The Vooks Awards 2019 – The Best of Switch, Nindies, eShop and more
It was a super busy 2019 and while it started quiet, the second half of the year accelerated into madness with what seemed like a big release every couple of weeks. Coupled with the never-ending force that was the eShop with quality independent and digital-only releases there was barely time to take a breath.
Now, after Christmas and the new year, we’ve taken the time to reflect and pick some winners in this year’s awards. The team put their heads together and voted on the below games. The winners may not as a surprise, but there were a few obvious standouts in 2019.
Lastly, we can’t go without saying goodbye to the Nintendo 3DS, after 8 years this will be the last year in the awards for the console. Only just, there was like only four games to pick from in 2019.
Let’s start off with our first award – the Nintendo Switch game of the year…
While it took more than a decade for Luigi’s Mansion 2 to arrive, we only had to wait half that time for Luigi’s Mansion 3. But it was worth it yet again. The team at Next Level Games have delivered the best in the series. Here’s what Chris said in our review;
Luigi’s Mansion 3 is the best in the series, gooey hands down. Its fully co-op compatible story mode constantly delights and innovates, taking full advantage of Luigi and Gooigi’s vacuuming antics, both old and new. Although the dedicated multiplayer modes ultimately aren’t going to sustain repeat visits, they are a sideshow to the story’s main haunt.Luigi’s Mansion 3 Review
If we have to wait another 6 years for another Luigi’s Mansion, at least it’ll be good.
Perhaps the most controversial Pokemon game of all time, and for what? An amazingly fun Pokemon game, it does have its faults, some of which Ollie pointed out in our review;
Pokémon Sword and Shield are not without their problems. But beyond the rubbish online play and uninspired late-game routes, and beyond the controversy surrounding them, they’re simply the most fun I’ve ever had with Pokémon. The story is wonderful, the creatures themselves are all fantastic and adorable, and Max Raids will absolutely never not be great fun. And if you can overlook the fact that these games aren’t the generational leap that some expected, you’re sure to find something special in them.Pokemon Sword and Shield review
Good enough for our runner up Switch game of the year.
There was only a handful Nintendo 3DS releases this year, so voting on this one was always going to be a bit weird. But out of those Persona Q2 and Kiby’s Extra Epic Yarn were the best. Farewell to the Nintendo 3DS from the Game of the Year awards, you had an amazing run.
The Goose wouldn’t be the Goose without causing a few headaches. We had a couple of different Nindie, eShop only and Australian made game awards this year – and the bloody Goose won them all. Untitled Goose Game by House House is our Nindie game of the year, our Australian Game of the Year and our eShop game of the year. He stole them all!
We loved Untitled Goose Game, we even had the first review in the world for it. Here’s what Angelo wrote about it;
Untitled Goose Game is a well-crafted hijinks simulator which captures whimsical misadventures of a bird just being a real prick for no real reason. While the game is short, it fits nicely on the ‘doesn’t overstay its welcome’ shelf, meaning it’s simple to play through in an evening. Mechanics are easy to learn (button inputs can be customised) and the stealth is light on strategy. But what’s ultimately delivered is a neat little package of an open sandbox where you can run amok without consequences to great, maniacal effect.Untitled Goose Game Review
Congrats to House House on the wins!
There were a number of amazing Australian made Switch games on the eShop this year, so the vote was really tight for the runner up. Winning by one vote was Witch Beam’s amazing Assault Android Cactus. It’s the most perfect game for the Switch, it runs like a great – and it’s made here in Australia by great people. Here’s what Brad said in our review;
If someone told me that I would someday enjoy the frantic experiences of a twin-stick shooter, I’d have told them they were bonkers… yet here we are! It’s got well-designed characters with unique personalities and skill sets, as well as a tough yet fair difficulty curve. Being able to play with a single-stick is a fantastic edition for the Switch version, and while it’s a pain when big enemies are around, it really does work. If only the game came out a couple of months ago, I would have voted for it in our recent top 19 Switch games list.Assault Android Cactus Review
Hang on what, a Legend of Zelda game as a Nindie? You bet! The team at Brace Yourself Games armed with the already amazing Crypt of the Necrodancer had the guts to go to Nintendo and say – how about some Zelda DLC for our game. Nintendo liked it so much they got a whole new game out of it. That’s courage.
Here’s what Chris said in his review;
Nintendo’s bold gambit of trusting one of their most precious franchises with Brace Yourself Games has paid off in creating an essential Switch experience. Cadence of Hyrule is a wonderful musical adventure, giving The Legend of Zelda series a delightfully fresh perspective. Also, if you didn’t already know Danny Baranowsky, you do now. It’s a bloody good time to be a Zelda fan.Cadence of Hyrule review
A Smash Bros. character reveal is always a big deal, but none have been as big as this. What would have seemed like an impossibility just a couple of years ago is now a reality. Banjo and Kazooie, a massive part of Nintendo in the late 90s and early 2000s, now owned by Microsoft, so many problems to solve – nevermind, Sakurai gets it done.
That reveal, along with hell freezing over is why this is our biggest surprise of the year.
There were a lot of big news stories this year, a lot of them surprising. Breath of the Wild 2 on the way, Labo getting VR and of course Banjo as above. However, The Witcher 3 on Switch – wow alright, sure that’s going to happen but is it going to be any good? Well surprise…
Not only was The Witcher 3 coming to Switch big news, but the fact it runs as well as it does is also amazing. Paul’s review sums up why out of all the amazing ports this year to come to Switch, this one gets the gong.
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has set a new benchmark in what you can squeeze out of the Switch. Despite all the compromises that had to be made to ensure the steadiest performance possible, it is still a beautiful game. Being the complete game there is 100-200 hours worth of gameplay to explore, with all the DLC and updates through the games life span all included. This isn’t some compromised, cut down version of the Witcher, you’re getting the whole game and you can play it anywhere you take your Switch.The Witcher 3 Complete Edition Review
The runner-up award for Switch port of the year was so close. Mortal Kombat 11 was in there, Alien Isolation was in there too – but perhaps the underdog here has taken the runner-up prize. GRID Autosport on the Nintendo Switch is an amazing port, not only does it run flawlessly (with options to toggle the graphics to run how you like), but its also getting constantly updated. Porting a game to the Switch isn’t just getting it running, its taking advantage of all the Switch has to offer, keeping it updated, and GRID Autosport does this.
Here’s what Luke wrote in his review;
GRID Autosport is an easy game to suggest to anyone who is a car fan, as there is just so much content to experience. The number of racing types is large and while there is not a lot of variety in them, as you can move from one discipline to another, it means you are not stuck in one for 12 hours. The game manages to run quite well, with visuals that are some of the best on the Switch, especially with the high-res pack installed and while there is no multiplayer, yet, there is still plenty of events you can enjoy on your own.GRID Autosport Review
We don’t just play games on the Switch here at Vooks, we also play other things – like Control – we the majority of the team loved. We also loved The Outer Worlds, which ironically is coming to the Switch so maybe I’ve just proven that we only play Switch games… but no Control – it’s good and our Non-Tendo game of the year. (That’s Non Nintendo games before you ask).
Thanks for reading Vooks in 2019.