We’ve all said it at one point or another, but it bears repeating: 2014 was pretty much ass. Purely focusing on the games-side of things, there were far more disappointing and broken games that released this year than any of us would have expected. Still, even in this most ass-y of years, there were still games that came out that were worth rewarding. But before we get to those games, let’s start off with a category that’s pretty representative of 2014 as a whole.
On the morning of my fifth day with Tomodachi Life I booted up my 3DS and started the game. During the initial load a light caught my 3DS at just the right angle and I saw myself through the glare. Eyes drooping, mouth frowning, I looked into the mirror of my soul and wondered why. Why was I so desperate to see what my Miis were up to? Why won’t Chie and my look-alike start dating? Why does Evan like sports? Why is Michael upset? Why am I so set on checking my Island every 30 minutes for something new to do?
Nintendo has recently been on a downward spiral. Setting the Wii U aside, there is still a persistent issue on the software side of things. Recent releases like New Super Mario Bros., upcoming titles such as Hyrule Warriors, and the miserable failure that was The Year of Luigi have all been followed by the resounding question: “Why?” Add another game to the list for the questioning, because Mario Golf: World Tour is here.
I’m going to put this bluntly: I don’t like Kirby Triple Deluxe. It oftentimes feels like a product custom-built to represent all of my problems with Nintendo at the moment, particularly its reliance on nostalgia to carry the player through the beginning hours. By the end levels of Triple Deluxe, HAL Laboratory manage to make use of the installment’s meager innovations to end things on a reasonably high note, but there’s altogether too much tedium before getting there.
The title of Nintendo’s newest Zelda game describes much of its charm and ingenuity. This entry stands as a link between two design philosophies: the old, much beloved Zelda formula perfected by A Link to the Past, and the new, more freeing, exploratory format that gives players what they want as soon as they want it. A Link Between Worlds stands at the crossroads of these two different game types, melding them seamlessly. It shows Nintendo isn’t afraid to adapt and try new things in an effort to spice up the Zelda formula before it runs out of steam.
2013: The Year of Luigi. It is finally time for gaming’s most famous second fiddle to step into the spotlight. It all starts here, with Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon. The long anticipated 3DS title is finally on store shelves and kicks off the green-clothed brother’s year.
The Paper Mario series holds a special place in my heart. I loved the first installment, and Thousand Year Door is my favorite Gamecube game, but I did skip out on Super Paper Mario for the Wii when I heard that it didn’t compare to the other entries in the series. When Paper Mario Sticker Star was announced at E3 two years ago, I was very excited to dive back into the series and expand my 3DS library. After finishing Sticker Star, I am conflicted.
The power behind Super Mario 3D Land is astounding, on all fronts. The gameplay is smooth, the graphics are unmatched on portable consoles, and the sound is nostalgic with a modernized twist. All of these combine to make one of the best, albeit short, games I have ever played on a handheld.