Game of the Year 2013: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita

December 25, 2013


In today’s installment of our Game of the Year awards, we cover the two portable platforms: Nintendo’s 3DS and Sony’s Vita. What titles came out with the prize?


When the Wii’s Virtual Console service began, A Link to the Past was one of my first purchases. I played through that game many times in my youth, and wanted access to it should I ever feel the need to do so again. As it turns out, I eventually got to relive all of its excellence in a brand new adventure with A Link Between Worlds. This sequel demonstrates how the classic Zelda formula can withstand the test of time without necessarily needing to be played out on an epic scale like the recent console entries. Not that there aren’t some new twists on the tried and true, but for the most part this is Zelda as the “old school” remembers it, and it is glorious. – Chris Ingersoll

A Link Between Worlds connects not just two kingdoms, but also two different perspectives on the Zelda franchise. The first is the nostalgic, those who want to return to the gameplay and worlds they know and love, and the second is those who want the series to evolve. A Link Between Worlds manages to connect these two different perspectives with excellent results. It’s a game that relies heavily on nostalgia, but also does enough new to make it feel like a fresh experience. It represents Nintendo at its best. – Andrew Passafiume

Runner-up: Fire Emblem: Awakening

The Fire Emblem series hasn’t always been incredibly accessible. Thanks to its brutal difficulty, it turned a lot of gamers off even before they got to meet the amazing supporting cast. With the introduction of its Casual mode, Awakening finally allowed players to experience the story in a way the Fire Emblem series has never done before. It’s a fantastic entry in the series and a great tactical game for beginners and veterans alike. – Eric Albuen

Runner-up: Pokemon X & Y

Pokemon is one of those games that is something you tend to love, or you simply don’t understand why people keep going back to it every time. With similar mechanics returning in every game, it’s a challenge to add content or make it feel like more than a few new monsters to catch and another set of trainers to conquer. With X & Y, this was achieved by cutting back on much of the filler in the early parts of the game, speeding up leveling and pacing out the gym battles differently. – Jeff deSolla


Media Molecule knew exactly what it was doing when it designed Tearaway for Sony’s handheld: this is the most tailored experience the system has seen and likely ever will. It fuels players’ desire for creativity without a real obligation to conform to standards or impress others, and it is a warm, tactile world in an industry that always needs a few doses of optimism. – Graham Russell

Playing Tearaway made me smile from beginning to end. It’s wacky, adorable and truly inventive in a way that games rarely are, and it all feels deeply personal. It’s personal to Media Molecule, a team that is brimming with creativity, and personal to anyone who picks up a Vita to dive into this wonderful world. – Andrew Passafiume

Runner-up: Ys: Memories of Celceta

While the Ys series has always stayed true to a very specific formula, Memories of Celceta is the first to incorporate new elements into the mix. Thankfully, even if what has changed isn’t what you come to the Ys series for, the classic action you know and love is still as excellent as ever, complete with plenty of challenge. It’s a solid step forward for a series that still has the potential to continue to grow. – Andrew Passafiume

Runner-up: Corpse Party: Book of Shadows (PSP)

The first Corpse Party was brilliantly brutal: it primarily focused on sound not only to scare players, but to use their own imaginations against them in vile, disgusting ways. The follow-up is more of a supplement than a sequel, and sheds its RPG Maker skin in exchange for something more traditionally resembling an adventure-visual novel hybrid. The stakes aren’t as high. since we know the fates of all the characters, but the horror delivers in ways you can’t find anywhere else. – Lucas White