Game of the Year 2011 - Console Awards
Find out what games of 2011 best represented the current consoles on the market.
Super Mario 3D Land - Winner
The 3DS had a rough launch with many titles being delayed while many subpar ones were released. Super Mario 3D Land’s November release was the savior of the 3DS. Before Mario’s 3DS debut it was tough to find 3DS games worth playing beyond the Ocarina of Time and Star Fox 64 remakes. The sour taste of the 3DS launch quickly turned into the sweet taste of Tanooki when we got our hands on Super Mario 3D Land.
Nintendo found a perfect balance by combining elements of Mario’s 2D adventures with the mechanics of his 3D outings. Our hearts were touched with the return of the Tanooki suit while we made new favorites with the Boomerang suit. We also found a true love for 3D gaming as Nintendo introduced clever and useful ways to integrate 3D without it being tacked on. Some environments appear as an optical illusion in 2D, with the true nature and placement of the world being revealed clearly in 3D. Furthermore, the 3D actually helps you keep your bearings and know exactly where you are within the 3D plane of the world.
Super Mario 3D Land’s stages are quick and condensed, making it a perfect handheld game to either play for short bursts or for hours at a time. The game’s first playthrough will be easy for the experienced gamer, but the re-arranged levels introduced for the second playthrough add a challenge for any gamer while also extending replay value; this makes Super Mario 3D Land a game that anyone can enjoy. 3D Land plays exactly as you’d expect a Mario game to play and can stand proudly amongst the long list of high quality Mario platformers.
Mario Kart 7 - Runner Up
Just in time for the holidays (and these Game of the Year Awards), Nintendo has managed to eek out some quality titles that justify owning (or buying) the new, 3D-enabled device. Mario Kart 7 brings some modern sensibilities to the perennial kart racer, allowing players to head online and compete head-to-head with friends and family quickly and easily.
New gliding and underwater racing mechanics also help shake up the formula to produce a fresh take on old tracks and old techniques. Like all games in the series, the subtlety of the changes will provide for many hours of racing fun as players continuously perfect and tweak their skills to achieve the quickest times around the tracks. Though not earth-shattering by any means, this iterative sequel maintains the undeniable charm that makes the Mario Kart series a gaming mainstay and our 3DS Game of the Year Runner Up.