gamrReview 2011 Game of the Year Awards - 3DS

by Brent Galietti, posted on 25 December 2011 / 4,699 Views

If you're reading this, then you have made it through the advent of glasses-free 3D gaming. How do you feel about this brave new world? We feel great! So great, in fact, that we're going to start handing out awards for these games that have ushered in Nintendo's newest entry to the handheld market. Join us! No glasses required!

Best Action/Adventure: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Sure, the game saw its original release many years prior to this 3DS remake. But Ocarina of Time has never looked or felt better. There’s a good reason why many consider Ocarina of Time to be the best Zelda ever made, and that timeless feeling of adventure is not only preserved on the 3DS, it is enhanced for both old and new gamers alike.

Runner-Up: Cave Story 3D

Readers’ Choice: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Best Fighter: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition

The launch lineup of the 3DS may have been sparse, but it did give us this worthy edition of the Super Street Fighter IV experience. Street Fighter on the go is an enticing experience for the fighting game fan, and Capcom delivered on that promise. For those with less fighting experience, the game also included macros on the touch screen that allowed fighters to perform their most complicated maneuvers at the touch of a button. And that feature, like everything, goes well with Guile’s theme.

Runner-Up: Dead or Alive: Dimensions

Readers’ Choice: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition

Best Platformer: Super Mario 3D Land

Whenever a Mario game releases, it tends to be the gold standard against which all platformers are compared to. That’s no exception this year, as Super Mario 3D Land combines both the 2D and 3D Mario experiences of past titles and shows the world just what that 3D screen on the 3DS can do when used to its fullest potential. This is a 3D Mario adventure in the truest sense of the word "3D", as secrets can be discovered through clever use of the 3D perspective. Falling from tall heights has never been so thrilling in this series. And for those not as comfortable with platformers, the third dimension also makes landing spots easier to ascertain. Super Mario 3D Land is platforming bliss.

Runner-Up: Sonic Generations

Readers’ Choice: Super Mario 3D Land

Best Puzzle: Tetris Axis

Oh, Tetris, every year you get older, and yet you still find ways to win our hearts. It includes the Tetris we all know and love and brings plenty of other gameplay modes to the party to stay fresh. When a franchise series shows that it is willing to do more than rest on its laurels, while still keeping the elements that made it great, you have a game that is worthy of an award.

Runner-Up: Mahjong Cub3d, Pyramids (tie)

Readers’ Choice: N/A

Best Racing: Mario Kart 7

In a world where handheld games are often seen as cheap knock-offs, it’s a testament to Nintendo’s strength that Mario Kart 7, like past Kart titles, is as sharp and polished as a main series entrant. Weapon balance has been improved, snaking is a thing of the past, and tracks now have many different paths. The Mario Kart franchise keeps getting better, and the improvements in Mario Kart 7 continue that trend.

Runner-up: Need for Speed: The Run, Ridge Racer 3D (tie)

Readers’ Choice: Mario Kart 7

Best Shooter: Star Fox 64 3D

Yes, we still enjoy the feeling of a good old-fashioned barrel roll. Adding in 3D effects and gyro controls further enhances an already great experience. The multiplayer received a nice enhancement with being able to see your opponent’s face in despair as you destroy them, thanks to the 3DS camera. All of this makes Star Fox 3D the best shooter on the platform; it is worth using your boost to get through.

Runner-up: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

Readers’ Choice: Star Fox 64 3D

Best Simulation: Nintendogs + Cats

Look at those cute animals! Awwww! Wait, where was I? Oh, right, Best Simulation…ahh forget about it. Look at how adorable these dogs are! Oh, and now there are cats?! Meow! And it’s in 3D? Shut up and take our award!

Runner-up: Pilotwings Resort

Readers’ Choice: Pilotwings Resort

Best Sports: FIFA Soccer 12

When it comes to worldwide soccer, the FIFA series trumps PES on the 3DS in our eyes. It keeps as much detail as it possibly can, given the 3DS’s limitations, and takes full advantage of the 3D effect to create some amazing moments. Now all we need is our own team in FIFA. Shall we call it Real gamrReview?

Runner-up: Let’s Golf 3D

Readers’ Choice: Pro Evolution Soccer 2011 3D

Best Strategy: Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor Overclocked

Atlus lives to please, and with Overclocked that’s exactly what they have done. Overclocked walks into the 3DS’s Strategy RPG void and sets a high bar for all games that dare to follow in its tracks. The city of Tokyo is in danger of being destroyed by the demons. So if you can't beat them, join them! Well, make them join you in an effort to fight off the demons and save everyone. But it's not all brute force. Devising a battle plan and defeating the enemy demons while rescuing the civilians is key to success. Will you survive to the end? We implore you to find out!

Runner-up: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

Readers’ Choice: Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars

Best Graphics: Super Mario 3D Land

Nintendo’s flagship series also shows off what the 3DS is capable of from a graphics perspective. The whimsical environments of the Mushroom Kingdom are brought to life spectacularly, and the added depth of the third dimension fleshes them out further, in a way we have seen few games do. It looks and feels exactly like what a Mario title should look like. Sometimes, that's better than the drive for hyper-realism.

Runner-up: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Readers’ Choice: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

Best Original Music Score: Super Mario 3D Land

It looks great, sure, but it also sounds great. The ever present theme song makes its player feel happy-go-lucky, while it also remixes plenty of classic Mario tunes to great effect (oh yes, airship song!). Music is a critical element for creating immersion, and Super Mario 3D Land uses its music to enchant the player with aplomb.

Runner-up: BIT.Trip Saga

Readers’ Choice: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Biggest Disappointment: Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D

Separating the Mercenaries mode from past Resident Evil titles and selling it as a full game was already a decision we weren’t fond of. The basic “kill ‘em all” gameplay wasn’t exactly memorable. The lack of original content was disheartening, and the huge controversy over allowing only one save file that could not be reset all piled on to leave a sour taste in the mouth. At least it looked nice!

Runner-up: Pilotwings Resort

Readers’ Choice: Steel Diver, Sonic Generations (tie)

Best Game No One Played: Cave Story 3D

Ok, so you might have already played this game in one of its previous incarnations. But have you played this remake, with a new look and eye-popping 3D? You don’t need to answer, because we know that you likely haven’t, given the low sales figures. Get out there and bring this game home!

Runner-up: BIT.Trip Saga

Readers’ Choice: Cave Story 3D, Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Shadow Wars, Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D (tie)

Most Anticipated Game: Paper Mario 3D

There is a huge tidal wave of interesting games coming to the 3DS in the future. Paper Mario 3D surfed that wave the best and scored our Most Anticipated Game award. It has been over seven years since the release of the last traditional Paper Mario title, and we can’t wait to see what the two-dimensional plumber has in store for the three-dimensional handheld.

Runner-up: Resident Evil: Revelations

Readers’ Choice: Resident Evil: Revelations

3DS Game of the Year: Super Mario 3D Land

Surprise! You probably didn’t see this one coming! Or maybe you did. Either way, we couldn’t possibly give our Game of the Year to any other title afterSuper Mario 3D Land swept up so many other 3DS awards. Every generation, we are reminded just why Mario has been the king of video gaming for over 25 years. Message received, Nintendo. Super Mario 3D Land is our 3DS Game of the Year.

Runner-up: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D

Readers’ Choice: Super Mario 3D Land

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sethnintendo (on 31 December 2011)

I vote Pushmo for best puzzle!

duckypwns (on 26 December 2011)

As long as a remake didn't get GOTY as I expected. SM3D truly deserved it.

Tammi (on 27 December 2011)

"Best simulation runner up: Pilotwings Resort" "Biggest Disappointment runner up: Pilotwings Resort" hmmm.......something is wrong here.....

MattOfSteel (on 27 December 2011)

Opinions and statistics don't really go together in any logical sense regardless of how much political elections try to convince you otherwise.

  • +1
Ajescent (on 25 December 2011)

Regardless of the negative response from the critics, RE:M3D seems to be getting a cult following based on these awards.

cromeros (on 25 December 2011)

Congratulations Super Mario 3D Land and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D... My favourite 3D games... :D

PhantomLink (on 25 December 2011)

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D is actually the 3DS game that I have enjoyed the most.

sepoer (on 05 January 2012)

I never really like Mario games before Mario 3D Land, this game so simple, casual, fun, and addictive!!! I love Zelda, but OoT3D just a "remade".

EpicLight (on 31 December 2011)

What about best racer??

Last_Dream (on 30 December 2011)

So much love for Super Mario 3D Land in this award. I too think that it truly deserves it....

hackles (on 28 December 2011)

Hmm, nice choices, can't wait for next year though!

Aidman (on 27 December 2011)

Hard to choose between Super Mario 3D Land and Loz OOT but I've always chosen ZELDA.

Salnax (on 25 December 2011)

Yeah, sounds about right. Part of me wishes that there were a "Best Downloadable Title" award, but considering how that would be won by either one of the 30 retro titles or Pushmo, its absence is understandable.

Runa216 (on 25 December 2011)

I can't think of a single award that is wrong, here. Wait, one!: Zelda should have won the graphics award. I just think it looks so much better.