We’ve already announced our reader’s picks, so now’s the time to reveal the favorites of the Pure Nintendo staff in 2015.
Since we had already decided on the nominees, this process was as simple as ordering the games by our personal preference. A point value between 1 and 5 was awarded depending on the order. Total points are given below, with the number of first place votes listed in Bold.
Wii U Game of the Year (Staff picks)
- Super Mario Maker – 41 points (4) “Super Mario is a character that is universally loved by gamers, and Nintendo has now given us the tools to create and share the things we love most about Mario.” – Alex Schramke
- Splatoon – 39 points (4) “With a new IP and a new play-style, Nintendo’s investment in Splatoon is one that pays off in a major way.” – Matt Paxton
- Yoshi’s Woolly World – 28 points (2) “Whether your desire is exploring for secrets alone, or going on a collectathon with a friend, you must make sure Yoshi’s Woolly World finds its way into your collection asap.” – Trevor Gould
- Xenoblade Chronicles X – 28 points “Anyone looking for a world to immerse themselves in for weeks, or even months, may want to look into picking up Xenoblade Chronicles X” – Matt Paxton
- Kirby and the Rainbow Curse (Paintbrush) – 7 points “Besides simply enjoying the game’s wonderful clay model art style and awesome music, the levels keep you on your toes with clever use of the line drawing mechanics, and the vehicle transformations keep things from getting dull” – Alex Schramke
We thought the race for Wii U Game of the Year was close with our reader’s votes, but the staff voting was even closer! By two points, Super Mario Maker came out ahead of Splatoon as PN’s top Wii U game of 2015.
Yoshi’s Woolly World and Xenoblade Chronicles X had 28 points each, but with 2 first place votes the third place tie broke in favor of Yoshi.
Wii U eShop Game of the Year (Staff picks)
- FAST Racing NEO – 36 points (6) “The game is gorgeous, smooth and exciting.” – Tristan Meiman
- Affordable Space Adventures – 29 points (1) “Anticipation for this KnapNok/Nifflas’ collaboration was high, but the game has lived up to its promise!” – Trevor Gould
- Xeodrifter – 24 points (1) “Those craving a challenging Metroid type adventure should definitely pick up Xeodrifter!” – Trevor Gould
- Mario Kart 8 – Animal Crossing Pack DLC – 23 points (1) “It’s basically a breath of fresh air into an already excellent game, giving the latest Mario Kart an even higher level of longevity and depth than ever before.” – J. Casson
- Earthbound Beginnings – 17 points (1)
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars – 15 points “If you’re in the market for a new puzzle game that’s very reminiscent of the old Lemmings series, you’ll have a blast with Tipping Stars.” – Justin Sharp
Like our readers, the staff ultimately selected FAST Racing NEO as our Wii U eShop GOTY. Affordable Space Adventures took second place, with Xeodrifter third. Congratulations to Shin’en, KnapNok/Nifflas’, and Renegade Kid.
3DS Game of the Year (Staff picks)
- The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes – 33 points (4) “Even though it’s not your typical Zelda adventure its a fun new experience that feels fresh, unique and a little addicting.” Kaelyn Daugherty
- The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask – 30 points (1) “Absolutely worth your time.” – Tristan Meiman
- Chibi-Robo! Zip-Lash – 25 points (3) “Although it may appear to be a typical 2D platformer, I can assure you, the experience had in Chibi-Robo’s latest title, feels fresh and quite intuitive.” – Peter Lopez
- Xenoblade Chronicles 3D – 20 points (1) “It is an epic adventure that will satisfy the most avid RPG fans and even the crowd that may not consider themselves fans of the genre.” – Justin Sharp
- Yo-Kai Watch – 17 points (1) “With so much to do and so much to accomplish, Yo-Kai Watch is an experience to partake-in, and shouldn’t be overlooked by anyone who owns a Nintendo 3DS.” – Peter Lopez
- Puzzle & Dragon Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition – 15 points “While I was initially skeptical, Puzzle & Dragons Z + Puzzle & Dragons Super Mario Bros. Edition is an incredible game that is well worth checking out.” – Justin Sharp
The PN crew experienced their own battle of the Zelda games. With four first place votes Tri Force Heroes came out on top, though the overall point totals made the race extremely close between it and runner-up Majora’s Mask.
Chibi-Robo! fared much better with our staff than it did with the readers, taking a strong third place.
3DS eShop Game of the Year (Staff picks)
- Gunman Clive 2 – 35 points (3) “Clive is classic platforming at it’s best!” – Trevor Gpuld
- Dr. Mario Miracle Cure – 28 points (3) “Just as addictive as ever! If you’re a fan of the Dr. Mario series then you’re in for a treat.” – Kaelyn Daugherty
- 3D Sonic the Hedgehog 2 – 28 points (1) “Sonic The Hedgehog 2 is a fan favorite for everyone and is a great addition to the 3DS eShop. There are also a few new ways to play and the 3D effects look great. I highly recommend it!” – Kaelyn Daugherty
- Pokémon Shuffle – 24 points (2) “Pokémon Shuffle is a puzzle game with a nice twist on a well-worn genre, and I’m already hooked.” – J. Casson
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars – 20 points “If you’re in the market for a new puzzle game that’s very reminiscent of the old Lemmings series, you’ll have a blast with Tipping Stars.” – Justin Sharp
Gunman Clive 2 emerged as the top 3DS eShop game with the PN staff. Congratulations are in order for Hörberg Productions.
A tie occurred for total points with the games battling for second place. Again, we broke the tie in favor of the game with more first place votes – at 3 to 1, Dr. Mario: Miracle Cure bested 3D Sonic 2.
Like our readers, the PN staff regretted that Steam World Heist just missed our cutoff time for nomination.
Best GamePad Use (Staff picks)
- Super Mario Maker – 46 points (6) “There are a ton of game objects for you to work with, and building and uploading levels is a breeze thanks to the easy to use interface.” – Alex Schramke
- Affordable Space Adventures – 28 (3) “Titles making clever use of the GamePad’s many features have been sporadic for sure, but Affordable Space Adventures uses the tech better than even most Nintendo offerings!” – Trevor Gould
- Splatoon – 27 (1) “Now, I know what you are wondering: Are the gyro controls worth it? Absolutely.” – Matt Paxton
- Art Academy: Home Studio – 26 “I’m glad to see Nintendo taking advantage of the Wii U GamePad and it’s really the only way to accomplish a game like Art Academy: Home Studio.” – Justin Sharp
- LEGO Jurassic World – 14 “The separate screens make it feel like you’re playing online, except your partner happens to be sitting near you on the couch. It’s the best of both worlds, and takes very good advantage of the Wii U GamePad.” – Trevor Gould
With the largest margin of voctory in any category, Super Mario Maker dominated the voting for best GamePad use!
Like our readers, we voted Affordable Space Adventures as runner-up. Congrats again to KnapNok/Nifflas’ for having two second place finishes.
Best Stereoscopic 3D (Staff picks)
- The Legend of Zelda: Tri Force Heroes – 39 points (6) “Really neat looking with the 3D effects on.” – Kaelyn Daugherty
- Animal Crossing: Happy Home Designer – 24 points (2) “Animal Crossing Happy Home Designer is innovative, simplistic, and stylish. Peter Lopez
- Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. – 24 points (1) “The story is told through comic book panels, and the game’s clever use of camera angles make them really fun to view with the 3D turned on.” – Alex Schramke
- Chibi-Robo! Zip-Lash – 24 points (1) “Chibi-Robo! Zip Lash was able to provide me with a genuine sense of happiness that kept a smile on my face during each play session.” – Pete
- Puzzle & Dragon Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition – 12 points “The visuals in the game are top notch and the game features impressive 3D use as well.” Justin
Tri Force Heroes wins its second PN award!
The real drama was the race for second place, with a three way tie in total points! Happy Home Designer breaks it with 2 first place votes, but Chibi-Robo! & Code Name: S.T.E.A.M. end up sharing.
There you have Pure Nintendo’s best of 2015. A big congrats to all the winners! See how our results compared with the reader voting.