By now you've hopefully seen our Top 50 Games of 2008 and viewed our Top 10 Games of 2008 Christmas video feature (if not, why not?), but what about the best games made for each individual format or platform holder? Good question. Luckily we've thought about the answer, and put together the Top 10 Nintendo platform exclusives of 2008. Before you get the pitchforks out and rustle up an angry mob, this list deliberately disqualifies titles like Call of Duty: World at War and Tomb Raider: Underworld (and any other games that appeared on another console). These are games that you can only buy for Nintendo platforms.
10. The World Ends With You, Square-Enix - DS
What we said: The World Ends With You is a refreshing, cool RPG that's simply bursting with new ideas and interesting gameplay mechanics. It's easy to lose yourself in the game, spending hours obsessing over clothes shopping, building up ridiculously high combos during battles and hunting down unique pins. It will please fans of all things Japanese the most and probably alienate others, but there's something about TWEWY that makes it just a little bit special.
9. Animal Crossing: Let's Go to the City, Nintendo - Wii
What we said: It's hard to be down on a game that, when judged on its own merits, is great fun and addictive, but it's equally hard to look past the fact that this is essentially the same game we've been playing since it belatedly arrived on the GameCube. After the DS game it's also odd to be forced to play in front of a TV screen again, with the hop in and out nature of the gameplay just feeling better suited to a handheld. Still, newcomers will find this a lot of fun, while veterans are likely to find it hard to resist once again crossing with animals in their town.
8. de Blob, THQ - Wii
What we said: de Blob isn't all it could have been, mainly down to the odd awkward jump and a slightly too simplistic first half, but it's still an extremely polished and well put together game. The painting mechanic will have kids hooked straight away and there's enough variety here to keep them entertained for the whole 10 or more hour single-player campaign. Adults will find plenty to enjoy too, and the multiplayer modes for up to four players can be enjoyed by everyone.
7. Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise, THQ - DS
What we said: Viva Piñata: Pocket Paradise might not be the perfect handheld game for kids and the whole family but it's pretty close. The introduction of stylus controls makes for a far simpler experience, the presentation is spot on and the challenge is balanced enough for players of all ages. With this and the recent Xbox 360 game, Trouble in Paradise, Rare has covered as many bases as possible. If you're still piñataless you really have no excuse.
6. Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Nintendo - Wii
What we said: It's impossible not to admire the series' remarkable accessibility and engrossing multiplayer battles. Indeed, Smash Bros is as addicting as it's ever been, but it's certainly not perfect. Some of the character additions left us baffled, and the Subspace Emissary just doesn't live up to the polish seen in every other aspect of the game. Either way, with an epic online mode, dozens of unlockable characters and stages and hundreds of collectible trophies, Brawl deserves its place in every Wii-owner's collection.
5. Mario Kart Wii, Nintendo - Wii
What we said: Mario Kart Wii is an excellent return to form for the series and tremendous fun when played with friends in split-screen or online. The often infuriating Grand Prix mode is likely to polarise gamers though, with some loving the unpredictability of it while others will simply give up after being taken down at the last minute by yet another Spiny Blue Shell. Other than online play, which to be honest isn't anything over and above what the majority of racing games include these days, Mario Kart Wii is pretty much more of the same fun gameplay, with the addition of a brilliant wheel that will do wonders to encourage newcomers to give the game a try.
4. Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, SEGA - DS
What we said: If you're not a Sonic fan and instead are simply looking for a quality RPG, there's better on the DS, but Chronicles still comes highly recommended. If you're a Sonic fan Chronicles really is an essential purchase. It's one of the best Sonic games we've played in ages (given the quality of some Sonic games in recent years this doesn't come as a surprise) and, despite it not being as in-depth an RPG as we'd hoped, it's really a lot of fun while it lasts.
3. Boom Blox, EA - Wii
What we said: With Boom Blox EA has managed to shame most other third-party Wii developers. Boom Blox is the type of game that innocently eats up time, with you playing with a smile on your face until you realise you've been sat in the same position all evening. The cutesy characters might put off some gamers (although they only really have a strong presence in the adventure mode), but they shouldn't be a reason to ignore the game. If any non-Nintendo Wii game deserves to sell well it's this.
2. Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure, Capcom - Wii
What we said: With wonderfully varied levels, colourful, cel-shaded graphics and mind-bending puzzles that'll have you working those little grey cells into the ground, Zack & Wiki triumphantly makes its debut on Nintendo's Wii, the only console it could have appeared on. You won't see it on the PS3 or the Xbox 360 that's for sure. Dare I say it? Zack & Wiki might just be our favourite game on the console.
1. Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Nintendo - DS
What we said: It's not an epic adventure, like The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass, or polished platformer, like New Super Mario Bros., but in many ways it's better than both those games. The story gets more mature with the solving of each puzzle, the puzzles themselves will have even the brainiest flummoxed and the art design is up there with anything, and I mean anything, on the console. It's the perfect DS game, it's the perfect puzzle game, it's what everyone should be playing on the tube instead of Brain Training, or some generic Sudoku clone. And, however improbably, it pretty much vindicates Nintendo's focus on casual-friendly gaming.
Agree? Disagree? What are your picks for best Wii and DS games of 2008? Let us know in the comments section below.