(Pictured above: 6 honorable mentions)

10-Volgarr the Viking

Volgarr the viking is a tough as nails action platformer in the same vein of the Ghosts and Goblins series, focusing on smart planning and twitch reflexes while under pressure. You play as the storied warrior Volgarr the Viking, a dead viking revived by Thor to do… Uh… Actually, the game is light on plot, which is perfect because a plot would only pad things out. What Volgarr the Viking needs is action, and it’s plentiful in that department.

Every level is filled deadly enemies and traps, all gorgeously animated with fluid 2D sprites. The controls can be clunky on PC, but once you plug in a controller everything plays nice and smooth from there on out. It’s brutal, fun, and 100% worth your time if you can take the punishment.

9-Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 3D World is the latest in Nintendo’s New Super Mario Bros franchise, focused on delivering pure Mario gameplay over substance, variety, and most of the time; fun. Mario 3D World is an exception, being surprisingly fun to play and complete 100%. The gameplay itself was surprisingly tight, and 4 player co-op wasn’t completely broken.

Unlike most New Super Mario Bros games, this is a game with actual effort behind its world and level design. Enemies are carefully placed to make you use your platforming skills the fullest, secrets are hidden throughout the levels, and the bonus worlds get a special mention for being surprisingly brutal in terms of difficulty. If you’re itching for fun couch co-op and have a Wii U, you can’t go wrong with Super Mario 3D World.

8-Shadow Warrior

Back in October, I ran a blog series on the downfall of the FPS genre. One of my most cited games (Next to Doom, of course) was 3D Realm’s Shadow Warrior, a game running on the BUILD engine featuring a more inspired arsenal and set of levels. So when I heard it was being remade this year, I was pretty nervous. Thankfully, my worries have been put to rest because Shadow Warrior is an amazing game and a worthy reboot of the classic.

Shadow Warrior 2013 encapsulates everything that made shooters great back in the day, while still having its own modern flare. Perhaps the biggest new addition was the swordplay, which let you slice and dice enemies like they’re pinatas full of blood. The core gameplay is still tight, and the weapons are all fun to use. The only thing that holds this game back from cracking the Top 5 is it’s boring second act, which takes place entirely in dull corridors.

7-The Wolf Among Us Episode 1: Faith

I know, I know. “But The Wolf Among Us isn’t a game! It has no gameplay!” That may be true, and the story may be ruined by the comic, and the scene where you interrogate Toad may be completely stupid, but this game has a lot of good going for it. The characters are well written, the story is sublime, and the art style is amazing. If you want to play a good story this year, check out the Wolf Among Us.

6-Fire Emblem: Awakening

Fire Emblem: Awakening is an oddity of a game. An odd tale of time travel, family, and politics all tied together through a hybrid of RPG and Turn Based Strategy gameplay. It sounds like it wouldn’t work, but Intelligent Systems pulled through and made a great system-defining title for the 3DS. The music, story, and gameplay are all what you would expect from a Fire Emblem game, but the graphical power of the 3DS grants the game cel-shaded cutscenes and 3D battles. 3DS owners, don’t miss out on this one.