thought and effort into this entry: the world map resembles a bigger environment along the lines of Super Mario World, while some of the secret hidden exits are, well, rather well hidden. While getting 100% in the main game is hard enough, the Challenges provide an extra incentive, with the touchscreen enabled Boost Mode making the game accessible to anyone who can tap a screen. With some of the most enjoyable and creative level designs of recent years, this is possibly the best "New" 2D Mario game to date.

Second Place: Nintendo Land — This collection of mini-games was just pipped into second place, though it deserves plenty of praise. Some of the experiences on offer are too lengthy and deep to be described as "mini", while this title acts as a showcase for the capabilities of the GamePad and the Wii U's asynchronous multiplayer. When played with a number of friends clutching Wii Remotes this can be a title that sells systems to non-believers, and gives gamers plenty of fan-service to enjoy for various franchises, while they wait for the main events in the coming years.

Third Place: ZombiU — Ubisoft has come right out of the gate with a great deal of support for Wii U, ranging from ports to fitness titles. Of those available on launch day, it was this survival horror title that captured the most attention, even having an exclusive system bundle in Europe. Survival Horror is the correct term — please don't call it a first-person-shooter — as even one zombie in the wrong circumstances can lead to a death. Ammo is scarce, death is permanent, the GamePad is intuitive and worryingly distracting at the same time, and the best tactic for survival is to hide in the shadows and avoid the hordes. Played in a dark room with a pair of headphones, this is a truly challenging and memorable experience.

So there you have it, the Nintendo Life Staff Awards for 2012. Let us know what you think in the comments below, and check back for our Nintendo Life Best of 2012 Awards, where we decide on categories such as "Biggest Wow Moment" and "Best Third Party Publisher", tomorrow.

From the web

User Comments (151)



Hokori said:

Cool list, I agree Paper Mario is probably my most played (at a time) game on my 3DS ATM I'm going to actually finish it



BlatantlyHeroic said:

"Is this a game, or should we just call it an interactive experience?"
Answer this: What is a game? Well, a game is an interactive experience, is it not? Thus Little Inferno is a game.



Knux said:

What? Dream Drop Distance doesn't even get a mention? I'm disappointed.

Great list otherwise.



ThomasBW84 said:

@AlphaIchimoru Fair point, though some make various distinctions, interactive experience could mean watching a TV show where you can vote by pressing a few buttons, for example.

Anyway, my point is that it's not what you may typically expect from a download on a Nintendo platform, but we rate it highly within the team



CanisWolfred said:

As always, I agree with almost none of the choices, First, second, or third, but I do agree with Wii's Number One Choice at least.



KiwiPanda said:

Paper Mario deserves to be right up there for sure, the 3D is good, its puzzles are arguably hard at some points, and it is exceeding my expectations for the switch from a console to a handheld game. The only thing that I could possibly disagree on is that NSMB2 got second; I haven't played it, so I can't say anything bad about the gameplay itself, but the overall game looked a a bit expected. No big surprises. I would have hoped that Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask would've ranked third behind KI:U and PM:SS, but the three that were selected are good titles, and I can't complain much.
NSMBU ranking above Nintendoland is arguable, but Nintendoland made a much bigger splash than I was expecting.
Overall, good ranks.



Spoony_Tech said:

Here come the Kid Icarus Fans showing their hate. While I won't complain with Paper Mario Kid Icarus Should be #2 but that's still a pretty good spot. No way that NSMB2 is better then it though.



ThomasBW84 said:

I knew when totting up the votes that the 3DS placings would cause some debate: democracy in action!

I personally had KI at number one, but I completely understand why some didn't get into it; the controls simply aren't for everyone.



Pikachupwnage said:

Disgusted by 3DS results. Kid icarus is clearly a vastly better, more content packed game, higher production values, more style, more originality, more everything really.

Paper mario probably doesn't compare either. I still need to play it so I reserve judgement on this. But no way in hell does NSMB2 beat KI:U.

And where is reveleations? Revelations kicks NSMB2 to the curb. Mario wasn't the best on 3DS this year. Pit and third parties were the stars unlike last year.

My list.

1. Kid icarus uprising

2. Resident evil revleations

3. Probably one of these

Paper mario
Zero escape
Prof layton

These lists always aggravate me. Usually its a popularity contest. This is better then many though.

Will never forget that GOTD that had WII SPORTS, but no mario galaxy.

(Don't get me wrong NSMB2 is a fine game. But Uprising stomps it and most other games into the ground)

/rant finally ends



Skotski said:

Well, I'm glad Kid Icarus: Uprising is still in the top 3.
I personally want it as number one, since I've had ZERO problems with the controls... But I know people did.

Just glad it's in the top 3, as it should be.



C-Olimar said:

No way Mario is better than Kid Icarus. Either of them. I generally agree with the rest of the placings, though.



ThomasBW84 said:

Don't forget everyone that there's still one day left to vote in the Community Awards, your chance to have your own say.



NintyMan said:

While I disagree with Kid Icarus Uprising not getting the top spot, I disagree even more with the notion that New Super Mario Bros. 2 is better than it.

At least Paper Mario: Sticker Star has witty dialogue, good music, and a unique sticker system, but NSMB2 was just more of the same besides all the coins. KIU has great graphics, great music, just as witty dialogue as Paper Mario, a great difficulty setting, and lots of unlockable content.

It will be avenged in the Community Awards.



-KwB- said:

I'm truly surprised with Paper Mario being first !!!!!!!! I'll probably go check it out then !! That's a buy !! Great list by the way !!



ueI said:

The biggest surprise is that Trine 2 won best WiiU eshop. I read that the controls suck.



-KwB- said:

New Super Mario Bros. 2 is just a classic which we didn't expect too much of it ! But it is still very good with awesome tracks and the coin collecting is actually pretty fun ! Coin rush is a nice extra !
The only thing I had problems with were the bosses, being the same guys over and over again ..
Kid Icarus was revolutionary with nice dialogs and graphics but still didn't get me as much as NSMB2 !! But we'll see the NL people's results in a bit !



Skotski said:

@ueI 2nd player Wiimote, maybe. GamePad controls are solid.
They're going to patch it soon to allow Wii U Classic Controller support, so 's all good.



kitroplious said:

I totally disagree with the second and third choices in the 3DS Downloads...

Mutant Mudds, Sakura [Hana] Samurai, Denpa Men, Liberation Maiden, Ketzal's Corridors... I could go on and on here!

All of those games --- shutout...



GamecubeMan said:

Well the numbers dont lie; Paper Mario would have been my first choice if Kid Icarus Uprising didnt exsist



Hyperstar96 said:

Wait... Sticker Star? Best 3DS game? What?!

... What?!?!
You can't be serious. That was one of the worst Mario games - no, THE worst Mario game - ever made! It took everything good about Paper Mario and ripped it to shreds (yes, paper pun intended since Nintendo seems so bent on shoving as many of those in as possible).

But I suppose everyone's entitled to their own opinion and I agree with everything else on the list.



Chrno-x said:

@Alphachimoru "One of the most common misconceptions about videogames is that they are an interactive medium. Videogames are not interactive, or even ergodic. While they may contain interactive or ergodic elements, it is a mistake to consider that they present only one type of experience and foster only one type of engagement. Videogames present highly structured and, importantly, highly segmented experiences. Play sequences, from where the idea of the interactivity or ergodicity of videogames derives, are framed and punctuated by movie sequences, map screens, score or lap-time feedback screens and so on."
I recommend reading a good article about video games and what they are:

For me the 3DS list is a bit dissappointing cause it's mostly show that's a good example why many developers and publishers don't want to create their games on NIntendo consoles. It's not like I'm gonna say that other people are wrong, but it's obvious that most of Nintendo fans are looking only for Nintendo titles, It's a shame while on 3DS came such great titles like Zero's Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, Rhythm Thief, remake of MGS3, Theatrythm: FF and more. On the other side I'm happy that Kid Icarus is on the list, but it's a sign for Nintendo that's saying: "You guys don't need to make anything totally new, anything fresh because what you're doing is enough to buy it". Mario's like the CoD series, where a lot of people are complaining about it those titles being repetitive, don't show anything new but exactly same peoples are gonna buy it. It's like eating a week old sandwiches and still thinking it tastes good.



theJOE said:

this list is all wrong, those chuck e. cheese games should have won all the awards



LegendaryQ said:

Generally I agreed at least with the games chosen. My personal lists would differ in ordering, but probably not in the games.



JJtheTexan said:

Thomas, if you'd combined Wii and Wii U releases into one category, which game would finish #1, Xenoblade or NSMBU?



TheDreamingHawk said:

I agree with everything but Crashmo. It's way too short and has a crapload of unneeded tutorial and practice levels... The winner should have been Cave story



Auracle said:

While I find it odd that KI:U didn't seize the top spot, I vastly enjoyed the other two on the list (though I'm still working on Sticker Star). Great list overall.



Void said:

I completely agree wi- /me sees that PM:SS and NSMB2 are ranked higher than KI:U.
/me rages quits and loses all respect for Nintendo Life staff for the rest of the day!



Wonder_Ideal said:

This seems like a pretty good list. I agree with most of it, but I would have put Uprising higher on the list. Ah well, I'm not going to lose any sleep over. O_e



WaxxyOne said:

Usually it's like a popularity contest? I'd say it's always a popularity contest, given that this is a list of games that was most popular among the Nintendo Life staff. Do you also enjoy walking into strip clubs and complaining about the naked women there?

In my opinion, KI:U was a good game but it wasn't great. It's too repetitive, the item and power system is extremely deep but not very well thought out and confusing to use, and most of all the controls make playing the game for any length of time uncomfortable. NSMB2 has much more play time on my system and is my number 1 for that category, followed by Paper Mario. KI:U doesn't even make my top 3.



MeWario said:

Cool list, nearly agree with everything, however, the 3DS rankings were pretty off. I'd go Kid Icarus, Paper Mario, Res Evil. NSMB2 was so poor, it's maybe the worst Mario game I have ever played (it's still a good game) and Kid Icarus was mind blowing!



NintendoCat14 said:

Paper Mario: Sticker Star wasn't all THAT great but I can see it getting second... but never first. It just lost the wonderful feels that Paper Mario 64 and TTYD had. It didn't even have Super Paper Mario's feel, it was just... odd. But New Super Mario Bros 2 is the worst NSMB game, it's so unoriginal, and it doesn't even ATTEMPT holding a candle to Kid Icarus, but nonetheless a decent Mario game. KI:U NEEDS first. =(



the_shpydar said:

For those too lazy to read, to sum up the comments section here:
"Whine whine whine, Kid Icarus was the best game in the history of EVAR, whine whine whine!"
it's a good game, but ridiculously overrated by members here



SarcasticWisdom said:

All the KI:U Fanboys

I felt that PM:SS is good on 1, it had very good colors and sounds. I felt very good when I was playing it, NSMB2 shouldn't have been 2nd, instead been replaced with Kingdom Hearts or Resident Evil. Kid Icarus is in the correct place, it did have high replay value, stunning multiplayer, but your hands got easily stressed from repeated button mashing. Also, Kid Icarus's voice got a little annoying at times. Now I understand why Mario and all the other Nintendo characters only say a few words a game



FritzFrapp said:

For me, Kid Icarus Uprising was the best game of the year on ANY format, never mind the 3DS, with perhaps Nintendo Land its closest challenger.
Calling for a dual-stick option in Uprising is myopic – the touch screen aiming is laser-accurate.



ueI said:

@Skotski Ron hated the gamepad controls too, though I guess it's a good thing that not everyone shares his struggle.



rayword45 said:

Kid Icarus should've included Dual-analog just to show how terrible it was.

Seriously, I had a left-handed friend try aiming with the stick and moving with the buttons. He couldn't kill crap in the air battle so he didn't even try land battle. That's how unoptimized it was.

It's like a slightly more understandable case of what happened to Bit.Trip BEAT. "No you stupid f*** D-Pad wouldn't work. Did you play the game while looking at the damn screen!?"

Well, actually, much more understandable.

So 3DS should be (IMO)

1. Kid Icarus: Uprising
2. Resident Evil: Revelations
3. Meh... I haven't played PM:SS but NSMB2 was really uninspired so it wins by defaul- No wait I completely forgot about Dream Drop Distance!

Also, Pushmo is still overrated as hell and VVVVVV is still a port that costs more then PC while having less features.

1. Art of Balance: Touch
2. EscapeVektor
3. Denpa Men (would be DRW but that was mixed enough for me to see why it got less)



rayword45 said:

But what really irks me is that everyone was dry humping Metroid Prime Hunters and Moon about controls. "This is better then Dual-Analog even though I can't walk or strafe at varying speeds!"

Now Kid Icarus does it an "ZOMG Nintendo this sucks balls you trying to give us carpal tunnel!?"



theblackdragon said:

@rayword45: I've told you before that Moon was a different experience — I did look up the controls for Moon last night to refresh my memory, btw. KI:U has more options in terms of attacks and movement, looking around was much simpler in Moon iirc, and the geometry with the circle pad and d-pad are different than on the DS/i. it all adds up to godawful hand cramping in people like me. idk what makes my hands so different from yours since you apparently love how KI:U plays, but you and others who sit there and get pissy because people like me do not like the game and list the controls as one of those reasons, what do you want us to do about it? i don't understand the irritation with people who genuinely find it uncomfortable to play. I'm sorry we're not all built the same way.



IsawYoshi said:

Let us know what you think in the comments below, and check back for our Nintendo Life Best of 2012 Awards, where we decide on categories such as "Biggest Wow Moment" and "Best Third Party Publisher."

Biggest wow moment..? Well, I guess there is only 1% chance that it's bayonetta 2...



rayword45 said:

@theblackdragon I don't get pissy that you don't like it, I get pissy that people act that they are that different as to making one "better then dual-analog" and one "completely broken".

Looking around in MPH and Moon was identical to Kid Icarus. I don't recall any more simplicity. The geometry (I just looked) is different but I don't understand how big of a deal that is because I have fairly large hands and I don't experience cramping. By more options, you mean analog movement? Can't see that making a difference since the radius is about the same as the d-pad.

It's more of the fact that people get pissy over something so seemingly hypocritical. I mean, there are people who said "I hated the game. Wasn't about controls, they were fine. I just found it bland and repetitive". That makes far more sense then "ZOMG MPH I LOVE LOVE YOOoooOOO- oh Kid Icarus eff dat lol broken controls" (Yes that's grossly exaggerated)

It just seems illegitimate, and then there are critics that seem to be finding reasons to complain while not applying it to other games. Another complaint about complaints was Dillon's Rolling Western. If the genre-mixing didn't mesh with you, that's fine. But "the 3DS is held on your left hand like an awkward weight" are you an infant? The thing weighs 8 ounces. How the hell can you pour a glass of milk?

I don't care if you think that CPP would somehow work, I just acknowledge how they wouldn't. I could show you a long, overextended essay about it someone else wrote, but it's a tedious read. I do believe that they should've included support just to prove how it wouldn't work nearly as well, as I can only give evidence of left-handed players who tried to aim with the circle pad, or my assumptions.

I am irked by the people who say Bit.Trip BEAT needed D-Pad controls because I legitimately do not agree.



rayword45 said:

TL;DR Please, get your left-handed friend to try aiming in Kid Icarus with the Circle Pad. Then you'll see why CPP would've sucked (even though I'm for the idea of it should've been included)



zipmon said:

I'm really happy to see Ace Mathician came out on top - that's definitely one of my favourite games I've played this year! People who like puzzle platformers and missed it should check it out!



theblackdragon said:

@rayword45: by 'more options' i mean that Moon was pretty much a point-and-shoot experience iirc whereas KI:U attempts to offer a more tactical experience to dedicated players. Also, flicking the stylus to turn? horrible idea IMO, it just helped to overcomplicate things.

Also, I've never played Dillon's Rolling Western (and i hadn't planned to pick it up...?) but if I had to guess, t may not be so much about how much weight you're holding as (a) how you're forced to hold it in order to use the controls properly, and/or (b) how long you're holding it for. Sure, pour yourself a glass of milk all you like, but hold that glass of milk out in front of your face in the 3D sweet-spot area for an hour or two of play time and see how you feel about it maybe?

All that aside, was your entire comment addressed to me, or just that first paragraph? the TL;DR sum-up seems to say yes, but at no time have I ever said anything about dual-analog controls (it is not physically possible for me to give less of a crap about dual-analog, i promise you), and I'm not the only one who hasn't said a word about them, either. I'm also not left-handed, so i'm not sure where that came into play at all. i think perhaps your irritation is running away with you a bit. :3



meppi said:

Wow, a goty special that I don't end up shaking my head to. That certainly is a first this year.
Can't speak for the dsiware part as I haven't played those games, but I can very much agree with everything else, which kinda scares me. ;P



ThomasBW84 said:

@Frapp The stylus controls are perfect for quick accuracy, yes, but I only managed courtesy of the Circle Pad Pro lefty options. I've found it harder to play since I got my XL personally (no CP pro yet), but there are some that don't like the stylus option full stop.

So it's not myopic, just an observation! It was my number one choice anyway, though I don't share the same level of outrage as others



Doma said:

Resi Revelations is the best 3DS game to be released all year and that's just sad. All of what Nintendo put out was a disappointment one way or another - Kid Icarus (unwieldy controls), NSMB2 (rehash), Tennis (rehash), Paper Mario (see Hyperstar's comment..). Overall, this year made me regret owning the system. I should have waited for Fire Emblem.



Edlicious said:

So much rage<3

Hmm the only list I did kinda care about was the 3DS retail one, and I do agree that Paper Mario shouldn't be first in any regards and I know damn well NSMB2 shouldn't even be in the top three, I personally think it should be

1# Resident Evil Revelations
2# Kid Icarus
3# Theatrythem or paper mario



rayword45 said:

@theblackdragon Yeah, only a couple of paragraphs were a response to you. I got a bit tangential lol. The left handed bit was in response to the article. It states COP would be optimal, but that's not the case at all. Lefties can aim with the circle pad if they move with the ABXY buttons so that would be the only decent proof.

I got used to flicking pretty fast, but I can see where you're coming from. The game is really fast paced though, to the point where Wiimote turning would be too slow. I can't see that being fixed.

As for the DRW, people actually referred to the weight gt bit, and I never played with 3D on so I guess my hands were free. I did play with Kid Icarus though, and I didn't see too much a problem.

And I'm sticking by my claim. There is something wrong with you if you actually played Bit.Trip Beat and though D-Pad would still work.



sugasti1620 said:

Paper Mario?
I think Resident Evil Revelation is the best games in the 3ds in second Kid Icarus and Kingdom Hearts



ThomasBW84 said:

@rayword45 By optimised I meant the option should have been given, I didn't mean it was THE best option (bad wording maybe). I already gave the rest of my views on the controls in a previous comment



StephenYap3 said:

Agreed with Paper Mario's place and I disagree with Kid Icarus: Uprising being #1 instead. It's too decent to deserve that place.



C-Olimar said:

Ugh. NSMB2 at #2 definitely ruins this for me. I agree with most choices, and accept all the others, but this just really gets under my skin. I guess it does demonstrate the low quality of 3DS games we got this year though.



New_3DaSh_XL said:


Also, there is no possible way NSMB2 is better than KIU.



C-Olimar said:

Pretty irritating that many people seem to think that just because people aren't of their opinion they are 'raging fanboys'. It's a comment section. People are going to comment on the article and express their personal opinion. I don't think Kid Icarus was amazing, but it's a damn site better than either Mario game, imo.



Arcamenel said:

I will respectfully disagree with Kid Icarus's placing. Call me a fanboy if you will but that game, even months later still gives me endless amounts of entertainment. I can't say the same for any other 3DS game that I own. I have not now or have I ever had a problem with the controls. I am right-handed though so I didn't have the obvious disadvantages that lefties seemed to have. The controls in my opinion are some of the most intuitive I've ever used on any DS/3DS game. That's just my 2 cents. However looking at the comments I'm confident the community choice will be more aligned with my idea of placing.



C-Olimar said:

@theblackdragon About the 3D sweet spot area: you can move your head as well as your arms. You don't have to hold it in front of you.
I know that wasn't the point, but I dread to think of all the aches you might get from holding your 3DS that way.

Also, Kid Icarus came with a stand. I know many people like to say "it shouldn't need one; the controls should have been changed" and "the 3DS is portable, you shouldn't need a stand", but what you need to remember is that a game is about having a great experience. If you need a stand to improve your experience you shouldn't care: you should just have fun and enjoy the game.



LztheQuack said:

@shpydar Let's play a fun game! It's called take a shot every time some awards show doesn't agree with you!! Everyone should play!



TheDreamingHawk said:

@theblackdragon Since you are the only mod on here, I don't even want to disagree. KI:U works better if it's slow. If it's 9.0 difficulty, it's gonna break your shoulder keys (Which a game shouldn't do)

And BTW, if you are left-handed, don't get Dillion as it's unplayable that eay.



theblackdragon said:

@TheDreamingHawk: lol, if i banned people for not agreeing with me, we'd have no one left who enjoyed KI:U around here at all. if it helps, you have my permission to enjoy any game you please — not that you need it, but i promise i don't mind if you do. :3

@lz: i love that game! count me in with you doods >:3



rayword45 said:

But if we play that, we'll all pass out within minutes.

It's better we play that game at IGN, nano-seconds till blackout.



Swiket said:

I think we can all at least agree that Sticker Star is definitely the best Paper Mario game of the year.



C-Olimar said:

@Swiket I'm afraid not. My younger brother and I made little Paper Mario puppets and we played a game with them, which imo was better than Sticker Snore (Zing!)



Chuie said:

i love FPS zombie games but no zombiu should not be third zombiu was just horrible



Eien1239 said:

Does noone have fun anymore, just whine and whine. Do me a favor stop playing games or just become a developer. I'm perfectly fine with the choices. The Goty war should only be started at the community goty not the staff goty frig!



ueI said:

@SMEXIZELDAMAN Unchained Blades didn't come out this year; It comes out next year. If a 2012 release weren't necessary, everyone would nominate stuff like Ocarina of Time 3D and Tingle's Balloon Trip of Love.



ThomasBW84 said:

Just read through all the comments, and thought I'd pitch in with a personal view.

While it's wonderful that there's so much lively debate here, and while opinions are the spice of life, I'm slightly frustrated that everything's zeroed in on a few 3DS placings. It seems that regardless of how carefully I wrote this (not a "best" list, but the current views of voting staff), there's a lot of upset at the 3DS top three. I appreciate and respect the idea that some don't rate NSMB2 (I like it, myself) and plenty believe KI:U should be number one, but that one topic has dominated the comments.

We put together voting for categories that not everyone will touch (Wii and DS retail and download) and have been very clear and upfront about the process. Yet there's very little discussion (there are some exceptions) about anything other than the 3DS. My point is that there's plenty to talk about, but it's all about Kid Icarus being too low and lots of outrage as a result.

Hey, maybe I should just ignore it but, what can I say, I find it frustrating. These results (hey, there are non 3DS categories too) are just our opinions, but those opinions are no less valid than yours, and saying it's a disgrace or lambasting it (I appreciate that plenty have been more refrained with their critique) won't change that fact.



OdnetninAges said:

New Super Mario Bros. 2?
Kingdom Hearts 3D and Kid Icarus Uprising are SO much better! Then again, that's just my opinion.

I'm not surprised by New Super Mario Bros. U, though.

Can't say anything about Sticker Star though, as I have not played it, but my friend says he hates it... then again, he says NSMBU's music sucks, which I disagree with...



Skotski said:

@mieu-fire So you mean you like action games... where humans can run a marathon without ever tiring, ammo is in huge supply, and every shot and melee is easily done as if you're a well-trained and experienced veteran from a zombie war. Where it would make no sense that a zombie outbreak would happen because everyone's a goshdarn supersoldier.

... Not bashing on other games, but saying that ZombiU is a terrible game kind of calls into question what a zombie FPS really is. Other zombie FPS games? We could just replace all those enemies with non-specific monsters and it'd still make sense, and it'd still be just as fun. ZombiU? It only makes sense that they're zombies. And it's a darn great game - A great Survival Horror, where its intended limitations add to the gameplay and experience. Not so much an Action Shoot-Em-Up, but it never pretended to be.



Skotski said:

@ThomasBW84 I, for one, am fine with these placements.
I don't agree with them, but I don't agree with all the reviews and opinion portions of this site. And if I did, it'd be an entirely different Nintendo News & Reviews site, one that I probably wouldn't enjoy as much.

So I'll just say "Awesome list. Makes sense. Thanks for sharing." because I don't think enough people here said it.



theblackdragon said:

@Tom: my best guess as to why people are focused on the 3DS stuff — I'm pretty sure we all knew Xenoblade would top the Wii list, and to be fair, there wasn't much else to top the DS list this year, not with B/W2 out. Add that to the fact that La Mulana finally hit this year (a WiiWare shoo-in) and that the Wii U games are still very new (the library isn't quite there to back it up yet), and the only thing we're left to truly debate is the 3DS results. i wouldn't take it personally that we've all kinda gone that route with the discussion. Thank you for giving us something to discuss, in fact :3



ueI said:

@ThomasBW84 Alright, I will discuss your award of Colors 3D as 3rd best 3DS eshop title. The description says "here's that surprise entry that we promised you" and "it's no surprise." In the future, I would prefer it if there were no contradiction. Personally, I am not surprised it won. Nintendolife has been hyping the game so much that its omission would have been more shocking than Paper Mario beating Kid Icarus (Sorry, couldn't resist the joke!). What does surprise me is that the Colors 3D received so much hype in the first place. Although it sounds like an excellent title, I didn't think that many people would want an art app.



Drake said:

I think I'm one of the few staff members that didn't have a single Nintendo game in their 3DS top 3.

Personally, I thought practically everything Nintendo released for it this year was disappointing in some way, I'm one of those who can't stand the controls in Kid Icarus, Mario Tennis was good but certainly not top 3 worthy, NSMB2 is perhaps the most boring NSMB yet (Whereas U is the best), and Paper Mario was a repetitive mess to me.

In the end, my top 3 was Resident Evil Revelations, Virtue's Last Reward and Rhythm Thief.



ThomasBW84 said:

@ueI Cool, I certainly think that eShop list came out differently than I expected. By the way, though, quoting separate sentences out of context doesn't show a contradiction. I should have perhaps said "it's not a surprise to us", but didn't so, oh well. The point I was making that with titles such as Mutant Mudds, Crimson Shroud, Liberation Maiden etc (all of which accumulated votes), I doubt many would have predicted Colors! 3D would make it in there. It made quite a few staffer's lists, however, and the more I look at the functionality and capabilities of it, from a personal perspective, the more understandable it seems. It shows that an app, when done very well like this one, can have an impact on the platform.



sinalefa said:

I won't complain about the list, as it is YOUR list, and I won't judge your tastes. I agree with some, and I disagree with some.

The same will happen with the user's list, when you put it up. Been there, done that, moved on.



Gridatttack said:

Nice list. I will pick up some of these on certian categories that I havent played.
But meh, this shows how PM:SS is overrated. And pkmn B/W2 is just there for the sheer amount of people that play the game.



ueI said:

@ThomasBW84 You're right. I just checked this year's eshop releases, and there were many more good ones than I remembered. Even Cave Story came out this year, again! I'm a little embarrassed to say that I haven't bought a single one.



Ren said:

Wow, I guess I'm just getting old. I played a little bit of Kid Icarus and after about 30 minutes I just couldn't do it anymore. It was the worst of cheesy voice acting and old fashioned overwraught video game cheese story with the added modern float around in a circle-and-blast stuff mechanics. Why would I want to do that for hours on end?



luminalace said:

Being a huge Mario fan, I think NSMBU deserves 1st but I don't think NSMB2 deserves to even be in the top 3. KI to me was the far superior game but I haven't played Sticker Star so I get that it may deserve 1st.

Anyway nice to see the staffs picks.



Void said:

@Swikit I completely agree, my hat is off to you, good sir.

@ThomasBW84 internet = large amount of opinions. large amount of opinions + large amount of opinions = inevitably conflicing opinions, which in turn equal arguments, there really isn't anything you could've done to prevent it, aside from attempting to rank stuff in the first place.



Skotski said:

@Ren Cheesy dialogue is part of its awesomeness.
I don't think that has to do with age - that has to do with taste. Most people, in every generation (sans a few in the 90s, 50s, and maybe a few before then that we never categorized), hate cheesy dialogues and jokes.
I just think it's charming.



PuzzleMaster7 said:

I can't really complain with these rankings. To be honest, I haven't played most of the games that made them except for the ones on the 3DS eShop list anyways. Now, I will say that Kid Icarus Uprising was a magnificent game with all of its voice acting, humor, and replay value, but however, in terms of controls, it is a little wonky, especially to the left handed players. As far as PM:SS and NSMB2 goes, I can't rant or complain about their placing only because I haven't played them. With that said, instead of this list infuriating me, it has only encouraged me to go and purchase more games!



the_shpydar said:

@lz Awesome game! Let's play!
/me is instantly drunk
granted, that was going to end up happening anyway



Prof_Clayton said:

Silly reviewers, you don't realize how detailed KI:U is. u - u It's like smash bros; if there were 108 characters. And the story mode was more in depth. And was in 3D. And had decent online.



Ichiban said:

I hope that next year there is something more exciting than new Mario titles. I've had it up to here with Mario games!



Void said:

@Shpy & LZ
I also actually quite liked Paper Mario: Sticker Star, but I just liked Kid Icarus: Uprising much better. :3



renaryuugufan92 said:

my top 3 3DS games of 2012 are~
1. Style Savvy: Trendsetters
2. Resident Evil: Revelations
3. New Super Mario Bros. 2

i have yet to pick up Kid Icarus, metal gear solid 3d or the new Paper Mario yet tho~



I-U said:

I personally love Metroid Prime Hunters, and believe Uprising is a bit overrrated. The controls aren't the same. Hunters provides far more accuracy in comparison, where as Uprising's flick turning creates a slip slide experience that thankfully has a lock-on in place to prevent it from ruining the ground segments entirely. I will say this, Uprising is amazing in the air, but that's arguably a third of the game (considering multiplayer is all on land). I think they're being generous giving the game a 3rd rank.

As for New Super Mario Brothers 2, I feel it's a lot less original than Uprising. Being more original doesn't matter much to me if the experience has controls dampening it, and NSMB2 doesn't have that issue. While I would argue that KI:U's air segments are as, if not more, engaging than the initial levels in NSMB2, the ground segments drag down that game. Rather than being engaged, I'm questioning whether I should keep continuing. I still have yet to complete Uprising and have owned it since March.

I have yet to play Paper Mario Sticker Star, but from what I've seen on youtube and of my little brother playing, it seems to be a number 1 game.

I completely agree on the Wii selection. Xenoblade Chronicles, of games released in 2012, is my GOTY.

Nintendo Land should have topped New Super Mario Brothers U. I doubt that game could even top Metroid Blast from Nintendo Land. I have yet to play NSMBU though, so I can't jump it too quick.



SirSmugleaf said:

I can agree with pretty much everything there! Very pleased there, except for KId Icarus: Uprising only getting #3! grumbles



Emaan said:

While its probably been said a million times now, NSMB2 deserves no recognition, whatsoever. With that being said, great list. My favorite games of 2012 would have to be Kid Icarus: Uprising, Rhythm Heaven Fever, Pokemon White 2, and Nintendo Land. It's been a pretty awesome year I say, but I'm really looking forward to what 2013 has to offer of course.



rayword45 said:

@I-U How far are you? Did you give up after 3 chapters? I've heard varying times of how long it took to get used to the controls (from none time (DS FPS veterans) to hours). Just wondering.

And the slip slide you speak of is actually very manageable. But if you so desire, you don't have to do it that fast.



TysonOfTime said:

Obligatory "Why didn't KI beat AT LEAST NSMB?".

Even if the controls were too difficult for some, the sheer amount of content and polish in the game still makes it better than NSMB2.

It's odd, I actually preferred the ground segments to the air segments in KI.



WiiLovePeace said:

Awesome list! So happy to see Xenoblade Chronicles won the Wii category (it is gaming perfection & will not be surpassed until Xenoblade Chronicles II comes out, imo ) & Paper Mario: Sticker Star won the 3DS retail category, yay! Such an awesome game, with heaps to do, lots of humour & a lot of little touches like the shiny stickers reflecting light differently depending on how you tilt your 3DS - its just pure awesome!



I-U said:

I think I stopped at Chapter 20. I know I've completed Chapter 18. I also realize the slip slide is manageable; however, it's not manageable enough to me to make for a smooth experience.



LavaTwilight said:

Interesting list but one that I don't think reflects any reality out there. I've voted my part so we'll just have to wait and see...



SetupDisk said:

Huge Post Warning

I already blew way too much plastic on Wii U (Visa will be happy) and I got a lot of games. As of right now Zombiu leads the gamplay time by a large margin. After beating the main game I haven't played it in a week so I can spend more time on other titles. it is very difficult however as beating survivor mode keeps calling me back every time I put in another game disc.

My second Wii U game would be New Mario Bros. U. My second Favorite 2-D Mario game right behind Super Mario World but it might take top place with the epic secret levels I keep finding. Plus it has real challenges for NES era Mario fans. I think it also has the best "last battle" of any platform Mario game.

Third is tie between ports.Tekken Tag 2 is an excellent port of a hardcore fighting game with great Wii U exclusives. Ninja Gaiden 3 RE... Some people don't think of it as that much of an improvement but to me it is night and day, the best they could have done without rebuilding the whole game. Developing your own Ninja Online is great.



Otto-Soq said:

Paper Mario! Can you complete it 100% without a walktrough? Most enjoyable Mario game i played since Super Mario Bros 2.



ThomasBW84 said:

@SetupDisk Tekken picked up a good few third-placings, which it certainly deserved. It was outgunned, ultimately, but was comfortably 4th

@Void That's absolutely true, I sometimes get on my high horse when some (the minority, I suppose) check good manners at the door when they post comments online. As I've said a few times, I love the huge range of opinions on NL, I just had a little strop at some comments that I felt crossed from just opinion to just being plain rude. I'm over it now though!



Peach64 said:

I'm surprised so many people love Kid Icarus that much. For me, the controls were poor. Yeah, you get used to them, but it shouldn't take a couple of hours for controls to click. Perhaps the worse flaw is the voice acting however. Pit sounds atrocious, like a saturday morning cartoon aimed at 7 year olds. It's with you the entire game too.

Having said that, Paper Mario, while not a bad game, is a disappointment compared to the original and Thousand Year Door, and as everyone has said, NSMB2 is just mailed in with little effort. Looking forward to 2013 and Animal Crossing. I just hope the Wii U doesn't take all Nintendo's focus away from the 3DS.



MarioKenny1992 said:

for me and what I've played so far, the Wii U GotY is New Super Mario Bros. U; for 3DS, Kid Icarus Uprising; and for 3DS download exclusive, VVVVVV

I didn't get very far into Paper Mario Sticker Star, and while New Super Mario Bros. 2 is good (especially its awesome coin rush mode), the main game is rather easy



Spoony_Tech said:

After reading Thomas's comment then shortly after theblackdragon's I was thinking the same thing tbd was. It's really the only thing up for debate on the whole list. Everything else pretty much fell in line with what everyone thought! Not that I'm mad as I could see paper Mario as a great game Kid Icarus was just an experience unlike no other for me. It had a high production value and it shows. I can see why the controls would mess it up for some though making it unplayable so I'm not blind to that fact! NSMB2 just doesn't hold up though to the other competition on the system. I would personally place 8-10 games higher then it.



Lobster said:

No mention of Denpa Men in 3DS eShop titles and having NSMB2 in 3DS Retail were my two major gripes. Otherwise a pretty good compilation of a year in which not much really happened.



Gretski said:

Awesome list! Although I think Uprising should be 2nd, I think Paper Mario completely deserves 1st



ThomasBW84 said:

@Tech101 Yeah, I understand and agree with TBD and others on that now. My biggest issue, which was at the end of my rant post and in my most recent comment, is how some choose to debate these things. It's great to have lots of different opinions, but people don't need to insult, mock or be rude about things either, which some did, in my opinion. My policy online is simple, I don't say anything I wouldn't say to someone's face: that's just how I personally feel it should be.

I guess my main general point is that, yes, disagree away — that's great — but I get disappointed when people zero in on one thing negatively. A lot of people put time into these things, and it's possible to disagree without rudeness or implying that those opinions are somehow based on nonsense or invalid reasoning.

These are general thoughts @Tech101, not directed at you specifically



rayword45 said:

Well, if I must debate something else, I'd relist the entire eShop selection as I said, but I can see why Fallblox got there.

However, I don't see why you would award a lazy port, and Colors 3D is really niche. Art of Balance: Touch, Denpa Men and EscapeVektor, maybe toss in Dillon's Rolling Western.

Also, the only people I insulted were the people who complained about Bit.Trip BEAT the WRONG way. And I don't see a problem. 2 years later now, and seriously, that's freaking stupid.



gundam00 said:

I find it ironic that just five months ago the Nintendo Life Staff was bashing the New Super Mario Bros series so much so, they were demanding that Nintendo shelve Mario entirely for a few years, and yet they voted New Super Mario Bros and Paper Mario so highly. Overall, I thought the Staff picks played it safe. With access to so many games, I was expecting some hidden gems, instead the list was pretty generic. I guess at the end of the day, you can't go wrong with Mario; people who don't want a new Mario game end up loving the new Mario game.

I'm surprised at the number of complaints of Kid Icarus' play controls. I'm left-handed and I changed the controls around so I don't have to use the stylus. I've beaten the game and have played KI more than any other game. It really should be #1. I'm baffled that Resident Evil Revelations didn't make the top 3.



LittleKing said:

Wow. Any time KI:U comes up, everyone explodes into arguments over the controls.

The thing that always baffled me is why people complain that they have to play the game holding the system with one hand and their wrist gets tired. I would say I have weaker wrists than most but I had no problems whatsoever. It's probably because I always held the system with both hands. Yes, I held it with both hands and had no problems with the stylus controls. In addition to my left hand holding it, I had my right hand's pinky on the R trigger, with the whole side of my right hand supporting the device. Or something like that. I can't quite remember, but that's how I've always played games with stylus controls and I almost never need to hold the system with one hand. I had no problems with multiplayer either this way and could react no problem. :/

You can imagine my face when I saw a random guy doing a video review complaining about the controls whilst holding the console solely with his left hand, poking at the screen from the front as if it was an iPhone and he was checking his mail.



Mahe said:

Nintendo Land is the worst selection. It's a mediocre to sub-par game, trumped even by Rabbids Land, which has less content but better implementation and ideas.



DarkCoolEdge said:

My Wii podium:

  • The Last Story
  • Pandora's Tower
  • Project Zero 2

3DS' podium:

  • Resident Evil: Revelations
  • Professor Layton and the miracle mask
  • Kid Icarus: Uprising


CorporalPegasus said:

Bad choices for 3DS, Profesor Layton And The Mask Of Miracle should have been there instead of NSMB2 and Kid Icarus is easily number 1



Drobotic said:

Kid Icarus:Uprising should have gotten #1 because of its awesome story,good amount of features,and the fact that the music was some of the greatest I've heard in a game.Did I mention the multiplayer that's one of the best parts of the game?Plus,it was a classic begging to come back after the hiatus.There's at least 4 Mario games released every year.Just saying.

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