Best of 2012: #10 - New Super Mario Bros U

Undoubtedly, many will be surprised by the inclusion of New Super Mario Bros. U on our top 10 list for 2012. Why was it not showered with the universal adoration that so many other titles on our list have--especially considering that mainline "Mario" games have always been synonymous with top-notch platforming?

Perhaps we've been Mario'd out. The Wii U game launched mere months after New Super Mario Bros. 2 for 3DS--a game that was rote and by-the-numbers. We've had a Mario game every year since 2009--how can franchise annualization possibly lead to innovation?

Couple franchise fatigue with an overall tepid response to Wii U, and it's no wonder many have ignored Mario U as a serious contender. It's unfortunate that many won't ever play Nintendo's latest, considering it truly is the greatest 2D Mario game since Yoshi's Island. Mario U is the decades-late sequel to Super Mario World, a game that would have existed sooner had 3D games not sidetracked the Mario franchise. Not only does the game retain what made the classic games so beloved, but it adds meaningful innovations and surprises. (How often can you say that a Mario game has terrific bosses?)

Mario U puts aside gimmicks that typically accompany launch software, and simply offers an excellent 2D platforming game. Its simple design statement is not only refreshing, but has us curious to see what Nintendo will do with a Mario game that's meant to showcase the Wii U GamePad is an innovative, meaningful way.

The Shacknews Best of 2012 Awards were determined by ballot voting across the entire Shacknews staff. Andrew, Ozzie, and Steve voted for New Super Mario Bros. U, earning it 90 points and a tie for the 10th place position on our list. The Shacknews Community chose the game as the 2nd Best Wii Game of 2012. Stay tuned all week as we reveal all our winners.