The best Nintendo console launch titles, according to Metacritic

When Nintendo releases a new console, it’s always with a lot of anticipation from fans and a lot of that has to do with the games coming out for release. Although the number of games released for each console’s release has varied for each generation, there are always plenty of hits on launch day.

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While discussions have often taken place about the best Nintendo consoles and the best games, few considered which of Nintendo’s launch titles was a cut above the rest. Using review aggregator Metacritic, it’s interesting to see which games helped make their consoles a memorable moment in gaming history.

ten Super Monkey Ball (GameCube) – 87

Super Monkey Ball GameCube

Released in 2001, Super monkey ball made full use of the GameCube controller’s new comfortable analog stick for a fun and polished platforming experience. The gameplay centered around controlling the titular monkeys as they rolled into transparent balls and attempted to maneuver them onto platforms to achieve an objective.

Super monkey ball complimented a solid lineup of releases for the Gamecube, but could rival most other launch titles for sheer fun and addiction. While some consider the game an unreasonable challenge, its score of 87 on Metacritic shows just how beloved the primate-based board game is.

9 Madden NFL 2002 (GameCube) – 89

Madden NFL 2002 Gameplay

Although it had already been out on most other platforms for quite some time by the time GameCube launched at the end of the year, it was a strong selling point of the GameCube that it didn’t. left out huge sports games like crazy. While no longer one of the top major sports game franchises, its huge appeal to audiences ensured there would be benefits to its inclusion on the platform.

Additionally, the GameCube’s superior graphics capabilities over the N64 were especially pronounced with Madden NFL 2002, with the N64 edition only receiving a Metacritic score of 78, encouraging more players to upgrade as soon as possible. However, it was the release of new customization features, along with simple sports thrills, that gave the game its extremely high critical rating.


8 Star Wars Rogue Leader: Rogue II Squadron (GameCube) – 90

Considered a “must-play” by Metacritic, the second Star Wars Rogue Squadron The game has received universal praise for its intense gameplay that puts the player in the role of a rebel pilot in battles against the Empire. The game was also exclusive to the new console, making it a massive selling point for fans of the sci-fi franchise.

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Putting the player in the cockpit of a Star Fighter proved to be a hugely successful formula, and the new title’s far superior graphics and improved controls alone were enough to make it a huge step forward for the series. Not only was the game extremely good on its own, more than worthy of its score of 90 on Metacritic, but in addition star wars the console had a name with broad appeal to match something like a mario game, which he initially lacked.

7 Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (Game Boy Advance) – 91

Castlevania Moon Circle

While it’s safe to say that Nintendo’s handhelds tend to be less successful when released than their pre-Switch home consoles, that doesn’t mean they don’t sometimes come out with a ton of new games. . Such was the case for the Game Boy Advance, which included Konami’s exclusive new title to their wildly popular gothic horror franchise.

The game keeps Castlevania2D side-scrolling action in which the player takes control of the protagonist, Nathan Graves, as he tries to find his kidnapped mentor in a murderous castle. circle of the moonSuccess and critical acclaim led Konami to develop three more Castlevania games for Game Boy Advance.

6 Pro Skater from Tony Hawk 3 (GameCube) – 91

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 game

Although it’s already been released on other platforms, that didn’t stop the third professional skater game to be one of the biggest critical and commercial successes of GameCube’s release. The first one Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater had already been one of the best sports games on Nintendo consoles, and the third maintained the fun of the skateboarding franchise while improving on some of the rapidly aging aspects of the game.

Of course, there’s no platform where doing cool skateboarding stuff isn’t a pleasant experience, and so Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 easily became one of the best launch titles for the GameCube, receiving a critical rating of 91.

5 Shovel Knight: Treasure Trove (Switch) – 91

The knight holding the shovel.

With shovel knight being already a beloved game series and the complete treasure collection having already been featured on 3DS, it’s no exaggeration to say that the inclusion of this title at the Switch launch was a guaranteed hit. The side-scrolling platform RPG was perfect for the hybrid platform, which allowed players to play casually in handheld mode.

shovel knight is considered a great platformer to play on Switch, and its 8-bit art style is more endearing than ever. Despite being non-exclusive and having been out for a few years already, the title was able to become the second highest rated Switch launch title on Metacritic.

4 Super Mario 64 (Nintendo 64) – 94

Mad Piano Super Mario 64

It’s hard to imagine a game more synonymous with launching a console than Nintendo’s pioneering venture into the 3D platform in the form of Super Mario 64. Far eclipsing any other 32-bit new console launch title, Super Mario 64 became an instant selling point for console gamers.

Although the game is now over 25 years old and has naturally begun to show its age, its three-dimensional movement has provided thrills that last to this day as it remains one of the best mario games that everyone should play.

3 Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (Game Boy Advance) – 95

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 cover for the GBA

Originally developed for the Playstation by Neversoft in 2000 and adapted for the Game Boy Advance release by Vicarious Visions, The Pro Skater from Tony Hawk 2 managed to capture the essence of the Tony Hawk experience despite the limited capacity of the portable console.

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Although it removed the level creator and other important features by simplifying the controls and switching to an aerial isometric perspective, the game could be adapted very easily to the new Game Boy. It did so well, in fact, that it became the Game Boy Advance’s most critically acclaimed launch game and, with a score of 95, one of the highest-rated launch titles on the market. any Nintendo console.

2 The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (Wii) – 95

Zelda Twilight Princess HD

Also ranking as the third best game of all time for the Nintendo Wii on Metacritic, Twilight Princess surpassed all other console release titles and became an instant classic. Surprisingly, the game was originally developed for the GameCube and its release was delayed to allow them to improve the game and adapt it to their new console, as reported IGN at the time.

It turned out to be a smart move, as its launch title status helped boost the Nintendo Wii’s appeal and became an incredible success for the company. The game was darker than Wind Wakerthe series’ previous outing, and added new features such as Link’s wolf form while telling a deep and compelling story, which contributed to its critical score of 95.

1 The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Switch) – 97

Zelda Breath Of The Wild 2 Horse Calling Feature Change

Step out with the critically acclaimed Switch launch and instantly become one of the best 3Ds Zelda Games, breath of the wild was one of the biggest selling points of Nintendo’s new console in 2017. Maybe learn from Twilight Princess just how profitable releasing a new Zelda title alongside a console could be, Nintendo’s inclusion of the game at launch was appreciated by many gamers.

Although the game kept what fans love about the Zelda franchise, featuring fun puzzles, dungeons, combat, and amazing music, the game’s storytelling and new open-world style also appealed to many new players. As a result, breath of the wild is not only the highest rated Switch title on Metacritic, but also the best Nintendo console launch title.

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