The year is coming to an end, and we at A 90s Kid are busy reminiscing on our favorite video games of 2016. There are a lot to rave about in every category, but let me delve into the ones I experienced the most this year: Nintendo 3DS and mobile games.

Best 3DS Game of 2016: Pokémon Sun and Moon

sumo alola

My 3DS has gotten a lot of use this year, with this last month being its busiest of all. Pokémon Sun and Moon released in November to the delight of players across the globe. It’s a refreshing addition to the hugely popular series but remains accessible to new players.

I gave Sun and Moon a nice review soon after its release, and my thoughts remain very similar.

The game introduces some much needed new features that set it several steps ahead of other Pokémon games. The Island Challenge system is a great change of pace from your run-of-the-mill Gym battles. Traveling across the region has been simplified with the addition of Ride Pokémon, which remove the need for annoying HM’s. Combat is improved with some small but worthwhile interface changes. Additionally, there are loads of smaller new features I couldn’t even begin to touch on here that just really make Sun and Moon. You’ll have to check those out for yourself.

Also, can we talk about that Alola region?! The Hawaiian-inspired environment in Sun and Moon is vibrant, tasteful, and hella fun to explore. It’s still a classic Pokémon region with numbered routes, tall grass, and clearly defined towns, but the improved visuals really bump it up a notch.

salandit gif

The Pokémon themselves are useful and charming, especially the Alolan variations of old favorites. Gen 7’s new Pokés are also wonderful additions that I’ve loved having on my team. Salandit is probably my #1 fav.

While it’s not the Pokémon game of my fangirl dreams, playing Sun and Moon has been my top 3DS video game experience of the year. I highly recommend it, whether you’re a veteran trainer or a curious newbie.

Best Mobile Game of 2016: Super Mario Run

super mario run

I’m always looking for new games to play on my phone, and 2016 threw some great ones at me. For my top pick, it was difficult not to choose Pokémon GO due to its massive popularity and my deep love for Pokémon. However, I just really enjoy Super Mario Run more.

Super Mario Run has two great gameplay modes with tons of replay value. World Tour takes you level-by-level through fun and familiar Super Mario worlds with the addicting addition of colored coins. Each new color of coin is increasingly difficult to get to, but replaying the levels to snag them doesn’t feel nearly as monotonous as you’d expect. Plus, you get Rally Tickets for your efforts!

Rally Tickets allow you to play the other mode, Toad Rally. Here, you play against the ghost of another player through a timed level. However, you aren’t trying to reach the flagpole faster than your opponent; you’re trying to play with the most “style.” Using better moves (like wall jumps) and hitting certain achievements (like pink coins and checkpoint flags) get you more points and ultimately more Toads for your Kingdom!

kingdom builder

Speaking of your Kingdom, it’s so fun to rebuild and customize your colorful little dominion with decorations and special items that provide coins and mini-games. I just need more purple Toads dammit!

The $9.99 cost for the full game isn’t a deal breaker for me. I truly think the game is worth it. Even if you don’t, the free version is still packed with several hours of gameplay that I’m sure you’ll thoroughly enjoy.

If you want a feel for each of these games, you can check out my Let’s Play series of Sun and Moon and my First Look video of Super Mario Run.

This is just the start of our 2016 Video Game Awards, so check back soon for more write ups of the year’s best games!