Cary’s “Best Games of the Year 2013 Awards Show!”

ACICONAs I always like to do this time of the year, here’s a list of my most favorite games of 2013. Now, keep in mind that this list is my personal preferences ONLY. No outside influences or voters, just my opinion. Plus, I can’t play ALL the games out there, so if your favorites are missing, don’t be too mad at me! I can only do so much. OK, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at the winners!


Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3)

I’m kind of sad that so many reviewers panned this game. It was one of the best RPGs I’ve played since Tales of Legendia and FF9! I hate it that some reviewers couldn’t enjoy it as much as I did. Ni no Kuni did have a few problems here and there, to be sure, but they were a lot of the same problems other RPGs have, too. I liked how the battles were like a mix of Pokemon and Tales action-based gameplay. Best of all was that the characters and story were done by Studio Ghibli, which helped add to the vast charm of the game. I had family members who would walk by as I was playing and couldn’t tell if I was playing a game or watching a movie!

Runners Up:

Project X Zone (3DS)

The strategy RPG action gameplay isn’t much to write about. But the draw of this game is all the crossover characters from Namco, Capcom, and SEGA working together to fight evil. Plus, the game has Ulala in it, so it can’t be all bad, right?

Mario & Luigi: Dream Team (3DS)

Mario RPGs are always fun, and this one’s no exception. It took a lot of the fun elements from Bowser’s Inside Story and presented them in creative new ways via the dream world. Plus, Luigi gets to shine in this, the Year of Luigi. Only problem with this game was it felt too long and bloated for me, but that’s a problem a lot of today’s RPGs have.

Rune Factory 4 (3DS)

I enjoy the Rune Factory games more than Harvest Moon because not only do you get to farm, but you can fight monsters in dungeons, too!


Game & Wario (Wii U)

It’s a WarioWare title, so naturally it’s the king of weird. It’s unfortunate that the game is a bit light on content, as this series tends to be, and it is one of the weakest entries in the series. But it’s almost worth it for Miiverse Sketch alone. Click on the link on the game title above to read more about it in a blog I wrote.

Runners Up:

Brain Age: Concentration Training (3DS)

Educational games can be weird on their own, but what makes this one especially weird is Dr. Kawashima’s floating head. Especially when he turns into a devil head for the game’s Devilish Training.

Poker Night 2 (360)

A poker game doesn’t sound too weird initially, until you realize the other players are from games and movies like Venture Bros., Borderlands, and Sam & Max. Best of all, the dealer is GlaDOS from Portal!

Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Tokyo Tale (3DS)

This is one unique 3DS downloadable title! You play as a boy in early 70’s Japan, when “Kaiju” giant monsters movies were really popular. All you really do in the game is talk with your neighbors and occasionally play a monster card game to move the story along. But they just nail the atmosphere down perfectly. Very charming little gem.

Scribblenauts Unmasked (Wii U)

Scribblenauts games are weird enough on their own. Now with the ability to conjure up nearly any DC Comics character to help you, now it’s even weirder.

Type:Rider (iPad)

Usually iPad games don’t impress me too much. Some may be good for quick, casual gaming, but rarely is one mind-blowing or awe-inspiring. But in this one, you roll around a colon (the punctuation mark), as you move through obstacles and learn about the history of typography at the same time!

NES Remix (Wii U)

This one kind of came out of nowhere! Just announced at the last Nintendo Direct, NES Remix is a downloadable title. While it really should be a collection of NES classics, it’s more like a Wario Ware style game where you try to do a single challenge in a NES title. So it’s still fun. There are even stages where they play around with NES games to give you a new challenge, like trying to get to the top of the Donkey Kong level as NES Link, for instance! It’s actually very similar to a DS game I imported a long time ago called Video Game Training, which was kind of the same game as this, but with Namco Famicom games instead.


Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies (3DS)

Some may call them digital novels, some call them point and click adventures. This one is a little of both. The Phoenix Wright games were my favorite series on the DS, so I’m glad they made another one. I’m not sure if I like it as much as the earlier entries, and I’m not too thrilled it was download only. But if that’s the only way Capcom could’ve brought it out in the US, then I’ll happily play it anyway. I’m currently playing it right now, and I still enjoy it.

Runner Up:

Layton Brothers: Mystery Room (iPad)

Normally I don’t like the Prof. Layton games (too much math), but this one stars Prof. Layton’s son and he’s an investigator. So it really plays more like a Phoenix Wright game. It’s a bit easier as it’s more of a causal game on a casual gaming device, but still fun. I really can’t wait for next year’s Phoenix Wright vs. Prof. Layton 3DS game!


Toki Tori 2 (Wii U)

I have the first Toki Tori game which was originally released on GBC more than ten years ago. So I was glad to review this sequel. Two things I really liked about this game. They show you how to play and reveal the storyline with no words at all. You figure things out just by playing. The other cool thing is that later on, it turns into a Metroidvania style of game, and you learn to reach new areas with just using two skills, peeping and stomping, in very creative ways. If you have a Wii U or Steam, you definitely should download this.

Runner Up:

Mario and Donkey Kong: Minis on the Move (3DS)

This was an eShop title I downloaded before I took a trip, in case I got bored. It’s everything a downloadable title should be. There is no story, so the game isn’t a memory hog with extra unnecessary junk. It’s just a version of Pipe Dream where you guide little wind-up Mario character toys from point A to point B. There’s lot of creative puzzles and gameplay modes, and the game gets pretty tough, too! Plus you can design your own levels and share and play others online. It’s not the best in the series, but still fun if you like that sort of thing.


Super Mario 3-D World (Wii U)

I loved all the nods to Mario 2 in this game: like the fact you can play as Mario, Luigi, Toad, and the Princess. My first playthrough of the game I only picked Toad! Lots of secrets and tons of fun for players of all skill levels. Multiplayer is great, too. If you have a Wii U and enjoy Mario games, you should get this.

Runners Up;

Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon (3DS)

I loved the first Luigi’s Mansion game for GameCube. They changed a few things in the 3DS sequel that I didn’t like. For one, it’s more mission based rather than letting you explore the whole mansion. I know why they did this, as it’s on a portable game system now. But even then, I thought the missions were too long. But other than that, this is one of the best 3DS games I’ve ever played. It’s nice to see Luigi get some quality attention, as I feel he’s way cooler than Mario. I also love the Polterpup ghost dog in the game. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it’s exactly what I wanted to happen in the end. It’s so sweet. If you have a 3DS, get this game! Not too easy, but not too hard either.

The Wonderful 101 (Wii U)

It’s an interesting mix of Pikmin meets Viewtiful Joe. Learning curve is steep at first, but it’s one of the more creative Wii U games out there.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD (Wii U)

I’m glad to see this game getting a second chance, since a lot of people ignored it on the GameCube because of the cartoony graphics. But it’s one of the best looking and playing 3-D Zeldas out there. Speaking of HD remakes, I should also give a shoutout to Kingdom Hearts 1.5 Remix. I haven’t gotten a chance to play my copy yet, but I’m sure it’s good, too!

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures (Wii U)

If you can look past the fact that this is based on a really crappy cartoon license and just judge it on gaming merits alone, it’s actually not that bad of a game. And I’m not just saying that because I’m such a big Pac-Man fan.

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes (360)

This might’ve beaten out Mario 3-D World as best 3-D adventure, but the buggy gameplay of this and other LEGO games keeps it from doing so. But it’s still fun with lots of humor and gags. Marvel fans with a sense of humor will love it.


DuckTales: Remastered (PS3)

I adored the cartoon as a kid, and played the NES game to death. So I was happy when I heard WayForward was remaking it this year. I thought their additions fit perfectly, and I really enjoyed the game. If you loved the NES classic, you owe it to yourself to play this.

Runners Up:

The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

This almost won the top spot. In fact, if you are disgusted with my winner and wanted Zelda to win, you can consider it a tie. I won’t mind. Even though the graphics are in 3-D, the game is 2-D in nature. This is a sequel to A Link to the Past, one of my favorite Zelda titles. And it does nearly everything right. I hope they give the same treatment to my number one Zelda game: Link’s Awakening someday.

Dragon’s Crown (PS3)

This was a beautiful looking 2-D side scrolling beat ‘em up that reminded me of titles like Capcom’s Dungeons and Dragons arcade classics and Nexon’s Dungeon Fighter Online game. I played as the Amazon. If I had a category for ‘Best New Video Game Character,” she would win it.

Castle of Illusion Starring Mickey Mouse (PS3)

Some parts of this remake are in 3-D, but it’s mostly a 2-D game. SEGA took a different approach to remaking this one, but I think it still turned out well. If you’re a fan of the SEGA Genesis classic, you should give this one a try, too.

Rayman Legends (Wii U)

I’m not too big of a Rayman fan, but I know a solid 2-D platformer when I review it. Send me a message if you want to hear a funny story about me and Rayman at E3 many years ago.

Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams (Wii U)

The graphics on the seamless change from two different worlds is amazing, and there’s some solid platforming in there, too. Did you know this is a sequel to an old European game that was so similar to Super Mario Bros. that rumor has it Nintendo even asked them not to release it in the US back then?

Battleblock Theater (360)

This 2-D platformer/puzzler may just be an enhanced version of the PDA games from Alien Hominid, but the mix of Smash Bros. competitiveness, puzzles, and wacky humor made it a hit around the house with me, brother Jeff, and his friends. Download it and check it out, especially if you loved Behemoth’s other hit: Castle Crashers.

Bit.Trip Runner 2 (Wii U)

This sequel to the popular rhythm-based 2-D platformer is top notch, and very challenging! But it’s still a very quality game with lots of polish.

HarmoKnight (3DS)

This is basically a cuter version of Bit.Trip Runner, and I think some of the timing is off in the rhythms. But it’s still a quality downloadable 3DS romp from the makers of Pokemon. In fact, fans will want to get this one for the unlockable Pokemon songs you can get!

And now for my best Game of the Year 2013! Taiko drum roll please…


Animal Crossing: New Leaf (3DS)

Coming at no surprise to anyone. Animal Crossing on the GameCube is one of my top five favorite games of all time, right alongside Pac-Man and Final Fantasy 6. Those of you who know me, you know how much I like those games so that gives you an indication to how highly I regard Animal Crossing, too. BUT, just because I like it so much, doesn’t mean I gave all the other titles in the series this level of recognition in the years they were released. They got some recognition as honorable mention runners up, but overall they were too same-y. So what makes New Leaf so special? Well, they’ve added enough new things to make it feel fresh for veteran players. You’re the mayor now, so there’s a whole bunch of extra activities to do.

I feel that the Animal Crossing series is very educational, too. You can learn about all the different fish and bugs you catch, the fossils you dig up, and the artwork you buy and donate for the museum. Kids can even learn a bit about social studies and money management as the mayor. Because of all the reading required, it’s really best enjoyed by older kids, though. And big kids at heart like me!

Usually my Game of the Year wins that award for not only being a fun game, but for the special memories I have associated with it, too. New Leaf is no exception. A pink 3DS and a copy of New Leaf were a Mother’s Day present to my mom this year, because she loves that game series even more than me! So we had a lot of fun playing it together. Also, I hate to end on a negative note, but 2013 as a whole kind of sucked for me. One of the bad things that happened this year was that my grandmother passed away. The night after the funeral when we all gathered at her house, one of my cousins and her kids were there. We all had our 3DSes and copies of Animal Crossing, and we all played together that night. It reminded me of when we were little, and I would play together with my cousins when I would go to visit my grandmother. Playing Animal Crossing with my cousins might be one of the last times I get to do that again for a while. So it was a happy memory during a sad time. And that’s why Animal Crossing: New Leaf is my Game of the Year.


And that’s all for the awards! In the comments section, let me know what you think of my picks. And tell me YOUR favorite games of 2013! Later! –Cary

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!