Padinga’s 2011 Game of the Year Awards: Wii!

As we enter 2012, it is time for that yearly tradition gamers treasure: arguing about the best games of the previous year.  Over the next ten days, the Padinga crew will be sharing their favorite games over a variety of different categories.  These categories have been designed to force our wonderful staff to pick only one game each, meaning many great games will be left out in the cold.  We do this for two reasons: 1) to provoke thoughtful discussion in our comments about the games we forgot, and 2) to cause Mecha to have a heart attack.

Hit the jump for the third day, our picks for the best game to be released on the Nintendo Wii:

ERIKA – THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD

This was my gift to Eric for Christmas, and I might be just as hooked as he is.  Aside from some awkward motion controls, the game is really accessible and entertaining.

ERIC – THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: SKYWARD SWORD

The latest Zelda is everything I wanted in Twilight Princess.  A sweeping adventure, gorgeous visuals, and minor tweaks and changes to make Zelda fresh again.  The art style is stellar, reminding me of the risk they played with Wind Waker‘s visual design.  However, outside of Link’s amazing adventure, it was a somewhat dark year for Nintendo’s current console.  There were few notable titles, and nothing blew away the critics other than Zelda and import titles.  Not good, but hopefully the Wii-U solves the problems plaguing the Wii.

MECHA – XENOBLADE

Being the only new Wii title I played this year, I had no choice but to pick Xenoblade. The masterminds behind the Xenogears and saga series bring us a grand adventure not often seen on the Wii. It’s filled with fun gameplay, interesting characters, and a compelling story.

Because our wonderful Joe Noh is an overachiever, he has submitted (and ranked) his three favorite Wii games of the year.  Having played three Wii games this years only further cements his place as our resident “Nintendo fanboy”:

3. Lost in Shadow – The loss of Hudson Soft in 2011 saddens me. While being acquired by Konami may not have been as big of a deal as Square Soft merging with Enix, there was something special about Hudson that I hope will continue in some fashion. Lost In Shadow is in some ways indicative of what Hudson had become of itself: a shadow. While the game may not have been received amazingly, I love the concept and artistic direction of Lost In Shadow. At the very least, Lost in Shadow has a level of uniqueness that could only attributed to that special Hudson aura.

2. Kirby’s Return to Dreamland – A surprise in its announcement after the excellent release of Kirby’s Epic Yarn just a year prior, Kirby’s Return to Dreamland brings us back to classic Kirby-style gameplay of sucking your enemies powers. It’s been a good while since we’ve seen a proper console follow up to the Nintendo 64′s Kirby 64, and Return to Dreamland steps it up a notch in every possible way. My most favorite addition is the inclusion of New Super Mario Bros. Wii-like multiplayer. Kirby is an interesting franchise for Nintendo, in that, it seems to be one that they like to experiment with, often with great results (Kirby Canvas Curse & Mass Attack), but it’s nice to get back to some classic Kirby.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword – The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is not only the finest Wii game I’ve played to date, but also one of the finest Zelda games I’ve ever played. Skyward Sword is not only significant because it’s a good game, but it’s important because it proves you can incorporate motion controls as an integral part of a deeper gaming experience. I wouldn’t categorize Skyward Sword as casual gaming experience and I wouldn’t describe it’s controls as gimmicky, instead it is the opposite. For Skyward Sword, it’s focus, plot-wise and gameplay-wise is on a sword, and the Wii Motion Plus controls intuitively enhance the experience of playing the game. For a franchise this this calibur, that’s no small feat.

Honorable mentions:  Rayman Origins