The year is almost over, and the time of List-Making has begun.
Read on for my ten favorite games of 2013, presented in no particular order. These might not be the best, or the most definitive, or the most impressive games of the year, but they're the ones that stuck with me. In a strong year for the medium, these games all stood out.
PHOENIX WRIGHT: DUAL DESTINIES
To the uninitiated, the words "virtual lawyer simulator" might not conjure up images of a romping good time, but the Phoenix Wright games are endearing in that "holy shit it's 3am and I literally can't put this game down because the characters are charming as heck and I have to see what happens next" way. Dual Destinies is the best one yet.
NI NO KUNI
THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: A LINK BETWEEN WORLDS
When I first finished the latest Zelda game, I was a little disappointed: it felt too easy, too simple, too recycled from its spiritual predecessor, Link to the Past. Then I somehow accidentally played through and beat the whole game a second time, so I guess it got me.
SUPER MARIO 3D WORLD
You know a game is fantastic when you have to listen to Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario, saying "mee-oww" every time you finish a level, but you still want to keep playing.
FIRE EMBLEM: AWAKENING
Stephen Totilo describes this game as "chess on crack," which I think is a pretty great synopsis, although it's more like "chess on crack and also you get to make the knight hook up with the queen."
MARIO & LUIGI: DREAM TEAM
You and I might dream about being naked in class or flying through space; Luigi (blessed be he) dreams about cloning himself to save his brother from monsters. I think it's safe to say he wins this one.
TALES OF XILLIA
Sometimes you've just gotta spend a weekend cranking through anime-ish JRPGs with silly plots and button-mashy combat, because they might not be particularly nutritious or meaningful, but hell if they aren't a good time.
THE LAST OF US
Yeah, whatever, real original Jason.
Pretty much a perfect game, other than the fact that you can't change the background music.
KINGDOM RUSH FRONTIERS
There is no better game on iOS. I will fight anyone who disagrees.