Another close category, this one, and the result could have gone any number of ways. Mario finally made his appearance on the 3DS, reminding us just in time for Christmas why we'd bought one in the first place. But cast your minds back all the way to January and you might remember that it was Sony's young pretender, Sackboy, who kicked this year off in style, with Media Molecule handing over a gargantuan suite of creation tools to play around with. Ubisoft's Rayman returned in a busy release window, but that couldn't stop his quality showing through, and 2011 saw GLaDOS try to kill us all over again as Valve got a chance to explore the world of Aperture Science on a larger scale.
NB. Click on the thumbnails for price comparisons and the game's title for the relevant review where available.
Brendan had it right when he said in his review that LBP was no longer Media Molecule's game...it was ours. With the release of LBP2, everything was blown wide open. he possibilities were endless, with the vast array of creation tools giving creative types the chance to build and design pretty much any game type they wanted. And if you didn't fancy it, well you could always just play the role of consumer...the banquet of choice was enormous.
If you were spoilin' for more 'Splodin' there was only one game that would get you your fix this year as Twisted Pixel returned with their 'splosive follow up. Ms. 'Splosion Man hardly strayed too far from the formula set up by her husband/partner/occasional paramour, but then again she didn't really need to. Fun, funny and full of 'splosive action.
With Portal 2, Valve finally got the chance to deliver the a full sized game with a full sized budget and a full sized team. And it was excellent. Working through areas together, relying on one another to solve the various puzzles, combined with a gesture system that allowed for instruction without headsets, Portal 2 offered up one of the most interesting and satisfying multiplayer experiences of the the last twelve months and let players immerse themselves more fully in the wider goings on at Aperture Science.
Insomniac broke new ground for their platforming series with All 4 One, introducing 4-way co-op. The series' trademark humour still tickled funny bones, the action was fantastic and, even though the level design was a little more linear than before, the co-op more than made up for it.
Rayman Origins was mechanically brilliant, perfectly-paced and drop-dead gorgeous. Michel Ancel showed that he and his team still have the magic, with the colourful anarchic fun quadrupled when you threw three more players into the mix. As close to platforming perfection as gaming's ever been.
Super Mario 3D Land
Taking some large cues from Super Mario Bros. 3, SM3DL served to remind 3DS owners just why they bought the portable console in the first place. Striking the perfect balance between nostalgic hints and forward-thinking level design, it was 3D Mario in the palm of your hand...even if it threaten to totally not but maybe promote tanuki fur farming.
Best Platform/Puzzle Game 2011: Portal 2
Rayman ran it very close, but in the end Portal 2 got the most votes in the Dealspwn office.
People expecting an enormous overhaul for Portal 2 were kidding themselves, this was more a chance for Valve to make the game with the scope, the scale and the storyline they always wanted to make - the full main course to the Orange Box's taster. And what a game it was. The humour, the ingenuity, the moments where you flounder around for half an hour before kicking yourself at the simplicity of the solution, they were all back and now, of course, there was the chance to share all of that with a friend.