2021 best game of the year Metroid Dread Nintendo Switch Enthusiast MercurySteam

We have reached the conclusion of the game of the year awards at Nintendo Enthusiast! The game of the year award goes to the best overall game on a Nintendo platform in 2021.

Nominees

  • Deltarune
  • Metroid Dread
  • Monster Hunter Rise
  • Shin Megami Tensei V

Nintendo game of the year winner: Metroid Dread

Metroid Dread is a fantastic game that ranks among the best entries in the long-running and iconic franchise. But its high quality alone is just one aspect of what makes it so impactful. High review scores aside, Metroid Dread is the Nintendo game of the year for three big reasons. It’s a dream come true for the most loyal fans, the potential catalyst for a new golden age of Metroid, and an overnight sensation in speedrunning.

Nintendo went almost two decades without releasing a new 2D Metroid, and towards the end, the 3D games were flopping left and right. It was dark times. Metroid Dread finally revived the series, even keeping the same name from the leaked Metroid 5 prototype that never saw the light of day. It signified that Nintendo and MercurySteam understood just how hungry fans were for a return to form, and they absolutely delivered. Metroid Dread is the game we’d been waiting for since Fusion, and it was well worth the wait.

But it’s not just a straight rehash of the classic formula. Reworked boss fights, a more robust map, 360 aiming, running melee, redesigned Speedbooster tech, new abilities, and more all combine for a faster, more modern Metroid. The results have been staggering. Metroid Dread is smashing early sales records in the US, Japan, the UK, and other territories. It has a strong chance to be the most successful game in the series, elevating it beyond its niche status. Imagine a world where Nintendo always has a major Metroid project in development, like Zelda or Mario. While it may not be quite there yet, I think it’s safe to say Dread’s success guarantees we won’t have to wait 20 years for Metroid 6.

In addition to catering to longtime fans and creating lots of new fans, Metroid Dread is having a tremendous impact on the speedrunning community. Speedrunning is baked into the DNA of Metroid games, and it’s a big part of what made Super Metroid such a timeless masterpiece. People are so invested that charity events like Games Done Quick can raise hundreds of thousands of dollars during a Super Metroid run. Metroid Dread will likely make a similar impact for good when it joins the marathon, as it’s already one of the most popular speedrun games in the world. The incredible community that has formed around Metroid Dread speedrunning should keep it popular and relevant for many years to come.

With the right blend of reassuring nostalgia and forward-thinking innovation, Metroid Dread is an easy choice for Nintendo game of the year in 2021 at Nintendo Enthusiast.

Check out the rest of our 2021 award winners at Nintendo Enthusiast:

Ben Lamoreux
Nintendo Enthusiast's Managing Editor. I grew up on Super Nintendo and never stopped playing. Been writing video game news, opinions, reviews, and interviews professionally for over a decade. Favorite franchises include Zelda, Metroid, and Mother.

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