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The Top Ten Nintendo Games of 2013

If we’re all honest, then we have to admit that 2013 wasn’t that great of a year for Nintendo.  Their latest offering to the console market, the Wii U did not meet sales expectations and as a result they’ve suffered for it.  In comparison and as a bright spot not only is the 3DS thriving but the latest news of their impeding 2014 releases seems to have the market excited.  So yes, right now the Wii U is lagging in sales but that doesn’t mean that Nintendo can’t right this ship.  It is far to early to write their obituary and sing their swan song.  The games they released in 2013 prove that.  If you really look at the titles the Big N shipped out last year then it’s easy to see that quality has never been the company’s problem.

Okay, we admit that this list is a little late we’re pretty far into January but look at it this way.  We here at Leviathyn strive to make sure that our choices are well thought out and when it came to this list we really had to put our thinking caps on.  We really only had one major requirement, that the games up for debate had to be found only on Nintendo systems.  Feel free to listen to the podcast below and read the abriged version:

The Top Ten Nintendo Games of 2013 

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10. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies

While Dual Destinies contains everything we love about the Ace Attorney series, from the quirky characters to the frustrating leaps of logic, there is no question that this is one of the best entries into the franchise.  The addition of the Mood Matrix is well placed and adds to the gameplay by giving players the ability to see how the witness on the stand is feeling.  This added depth gives us more insight into the characters and can help players make different decisions on what questions to ask, what statements to debunk, and what pieces of evidence could be relevant.

The story and new character additions don’t feel forced here as we say goodbye to our every present sidekick Maya and hello to Athena.  Phoenix seems just as bumbling as ever and it’s nice to see him back and in charge.  Dual Destinies builds upon the framework laid out in previous Ace Attorney games and proves itself to one of the best games of last year.

(Read the review here)

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9. Shin Megami Tensei IV

Shin Megami Tensei IV has everything you love about JRPGS in one 3DS package.  The dark and gripping story, the varied characters, the demons who have personalities all of their own, and of course the combat.  While grinding is practically a must in the game, if you can look past it you’ll find yourself absorbed into a world quite different from the previous entry to the series.    It’s a wild ride from beginning to end with Atlus rejoicing in the freedom of telling a new story while keeping everything that makes you love Shin Megami Tensei.

(Read the review here)

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8. Mario and Luigi Dream Team

While the story is one as old as the Mario franchise itself, Mario and Luigi Dream Team is one of the best games released on the 3DS this year.  While you play in both the real world and dream world, the game really shines when Mario has leaped into Lugi’s nighttime reveries.  There is no limit to what the joke of the series can do once he’s asleep from cloning himself into over a dozen copies, to turning into a cloud.  All it takes is affecting him in the real world and voila the one thing no one wanted, thirty Luigi’s all willing and able to help.  Mario and Luigi Dream Team, is a charming little game and honestly just fun.

(Read the review here)

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7. Pokémon X and Y

It’s easy to call this just another entry into the Pokémon series but X and Y added something just a little different to breathe new life into the long running franchise: Mega Evolutions.  Just giving players the opportunity to further evolve their Pokémon had gamers running to the stores to get their hands on a copy of the game.  No matter which version you choose, battling with your friends online and Mega Evolving select Pokémon gives the game some much needed depth making this one of the best Pokémon games in a long time.  Never has trying to catch them all been so much fun.

(Read the review here)

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6. Fire Emblem: Awakening 

2013 was a great year for the 3DS and a prime example of just how good it was is Fire Emblem: Awakening.  Not only did the game have everything that we love about the series, including the demanding strategy but slight changes to the format allowed new players access to a game that they may have passed by before.

Despite the controversial decision to allow for the consequences of your mistakes (permadeaths) to be turned off, the great writing, stunning visuals, and epic music made this new entry into the series more than welcome.

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5. Lego City Undercover

This game is far more than just GTA light.  Lego City Undercover is a light-hearted romp through every single cop buddy movie cliche that permeated pop culture through the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.  It’s a love letter to bad jokes/puns, it’s an homage to American culture, and it delights in making you laugh out loud and groan in pain.  From the writing to the voice acting, Lego City Undercover is one of the best Wii U games around.

(Read the review here)

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4. Pikmin 3

Never has it been more obvious that Pikmin was meant to be in HD until this game.  Pikmin 3 is stunning, rich in not only color but in depth making it difficult not to stop playing and just look at your surroundings.  Of course you should do this paused, so that you don’t lose one of your little entourage.  The Pikmin themselves are as endearing as every making the initial loss of even one a little heartbreaking.  From challenging your ability to be efficient in the single player to dueling a friend in the multiplayer modes, Pikmin 3 has a lot of replayability and gives players access to hours of fun.

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3. The Wonderful 101

The Wonderful 101 is a prime example of what can happen when game creators just let their minds run loose and maybe let a little Nintendo into their hearts.  A love letter to every Japanese masked hero show that you have ever seen, The Wonder 101 also tips its hat to Pikmin by allowing you to control a team of heroes in their quest to save the world.  With some of the best boss battles that you’ll ever have the pleasure of going up against the combat in the game is complex enough that every time you’re able to pull off a move you’ll be happily embraced by a sense of accomplishment.

The Wonderful 101 is not only a pleasure to play but watch, really it is Wonderful.

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2. Super Mario 3D World

While it takes more than just putting Mario in a cat suit, we have to admit that that pretty much sold us on this game.  Still the bright world and tight platforming is pretty hard to deny when talking about Super Mario 3D World.  From the freedom to explore the map as you choose to the chaos that is co-op play, 3D World is a reminder to sometimes you just want to have fun.

And that’s what the game is about, just having fun.  Every stage is a feast for the eyes as you roam around trying to find secrets and there are a lot of secrets to uncover.  You’ll definitely need more than one playthrough to find every hidden room that a  world has to offer but there’s no need to fear because you’ll have some truly excellent music to keep you company.  Also Mario in a cat suit.

(Read the review here)

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1.  The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds

While it’s true that Super Mario 3D World was on many people’s game of the year lists the excellence of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is hard to deny.  A look back into Zelda’s past, A Link Between Worlds provides us with an opportunity that many fans have been asking for. The chance to explore the world as we see fit.  All the dungeons are open and all that is between you and success is how many rupees you have.  There isn’t an item that is ever really out of your reach, just purchase them and go off adventuring.

That kind of freedom is addicting and roaming the fields in a Hyrule that we haven’t seen since A Link to the Past, is more fun than we could ever have imagined.  While it tugged hard on our nostalgia buttons, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds is our number one because it manages to keep everything that was loved about the classic adventure (freedom) with modern game conventions.

(Read the review here)

And that’s it.  Our top ten Nintendo games of 2013, of course this is just our opinion so feel free to carry on the debate below in the comments.

 



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