Retro Game of the Year Awards 2019

Retro Game of the Year Awards 2019

Top-notch nostalgia trips

A.J. Maciejewski

Written by for GOTY Awards on

Another year of unforgettable games is soon coming to a close so here are 2019's best old-school gaming experiences.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy screenshot
At least this weirdo's nice about his idiosyncrasies

Castlevania Anniversary Collection Classic Console Compilation of the Year

Few retro franchises have held up as well as Castlevania and in this phenomenal pack, you can play 8 titles in the long-running series. Whether you want to re-play the NES trilogy, discover the super-silly Famicom Kid Dracula, or have your mind blown with the awesome Super Castlevania IV and Castlevania: Bloodlines, this is a can't-miss compilation for any retro gamer.

Castlevania Anniversary Collection Review Award image →

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy Modern Console Compilation of the Year

The Ace Attorney series may have taken a long time to catch on in the west but once it did, it captured gamers' imaginations with its quirky cast of characters and clever plotlines that keep you hooked until you unravel every mystery. Thankfully, you can now play the Phoenix Wright trilogy on modern consoles so if you missed out on it before then you won't regret playing this collection.

Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Trilogy Review Award image →

Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection Arcade Compilation of the Year

Here's another fantastic compilation from Konami. Although its generic name doesn't say much, Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection is actually a collection of 7 wonderful arcade shoot 'em ups; many of which are exceptionally hard to come by. You also get a subpar arcade Castlevania game in the form of Haunted Castle but at least the shmups are great. Good thing no quarters are required!

Arcade Classics Anniversary Collection Review Award image →
Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns screenshot
It's hard to put down Puzzle Quest once you start playing

Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns Puzzle Game of the Year

I absolutely love Puzzle Quest and when I heard it was being brought back for Switch, I was delighted. The combination of RPG elements and match-3 puzzle battles is so rewarding that you'll find it difficult to play anything else as you traverse the expansive map while fighting hordes of monstrosities. There's so much content packed into this portable puzzler that it's absurd.

Puzzle Quest: The Legend Returns Review Award image →

Sturmwind EX Shoot 'em Up of the Year

If you've been here before, you probably know how much I love shoot 'em ups and Sturmwind EX really blew me away when I played it earlier this year. From its innovative weapon power-up system to its kickass visuals and music, this is arcade shooting action at its best. Factor in loads of challenging stages and you're left with a must-have for any shmup fan.

Sturmwind EX Review Award image →

ACA NeoGeo: Twinkle Star Sprites Arcade Port of the Year

I should mention that ACA NeoGeo: Twinkle Star Sprites technically released at the end of 2018 but I didn't review it until 2019 and it deserves an award so here it is! Twinkle Star Sprites is a wonderful shoot 'em up where you compete against an opponent and try to trip each other up until someone claims victory. It's a great formula and the cast of characters is hilarious. What's not to love?

ACA NeoGeo: Twinkle Star Sprites Review Award image →
The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening screenshot
It's always a good time when Kiki the Monkey is around

Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark Retro-inspired RPG of the Year

Once in a while, a game developer completely nails a retro formula while offering their own gameplay twists. When I played the incredible Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark earlier this year, it brought back memories of Final Fantasy Tactics and Vandal Hearts and I absolutely fell in love with its challenging gameplay and immersive world. Talk about going above and beyond!

Fell Seal: Arbiter's Mark Review Award image →

Resident Evil 2 Remake of the Year

How could the Resident Evil 2 remake not win best remake? Capcom completely rebuilt their classic survival horror game with modern gameplay, eye-popping graphics, and streamlined elements and the end result was one of the best Resident Evil experiences ever created. Playing it after checking out the PS1 version is like night and day. Great job, Capcom!

Resident Evil 2 Review Award image →

Finally, we have Link's Awakening which basically revived the classic 1993 Game Boy title with fresh new graphics and music as well as some supplementary content that really stands out if you played the original. Although it's not a full remake as it's basically the same game, Grezzo and Nintendo masterfully modernized the overall experience and it holds up beautifully.

The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Review Award image →
Gameplay video playlist for Retro Game of the Year Awards 2019 94:48
Castlevania: Symphony of the Night Trivia

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