Picking a game of the year is hard. I can barely remember what I even played the first half of this year. Usually all I can recall is the last third and stuff I thought was this year turned out to be from two years ago and so on. I did manage to look through a list of
this year’s last year’s games and found one thing in common with most of my favorite games: They’re all on handheld devices.
It was a big year for portable gaming. At least for me, anyway. Also, when I say portable gaming I use the term very loosely since I don’t actually take my 3DS and Vita more than a few feet from an electrical socket. I should also mention that I’m not talking about games on devices like phones and tablets. Some people consider those to be in the same portable/handheld category but that’s usually something I avoid altogether if I can. Anywho… Let’s look back at some of my favorite handheld games of 2013.
This was a really fun game from what I can remember. It actually held my interest for quite a while. I’m a fan of strategy games and RPGs that use turn-based mechanics. I used to enjoy playing real-time strategy games but I just don’t have the reflexes to play competitively.
Fire Emblem had a lot of replayability with so many characters and different ways you could match them up with the relationship system to create the most powerful offspring, etc.
Okay, this one is actually a little bit of a cheat since I didn’t actually play the 3DS version. It is, however, supposedly the exact same game except the Wii U version has multiplayer. I did try and convince Keen to pick up the 3DS version to play local co-op but that never panned out. He hasn’t touched a Monster Hunter game since he died on on of the first missions in Monster Hunter Freedom Unite and threw my PSP across the room. Actually, that’s not quite true. We were in a car so he technically throw it across that.
Anyway, I played this game a whole lot this year and especially online and once they added the off-TV mode. I’m not entirely sure but I think I spent over 200-300 hours fighting large monsters online with other players and grinding away to craft better stuff. I’m actually getting the itch to play just talking about it.
Keen and I both love Animal Crossing and played the heck out of it for several weeks straight. Or at least I did. I think Keen might have drifted off a bit before me. Still, there usually comes a point when for one reason or another we just stop playing, which is actually kind of odd when the game features so many neat seasonal features. Some people may be able to enjoy it over the course of an entire year but I’m not sure I ever could. Maybe if I had picked up the digital version things would be different. I hate swapping carts.
My first SMT game from the main series. I had previously played Persona 4 Golden, which I loved. The two series are very different, though. Even so I enjoyed SMTIV very much. Recruiting, collecting, and fusing demons was a lot of fun and gave it somewhat of a Pokemon vibe. The story was interesting and thought-provoking and the visuals were fantastic. Maybe not a game for everybody but I loved it.
Pokemon X & Y
I’m sure we’ve stated at least a dozen times now that we’re huge Pokemon fans. We’ve loved the series since the original games and have played almost every pokemon game, and off-shoot, since. X & Y seem to have made some of the most significant advances in the series. The visuals are now all rendered with 3D models and there are several great new camera angles utilized throughout the game. Battling with your pokemon also shows rendered models rather than 2D sprites which gives more life to the little creatures. Not saying there was anything wrong with sprites, though.
The thing that I spent the most time on was breeding and training pokemon. This was the first time in the series where I actually felt like I was able to play the metagame. It was more approachable than ever and quite easy. EV training your pokemon could be done quite easily through little minigames and there was no way to screw it up since resets were possible. Breeding pokemon with perfect IVs was also much easier since player safari pokemon came with two already perfect IVs. I spent hundreds of hours breeding different kinds of pokemon.
I just wrote a post about this game and how much I love it. The fantastic visual style that recreates a paper crafted world just totally captures my imagination. I love creating new little character decorations and trying to make my little envelope dude look like Iron Man or A Ninja Turtle. The gameplay is fun and inventive and the way it incorporates the player into the game and narrative is unique. This was a real tough choice and it ALMOST was my game of the year. It was a really close call.
GAME OF THE YEAR 2013…
The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
Maybe it’s a bit cliche or obvious but I don’t care. I’ve loved Zelda games since I first played Link’s Awakening back on my gameboy. I’m not sure if we’ve ever posted pictures of our game room but there are 2 framed posters: one depicting the evolution of Link through the years and another one from one of the games. One wall has a Link cling art on it and the other has a giant Phantom Hourglass 3D advertisement display that we liberated from a Gamestop. I’m a huge fan.
I love the classic top-view 2D Zeldas the most and I love how this was a throwback to those as well as being linked (lol puns) to A Link to the Past. Not only that but it introduced some fascinating new characters from the Lorule Kingdom, which I hope we get to see more of in the future. The game did so much right while getting very little wrong. A Link Between Worlds is easily my game of the year for 2013.