As controversial as the score may be, it is hard to argue against Rayman Legends being the unrivalled platform adventure of this generation, and the 'one to beat' in the upcoming new generation of systems that is about to kick-off. Building upon the superbly solid foundation of Rayman Origins is no mean feat, but Ubisoft has indeed managed to out-do the House of Mario in the genre in which many thought Nintendo was untouchable. Made for Wii U, playing this on any other format will undoubtedly be an inferior experience.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is oozing with quality and polish in every aspect, and easily surpasses the already outstanding previous instalment on the Nintendo Wii. Underwater segments and the partners Dixie Kong and Cranky Kong are very welcome additions, while the level design is as inventive and challenging as ever. The absolutely marvellous soundtrack and lush visuals only further support the tight and extremely satisfying gameplay, resulting in an overall package that is one of the best 2D platformers of all time - one that fans of classic platforming should truly go bananas over.
Super Mario 3D World is a superb first attempt at a 3D Super Mario Bros. platformer from Nintendo. It's more than just a simple Mario title with multiplayer bolted on. The game weaves together a plethora of unique, compelling and occasionally downright bizarre ideas that simply work. Mario and friends run, jump, float, crawl, climb, throw fireballs and explode cannonballs across multiple worlds of charming designs, experimental ideas and rock hard platforming towards the end. Super Mario 3D World is one of the best titles on the Nintendo Wii U and one of the best platformers, period. Go forth and save the Sprixie Kingdom!
This War of Mine is arguably one of the most powerful games ever created at conveying the troubling reality of war in an emotional and thought-provoking way. That it does these, not through big explosions and fancy textures, is all the more impressive. These are real stories; this is a game that takes risks. There are no punches pulled in a world where everyone suffers, including children, and are shown as casualties, something other games have in the past shied away from. However, this is not just some experience to make a point. This is a damn fun game to play, it is incredibly hard to put down due to its incredibly tight mechanics, which all blend together to create something really special. Quite simply, buy This War of Mine.
The nigh endless depth of the combat engine in this game is so full of possibilities and options, it is like staring into the graces of heaven itself. Bayonetta 2 is the nirvana of the character-action game genre and is one of the greatest sequels ever made. It is doubtful that there will be a better game this holiday season. Bayonetta 2 is a Game of the Year contender, which comes extremely recommended.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is undoubtedly the most ambitious project to come from Nintendo since Super Mario 64 revitalised the platformer, more than two decades ago. Its first attempt to bring Zelda into the open-world era isn't just a formidable attempt, it's one that ticks all the right boxes and shows other, more genre-seasoned, developers how it should be done. If it really is the last major title that the Wii U ever sees, then it's a fantastic way to bow out - The Legend of Zelda has never been so perfect.
When arguing in the almost defunct 'Are videogames an art form?' debates, Majora's Mask is amongst a handful of other titles that can act as a defence 'for' games as it clearly states and displays the most compelling reasons as to what videogames are capable of when developers are free to experiment and toy with ideas. Based on an almost perfect blueprint, Majora's Mask dared to be different at a time when it probably didn't need to and delivered a game so peculiar that it still stands out fifteen years after its initial release. Its ability to stir up such an array of emotions, whilst not shying away from a solid game structure, is something rarely seen in games, and the way it allows the gamer to dictate and influence each individual's destiny is a marvel to behold. To say that The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D is the stand out best game in the Zelda series is, indeed, a daring - and inaccurate - verdict, given the calibre of the series. However, there can be no doubting that this is the most alluring and positively tortuous game within the series, and for that reason alone, it is worth everyone's time.
Hollow Knight in its original PC form was exemplary, but now it has landed on Nintendo Switch, complete with all the bells and whistles that have been laden upon the gorgeous adventure since launch, as well as fresh post-release content. This proves to be the perfect antidote for those suffering from Super Metroid withdrawal symptoms. Team Cherry's ode to Nintendo's great may well have edged past its original inspiration. It truly is the game that just keeps on giving; absolutely sublime, in every sense of the word.