Ok, so we kind of cheated with this one. There were some really solid handheld titles this year, especially considering the competition of iOS titles, PSP games, and the addition of 3D to the DS. There were so many great titles that we couldn’t just choose one. Luckily, the two we did pick were on the same platform. So we’re just going to give the award the the device.
Our Best Handheld of 2011 goes to the Nintendo 3DS for Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D and Super Mario 3D Land. The great thing about Nintendo is even when they do things wrong (the 3DS was a colossal disappointment initially), they make it so, so right (sales skyrocketed with the release of these two titles). Not only did they bring back two favorite characters, but they also brought back one of the most beloved worlds in video game history with Ocarina of Time. They also redefined the platform format that they perfected so many years earlier with Super Mario 3D Land. Both games brought exactly what gamers wanted to the table: great gameplay, a sensible use of the 3D in the 3DS, and a strong sense of nostalgia that will always do us in.
Hats off to you, Nintendo. You gave us everything we wanted in a handheld game and you did it twice in the same year. May we never question you again, until the next time you do something that seems crazy.