I didn’t plan to do a top 10 list of games I played during 2012, but I’m feeling a little left out, so what the hell. Keep in mind, only games on Nintendo systems that I actually played during 2012 will be on this list. Unfortunately, this means there will be no Wii U games. However, the games on this list have, in different ways, reminded me of the pleasures of being a gamer. These games are presented in no particular order. With that being said, on to the Top 10 Nintendo Games of 2012, According to Mini Fortress.
Rhythm Heaven Fever
There were no lack of games to play in early 2012 and for a short period of time the Wii was still showing signs of life. Rhythm Heaven Fever is one of a few worthwhile Wii games to be released this year. I am not particularly fond of rhythm games, but being open to any type of video game experience, I popped this sucker into my Wii. To my surprise, Rhythm Heaven Fever became one of my all-time favourite Wii games.
Rhythm Heaven Fever is a simple game to play, but hard to master, especially for the rhythm challenged like myself. However, its vibrant visuals, funky music, and variety really made the game a pleasure to learn and play. After about 10 rhythm games, I started to become a master of rhythm (sort of) and for the first time recognized the potential in a rhythm based series.
Perhaps the last great Wii retail release is also the only game on this list that I never had the pleasure of reviewing yet. Gamers clamoured for a release in the west and embarked on a quest of their own to accomplish this objective. Our persistence and friendship was rewarded with the best RPG in recent memory.
Xenoblade Chronicles is an epic 60-80 hour story full of character growth, unexpected twists, awesome dialogue, and outstanding voice acting. Though the story is impressive, Xenoblade Chronicles manages to evoke emotions in the other places that gamers cherish. It provides a fresh take on console RPG gameplay by mixing MMO concepts into a JRPG. Its soundtrack is arguably the best on the Wii, and that’s a huge compliment when you’re going up against the likes of Skyward Sword, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Super Mario Galaxy. Xenoblade Chronicles also sports gorgeous visuals that prove style and polish can be just as strong, and sometimes more powerful than all the graphics processing units in the world, combined.
Kid Icarus Uprising
After disappearing for a long time, Pit, Palutena, and Medusa finally resurfaced earlier this year on the Nintendo 3DS. Kid Icarus Uprising shattered my expectations despite the issues with its controls. Kid Icarus Uprising is a love letter to long-time Nintendo fans and (possibly) the resurgence of a once forgotten franchise.
Uprising delighted fans with humorous and well-voiced dialogue, a healthy roster of characters and a lengthy journey that masterfully combined two genres. Kid Icarus Uprising is comprised of on-rails shooter sections in the sky, and action-adventure sections on the ground. Most levels contained one of each, but the flight portions of the game were especially exceptional. These sections were made better with the game’s fantastic execution of stereoscopic 3D. Kid Icarus Uprising also features an amazing soundtrack, a surprisingly competent online multiplayer mode, and a ton of other features that would make this list even larger.
Resident Evil Revelations
Despite the shortcomings of recent Resident Evil titles, Capcom showed us earlier this year that they still know how to create a true survival horror experience. Resident Evil Revelations also proves that Nintendo’s 3D handheld can provide gamers with a true, satisfying console-like gaming experience.
Resident Evil Revelations kept the over-the-shoulder view of recent titles, but brought back a lot of elements that fans have been begging to make a return. Tight corridors, ammo and health conservation, threatening enemies, and the occasional jump scare can all be found within this game. While the gameplay is solid, Capcom also brought their game with top-notch production regarding the game’s outstanding visuals, use of 3D, and engaging cut-scenes. If you own a Nintendo 3DS, this is one game that you must add to your collection.
To think Mutant Mudds was in danger of existing is frightening. I never imagined that it would end up being my favourite game of 2012, but after playing many games throughout the year, this game always managed to floatto the top of my list.
I think part of the reason I enjoy this title so much is its retro style, but looking past the chiptunes and 12-bit graphics you find a title that is challenging and controls remarkably well; which may as well be considered the formula for a fun video game. I’ve played through the title multiple times and not once has it lost its charm or appeal. Renegade Kid even released an update – 10 months after its initial release – that brought 20 brand new, thumb blistering levels.
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D
Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D came to the 3DS in early 2012, but wasn’t well received by everybody. It has issues, but the core Metal Gear Solid 3 experience can be found within this handheld release.
The game does have problems with dropped frame rates and less than stellar textures, but look past those issues and you’ll find one of the best video games ever created. New to the 3DS version is obviously the 3D effect (which looks great by the way), but also the game’s use of the Nintendo 3DS camera to create custom camouflage. If used correctly, your custom camouflage can make Naked Snake practically invisible.
La-Mulana will go down as the best WiiWare game to release in 2012, but it almost never happened. After losing its original publisher, EnjoyUp Games stepped up to the plate and decided to publish La-Mulana for the fans. La-Mulana is best described by Nigoro as a 2D Action Archaeological Ruins Exploration video game; I challenge you to come up with a better description.
You must navigate ruins that are riddled with puzzles which feature cryptic solutions. La-Mulana’s puzzles are different and challenging, but ultimately complement its easy to learn combat. La-Mulana also throws several large bosses and well-crafted ruins that are a blast to explore. This game will not appeal to everyone due to its brutal difficulty, but is definitely worth a look if you’re into that sort of thing.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask
Before borrowing a copy of Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask, I was completely unfamiliar with the series. I quickly discovered that I was missing out on a series full of mystery and unique gameplay.
Professor Layton and the Miracle Mask is the second game in the prequel trilogy and focuses on the professor’s past. While its mystery is quite easy to unravel, the journey to get there is an enjoyable one. You’ll have many interesting conversations, watch a few amazing anime cut-scenes, and solve plenty of intelligently designed logic puzzles. Not a terrible place to start if you’re new to the series either.
Of every game on this list, escapeVektor is the game that surprised me the most. I expected to find a simple arcade game, but found a game packed with action, gorgeous presentation, and awesome leaderboards.
escapeVektor challenges you to fill in white lines that border cells and then reach the level’s exit. It sounds easy, and starts off fairly basic, but soon becomes a game full of tense action that requires strategic movement. escapeVektor also raises the bar regarding minimalist presentation and intelligent leaderboards. Half of the reason to come back to escapeVektor is the ability to compete with your regional competitors and friends list.
The Denpa Men: They Came by Wave
After being wooed by the game’s demo, I decided to purchase The Denpa Men: They Came by Wave. After spending just a couple of hours with the game, I was floored with its concepts. Its main premise is a feature that uses AR functionality to catch a variety of Denpa Men.
Creating a team of Denpa Men is simply done by visiting places in the real world that have some kind of Wi-Fi technology nearby. Seeking out new places will reward you with unique Denpa Men complete with their own stats and abilities. These Denpa Men can then be used to fight some of the most adorably creative monsters in a basic, yet surprisingly competent, old-school RPG adventure. It’s a great game for RPG beginners and even for enthusiasts looking for something unique to play.