Nintendo Games Of The Decade Seal

As the 21st century passed from its teens into its twenties, we looked back over the previous ten years in the video game industry. It was quite the rollercoaster journey for Nintendo in particular, riding the highs of the Wii and DS period through the trials of the Wii U and 3DS era right up to the success of Nintendo Switch. As developers continue to push the boundaries of the medium things, and so much variety available across all consoles, it's a truly exciting time to be playing and sharing video games.

We asked Nintendo Life readers to rate their favourite games of the previous decade on Nintendo consoles and their ratings created the following ranked selection of the very best games between January 2010 and December 2019. Remember, even after publication this list remains malleable and will change to reflect the User Ratings of Nintendo Life readers, so don't worry if you didn't rate your favourites. Simply head to the corresponding game page, hover over the Game Rating star and click to score your chosen title.

Enough talk, let's take a walk through your Nintendo console Games of the Decade 2010-2019...

50. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)

Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 22nd Nov 2013 (USA) / 29th Nov 2013 (UK/EU)

Boasting perhaps the most colourful box art ever created, Super Mario 3D World is bursting at the seams with cuteness, creativity and catsuits. While it might lack the unbridled freedom of Mario's other 3D adventures (and it may take quite some time to get comfortable with if you go in expecting that sort of experience), it provides a terrifically enjoyable, tight and impeccably structured adventure. With a focus on bringing fans of the 2D games into the realm of 3D Marios, it recalls the mascot’s 3D heritage while providing the perfect starting point for novices. It's also the only 3D Mario to offer four-player co-op in the vein of the madcap multiplayer of the New Super Mario Bros. series on Wii and Wii U.

Super Mario 3D World is unmissable and prior to its reappearance on Switch, we'd have said it was worth hunting down a Wii U to play. The additional Bowser's Fury content of the newer version — plus various gameplay tweaks and the addition of online and local wireless play — arguably gives the Switch edition the edge in a head-to-head battle. Still, the original Wii U experience remains one of the console's highlights, so why not grab yourself a copy and just sit with it on your lap as you admire the box art and run your forefinger around the curved edge of the disc? The Switch cart doesn't have that, does it? Meow!

49. Astral Chain (Switch)

Astral Chain (Switch)
Astral Chain (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: PlatinumGames
Release Date: 30th Aug 2019 (USA) / 30th Aug 2019 (UK/EU)

With its amazing visuals, fantastic presentation, varied gameplay and deep, rewarding combat, Astral Chain is one of PlatinumGames' most accomplished titles. It mixes detective work with exhilarating battle sequences that are inventive, challenging and – perhaps most importantly – breathtakingly cool. The complexity of the game's myriad systems may prove intimidating for some players, but the inclusion of a co-op play and the ability to automate many of the mechanics via the 'Unchained' mode means that even complete newcomers can still enjoy the ride. Astral Chain isn't just one of the Switch's stand-out hits, it's one of Platinum's best video games.

48. Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition (Wii U)

Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition (Wii U)
Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition (Wii U)
Publisher: Warner Bros / Developer: Rocksteady Studios
Release Date: 18th Nov 2012 (USA) / 30th Nov 2012 (UK/EU)

Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition may not be the definitive version of the game but, aside from some frame rate issues, the incorporation of GamePad controls felt totally natural, and the opportunity to don the Dark Knight's cowl and cape in one of the best Batman games ever was a considerable boon for Wii U owners.

With a relatively lengthy campaign, loads of extra content, and the opportunity to give Batman's gallery of rogues a sound thrashing, this was the Batman game to play on Wii U — a console which boasts no fewer than five flavours of the Caped Crusader (counting the LEGO ones, Arkham Origins, and Blackgate - Deluxe Edition).

47. Pokémon Black and White 2 (DS)

Pokémon Black and White 2 (DS)
Pokémon Black and White 2 (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Game Freak
Release Date: 7th Oct 2012 (USA) / 12th Oct 2012 (UK/EU)

Those who brushed Pokémon Black and White 2 off as simply more of the same at the time were sorely mistaken. On a superficial level the Pokémon games have not changed much, and for good reason; the foundation that was placed way back in Pokémon Red and Blue was incredibly solid and engaging from the off. By adding more around it and tweaking things under the hood, the series has grown far beyond its humble monochromatic origins even if the pace of change is a little more glacial than some would like.

The naming of these entries, their status as the first 'direct' sequels in the franchise, and the fact that they weren't being released on the then-new 3DS console arguably did these games a disservice and masked their greatness. Make no mistake though, these are two of the finest games in the series.

46. Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS)

Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS)
Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies (DS)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: 11th Jul 2010 (USA) / 23rd Jul 2010 (UK/EU)

A game made exclusively for Nintendo DS, sometimes you can't help but marvel at how developers are somehow able to squeeze home console-sized RPG epics onto tiny handheld systems with the most modest of specs, and Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Skies stands as an impressive feat. Boasting a wealth of new gameplay features, Wi-Fi compatibility and multiplayer action as well, this remains a significant milestone in portable gaming and helped increase western interest in this hallowed Japanese RPG series.

45. Shovel Knight (Wii U eShop)

Shovel Knight (Wii U eShop)
Shovel Knight (Wii U eShop)
Publisher: Yacht Club Games / Developer: Yacht Club Games
Release Date: 26th Jun 2014 (USA) / 5th Nov 2014 (UK/EU)

Yacht Club Games scored a hit with Shovel Knight across all platforms, Nintendo or not. With brilliant game design, charming presentation that tapped into everyone's 8-bit nostalgia before it was done to death, and a ton of post-release content which added a bewildering amount of new stuff to the base game, this was a wonderful first title from the fledgling developer and proved that Kickstarter successes were indeed possible, if done right.

44. Rayman Legends (Wii U)

Rayman Legends (Wii U)
Rayman Legends (Wii U)
Publisher: Ubisoft / Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier
Release Date: 3rd Sep 2013 (USA) / 30th Aug 2013 (UK/EU)

Rayman Legends is close to 2D platforming perfection and its minor missteps, while noticeable, are easily forgiven. The main story levels clock in at well under 10 hours, but the developers made those hours utterly glorious, and then threw in enough extra content, challenges, remixes and collectibles to conceivably more than double that play time. And the fact is that playing levels again, hunting out those hidden Teensies or chasing gold cups, is not only essential, but completely worthwhile. It's also worthwhile playing extensively in both single and multiplayer, as each option feels distinctly different, shaking up the experience in pleasing ways. The Definitive Edition on Switch is equally lovely.

43. Bayonetta 2 (Switch)

Bayonetta 2 (Switch)
Bayonetta 2 (Switch)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: PlatinumGames
Release Date: 16th Feb 2018 (USA) / 16th Feb 2018 (UK/EU)

Despite coming from the previous generation, Bayonetta 2 shines brightest on Nintendo Switch. It runs without a hitch at 60fps, looks incredible in both TV and tabletop modes, and offers an addictive free-flowing combat formula that sprinkles in platforming, light exploration and a ridiculous story to create something that you simply need to experience. If you’ve never played it before, you’re in for a treat. If you’ve already played it, it’s even more bewitching as a handheld gem.

42. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy (3DS eShop)

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy (3DS eShop)
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy (3DS eShop)
Publisher: Capcom / Developer: Capcom
Release Date: 11th Dec 2014 (USA) / 11th Dec 2014 (UK/EU)

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy is an excellent package wherever you choose to play it, delivering hours and hours of entertaining and quirky interactive novel gameplay. It remains unique in the market, at least in its consistent levels of quality, and for those new to the franchise — or fans of Dual Destinies — it's a must buy. If you've played the originals to death, the prospect of replaying them on other platforms is a trickier sell — the enhancements are minor enough that they're not worth buying as opposed to simply firing up that old DS cart. As an isolated product, however, this is a wonderful addition to the 3DS' library (as is the Switch version); surreal, funny and huge value, it's definitely Guilty of being excellent.

41. Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (Switch eShop)

Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (Switch eShop)
Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (Switch eShop)
Publisher: Yacht Club Games / Developer: Yacht Club Games
Release Date: 3rd Mar 2017 (USA) / 3rd Mar 2017 (UK/EU)

Shovel Knight was excellent in vanilla form, but Treasure Trove includes absolutely everything that developer Yacht Club has created for the game since its Kickstarter success back in 2013. That includes the extra campaigns Plague of Shadows, Specter of Torment and the more recent King of Cards, plus multiplayer brawler Showdown which further increases the attractiveness of an already incredibly compelling package. These games are fantastic odes to the glory days of 8-bit(+) platforming, and having the complete Shovel Knight experience in one spot makes this a must-have for Switch owners - especially those that have so far failed to dig into this game and its add-ons. Strike the earth!