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Nintendo Castle's Games of the Year 2014 Awards

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Hello there! Welcome to Nintendo Castle's Game(s) of the Year Awards 2014. A panel of 4 staff members nominated and voted on their favorite games of the year in a total of 4 categories: Favorite Handheld, Favorite Indie, Favorite Music, and Game of the Year. While these games reflect an aggregate opinion of Nintendo Castle's staff, we do not claim these games to be the subjectively best games produced this year. These awards aren't to be taken to seriously, they're just a fun overlook of the games the staff members enjoyed playing most this year. Without further ado, here are the winners of Game of the Year Awards 2014!


Favorite Handheld Award: Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Versions

The newest iterations of the world of Pokémon come in the form of Generation 3 remakes for the Nintendo 3DS. Staff members ultimately chose these games as their favorite handheld experience of the year because the games offer the most complete Pokémon experience to date. Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire accompany X and Y versions perfectly and allow for obtaining more Pokémon and Legendaries than ever before. The games further expand on Mega Evolutions and add the similar Primal Reversions. Hoenn looks better than ever and the single player adventure is greatly improved upon with added lore and features. For these reasons we chose Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire over Smash for 3DS and Shovel Knight, which both had superior Wii U versions.

Runner-up: Super Smash Bros. for 3DS
Honorable Mentions: Shovel Knight; Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney

Favorite Indie Award: Shovel Knight

There is no denying which game had our attention this year for the indie spot. Shovel Knight first caught our eyes well over a year ago with a highly successful Kickstarter campaign and has remained in mind up to and after release. This isn't just an 8-bit imitator of times long past, Shovel Knight is a true successor to the heritage of the NES. With tight controls and superb level design, it truly feels like both a classic gem from three decades ago and a modern delight with many conveniences we have come to take for granted. This comes with the highest of recommendations from the staff here at Nintendo Castle. Coming in close behind is Steamworld Dig and Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, both also highly recommended, and The Fall for its unique story and atmosphere.

Runner-up: Steamworld Dig
Honorable Mentions: Shantae and the Pirate's Curse; The Fall

Favorite Music Award: Shovel Knight

We just highlighted above how Shovel Knight was no mere 8-bit imitator. It truly feels like it belongs on the NES, both in gameplay and with its entire audio library. Not only does the music sound like an NES classic, but also the sound effects accompanying the soundtrack. This should come as no surprise, as Jake Kaufman (the sound director) actually used the NES sound chip to produce every single bleep and bloop in the game. Not only that, but Manami Matsumae, composer of Mega Man 1 and 10, contributed several tracks to the already stellar collection of music within the game. We have already recommended the game based on its gameplay merit, but we also recommend it on the musical prowess. Runner-ups aren't too far behind, with David Wise getting a much welcome return to the series in Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, and the heavy rock laden Hyrule Warriors giving new perspective on the accustomed Zelda formula.

Runner-ups: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze; Hyrule Warriors
Honorable Mentions: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U; Mario Kart 8

Game of the Year Award: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is the essence of Nintendo gaming, it's not surprising that it won our overall Game of the Year award for 2014. Being the first console Smash Bros game in 6 years, Smash for Wii U improves on its predecessors in almost every way. With 49 playable characters (50 next year) and plethora of new stages, modes, collectibles, and mechanics it's the biggest Smash game ever, and quite possibly the last. The games new mechanics and settings make it easier than ever to play competitively, as well as new modes like Smash Tour and 8-player battles for more casual smash players. Although online still isn't the best and some players aren't satisfied with the roster, Nintendo Castle's staff enjoyed playing Smash on Wii U more than any other game in 2014. Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire took a close second (offering our favorite portable game experience) and Hyrule Warriors and Bayonetta 2 wore some staff's picks for the intense action and unique experiences.

Runner-ups: Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire Versions
Honorable Mentions: Hyrule Warriors; Bayonetta 2

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