I think I played -- and loved dearly -- more handheld games in 2013 than I have since the days of Game Boy. Or at least since last year, which gave me two of my favorite games ever, Gravity Rush and Persona 4: Golden.
Still, it was certainly one of the harder categories for me to vote in. I picked up Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon during BioShock Infinite's midnight launch and half-joked it was my Game of the Year. Then more and more great handheld titles poured forth.
Here are the nominees for 2013 Portable Game of the Year:
And the winner is ...
I made my love affair with Tearaway clear when I reviewed it. It's such an unbelievable, special little game for so many different reasons. From a technical level, its papercraft aesthetic is realized perfectly. Seeing paper ripples as I skipped across a paper puddle made me giggle more than a realistically rendered sea of polygons could.
The level of detail is staggering. It feels, fittingly, handmade, like a warm beam of sunshine on an afternoon catnap. The big picture narrative, about story-telling, winds its way from endearing awareness to surreal exploration, culminating in a remarkably poignant, affective end.
Tearaway is affirming. It makes me like games a little bit more. It makes me like myself a little bit more. It'd make me like you a little bit more, too, if you'd go buy it. It deserves as much.
That was our pick for best portable game of 2013. As for our community poll, you all voted Fire Emblem: Awakening as your number one portable game of 2013. That was followed by Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, and Tearaway.