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The Best Nintendo Exclusive of 2017


The Best Nintendo Exclusive of 2017

The Big N had a big year.

It’s award season here at Twinfinite! Let’s look back at the best exclusive Nintendo games from 2017. Voted on by our editors, these were the exclusive games that our team felt made the biggest impact on current, and potential, Nintendo console owners. Let’s start with some honorable mentions, and then our top vote getting runner-ups, and finally, of course, our overall winner!

Honorable Mention: Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia

Best Nintendo Exclusive of 2017

The Fire Emblem series over the last few years has quickly gone from being one of Nintendo’s lesser known series to one of their more popular, seeing not one, but three releases in 2017. Even with a stellar year from Nintendo, Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia stands out.

Echoes is actually a remake of the 1992 release Fire Emblem Gaiden, that never saw a release outside of Japan. In truth, however, Echoes is such a substantial overhaul of the original that it’s effectively a brand new game. The game doesn’t use the tried-and-true weapon triangle of more modern Fire Emblem games, instead opting for a system that revolves around attack and defense points. It’s actually quite a refreshing change for Fire Emblem, completely changing how you approach strategy in the game. At the same time, some interesting new additions help expand the game even more like full voice overs for the entire cast that really help add personality to the game, and explorable dungeons.

Fire Emblem Echoes is a return to the series’ most different game, while also opening up a way forward for the franchise. The presentation additions like voice acting and explorable areas are a welcome change, and even though Echoes tells a typical war story, it’s one of the best strategy experiences you can find on a handheld.

Second Runner-Up: Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

Best Nintendo Exclusive of 2017

mario, rabbids, kingdom battle, fast travel

Mario+Rabbids Kingdom Battle is an utterly absurd idea, but one that worked incredibly well in execution. As it turns out, combining the Mario franchise with Ubisoft’s own Rabbids into a tactical strategy game worked wonders, as Mario+Rabbids is an absolute blast to play. Kingdom Battle starts focused on the Rabbids as they steal a device that allows them to enter Mario’s world, along with a talkative robot named Beep-o. Mario and company team up with their Rabbid doppelgangers to return the Mushroom Kingdom to its normal state and fight the Rabbids now terrorizing it.

Kingdom Battle has your traveling through four different areas, each of which are distinct and different. There’s some simple puzzles and exploration to partake in, but the true star of the show is the game’s combat system. It almost plays like a faster-paced XCOM, with your team taking turns against the enemy. Positioning your units, using their different weapons and abilities is essential. Combat is quick and presents lots of options to you like blasting enemies with your guns, using secondary weapons, hitting enemies with a dash or a jump, and more.

Kingdom Battle manages to retain that upbeat Mario feel despite being a crossover, and Ubisoft did a fantastic job capturing the look and sound of the Mushroom Kingdom. Mario+Rabbids is far better than anyone expected it to be when we first started hearing rumors about the game. In a year stacked with quality Nintendo releases, the Ubisoft developed game stands tall.

First Runner-Up: Super Mario Odyssey

Best Nintendo Exclusive of 2017

Super Mario Odyssey

Mario helped finish the year off in a big way for the Switch with one of 2017’s very best games. Super Mario Odyssey redefines the 3D Mario game, both in core gameplay and the way you explore the world. This time around Mario sets out to try and stop Peach and Bowser’s wedding, with a new friend named Cappy along for the ride. The ability to throw Cappy and control enemies was a huge change of pace for Mario, and almost the entirety of Odyssey revolves around this mechanic. It’s great fun to throw your hat on everything from Goombas, to traffic cones and see what you can do with them.

Odyssey is broken up into different kingdoms that Mario and Cappy visit, each with a unique theme and gameplay mechanics. Each of these kingdoms function as a miniature open world area with tons of secrets and power moons to find. Much like another Nintendo game this year, Odyssey rewards players for taking the time to explore and experimenting the environment. There are few games that can fill you with a sense of joy as easily as Odyssey, through its art design, charming characters, gorgeous environments, peppy soundtrack and more.

Super Mario Odyssey easily stands up with the best Mario games, including Mario 64 and Galaxy. It’s one of the best examples of what the Switch can do, both in docked and handheld mode, and comes darn close as a contender for Nintendo’s best game of the year, if only they hadn’t released a certain other title.

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