It’s safe to say that Nintendo has had a pretty good year. Sure, there’s no word on Bayonetta 3 and Metroid Prime 4’s development got restarted completely, but we got some pretty exceptional games regardless. They really leaned into indie devs in a way we’ve not seen before with the likes of Cadence of Hyrule, and we even saw the release of a new version of the Switch; one which can’t switch at all, but hey, we aren’t the ones naming these consoles, are we?
With Nintendo giving their latest plaything so much first party support this year, which games stood out as the best of the bunch?
Fire Emblem used to be “the game that those characters in Smash Bros are in”, but that changed a few years ago thanks to Fire Emblem: Awakening. We’ve had a few entries in the series since, but none of them has hit their mark quite as effectively as Fire Emblem: Three Houses. You play a plain-as-white-bread mercenary who has to become a teacher so that you can eventually commit war crimes. Uh… great?
I don’t think the story is what hooked people though, it’s the interactions with the characters that really got people to invest in the war-torn world of Three Houses. You get to teach one of the three houses and lead them to victory both in school and afterwards. Thanks to that simple choice, you can replay the game multiple times to see the story from a different perspective, romance different students (yikes), and even reach different endings.
The battle system is fun, the teaching is far better than real life, and the whole gameplay experience meshes together wonderfully. You can finally live out your dream of being a somewhat horny teacher who somehow won’t get arrested or kicked out of the school. Huzzah. It’s all a little bit odd, but it is very good fun, and that’s why it’s here.
Luigi’s Mansion 3 – Runner Up
Luigi just can’t catch a break, can he? Every time he wins a mansion out of the blue, it’s stuffed to the brim with ghosts, but surely he’d be safe with going on a free holiday to a luxury hotel? Nope, it’s time to break out the Poltergust once again and get to busting ghosts.
You’ve got a huge amount of variety throughout the hotel’s 13 floors, each themed differently after medieval knights, movies, and more. Then there’s all the new tricks that Luigi has up his sleeve, like being able to fire toilet plungers at things, or being able to squirt out a green goo counterpart to help solve puzzles, which also lets a second player join your adventure.
With so many improvements over the first two games, and just how gorgeous it now looks on Nintendo Switch, everything really comes together for Luigi’s Mansion 3.
– Stefan L
Astral Chain – Runner Up
Astral Chain is pure Platinum, doing what Platinum do best. Once they’ve dropped you into an incredible world packed with monsters, they then give you an array of hyper-kinetic ways to see them off. The combat system is unique, and while the wisdom of being tethered to a demon creature is deeply questionable at times, the ways in which you can utilise the different types of Legion keeps everything feeling fresh and invigorating from start to finish.
Tying it all together with awesome comic-styled visuals and a frenetic soundtrack that leaps genres like an excitable puppy, Astral Chain is one of the action game highlights of the year.
– Dom L
Honourable Mentions (in alphabetical order)
- Cadence of Hyrule
- Daemon X Machina
- Super Mario Maker 2
To catch up on the Game of the Year awards we’ve handed out so far, here’s a handy list:
- Best Remaster/Remake
- Best Visual Design
- Best Soundtrack
- Best Ongoing Game
- Best Multiplayer Game
- Best Gameplay
- Best Narrative
- Best Single Player Game
- Best Indie Game
- Best VR Game
- Best PC Game
With so many great games out for Nintendo Switch in 2019, what has really stood out for you? Let us know in the comments below.