Nintendo Drive's Best of 2014

Although Nintendo’s 2014 started slowly, both the Wii U and 3DS added some truly fantastic games to their respective libraries by year’s end. As 2014 draws to a close, we take a moment to reflect on our favorite games of the year.

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10: CHILD OF LIGHT
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What rhymes with gorgeous? Or charismatic? Or whimsical? Never mind… just play Child of Light instead, as it exemplifies all three words and includes enough rhyming to last you a lifetime. Featuring a stellar battle system and a memorable cast of companions, Ubisoft’s small-scale RPG hits all the right notes and tugs at all the right heartstrings.

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9: CAPTAIN TOAD:
TREASURE TRACKER

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Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is one of those rare “my face hurts from smiling so much” types of games. I’m not sure which is more difficult: collecting all 3 gems in each level or avoiding cuteness overload during play sessions. With its combination of clever puzzles and dazzling stages, it’s no wonder Captain Toad tracked his way to this list.

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8: DONKEY KONG COUNTRY: TROPICAL FREEZE
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The telltale sign of any challenging game is sweaty palms. Fortunately, not even a tropical freeze was enough to prevent intense platforming perspiration. If you fear neither death nor penguins, then we suggest you give DKC: Tropical Freeze a try. A small warning: you may feel compelled to put the controller down and just listen to the music every once in a while.

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7: MARIO GOLF: WORLD TOUR
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Mario Golf: World Tour took the plumber back onto the greens in 2014’s definitive summer title. With precision gameplay and challenging courses, World Tour offers a familiar yet addictive package. Add in the huge amount of customization and unlockables, plus a killer online tournament system, and it’s no wonder we’re still hitting up the links in the dead of winter.

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6: PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE AZRAN LEGACY
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Professor Layton returns for his final chapter on the 3DS. As depressing as that is, the scholarly gentleman certainly heads out with class in this charming – and poignant – 3D adventure. The gorgeous art style brings about dynamic locals and colorful characters. Likewise, the story, dialogue, and puzzles are all top notch. We tip our metaphorical top hat to you, Professor. It’s been an hono(u)r.

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5: GUACAMELEE! SUPER TURBO CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION
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If you love exploration/action-based platformers with tight controls and challenging level design, or if you’re inexplicably fond of the movie Nacho Libre, then Guacamelee! is the game for you. It’s equal parts charming and irreverent, not to mention constantly amusing. For those seeking a little extra Mexican flair in their lives, look no farther than this fantástico indie gem.

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4: SHOVEL KNIGHT
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What happens when one NES falls in love with another? He writes her Shovel Knight to show just how much he cares. The game mixes together the best parts of your 8-bit favorites to create something that is simultaneously original and nostalgic. If the precise gameplay doesn’t impress you, the beautiful story surely will. Quite simply, you need to play this game.

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3: BAYONETTA 2
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Though Bayonetta 2 may be one of those games you’ll never feel comfortable playing in front of anyone else, nothing should stop you from whipping your hair back and forth when no one’s looking. With its over-the-top set pieces and the most responsive action controls this side of Fimbulventr, Bayonetta 2 ensures its shadow will remain cast long after 2014.

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2: SUPER SMASH BROS.
FOR WII U

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Every time a new Smash Bros. game is announced, the naysayers whine in unison, “But it’s just another Smash game!” And sure, there’s always that inkling of fear that, perhaps this time, they’re right. But then you play it. And you get it. Whether you’re smashing by yourself or with seven (yes seven) other people, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is constant, chaotic bliss.

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1: MARIO KART 8
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The number of hours we’ve poured into Mario Kart 8 constitutes an addiction. However, when the gameplay is this solid and the tracks are this gorgeous, we wouldn’t have it any other way. Mario Kart 8 is simply a masterpiece, and easily the strongest entry in the series. With the added (and future!) DLC, Mario Kart 8 is shaping up to be not only our Game of the Year, but also quite possibly our Game of the Generation.

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Agree or disagree with our picks? We’d love to hear your thoughts - tell us your own personal top 10 in the comments below.
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Lastly, thank you for visiting Nintendo Drive this year!

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