Even when it's safe, Swap Force is still a wildly entertaining game and another satisfying entry in a genre that rarely gets this much love and care. It might lack the innovative magic of Spyro's Adventure or the daring ingenuity of Giants, but it's still a formula that works, even if the routine is starting to show.
Since it follows the roadmap so closely, it’s not quite as fresh as the SNES classic was in 1992, but that doesn’t make it any less of an amazing experience. A Link Between Worlds is a delightful adventure that hits every high note a 2D Zelda game has ever produced while creating many new hallmarks of its own. In a year filled with quality 3DS games, A Link Between Worlds is another fantastic entry on a system that is quickly becoming home to a number of instant classics.
Mario Golf: World Tour succeeds in crafting a stellar golfing experience, one that will likely become a mainstay in multiplayer circles for a long time. The single-player portion doesn't seem fully realized, but the golf gameplay in World Tour is top notch and the stellar online tournaments have the potential to keep the experience fresh for a long time. With a nice variety of courses and lots to unlock, this is another fine entry in the long line of Mario sports games.
I like playing Mario Kart 8. I think it's a satisfactory entry in the series, but nothing more. The final package ends up feeling like someone who covers themselves in makeup to hide the fact that they are 10 years older than they are pretending to be.
Pushmo World is another stellar entry in one of Nintendo's premier downloadable franchises. While it's a bummer that the quirks of Crashmo didn't make a return, no one really loses when Pushmo World is so wonderfully crafted, with awesome puzzles and excellent new twists. Let's just hope that Crashmo World is up next on Mallo's quest.
Hyrule Warriors wasn't a game I expected to fall in love with, but thanks to its oodles of Zelda fan service and shockingly engrossing gameplay, upgrades, and modes, it turned into something very special that lives up to the Zelda legacy. It's easy to dive into and has enough variety that it doesn't really get old over the dozen or more hours you can spend with it. If Nintendo crossovers are always this polished and fun, I welcome many more of them.
The second version of Disney Infinity has refined half of the experience into something even better than before. The Toy Box mode is more fun in this second edition, layered with more gameplay elements while making it easier to create fun worlds. As for the other half, the Play Sets are a little underwhelming after last year's more interesting options. It's fun to be Star-Lord, Iron Man, and Spidey, but sometimes their own stories aren't engaging. You're much better off making your own awesome Disney Infinity environments (or scouring the Internet for others) in Toy Box instead.
Skylanders Trap Team is a fantastic, well-made game. The lengthy story mode is filled with excellent gameplay set in gorgeous environments with top-shelf graphics and sound. The bonus modes, while focused mostly on combat, are a lot of fun. Outside of the over-powered and integral nature of the new Trap Master figures, Trap Team is close to being the best Skylanders game yet.
The heart of Sportsball is in local multiplayer, so if you can't wrangle together a few friends, it's not a game I'd recommend getting. But even if you have the sliver of a chance of having the people needed to play, Sportsball is well worth diving into. It's an incredible multiplayer game that takes a simple concept and transforms it into a deep, competitive experience.
As one of the first eShop releases of 2015, Chariot is a fine adventure to kick off the year. It's a unique take on the physics-based platformer that feels fresh and inspired. While the overt focus on co-op might make it less appealing to the solo gamer, it's still a worthy adventure to embark on even if you're all alone. After all, you still have the ghost of the king, even if he won't return your high fives.