2013 was a pretty great year to be a gamer. The indie scene absolutely exploded, we had two brand new consoles launch, and there were more solid, quality titles to play than I had time for.
I did however have time to play some of them, and I've listed my Top Ten of 2013 below. These are not in order of my favorite to least, I just like to have everything in alphabetical order. The collector in my would have it no other way.
Now, on to the show!
Animal Crossing: New Leaf
I am admittedly not the biggest Animal Crossing player. I'd only ever played it less than a handful of times on the Gamecube and Wii, so as you can imagine I didn't have super high hopes of spending much time with New Leaf when it launched.
Boy, was I wrong. What happened next was a three week binge on nothing but Animal Crossing. I had to catch every bug, catch every fish, find all the fossils and make friends with everyone. I had to be the best mayor Animal Crossing had ever seen!
I haven't sunk as many hours into any game this year as I have for Animal Crossing, and this is why it made my list. Well, that and it's just fun as hell to play.
Fire Emblem: Awakening
I'm not sure what I can say about Fire Emblem that others haven't said before. In a nutshell, it's amazing. I felt like I had been missing something in my gaming life, I needed a game to challenge me, a game to make me want to care about it's characters in a meaningful way, a game that made me regret decisions made and really think about consequences of actions. Fire Emblem: Awakening did that, and then some.
Without a doubt the most addicting game I played all year. I stopped playing everything until I was finished with Awakenings story, I had to see it through, no matter how many tears were shed or how many loved ones lost. Simply, superb.
Lego City: Undercover
When I initially heard about Lego City: Undercover I was skeptical. People were saying it was basically, Grand Theft Auto but with Legos. You see, I've never been a fan of "open world games". I get distracted, lost, bored. I need linearity with my games. When I finally saw the trailer however, my mind was made. I had to have this game and I had to have it now!
Everything about Lego City: Undercover is just fantastic. The story is fairly cliche', you're a do good cop going after a bad guy. Basic stuff, it's everything in between though that makes Undercover such a special game. The writing is witty and fun, the missions are a blast and the unlockable characters and vehicles are just icing on the cake. There really is no other Lego game that does it better, well, other than....
Lego Marvel Superheroes
The only thing better than one amazing Lego game is two, and with Lego Marvel Superheroes, you have arguably the best Lego game to date, and a game that will be very tough to beat. Lego Marvel Superheroes is everything I've ever wanted out of a "superhero" game. Smart and funny writing, solid gameplay and more characters to unlock then you can shake a stick at. No really, you literally can not shake a stick at how many playable characters there are, I've tried, and I failed.
Everything about Heroes is top notch, the game looks beautiful, the character models are spot on with their comic book counterparts, the action is always goofy and full of laughs. Oh and did I mention replayability and hidden secrets galore? Because yea, there's also that.
Probably my biggest surprise of the year. Little Inferno was purchased as just "something to play", I never intended on falling in love with it. After my first initial play through though, it had me, and I was not expecting this tiny little fireplace simulator to tug at my heart the way it did.
Little Inferno seems simple and silly at first glance, that's just the icing on the cake, the real story is in the middle, in between all those combos and ashes, right where the cake is always the warmest. There's a deep story here, a sad story, and adult story, a story that didn't' leave me feeling particularly happy. It did however touch me, it made me feel and care about its little world, its little people and my little neighbor, even though we had never met.
Little Inferno wasn't the only game to sneak up on me and take me totally by surprise, just as Inferno did before it, SteamWorld Dig took me by the hands and wouldn't let me go. I had no initial thoughts or expectations going in, I simply bought it because it looked fun, like something I would enjoy. What I ended up with however was one of my favorite games of the year.
How deep does the mine go? What could possibly be down there? What was my uncle searching for? I had to know, I had to keep digging. I kept finding old relics on my journey, I was being upgraded, but for what? Why is all of this fantastic stuff down here? Must keep digging, must go deeper, must keep playing.
Super Mario 3D World
Look, I make no excuses when it comes to being a Nintendo fanboy. I love Nintendo, I love the house that Mario built. Nintendo games have this certain, charm about them. You know going in, that you're going to have a smile on your face. You know that you're going to play a game that has been polished, and then polished one last time, just in case.
Super Mario 3D World is the definition of a polished game. From the varying worlds, characters, level design and gameplay, everything about 3D World is platforming perfection. I could literally go on and on as to why 3D World is the best game of the year, but I'm pretty sure you already knew that. Wait, you did know that, right?
The Wonderful 101
Take a dash of insanity, sprinkle in some craziness, add a pinch of humor and voila, you now have The Wonderful 101. It's no secret that Nintendo is in dire need of help from 3rd party companies, Nintendo's own internal studios can only put out so much, enter Platinum Games. There are a lot of mixed feelings regarding The Wonderful 101, some people say it doesn't play well, the controls don't work, it's too hard or it doesn't make sense. I can understand these complaints, it's definitely not a perfect game, it is however an amazing journey through a bat-shit insane filled world with boss fights unlike anything you've seen before.
Once the controls click though, when you hit that moment when you finally "get it", everything changes. I'm not going to lie, the game is challenging, the camera can be a bit wonky at times, and you will possibly swear a whole lot, if you stick with it though, you will end up playing one of the most unique and simply fun games of all of 2013.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Two Zelda games made my list this year, the first was the phenomenal Link Between Worlds. I remember playing A Link to the Past when it first released, It was simply put, amazing. You can imagine then, my excitement when we first found out that we would be diving back into that world and that story.
A Link Between Worlds brings with it some very big changes to the Zelda formula. You can now rent items, go to any dungeon at any time, no longer are you constrained to follow a predetermined path, you can now make your own path. I have to wonder if this new "openness" found in ALBW will be present in the new Zelda game for the Wii U, it seems that the camp is decidedly split at this point. I for one welcome it, as I have not had nearly as much fun roaming the lands of Hyrule as I did in ALBW.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
I had only ever played Wind Waker once before, it was on my Wii, a friend had loaned it to me. You see, when the GameCube was out I wasn't gaming, I had taken a break and was doing other things at the time, so when I found out that there would be an HD release of Wind Waker, I knew that it was finally time to jump back in and finish what I had barely started.
I remembered the game looking pretty fantastic when I had initially played it, I was not prepared however with just how different and amazing the game would look in HD. The entire world felt alive, the cel shading is absolutely gorgeous, it makes me wonder why more games aren't made in this fashion. Oh, and the gameplay and story? Yea, top notch, I can now see and understand why Wind Waker is such an admired and adored game.
Honorable Mentions: Luigis Mansion: Dark Moon and Tearaway.
So that's it I guess. 2013 was filled with an awful lot of Nintendo games for me. I swear that I do own other consoles, no really, I do! Dragons Crown was a lot of fun, Tearaway is amazing, Y's Memories of Celceta is pretty great in it's own right and I even sort of enjoyed Bioshock Infinite, just clearly not as much as everyone else seems to...
Anyway, I can't wait to see what 2014 brings, the Wii U seems to finally be hitting it's stride, the Xbox One and PS4 have some simply amazing looking games coming and the 3DS is going to continue to be my go to system, hell even the Vita gave me reason to finally take the plunge.
Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year! See you in 2014!