It’s GOTY time, people! Yes, as 2020 draws to a close, the internet is flooded with customary lists touting the best whatever of the year (with Hades rightfully being at the top of most of them). We’ve had our say — and so have you — but today we’re going to have some fun with the Nintendo Life Alternative Game Awards 2020.
As you’ll see from the categories below, this is where we let loose a little festive cheer and highlight things that cropped up throughout the year that we believe deserve recognition for some reason, usually because they raised a smile (or an eyebrow). We had fun with these light-hearted gongs last year, and we’re all in need of some holiday levity.
So, join us for a look at Nintendo Life’s 2020 ‘alternative’ GOTYs. We begin with the most unnecessarily unweildy title…
Most Long-Winded Switch Game Title 2020
Finding the right name for your game can be tough (as we found out when we spoke to various developers earlier in the year on just that subject) but brevity is usually a virtue. At least, brevity is a virtue to us writers, but then we have to type out the full titles more than most.
The title which struck us as particularly cumbersome this year is Spike Chunsoft’s Switch release of previously Japan-only DS title “Noun the Noun: The Noun of Noun and the Noun of Noun”. Nothing against this roguelike dungeon crawler — it’s always nice to see Japanese-exclusives come to the West — but the noun soup of Shiren the Wanderer: Etc., Etc wound us up for some reason. As Indiana Jones taught us, four nouns is your absolute limit, preferably with an adjective thrown in for some spice.
Incidentally, blandest title of the year goes to Immortals Fenyx Rising. Ergh.
Best ‘Game That Doesn’t Fit Neatly On Any Of Our Genre Lists’ Award 2020
Winner: Part Time UFO
Runner-up: Hypnospace Outlaw
We do our best to keep our Switch Essentials genre lists fresh, and we continually add and cull entries as new worthy titles are released. Sometimes, though, a game comes along that doesn’t easily sit on any particular list and we’re left in a quandary as to how to highlight it as a solid gold good’un.
HAL Laboratory’s Part Time UFO is a wonderfully quirky example. As per our tagline for the review, it’s a game about picking things up. It’s cute and physics-based. It’s split into stages and has puzzle-y elements. It’s a bit like World of Goo, sort of. It’s a… well, it’s a game — a good one!
Just go download it already.
Best Switch Icon 2020
Winner: A Short Hike
We’ve seen some lovely Switch icons appear on our console menus this year. The wonderful (and ever-changing) world of Switch game icons is a topic we’ve examined before, and Switch Icon Showdown is a site devoted to nothing but ranking the best and worst examples. For the most part, developers have arguably got better at assembling a pleasing little icon that sits nicely on the Switch menu screen; A Short Hike was perhaps the loveliest we saw all year.
It’s all a matter of opinion, of course. Some people may have adored the original Carrion icon. Each to their own.
Best ‘End-Of-Year Arrival That Dropped Too Late To Make Our GOTY List’ 2020
Winner: Dicey Dungeons
December is a busy month for anyone who likes video games, and if you’re writing about them, you’ve got one eye on your GOTY shortlist (and backlog), and the other on pre-holiday end-of-year prep. It’s likely that most of the team won’t have had the opportunity to give late-releasing games a fair shake — if they’ve had time or access to play them at all — so there’ll inevitably be some real gems that fall through the cracks when it comes to voting. This is usually followed by a pang of regret after the holidays that we can’t go back and massage our picks to acknowledge a late-comer or two.
Roguelike deckbuilder Dicey Dungeons is one such game; the couple of us who have managed to squeeze in time with it over the past week or so have loved every single minute. Cracking music, addictive battling with a great art style and sense of humour; if you’re looking for something to while away the hours this Christmas while the rest of the family are watching Home Alone 3 or some such rubbish, this one’s an absolute winner.