Feature: A Guide to the Best Nintendo Gifts For the Holiday Season

Consoles, games, and random stuff that must be owned

Wii U Games

This has been attracting a lot of buzz online, with critical acclaim following in healthy doses. It's tight, wonderful Mario platforming in single player and anarchic fun with others, with playable characters that also shake up play styles. It's brilliant, and earned 10/10 in our review

It was a re-master that prompted delight when announced, and has given Wii U owners a first taste of a HD Zelda adventure. What was once a divisive art style seems to be embraced more readily today, and we were pleased to award it 9/10 in our review.

We imagine that if you asked Shigeru Miyamoto which Wii U title gave him the most pride in 2013, the answer may well be Pikmin 3. It took many years to arrive, but this third entry in the series finally landed and turned out to be a delight; we gave it 9/10.

This is a game that could be very useful over the Holiday season, as it's fun and accessible in typical Nintendo style. There are plenty of mini-games and boards to take on, and amused us enough to merit an 8/10 score.

Also available as part of a Wii U hardware bundle, this saw TT Fusion bring another popular LEGO franchise into the video game world for the first time; it's a Wii U exclusive and includes an impressive open world along with some excellent humour. We gave it 8/10.

Although an extended version of the popular Wii title, this shouldn't be dismissed as a lazy upscale. It has a lot of new monsters, quests and content to enjoy, along with excellent GamePad use and local / online multiplayer; we gave it 9/10 in our review.

We may have expressed frustration when announced as another ageing port coming to the Wii U — which has since also arrived on PS3 and Xbox 360 — but, ultimately, this is arguably the definitive version of an excellent game. Quality counts, and this is certainly worth strong consideration, earning a 9/10 in our review.

This Wii U launch title had disappointing sales, yet deserved better. For those that didn't take the plunge it can now be found heavily discounted in stores and on the Wii U eShop, and serves up a delicious survival horror experience that utilises the GamePad in creative ways — we gave it 8/10.

A title that evolved from launch window exclusive to delayed multi-platform game, but whatever its route to market it's still a standout experience of 2013. Gorgeous visuals align with wonderful controls and creative design to make this a compelling option, especially as — like ZombiU[/url] — it can be found for a reduced price at retail and on the eShop; we awarded it 9/10.

Another title that goes back to day one of the Wii U, and is included in some of the bundles mentioned before. We certainly feel that this is the best 2D Mario title in many years, and was the must-have Wii U launch game. It's still must-have, too, and we dished out a 9/10 score.


3DS Games

Of all the releases on Nintendo systems this year, this was quite possibly the most hyped of them all. A new generation of Pokémon always causes an excited frenzy, and the first on 3DS was no different. It's an excellent début on the portable too, earning a 9/10 from us.

The announcement of this title has an amusing anecdote within Nintendo Life HQ, as an unnamed member of the team quite literally lost their minds as it was revealed in a Nintendo Direct, losing the ability to type coherently for 60 entertaining seconds. That's the power of the franchise, and this bold new entry shakes up the formula and delights at every turn, so much so we gave it full marks with a 10.

One of the biggest hits for Nintendo on the 3DS, and a title still delivering consistently good sales. It's so laid back yet so addictive, and it's lured in all types of gamers; close to perfection with 9/10 in our review.

In future years this may be the game where it's said that Next Level Games came of age, taking on the young series and kicking off the Year of Luigi in style. Humorous, charming and a visual treat, this will be perfect for those long, dark Winter nights; we gave it 9/10.

We're going a little further back now to Masahiro Sakurai's epic shooter hybrid, with air and land battles keeping players on their toes. The controls can be divisive, but this is a big favourite within the Nintendo Life community; we're big fans too, giving it an almost angelic 9.

One of the titles that some feel helped save the 3DS in Winter 2011, the arrival of this one's sequel on the Wii U can't come soon enough. This is still a favourite for 3DS gamers and online races are easy to come by; it's just good fun. If you or your loved ones don't have this already, read our review and then remedy the situation.

This was the first in this sub-series that attempts a hybrid of 2D and 3D into an accessible, fun package. It can actually be rather divisive, but for our money is still a 3DS standout to this day, with impressive visuals and excellent gameplay — we awarded 9/10 in our review.

This is a fantastic, lengthy and funny RPG, with all of the wacky touches you'd expect from AlphaDream, and yet it seemed to pass without a great deal of media attention. We certainly hope sales have been reasonable as we feel this is a must-have for fans of the genre, with the whopping big adventure giving you lots of bang for your buck; we gave it a dreamy 9.

This has now arrived on home consoles in HD form, but if given the choice we'd still opt for this portable original. The environments suit the smaller screen perfectly, and a Circle Pad Pro / XL makes it handle like a dream. The plot can be slapstick, but the scary vibes, entertaining set pieces and solid online play impressed us enough to justify a 9/10 score.

This is the 3DS equivalent to the Wii U title already listed above, which has all of the great content aside from online multiplayer. Local multiplayer with Wii U gamers is novel and works well, and this is certainly a great option if you're a MH fan without the HD system — we awarded 8/10.


Click over to the next page as we outline some key accessories and fun extras.

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