My top ten favorite games of the year, presented in ascending order each day leading into the holidays. Look for my full Top Ten list with categories and awards on December 24!
#10 Dead Cells
#9 Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden
#8 Pokémon: Let’s Go, Pikachu/Eevee!
#6 Jurassic World Evolution
#5 Into the Breach
#4 Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Developer: Bandai Namco Studios, Sora Ltd
The Super Smash Bros. series has been among my favorite games of every Nintendo console generation since the Nintendo 64. I’m not even a big fighting game fan, but Smash Bros. deftly weaves an intuitive, easy to pick-up arena brawler where everyone’s simply trying to knock each other off the stage amid a total chaos of Nintendo fan service. It’s a winning formula that’s served the series well for over two decades.
It may be too early to tell if Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is the best of the series, but it’s certainly one of the best games of the year. With over 70 fighters, 100 stages and hundreds and hundreds of music tracks it’s well-deserving of its ‘Ultimate’ designation.
Steadily unlocking fighters from the original roster of eight grants a constant drip feed of progression and excitement, whether it’s with standard local Smash, battling through each character-specific Classic mode gauntlet, or trying fun new modes like Smashdown and Tag Team.
The new Spirit Battles and World of Light adventure mode provide dozens of hours of single player entertainment as I level up and equip lots of fun easter eggs from countless video game series in order to battle fun and challenging new twists, like electrified floors, or hordes of Warios who only use their motorcyle attacks, or a gigantic giga Bowser boss fight. The World of Light map is huge and fun to explore, and unlocking new fighters and spirits is yet another rewarding progression system that keeps me hooked.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate falters when it comes to its barebones online options, but it’s a testament to how damn good the game is that it only fell to #4 on my Game of the Year list. Hopefully Nintendo can improve and expand its online gameplay modes, as I plan on playing this game for a long time.