Top Four Nintendo Games of 2016

This article was published on 10/23/2016.

I did top five lists of Nintendo games in 2013 and 2014, but missed the boat on 2015. The reason had nothing to do with tardiness. You see, I only played two Nintendo games in 2015, and that wouldn't have made for a very interesting article. This year I played four Nintendo games, which still isn't enough for a top five, but it's at least enough for a top four. So yeah, that's the reason I'm doing a top four instead of a top five. It's not because I'm trying to be edgy. As for the ground rules, it's the usual: only the Nintendo games that I've played from 2016 are allowed on this list. Not all the games on this list have to be good. In fact, one of the games I'll be listing here sucks. I'm going to go from worst to best, because it's best to leave the best for last. Without further ado, here are my top four Nintendo games for 2016.

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#4) Star Fox Zero for the Wii U is number four, and it's such a bore. The only reason this game is on the list is because, as mentioned earlier, I only played four Nintendo games this year. If I didn't include this game, then this list would be a top three. Anyway, I already briefly mentioned this game back when it came out, but my opinion of it is still the same. That is, it's a good game ruined by horrible controls. It's a lot like Kid Icarus: Uprising in that respect. The core missions are all well designed and pleasantly fast paced, and some of the bosses are good, but I was too busy wrestling with the controls to enjoy any of it. Having to constantly switch my gaze from the gamepad screen to the TV was irritating, and attempting to accurately aim my laser guns with the gyroscope controls was predictably awful. There's no way to completely turn off the gyroscope controls, either. The game also has a couple of other issues outside of the controls, like most of the side missions being rehashes of the main missions. I've been waiting for a good Star Fox game since Star Fox 64, and this sadly still isn't it.

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#3) Paper Mario: Color Splash for the Wii U is number three and it makes me feel free. A lot of people utterly despise the previous game in the series, Paper Mario: Sticker Star, which came out on the 3DS in 2012. Personally, I like all the Paper Mario games, including Sticker Star. As for Color Splash, most people seem to agree that this one improves upon many of Sticker Star's faults, though many still dislike it. Again, I personally feel that it's good. The graphics are amazing; the designers did an excellent job nailing the paper aesthetic. There's a lot of variety to the stages, making them a delight to explore. The battles are still turn-based, but they've got the interactive action commands to prevent them from being too boring. Attacks are consumables like in Sticker Star, which is annoying, but I'm willing to forgive that because everything else is cool. Also, Color Splash is the first Paper Mario game to feature the Koopalings. Being that I'm a huge fan of them, that made me quite pleased. Even better; Bowser Jr. is nowhere to be found in this game. I hate Bowser Jr.

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#2) Mario and Luigi: Paper Jam for the 3DS is number two and it makes me want to eat stew. This game is good. In my opinion, the Paper Mario series has better worlds to explore, but the Mario and Luigi games have the far superior battle system. That's not to say that the world exploration is bad in the Mario and Luigi titles, but the battle system is where they truly shine. Even though they're turn-based, the battles are highly interactive, as you're able to dodge or counter every single enemy attack in the game by pressing buttons at the right time. I like this game more than the previous one, Mario and Luigi: Dream Team, because it removed most of the annoying gimmicks. While this series has always been good, every game outside of the first one kept introducing a new gimmick that took away from the core game play. Paper Jam still sort of has a gimmick, in that the characters from the Paper Mario world have found their way into the Mario and Luigi universe, but this is mostly a story thing that has little impact on the game play. That's good for me, because I just want traditional Mario and Luigi goodness.

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#1) Kirby: Planet Robobot for the 3DS is number one and now I'm done. This game is absolutely outstanding. It takes after the previous Kirby on 3DS, Kirby: Triple Deluxe, except it's even better. Like Triple Deluxe, this is a fairly traditional Kirby game: you play the titular Kirby, eating enemies to steal their powers, and then using those powers to cause mass destruction. However, this game is very well polished. The environments are all unique, featuring mechanized forests and colorful cities. On top of that, the new gimmick introduced in this game, the Robobot, actually doesn't suck. Basically, you get to ride around in these robots similar to the Ride Armors from Mega Man X, but the twist is that these gargantuan machines also have the ability to steal abilities from enemies. Mowing down endless rows of enemies with your giant robot is super satisfying. Without question, this is my game of the year for 2016.

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I'll be honest; this was a bad year for Nintendo games. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was supposed to come out for the Wii U this year, but it has been delayed to 2017. That was basically the only high profile Nintendo game to look forward to in 2016, so that's kind of a bummer. Star Fox Zero was supposed to fill in those shoes, but it failed to do so. It's obvious that Nintendo wants to put the Wii U out of its misery as quickly as possible, since it's by far the least successful console the company has released in its entire history. To that end, Nintendo officially revealed the true identity behind their mysterious NX console a couple of days ago. It's known as the Nintendo Switch, and it's a hybrid between a handheld and a home console. The Switch will launch simultaneously with Breath of the Wild in March 2017. That's unless there's a delay, of course. Hopefully, the Switch will do better than the Wii U.

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