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In the future, when we look back at the state of Nintendo gaming in 2015, what will we remember?

It was a diverse year of releases, with unusual spin-offs, small indie projects, and risky new IPs taking the forefront of Nintendo’s marketing. This is an undeniable shift compared to 2014’s assortment of huge first and third party releases; in a way, 2015 marked yet another instance of Nintendo’s ever-changing approach to business and development.

To help define this unusual year, our team of writers here at Nintendo Inquirer have pooled together to determine the best games of the year, and these are the results!


5. The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D

Written by Kellen McIntyre

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask 3D was a game that a vocal contingent of fans had been demanding since Ocarina of Time got the remake treatment in 2011. By throwing the fanbase a bone, Nintendo offered up a far more streamlined and user-friendly take on Majora’s Mask for the modern era. Revamped boss fights and sidequests coupled with tweaked controls aimed to bring a new level of polish to a fifteen-year-old game.

While many of these overhauls felt nagging and like an attempt to fix what ultimately wasn’t broken, they weren’t enough to overshadow the sublimely well-crafted experience of the original. Like a long-awaited reunion with a childhood friend, Majora’s Mask 3D succeeded in not just stoking the fires of our nostalgia, but reminding us why we fell in love with the original and opening the door for a whole new generation of fans.


4. Xenoblade Chronicles X

Written by Tom Brown

After the first Xenoblade Chronicles pushed the Wii to its limits, it was only natural that its spiritual successor would return and do the same with the Wii U. Sure, the user interface is overwhelming, collectibles can be frustrating, and the humor is hit-or-miss, but you quickly forget all of that the second you stumble upon a brand new gorgeous vista, dotted with unidentified species of all kinds and ripe for exploration.

Xenoblade Chronicles X definitely isn’t for everyone though; for better or worse, it only truly shines for those who invest in its many complex systems. Those who do decide to brave it and dive deep into life on the planet Mira, however, are taken on an unforgettable, if occasionally annoying, adventure.


3. Yoshi’s Woolly World

Written by Frank Costagliola

Yoshi’s Woolly World definitely takes the crown for being the cutest release of 2015; from the yarn Shy Guys wielding crochet hooks to the catchy music playing in the background, the adorable world is compelling and sucks the player in. Simply put, this devotion to aesthetics is what the developers at Good-Feel do best, as they proved previously in 2010’s Kirby’s Epic Yarn.

Of course, in-keeping with the cute aesthetic, they made sure to make Yoshi’s Woolly World fun for all ages. With the inclusion of Mellow Mode, you can make the experience as challenging or as easy as you’d like. Likewise, if you go for all of the collectibles, such as the alternate Yarn color schemes, the game opens up and it will take even seasoned Yoshi’s Island veterans some extra hours to complete.

Yoshi’s Woolly World might feel familiar to fans of Yoshi games at first, but the beautiful world and attention to detail make the game feel fresh. The game isn’t perfect, but it definitely makes for some of the most fun and cute platforming you’ll find on your Wii U.


2. Splatoon

Written by Ricky Berg

Splatoon represents a huge risk on Nintendo’s part that paid off considerably. A colorful, attitude-filled, online, team based shooter: who’d have thought it’d be such a hit? But here we are over half a year later with a long series of free, extra content and a game that’s only become more enjoyable while always being itself. With its inklings front and center, Nintendo has shown it can still provide new IP’s and experiences on par with the NES classics. Arguably more than that they’ve also shown both willingness and an ability to thrive in both the competitive and online gaming worlds, something generally not associated with Nintendo.

With an aquatic identity, a splattering of game modes, one of the best original soundtracks of recent memory, and gameplay that holds up match after match, Splatoon has succeeded in marking its turf. No matter what people may say about the Wii U as a system in the coming years, Splatoon will always stand out as the example of what was right when it came to the GamePad, and of Nintendo’s proficiency with HD game development.


1. Super Mario Maker

Written by Brittin Shauers

There are two reasons why the staff at Nintendo Inquirer chose Super Mario Maker as Nintendo’s best game of 2015. The first should be clear to anyone who has played it: the game’s never-ending cycle of creativity and fun relentlessly inspires and entertains nearly everyone that gets their hands on it. The other, less obvious, reason that it deserves recognition is because of all the amazing things that its users have crafted, and I’m not just talking about levels.

In the less than four months that players have been tinkering with Super Mario Maker, they have generated millions of levels, of course, but the creativity doesn’t end there. Internet publications and personalities have found a huge variety of ways to share and enjoy the game with their fans, ranging from intense design/play rivalries to 100 Mario Challenges on Twitch with custom rules. Super Mario Maker has brought its fans together in countless unique and meaningful ways, an uncommon trend that will no doubt keep it relevant for many years to come.

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Written by Tom Brown

Whether it’s an exciting new entry in a series long established or a weird experiment meant only for the dedicated, Tom is eager to report on it. Rest assured, if Nintendo ever announces Elite Beat Agents 2, he’ll be there.