Handheld gaming has been a staple of the video game industry for decades. The idea of taking video games on the go with you is just too good of an idea. Of course, the concept of handheld gaming has wildly changed these past few years. Mobile games have put easy and accessible titles on everyone’s cellphones, and Nintendo – the longtime champions of handheld gaming – have now merged the concept with their home consoles with the Nintendo Switch.
While cellphone games have their place, and the Switch combining Nintendo’s development teams was the most obvious evolution for the company, this also means that traditional handheld consoles are becoming a thing of the past. Which is a crying shame, because handheld consoles had finally gotten to the point where taking a game n the go no longer meant sacrificing some of its quality.
Anyway, 2016 could be one of the last years where I have the opportunity to name a “Best Handheld Game” under any traditional sense. So my introduction of this award may prove to be a one-time deal. But let’s hope not.
Winner: Kirby: Planet Robobot
I know most people were obsessed with Pokemon Sun and Moon when it came to Nintendo gaming in 2016, and while those games were great in their own right, for me, the best Nintendo game of 2016 was Kirby: Planet Robobot.
Kirby has always been Nintendo’s unsung hero, having the diversity of Mario and an undefeated streak of quality games (seriously, I can’t name a bad game Kirby has been in). Kirby: Planet Robobot was yet another testament to Nintendo’s underrated champion.
By combining traditional Kirby gameplay with new “Robobot” suits (which combine with Kirby’s powers to make something entirely new), Planet Robobot was a beautiful marriage of the old and new. It may not be the best Kirby game out there, but it’s yet more proof that more people should really start paying more attention to the series.
Runner-up: Pokemon Sun and Moon