Top Five Nintendo Games of 2014

This article was published on 12/31/2014.

I didn't play very many new games this year, though that seems to have become a trend as of late. I think I only played around seven new games total this time, which may or may not have broken a previous record. Five of those games happened to be made by Nintendo; just barely enough to do a top five list. I figure I may as well do another one of these, seeing as how I did one last year. I can't guarantee I'll do one every year from now on, but I'll give it a shot. Obviously, only Nintendo games I've played are eligible to be on this list. Anyway, this year started off slow when it came to Nintendo releases, but it ended in a bang. You probably already know why, especially if you're a Nintendo fan, but let's not get ahead of ourselves here. It's time for me to be totally original and list my top five Nintendo games for 2014.

Image

#5) Yoshi's New Island for the Nintendo 3DS is number five on my silly list. The only reason this game is on the list is because I didn't play more than five Nintendo games in 2014. It's not a bad apple, but it's not particularly noteworthy. This game tries to capture the look and feel of the original Yoshi's Island on the Super Nintendo, but doesn't quite make it. Visually, it does look pretty similar, and all the core mechanics are there, but the level design is lacking in the brilliance that made the original game incredible. This game is decent so long as you don't expect it to surpass what it's trying to imitate, though. I liked it better than Yoshi's Island DS, though to be honest, I don't remember that game well enough to objectively say that this one is better. The last thing I want to mention about Yoshi's New Island are the secret levels; like the original, secret levels are unlocked if you 100% the normal stages. These levels are ridiculously difficult and took me forever to beat, particularly the one where you bounce on Bullet Bills. That has no bearing on anything, but I wanted to get that off my chest. Anyway, this game's okay.

Image

#4) Kirby: Triple Deluxe is number four, but don't worry, there's still more. This is the second and last 3DS game on the list. Functionally, visually, and sonically, Triple Deluxe resembles Kirby's Return to Dream Land on the Wii, except it's not nearly as good. It's still quite good, though, and is far better than Yoshi's New Island. There's not much to say about it, since it basically ticks all the boxes you'd expect for a good Kirby game: there are countless powers for Kirby to use, plenty of helpless enemies to mow down with said powers, and it's all around pleasant to play. It's simple, easy fun. The only problem with Triple Deluxe is that it does very few new things, and the few new things it does suck. Luckily, the annoying gimmicks are easy to ignore. The fact that it's too short and easy could also be a problem for some people, but this is a Kirby game, so you should know that going in. A safe sequel this game may be, but I had a good time with it. I always like me some Kirby.

Image

#3) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is sitting pretty at number three. This is the first Wii U game I played this year and it was something else. It's the sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns, which came out on the Wii, and it's incredible. Like its predecessor, Tropical Freeze has excellent level design, basically some of the best ever for a side-scrolling platform game. It may or may not be better than the first game, but even if it isn't, it sure is darn close. Nintendo also managed to get David Wise, composer for the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy, to compose some music for this game, resulting in a stellar soundtrack. The music in no way rivals the original trilogy, but unlike Donkey Kong Country Returns, it's at least good this time. My only personal issue with Tropical Freeze is that it's way too hard. I don't necessarily hold this against the game; I realize many people enjoy the challenge, and it's true that the game is never unfair. Still, I just couldn't handle how hard this game got at certain points. I was sweating bullets the whole time, often being forced to change my shirt from all the perspiration. This game ruined me. I'm a broken man.

Image

#2) Mario Kart 8 takes second place. I've been a fan of Mario Kart since the SNES one, so this wasn't a hard pick. Admittedly, I don't like the newer ones as much as the older ones, but this one's nice. The graphics are amazing, the music is astounding, and the courses are almost all solid. I also like the large cast of racers, though I do find the inclusion of so many baby doppelgangers annoying. The deal got considerably sweetened with the DLC that got released later in the year, adding new characters and stages. There's going to be more DLC next year, too. This game would be the ultimate Mario Kart if it weren't for one thing: the battle mode. Mario Kart 8, sadly, has the worst battle mode out of any Mario Kart ever released. It truly is horrible, and I'm puzzled as to why a nearly perfect game was tarnished by such an easy-to-fix problem. Even with the terrible battle mode, though, this game is still really good, which is why I picked it as my second best for 2014.

Image

#1) Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is my pick for Nintendo Game of the Year. It's also my general pick for Game of the Year, Nintendo or no. I don't need to explain why, do I? I never played the 3DS one, which is why that version isn't on this list. Besides, putting a single game twice on the same list wouldn't be fair. This new Smash has got tons of new playable characters, new stages, new modes, better graphics, and loads of spectacular music. The Wii U version can also support up to eight players; I don't care how impractical that is, it's still freaking awesome. Smash is the one game that never gets old to me, no matter how many times I play it. When friends are around, I can waste a whole night away playing the game and still thirst for more. It's that good. I am bothered, however, by the removal of Wolf, Snake, and the Ice Climbers. I'll let that slide on the account of the game being truly superb, and also, Mega Man is in the game. Mega Man's my bro.

Image

2014 saw the release of some swell Nintendo games. This year was overall better than last year, though that's mostly thanks to Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. There are a couple of Nintendo games that might have made it onto this list had I played them, like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, but I don't have the time to play every Nintendo release. There were also some games I avoided playing because they looked dumb, like Hyrule Warriors. As for the future, Nintendo has officially stated that the next big Zelda game for Wii U will come out in 2015. If that's the case, then we still have something to look forward to.

Word Count: 1,252

Tweet