Game of the Year 2014: Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation Vita

December 24, 2014


There were many great games in 2014, but these were the best of the best! Here are our selections for best 3DS game and best Vita game of the year, as well as deserving runners-up.


Curtain Call, an update of 2012’s Theatrhythm, is exactly what you want out of a sequel. It has more music, a quest mode that adds plenty of twists to the basic (and addictive) gameplay and a handful of small changes that make this one of the best 3DS games you can buy. Simply put, there is plenty to love about Curtain Call’s excellent rhythmic approach to fan service. – Andrew Passafiume

Theatrhythm is an interesting beast. Before the first game released in 2012, no one ever thought you could make a music game out of the Final Fantasy series. Considering how much was packed into the first game, both in-game and DLC, we could only wonder how much more you could do with the series. Curtain Call went above and beyond, providing players with even more from other Square Enix titles, as well as providing a proper online battle mode. It’s more than any fan of the series could ask for. – Eric Albuen

Runner-up: Fantasy Life

Lots of RPGs let you take on the role of a Paladin, Hunter or Mage. Fantasy Life is probably the first that will let you save the world as a Tailor, Cook or Miner. There are twelve such “Life” classes, and you can mostly switch between them at will, although there is a (skippable) training mission for each when you first take it on. Part Animal Crossing-style sandbox and part Dragon Quest, Fantasy Life is definitely a unique experience that stands on its own. – Chris Ingersoll

Runner-up: Bravely Default

I think that Bravely Default represents the biggest step forward in the genre we’ve seen in a long time. This game manages to break new ground and remove a lot of tired (and obsolete) mechanics, while still maintaining the core essence of the best JRPGs to date. The game does stumble in the second act with a large bit of padding and recycled content, but this can be forgiven for all the amazing things it does right, and for the really strong pushes the game makes to modernize the traditional JRPG. – Ryan Dunn


Very few games have had me as tense, nervous, curious, and eager to keep playing as Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. The premise is simple, but intriguing. The story is one of the best I’ve seen in games in a long time, the cast of characters is amazing and the pacing of the many “reveals” is just right to keep you constantly wanting to play. I was interested in the premise of Danganronpa when it was announced, but I had no idea the level of addiction it would stir up. This would absolutely be the first game I would recommend to anyone interested in the visual novel genre. – Ryan Dunn

Danganronpa is the kind of game you don’t realize you’re so engrossed in until you finally check your clock. The “Japanese schoolchildren forced to murder each other” hook is a cliche at this point, but the surreal edge Danganronpa brought to the table made it feel fresh and scary all over again. The gimmicky, play portion of Danganronpa is a riot as well, taking the same courtroom theme as, say, Ace Attorney, but with a much more fast-paced, arcade-like feel. – Lucas White

Runner-up: Hatsune Miku: Project Diva F 2nd

The thing that really makes this game is, of course, the music. I can guarantee that if you aren’t already a Vocaloid fan that listens on YouTube, you haven’t heard most of it. And it really doesn’t matter. The songs are all incredibly catchy, as most pop music is, and after 4-plus games, the mechanics are refined and easy to learn. Even on an imported copy, the game takes minutes to pick up and weeks to master. – Jeff deSolla

Runner-up: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair

Visual novels are a weird experience. Although almost entirely scripted, they take you on one hell of an adventure with carefully chosen words and a pretty anime backdrop to boot. Pretty might be an understatement due to the murder mystery nature of Danganronpa 2, but the bright visuals in contrast to the nature of the game add to what makes this series so interesting. The fast-paced action of the class trials and struggle of putting pieces of evidence in line with each other with a blazing-fast time limit makes this series stand out from other visual novel titles out there. – Eric Albuen