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. Batman: Arkham City Armored Edition (Wii U)

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).

49. Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)

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!

48. Rayman Legends (Wii U)

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.

47. Bayonetta 2 (Switch)

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.

46. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening (Switch)

This beautiful Switch remake of the classic Game Boy entry rebuilt everything from the ground up. On top of the beautiful new art style, it added modern conveniences, a dungeon creator, amiibo support, and lots of little quality-of-life improvements whilst infusing every single square inch of Koholint – every secret passage, Piranha, Pokey, and Pig Warrior – with a level of detail and depth that totally reinvigorated both its timeless story and classic Zelda gameplay for a new generation.

If there's anything holding The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening back, some frame rate issues might prove jarring for some players. Others may not even notice, but if you're sensitive to dropped frames, you may be distracted from the otherwise absorbing gameplay. It's a little thing, but with the heritage of technical wizardry behind the Game Boy original, it is a small dent in this game's otherwise glistening armour.

45. Pokémon Black and White (DS)

Pokémon Black and White may not have the added nostalgia of HeartGold and SoulSilver, but they're up there with some of the best in the series. What they lack in links to the past they gain by recreating the sense of discovery felt when embarking on that first Pokémon journey.

Black and White arguably suffer in reputation from being the only games in the series (thus far) to have direct numbered sequels set in the same region (albeit visiting new locations). Despite being shoved to the back of the queue in some people's minds, these introductions to Gen V are still fantastic games and well worth revisiting.

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

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.

43. Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective (DS)

Coming from the mind of Shu Takumi, the main developer responsible for Phoenix Wright (and his Japanese voice), Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective equals, and arguably surpasses, the quality of the lawyer's many games. It has a few issues towards the end with some of the puzzles requiring a few leaps in lateral thinking (particularly when controlling multiple characters with different abilities), but Ghost Trick is a perfect showcase of what the Nintendo DS could accomplish with the right design. Making use of the system's stylus to latch onto object cores and ultimately recover the deceased protagonist's memory, it's still a delight to play, with a dramatic, jazzy soundtrack and a story that continues to surprise until the end. It may be crammed full of tricks, but this is still an absolute treat.

42. Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)

Xenoblade Chronicles X is sprawling, diverse, complex, and entrancing. It utilised the Wii U's capabilities not only to produce a beautiful world, but also showed how something as simple as a map on the GamePad screen can be invaluable. What's most impressive is the dynamism and impression of freedom in play - level caps and grinding are naturally part of the equation, yet they're managed within a structure where even small missions or Affinity quests greatly enhance the narrative and sense of place. To truly experience the story of this human colony and the vast planet Mira requires exploration and patience, and Monolith Soft found an impressive balance in bringing its vast range of gameplay systems and mechanics together. Occasional bottlenecks are infrequent and easily overcome in the broader experience, and overall Xenoblade Chronicles X delivers a hugely impressive RPG adventure. It was an enormous accomplishment for Monolith Soft and an irresistible part of the Wii U library.

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

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.