Kotaku Awards 2013: Handheld Game Of The Year

Kotaku Awards 2013: Handheld Game Of The Year

Time to start announcing the winners of the Kotaku Awards 2013. First up — handheld game of the year!

Voting on all other categories is still open for voting so if you haven’t already, head here and cast your votes!

Reader’s Choice

Pokemon X and Pokemon Y
It was almost inevitable. As nominations for this award began, I slowly began to realise it would be a race for second place. This latest version of Pokemon really struck some sort of chord in the Zeitgeist. Almost if we were ready for this game to exist, in this form, at this specific time. Pokemon has always been popular but this time — as a combination of the game itself, the burgeoning install base of the 3DS, and a whole hostof other intangibles — it was unstoppable.

2nd Place: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
3rd Place: Persona 4: Golden

Editor’s Choice

Luigi’s Mansion 2
One award in and I’m already conflicted. Luigi’s Mansion 2 has, until recently, easily been my favourite handheld game of 2013 but then along came A Link Between Worlds to make this category an impossibly difficult choice.

In the end, I had to go with my gut. I had to go with the game that I, personally, enjoyed the most. That game was Luigi’s Mansion 2.

I’ve already written an entire article detailing precisely why I loved Luigi’s Mansion 2 so much, so I’ll just give you the cliff notes here.

An astonishing attention to detail — every cupboard rattles, every curtain flutters. Luigi’s Mansion 2 had relatively small environments but crammed so much into each digital inch that exploration felt endlessly rewarding.

And at the centre of it all was the Poltergust: a mechanic that worked brilliant across combat, exploration and never — not even for a second — stopped being gleefully fun to use. The combat especially, skidding across the floor like an elephant on ice skates, desperately trying to centre your sense of gravity, as the ghosts tried in vain to escape your grasp — it was perfect. The swirling music, the numbers rattling down as you struggled, the sense of struggle, weight and eventual accomplishment. It was as perfect a central mechanic as I’ve seen in years.

As good as A Link Between Worlds is, and as important a release it is in terms of Zelda as a series, I don’t know if I can honestly say I’m enjoying it in the same way, at that same level.

Luigi’s Mansion 2 is just a special video game. It felt fresh, it felt unique, it was perfectly designed for handhelds, it had an exquisite level of detail and polish. It was almost, almost flawless.

Honorable mentions: The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Hotline Miami


  • I found Luigi’s mansion to be pretty boring, I had to push myself to play it and whilst it had some good moments, never really shone for me. Link Between Worlds on the otherhand I couldn’t put down, great game. Probably helped that I loved playing A Link to the Past in my childhood and this was a massive nostalgia hit done right.

    • I had to push myself to finish it, but it was great otherwise. I think I lost motivation when some other titles came out.

      From my perspective I still think Zelda was better, but purely from a “what I wanted” point of view, not taking into account innovation or design.

    • Yeah, for me personally, pokemon didnt compare to fire emblem. Didnt do enough with the formula to warrant tge win. Fire emblem though, still to this day im sinking hours into it

    • I wanted to like Fire Emblem more. It looked and played amazingly well, but I found as an SRPG, it lacked a lot of depth, and was a little easy in the later parts of the game. Compared to say, Tactics Ogre : Let Us Cling Together, or Final Fantasy Tactics, i didn’t think it was anything amazing.

      Although the art direction and characters were pretty great – the game itself was kind of meh.


    is that how this is supposed to work?

    • I just bought it last night. Looking forward to getting stuck in (literally by the sounds of it!) later today.

  • Boo-urns!! Pokemon is terrible!! Nintendo are teh lame! (but Link Between Worlds is frigging awesome)

  • Up until earlier this year I had never owned a Nintendo handheld and never played a non-rom version of Pokemon. I now have a 3DS and picked up Pokemon X on day 1.

    There is something about the new games that just struck me as “must have”. They are instantly accessible to any Pokemon fan because they follow the same formula, but the changes are not insignificant. 3D models of every Pokemon is pretty meaningful change.

  • Should the Pokemon X/Y image have a sticker that says “Reader’s Pick” instead of “Editor’s Pick”?

    Otherwise, great result 😉

  • But Bravely Default didn’t come till like now… so this should have waited till the end of the year -_-

  • Pokemon X and Y, best pokemon game since the last pokemon game. Seriously why the hell has everyone fallen into the overhype and pretend that it is any different from any of the others? This is coming from a diehard pokemon fan (on the new year of 2000 instead of saying happy millennium, i shouted pokemon forever) Pokemon x and y gets my “biggest disappointment of the decade” award. Also i’m not against re-hasing old games… A link between worlds rocked my pants off, and my favourite zelda game is a link to the past, so i thought i would hate the re-hash…

  • I agree with you on this one, Mark. There were so many fantastic 3DS games this year, but Luigi’s Mansion 2 just had this charm that is impossible to match

Show more comments

Comments are closed.

Log in to comment on this story!