Alt NL Awards 2019 Seal

It's Game of the Year season everyone! Take a cursory glance around the internet and you'll be sure to find huge goaty lists of games ranked according to their relative qualities. It's fun - and hey, what else are you going to do while you're sat at home with the family watching the telly over the holiday period?

Of course, not all awards warrant their own huge list, so we here at Nintendo Life have corralled some of our smaller honours (as well as a few silly gongs) into one discreet article for your festive enjoyment. Below you will find a selection of awards for deserving candidates which have stood out in very specific areas of Switch gaming over the past year. Some are celebratory, while other 'honours' are more dubious.

Come with us, then, on a journey through the smaller and 'alternative' Nintendo Life GOTY awards. We start off with 2019's biggest mouthful...

Most Long-Winded Switch Game Title 2019

Winner: Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda


Runners-up: Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive Age - Definitive Edition; New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe

Writing for a gaming website, you'll find yourself typing out the same titles again and again - the number of times we've punched out 'Pokémon Sword and Shield' into our laptops over the past couple of months has left us with an RSI. Indeed, some games seem to take pleasure in torturing writers, and we're not just talking about the visual novels that go crazy with semi-colons, or the confusion similarly named games can cause (how the heck The Outer Worlds and Outer Wilds ended up releasing in the same year is beyond us).

To complicate matters Switch versions frequently have an extra addendum like 'Deluxe', 'Definitive' or 'Enhanced Edition', too. But for some reason it was Cadence of Hyrule: Crypt of the NecroDancer Featuring The Legend of Zelda's needlessly prevaricating title which vexed us most this year. Cadence of Hyrule would have been just fine.

Best Motorcycle Section in a Switch Game 2019

Winner: Astral Chain


Runners-up: Sayonara Wild Hearts, Trials Rising

Motorcycles are cool and it's a well-known fact that putting one in your game immediately increases its appeal by 36%. PlatinumGames knows this and decided to start strong with a two-wheeled intro to Astral Chain, throwing you into a thrilling chase in its opening moments before quickly introducing you to your chained combat beast and getting you immediately into the game's meaty combat. Why dwell on the questionable relationship between you and the enslaved Legion tethered to your wrist, hmm? Let's just get stuck in with a breakneck intro. Perfect.

Also worthy of a mention are the beautifully balletic beat-based bike sections of Sayonara Wild Hearts. And Trials Rising stretches its 'motorcycle section' into an entire game. Cheeky, but - hey - it works.

Best Britishism In Pokémon Sword and Shield

Winner: Hop: "I'll show this wally my real skills in battle!"

What a wally

Runners-up: Hop: "Now, I'm cream-crackered!"; Grunt A: "Oi, jog on, mate!"

The fact that the Galar region in Pokémon Sword and Shield is based on the UK has made exploring it a particular pleasure for our UK-based staff. As well as eyeing recognisable architecture, it was also a treat to read the dialogue coming out of the mouths of Galar residents. While it was a slight disappointment to not have that dialogue spoken - something we think it's time for the Pokémon franchise to embrace, especially now that it's on home systems - the localisation team did a fantastic job of cramming in plenty of British dialect phrases into the game. Sure, it gets a little Dick Van Dyke at times and we don't use the word 'mate' quite that frequently, but on the whole it was fun to see the world introduced to some classic British lingo.

While discussing rival Bede, Hop's use of the word 'wally' (a childish, softer version of 'idiot') was particularly grin-inducing, as was his Cockney rhyming slang (he says he's 'cream-crackered', meaning 'knackered', meaning very tired) and the various utterances from the Team Yell grunts we encountered on our travels. We were well chuffed to see some of these absolute belters, mate.

The 'Great Game That Doesn't Really Fit In Any Category' Award 2019

Winner: Ring Fit Adventure


Well, who-da-thunk-it? A Wii Fit-alike, but with more 'game' which actually makes exercise fun? Having done more than our fair share of 'exer-tainment' (shudder) with plastic peripherals strapped to our limbs, we were sceptical at first, but Ring Fit Adventure was a real winner with the team. Battling body-building nemesis Dragaux (alongside the bulge) turned out to be the most fun we'd had exercising since running down the street to catch the ice cream van man.

What with this and Fitness Boxing, we must say that Team NL is heading into 2020 in spectacular shape. From our rippling forms alone you'd never guess we spend ten hours every day sat staring at a monitor. We'd daresay we could start up some sort of relay triathlon training - how does that take your fancy, team? Team? Hello?

Oh. They're probably busy battling Dragaux. Yes.

Best Soundtrack in a Switch Game 2019

Winner: Cadence of Hyrule

On fire

Runners-up: The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening; Untitled Goose Game

There are few game series with such a treasured back catalogue of tracks in the vault than The Legend of Zelda, and we imagine that Danny Baranowsky must have felt a little daunted when tasked with remixing a large chunk of gaming's best loved melodies for Cadence of Hyrule. If he did, you sure can't tell from the music! Every track takes the original by the horns and puts a frantic, pulsing beat into it that not only marries with the gameplay beautifully, but also reminds you just how brilliant those original tunes were in the first place.

Hearing those Zelda melodies now is often akin to listening to an old rock standard like 'Satisfaction' - a classic that's soaked into the culture to the point where you don't really 'hear' the song anymore. Cadence of Hyrule made us re-hear and re-appreciate those classics while injecting a freshness entirely its own. A hell of a feat.