It’s that magical time of year again. May 2023 has come round rather fast and while we eagerly await the release of The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, May is special to us for another reason as well. Having founded Miketendo64 in May 2015, this year marks our humble little site’s eighth anniversary and as you might expect, we’re feeling rather nostalgic.
So nostalgic, in fact, that the original Miketendo64 bros. and founders of our outlet, have reflected on their three most favourite Nintendo published games of each year the site has been running. So, strap yourselves in for here are our three best Nintendo games of 2021:
M64 Retrospective | Our 3 Best Nintendo Games of 2021:
Metroid Dread (Nintendo Switch)
Jack: Having previously enjoyed Metroid: Samus Returns for Nintendo 3DS, a remake of 1991’s Metroid II: Return of Samus, the moment I learned MercurySteam were involved with Metroid Dread, I already knew it was going to be good, but I never expected it to be this good.
Once a game lost to the ages, Metroid Dread was a sequel many had thought would never see the light of day and yet, Nintendo handed the project to MercurySteam and something truly incredible was created in the form of Samus’ greatest side-scrolling platformer to date. Also, before anyone asks, no, I haven’t been captured by an E.M.M.I and forced to write this, but there is one standing over me as I type this and should anyone have a weapon that can take them out, I could really do with it.
Mike: Believe it or not. Metroid Dread was my first real foray into the Metroid series. I had played a little of the original Metroid and Super Metroid with the help of Nintendo’s NSO services but Metroid Dread was the first in the series that I had actually played from start to finish and my word have I been missing out.
My first experience with Samus Aran was back when Super Smash Bros. came out for the Nintendo 64. I loved the appeal of the super cool bounty hunter who travels the stars seeking out space pirates and she would be my second choice (after Link) whenever I played a game of Super Smash Bros. with my brother or with friends.
As for Metroid Dread itself. It was such a great game and yeah, there were parts that were particularly tricky or obscure but that didn’t stop me from having a good time with it and the cutscenes with Samus’ expressions and how she reacted to different experience was top tier quality. If anyone could give the infamous Doomslayer a run for his money, it would be Samus Aran hands down and Dread wouldn’t be the only time Samus comes to Switch either as Metroid Prime Remastered would release on the console less than two years later!
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury (Nintendo Switch)
Jack: Since the release of 2017’s Super Mario Odyssey, there have been many other Mario titles that were released on the Nintendo Switch, which includes some of Mario’s other 3D adventures in the form of a Super Mario 3D All-Stars, but the closest we’ve come to a new 3D outing, comes in the form of Bowser’s Fury. Packaged as part of an adapted and enhanced port of Super Mario 3D World, Bowser’s Fury is its own standalone adventure that looks downright gorgeous.
The scenes where players are hounded by an enlarged and enraged Bowser, as rain falls from the clouds above, are a thing of beauty, much like the campaign’s gameplay mechanics. Were this ten years ago, one would easily accept Bowser’s Fury as its own complete game and I’ll be honest, as much as I like Super Mario 3D World, Bowser’s Fury is what made this release a must-have title for me.
Were it 3D World on its own, I’d have got round to it again eventually, but I had already played it to death on the Nintendo Wii U. Plus, I was hoping in the case 3D World was ported, it would actually have been ported alongside its prequel, Super Mario 3D Land, which was released on the Nintendo 3DS.
Mike: Meow! It’s-a me, Miaowrio. Okay, so that was a terrible pun. I will own up to that but Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U was one of my most favourite Mario games. It’s release on Switch along with Bowser’s Fury made this an instabuy for me and I was so happy to experience this game all over again. I even beat Champion’s Road all by myself this time around as the last time I did, it took my brother, sister and I, as well as copious amounts of alcohol, before we could beat the stage with all the characters.
The Bowser’s Fury campaign was simply brilliant and what I would love to see as an Open World Super Mario experience. The perhaps “less than random” encounters with Bowser did irk me a little bit as I could be close to getting a cat shine when all of a sudden it would start to rain and I would probably have to do that sequence leading up to the shine all over again but the expansiveness of this game mode and the Mega Cat Mario power-up did make up for it in a way.
Having Bowser Jr. along for the journey was a nice touch and that it would allow a second player to join Mario on his adventure gave players the opportunity so that even less experienced players could feel a part of the fun and prove themselves helpful during Mario’s adventure.
New Pokémon Snap (Nintendo Switch)
Jack: As a longtime fan of Pokémon Snap on the Nintendo 64, Snap was always an IP that I hoped Nintendo and Game Freak would revisit at some point, but when it actually happened, I was overjoyed. Pokémon has grown and evolved in a number of ways in the decades since Snap and with Bandai Namco involved, who previously worked on Pokkén Tournament, we all knew it was going to be a HD delight.
Bandai Namco did both Snap and Snap fans justice with what they created. Some of their choices of Pokémon might be questionable, but the environments, the interactions and even just having a more comprehensive story, they are all what made this game for me and for a while, it became an obsession.
Mike: I loved Pokémon Snap on the Nintendo 64 and when I heard that New Pokémon Snap was being made for Switch, I flipped. The visuals of the game looked amazing and it was truly an experience to see Pokémon interact with each other in a “natural” environment that we don’t get to see in other Pokémon games.
Whilst the On-rails mechanic may not be for everyone, the ability to take photographs of some of your favourite Pokémon and then adding filters and effects to make them really stand out, made this game all the more interesting. You could even share your photos online within the game so that other players could see them and like them as well.
I may not have played the game for a while now but at the time, I was certainly worth noting as one of our favourite Nintendo games on Switch for 2021.
We would like to take this moment to thank all of you who have shared in our journey for the last eight years. It’s been a hell of a ride and if you’d like to know what other games made our best of list, we hope you’ll check out our other instalments of this mini-series.
Until next time, keep on gaming.