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Game of the Year 2015 Awards

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Game of the Year 2015

2015 has been an interesting year for Nintendo gamers. Both the 3DS and Wii U saw less games than expected with the delays of titles like StarFox Zero and the new Legend of Zelda for Wii U. However, with games like Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate, Splatoon, and Xenoblade Chronicles X along with countless excellent eShop titles this year, we've gotten more than enough to keep us busy. This year we gathered a panel of seven staff members that voted on their favorite games across seven categories. Without further ado, the presentation of these accolades.

Best 3DS Game of the Year 2015

Best 3DS - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D

Turn back the clock a few years to 2011. The 3DS and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D make their worldwide debut and a new generation is able to play a timeless Zelda classic with enhanced visuals. Many fans, under the name "Operation Moonfall" called for a similar remake of Ocarina of Time's Nintendo 64 succesor, Majora's Mask. After four years of waiting we were finally able to get our hands on The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D. The unsetteling cackle of the Happy Mask Salesman and the green fields of Termina can now be explored on the go and with enhanced 3D visuals. Although it's not an entirely new game, Majora's Mask 3D takes the cake for the most enjoyable 3DS expirience of 2015. - Rial J.

Honorable Mentions: Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate; The Legend of Zelda: Tri-Force Heroes

Best Wii U Game of the Year 2015

Best Wii U - Super Mario Maker

There’s something charming about Super Mario Maker. Be it the Mario Paint style presentation, the subtle little audio shifts while editing a level, or the silky smooth transitions between editing and playing, everything all comes together into a wonderful package. The very best of Mario’s 2D legacy is yours to use as you please. You can create a puzzle level, a musical level, an automatic level. Or you could create a diabolical, Kaizo inspired act of sadism. The choice is yours, to create or play a multitude of levels from all over the world. With such variety and scope in the minds of the users, it was hard not to single this out as our top Wii U game for this year. - Jonathan N.

Honorable Mentions: Xenoblade Chronicles X; Splatoon

Best Multiplayer Game of the Year 2015

Best Multiplayer - Splatoon

When Splatoon was first shown at E3 2014, a mixed feeling of excitement and scepticism fell over eager Nintendo fans. The Big N was creating an entirely new IP in a genre that they had yet to explore. But after Splatoon hit the shelves last spring it was clear that the first-person shooter with a colorful twist was a huge success. Although the single-player campaign was entertaining in itself, Splatoon truly shines in it's multiplayer offering. With the addition of free updates that have expanded the range of weapons, maps, game modes, and features, the online expirience that Splatoon boasts is fluid, polished, and jam-packed with content. What's more, drowning the enemy team with enourmous globs of ink is downright fun: something every good game should be. - Rial J.

Honorable Mentions: Monster Hunter Ultimate; FAST Racing Neo

Best Indie Game of the Year 2015

Best Indie - Freedom Planet

It's no secret that recent Sonic games have been hit-or-miss, but the classic Sonic the Hedgehog gameplay that took the world by storm was undeniable fun and innovative. There hasn't been many other developers that have tried and succeeded in creating a game in the fast-paced platforming style of Sonic. However, Freedom Planet might just be the title classic Sonic fans have been waiting for. Developed by the independent studio GalaxyTrail, Freedom Planet takes you on the journey of Lilac the Dragon and her quest to defeat the evil over-lord Brevon. Featuring awesome level design and some of the best boss battles I've ever seen, it wasn't hard to select Freedom Planet as our favorite indie game this year. - Rial J.

Honorable Mentions: Human Resource Machine; FAST Racing Neo

Best Music Game of the Year 2015

Best Music - Xenoblade Chronicles X

The music within Xenoblade Chronicles X is without a doubt unique, owing itself to the eccentricities of composer Hiroyuki Sawano (known for producing music for anime like Attack on Titan and Kill la Kill). Themes revolving around the planet or Mira range from alien to oppressive to mesmerising, while tracks relating to the human population of New Los Angeles adopt a more industrial feel. Various themes incorporate lyrics, making certain encounters in the wild considerably more tremendous. The musical variety truly adds to the whole experience, dragging you into the world of Mira just as much as the visuals and gameplay does. For these reasons, Xenoblade Chronicles X wins our award for Best Music. - Jonathan N.

Honorable Mentions: Splatoon; Yoshi's Wooly World

Best Visuals Game of the Year 2015

Best Visuals - Xenoblade Chronicles X

The developers at Monolith Soft have outdone themselves in the visuals department for Xenoblade Chronicles X, producing absolutely stunning landscapes with so much variety even within individual areas. There is a lot of unique geographical structures on the planet Mira, with a lot being so colossal in scope that it is hard not to marvel at them. From dense forests, giant deserts and frozen tundras, so much effort has been put into creating a natural feeling world that stands out above the rest. If we had to describe the visuals in Xenoblade Chronicles X in one word, “Beauty” would fit the bill. - Jonathan N.

Honorable Mentions: Splatoon; Yoshi's Wooly World

Best Game of the Year 2015

Game of the Year - Super Mario Maker

Without trying to sound like a broken Mario Paint music editor, the amount of creativity present in Super Mario Maker already makes it prime contender for game of the year. With millions of levels already playable, right now, and with plenty more to come, it’s a game that just does not stop giving. Many games have a real challenge ahead of them, can they stand the test of time? Well, Super Mario Bros. already has. And Super Mario Bros. 3, and Super Mario World. Super Mario Maker was arguable timeless before it even released. With this in mind, it was not difficult to name Super Mario Maker our Game of the Year 2015. - Jonathan N.

Honorable Mentions: Xenoblade Chronicles X; Splatoon

About the Author: Rial Johnson

Rial Johnson founded Nintendo Castle in 2011 with hopes to build the largest collection of Nintendo walkthroughs, guides, and content on the web. He is an avid gamer with a special place in his heart for Nintendo, but often finds himself writing about games more than actually playing them. You'll likely see him around Nintendo Castle and on social media, mostly managing the front-end content of the site.

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