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Nintendo World Report Awards: 2010

Best of Genres: Nintendo DS

by Grant Buell, James Jones, Zachary Miller, Neal Ronaghan, and Karlie Yeung - December 31, 2010, 2:24 pm PST

It isn't always easy to group games into a relatively narrow selection of genres. We've done our best to group these games in such a way that games worthy of recognition receive it. Note that some genres may only have one winner.


Winner: Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth
Our favorite prosecutor takes the lead this time in an adventure that mirrors the investigator's role, with no court sessions, unlike the game in the main series. While it's not as exciting as the objections of the court room, the new element of crime scene investigation brings a change to the proceedings. A strong story leaves you curious to see the case's details unfold while you gather evidence on site and connect clues using logic. As always, stand-out characters and a plot that runs deep make it a memorable Ace Attorney title, and one of the most memorable of 2010.

Ruffles points his finger accusingly at YOU


Winner: Picross 3D
Picross 3D is, quite simply, the video game equivalent of crack. The addictive block-breaking, spatial-reasoning puzzler is filled to the brim with content. With more than 350 puzzles on the cartridge and even more available online, its lastability is unquestionable, and even the most experienced puzzle gamer will find 20 hours of gameplay at minimum. The excellent game design and pleasing, addictive feel of breaking blocks and seeing the animated finished product makes this the best DS puzzle game of 2010.

Insidiously addictive block clicking

Runner Up: Professor Layton and the Unwound Future
Three games into the series, Professor Layton and the Unwound Future is familiar territory, but what wonderful territory it is! This time, Luke and the Professor are trapped in a future distressing enough to rival Back to the Future II, and as they explore future London and solve a variety of devilish logic puzzles, they’ll receive help from some surprising characters along the way. Charm is present in every beautifully animated environment and cutscene, and the plot twists will have you gasping for air.


Winner: Dragon Quest IX: Sentinels of the Starry Sky
Was there ever any doubt? Level 5 and Square Enix have created not only one of the best role-playing games on DS, but one of the best games, period. Dragon Quest IX lets you play however you want. You can just breeze through the main story. You can spend hours, days, or weeks finding alchemy ingredients to craft new weapons and armor. You can focus on quests - of which there are dozens - and unlock new jobs and quests. Through it all, you can craft the perfectly balanced team and customize their abilities to your play style. Even after the credits roll, the game offers a heap of post-game content so your adventure is never truly over. Dragon Quest IX is amazingly flexible, accessible, and almost impossible to put down.

Runner Up: Infinite Space
Unfolding across multiple galaxies, involving millions of lives, and offering nearly endless options for customization, Infinite Space lives up to its name by turning the RPG genre on its head.  Instead of developing and equipping a handful of party members, your task is to build your own custom war fleet. It doesn’t just ask you to stand up to a seemingly unstoppable empire, bent on conquering all it sees; it dares you to.

Not the standard RPG battle screen


Winner: Dementium II
It's tough to make a good shooter on the DS. It’s similarly challenging to make a good horror game, a problem developers on any system must deal with. Renegade Kid has managed to excel at both, and Dementium 2 is the fruit of that labor. The gunplay is easy and responsive, and the spooky stuff is great thanks to a wonderful graphics engine and inventive sound design. The game features an imaginative story, and the beasts that stalk your character are horrific and gruesome and, at times, tough to kill. Fans of the shooter genre should keep Dementium II on their DS game list.

He's shooting him with light

Runner Up: James Bond 007: Blood Stone
Blood Stone, from developer n-Space, impresses with its presentation and gameplay variety. The third-person shooter will have you doing everything from taking down enemies and driving cars to playing poker and being stealthy. While the online multiplayer is a little barebones, the solid single-player campaign is worth playing through.

Daniel Craig graces the small screen



Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)December 31, 2010

Three cheers for the timely release of these awards!

Nah, seriously, kudos to all the staffers who wrote their pieces. The picks were, in many ways, as expected, but of course no less deserving in spite of that. In fact, I'd have been very surprised if the platformers and the time thieves hadn't swept the board.
Can't help but feel sorry for Professor Layton 3, which got three runner-up spots, but didn't take the gold. I've yet to sink my teeth into that one, though I am psyched to do so.
And well done for getting Fluidity in there. A lot of other sites passed over that due its late calendar release, which is a real shame. It really is such a great adventure/puzzle game.

The DS and Wii GOTY matched mine perfectly, and I had a hard time deciding between the two of them for GOTY. Great awards overall.

pololmejorDecember 31, 2010

Picross 3D REALLY!? I like it but I preffer Professor Layton and the Unwound Future like a billion times... sheesh.

I played Picross 3D for about a minute at PAX East, and I've never touched a Layton game .  I might just pick it up if I see it super-cheap.

Hey, those awards were awesome!

Retro DeckadesDecember 31, 2010

The Unwound Future was great, but I was done with it long before I was done with Picross 3D. As a matter of fact, despite having solved all the puzzles on the card, I'm still not done with it.

Kytim89December 31, 2010

No More Heroes 2 is my Wii game of year.

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

I played Picross 3D for about a minute at PAX East, and I've never touched a Layton game .  I might just pick it up if I see it super-cheap.

Of course you don't.

Did you get electrocuted by that Picross 3D like Lauren and I did?

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterDecember 31, 2010

Hooray! Great work on this, you guys!

KDR_11kJanuary 01, 2011

Dunno, some of the awards look like default victories (e.g. who was competing against Other M and No More Heroes?).

vuduJanuary 01, 2011

Quote from: NWR_Lindy

I played Picross 3D for about a minute at PAX East, and I've never touched a Layton game .  I might just pick it up if I see it super-cheap.

Is $9.99 for Picross 3D and $17.99 for the new Professor Layton cheap enough?

For Picross, yes.  Thanks to a $20 Best Buy gift certificate I got for Christmas, I picked it up for $10.61 after tax and I still have some money left over on the card.

I could pick up Layton with that, but I honestly don't think I'd play it.  I've never been particularly drawn to the series, and all of my DS time is better spent on DQ IX at the moment.

Scatt-ManJanuary 01, 2011

I don't know why I'm in the minority whenever I express my utter disappointment with Goldeneye. Maybe Game Mode on my TV reduces image quality considerably, thus the visuals don't wow me as they do in the screenshots 'n stuff, but that aspect wasn't even the biggest let down for me.

THE CONTROLS, MAN! They felt incredibly chunky...lacking a certain smoothness. After giving up on using the 'mote 'n 'chuck option, I was incredibly surprised that the same problems still persisted when using the Gamecube controller. Red Steel 2, The Conduit and Metroid Prime 3 never gave me this problem. *Has a cry about it* The defaultly set automatically adjusting height option for when going up stairs and the auto target ADS (Aim down sight) setting were all incredibly inconsistent and a massive annoyance.


Quote from: KDR_11k

Dunno, some of the awards look like default victories (e.g. who was competing against Other M and No More Heroes?).

We're not under any obligation to give out an award.  If we didn't feel there was a worthy candidate we passed on a category.  If there was a worthy candidate, regardless of the presence of competition, we awarded it.

The awards that only have one winner are situations where we had a game that we loved but simply could not find another game that was worthy of similar praise.  In our mind it was better that we honor a great game even if it means having a category to itself.

ShyGuyJanuary 01, 2011

I wish Red Steel 2 would have gotten more respect.

vuduJanuary 01, 2011

I wish Red Steel 2 would have been worth more respect.

ShyGuyJanuary 01, 2011

I wish vudu had better taste in games. I also wish we would have gotten Conduit 2 or The Grinder this year.

GoldenPhoenixJanuary 02, 2011

Great list, I can't really comment on Kirby as runner up for GOTY since I haven't played it nor DKCR yet, but really not much disagreement with the picks there. Glad to see Endless Ocean 2 make it as well for a category.

xcwarriorJanuary 02, 2011

Good to see a number of titles get some love.

Monster Hunter 3 is my game of the year, with Galaxy 2 second.

DS by default I have to go Pokemon, but I'm sure I would have loved DQ IX had I picked it up already.

Glad to see NMH2 was mentioned, though a bit surprised DKCR didn't get a bit more love.

DKCR is a game we love certainly, but it is a very crowded field this year.  The reason it beat out Kirby for platformer but not for GotY runner-up is that as a platformer it is a better example of the genre.  Kirby's intangibles put it over for overall game.

TurdFurgyJanuary 03, 2011

Very well done! All of these games are well deserving. And I also wish Red Steel 2 would have gotten more respect.

LittleIrvesJanuary 05, 2011

Picross 3D hasn't been as much of a time-sink for me as I expected it, but there's no denying its effectiveness and charm.  I finally just acquired the "Normal" difficultly, and I feel like I've already gotten two games' worth of play out of it.  My girlfriend is sick of me poking away at the DS screen for 15 minutes before saying, "A-ha!  It's a Cuckoo Clock!" or whatever.
And I'm loving DKCR, but feel the pull towards Kirby more and more...  his (its?) soft edges might just be the ticket after the pounding I've taken from Kong.
As this is veering closer and closer to innuendo a bit too intimate for my tastes, I'll bid y'all adieu. Good work, NWRers.

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