Nintendo have been producing games since the mid-1970s. When you think of Nintendo you may think of Donkey Kong, their first major franchise. Other popular Nintendo series include Animal Crossing, Pokémon, and Warioware as well as the instantly recognizable Mario and Zelda games.
Over the years the video game count for Nintendo has racked up significantly. They released over 75 titles for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) alone. Add to this all the games for the other consoles released and the count skyrockets.
With so many titles to their name, it’s understandable that this would lead to some incredibly lame games sneaking into the Nintendo catalogue. Every fan has their favorite characters and games, but do you know if the critics agree with you?
Wonder no more because here are the 20 worst and 10 best rated Nintendo games, according to Metacritic. How many do you agree with?
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30 Worst: Animal Crossing Amibo Festival
Metacritic Score: 46 User Score: 4.3
This Animal Crossing spin-off party game for the Wii U was definitely not the exciting festival Nintendo were aiming for. It was a fail with critics and players alike. The most common criticism of the game was that it just fell flat.
Many felt it lacked excitement and was just not developed into enough of a game.
Player reviews were slightly more favorable than critical ones, but the negative still far outweighed the positive. This is one party which was a bust.
29 Worst: Pokémon Battle Revolution
Metacritic Score: 53 User Score: 6.6
Pokémon Battle Revolution was the first online game for the Wii console. It featured the ability to battle with other players from all over the world.
Reviews were very mixed for the title with the vast majority of critic reviews placed very firmly on the fence. The main point of contention seemed to be the feature which links the game to the Diamond and Pearl editions on the DS. This was deemed a nice feature, but many struggled to see the value in the game as a standalone.
28 Best: The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina Of Time
Metascore: 99 User Score: 9.1
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of Nintendo’s most iconic games and this is reflected in its almost perfect metascore.
The classic action adventure game is the fifth in the Legend of Zelda series, but the first to use 3D graphics. It is so well loved that it has been re-released several times.
The game was ported to the GameCube as well as being released on the virtual console for both the Wii and Wii U. A remake was made for the 3DS in 2011, which gained a still impressive metascore of 94.
27 Worst: Classic NES Series: Pac-Man
Metascore: 53 User Score: tbd
This Game Boy Advance port of the Nintendo Entertainment System version of Pac-Man fell foul of critics. The biggest issue they have however is not the game itself but the price tag and the point of it.
In fact, the game was so uneventful there are no user ratings at all.
This is because there was also another Pac-Man port doing the rounds at the time, published by Namco. It was called The Pac-Man Collection and contained ports of 4 different Pac-Man games, making it much better value than Nintendo’s offering.
26 Worst: Donkey Kong: Barrel Blast
Metascore: 46 User Score: 6.5
This quirky racing game was originally developed for the GameCube and was supposed to use the bongo controllers. It was later reworked to be a Wii release using the Wii remote and Nunchuk controller.
There are literally no critics who had anything good to say about it. Their reviews are mixed at best, although the user score is higher with some players really praising the game. The control system seems to be the biggest disappointment, with many feeling that the controls are terrible and the racing action slow and clunky.
25 Best: Super Mario Odyssey
Metascore: 97 User Score: 8.9
Super Mario Odyssey is the latest Super Mario platformer and follows Mario and his new sidekick cappy as he explores the sandbox-style world.
Its metascore is even more impressive when you discover that is based on 113 critic reviews.
As well as these rave reviews from critics, at the time of writing there are also almost 1000 user reviews, with just shy of 900 of them being positive. Mario is still a much-loved character and this title really delivers, offering intuitive and fun game play with a touch of nostalgia.
24 Worst: WarioWare: Snapped!
Metascore: 53 User Score: 5.2
WarioWare: Snapped! Is a mini game compilation which was released for the launch of the DSi. It makes heavy use of the handheld consoles camera and critics were not impressed. It achieved a very average metascore and user reviews are in line with this.
The main issue seems to be that many felt the game was very short and felt more like a tech demo for the DSi’s new features than a worthwhile addition to the WarioWare franchise. Users were even more scathing than critics in places with a unanimous thumbs down and several complaints about the title not even working correctly.
23 Worst: My Pokémon Ranch
Metascore: 47 User Score 5.5
This Pokémon game is designed to work alongside the Pearl and Diamond DS games of the franchise. It was released on the WiiWare platform and allows players to transfer Pokémon from up to 8 separate DS games into the ranch. Players can then use their Mii characters to interact with the Pokémon.
Not surprisingly the main criticism is that it is not a game, rather a glorified screensaver, Mii Channel or Pokédex. The score is higher than I expected considering some of the comments. It seems some people really want to see their virtual selves relax with Pokémon after all.
22 Best: Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild
Metascore: 97 User Score 8.5 (Switch)
The five years this action-adventure game spent in development were well worth it. Released in 2017, it was a launch game for the Switch and a swan song title for the Wii U.
The most overwhelming thing about this title is the sheer number of positive reviews. The switch version has 106 positive critic reviews and a whopping 2,590 user ones. Nintendo really knocked it out of the ballpark with this well thought out and incredibly playable open world title for The Legend of Zelda series.
21 Worst: Mario Party Advance
Metascore: 54 User Score: 5.2
Mario Party is a popular multiplayer series, but this incarnation is almost exclusively single player. It is mostly down to this transition that the title achieved an uninspiring set of reviews.
Most reviews are mixed, with many critics and players alike being unimpressed with the idea of a solo party.
Although there are other games which use a similar mini game format the general feel is that this one just falls flat without its multiplayer element. There are some fans of the game, the vast majority seem to believe it was a nice idea, poorly executed, which pales in comparison to other titles in the series.
20 Worst: Tenchu: Dark Secret (DS)
Metascore: 37 User Score 5.3
Tenchu: Dark Secret is an action-adventure stealth game for the DS. It is part of the Japanese Tenchu series and was released exclusively for EB Games and GameStop.
The reviews are universally bad, with almost all being negative. Many critics didn’t even touch the game and the few who did scored it poorly. Its metascore and user score are Nintendo’s lowest.
Although the game boasts 40 stealth missions to play; critics slam the story, game play and graphics. Not even the music escaped a panning. Even Tenchu fans are advised to skip this one.
19 Best: GoldenEye 007
Metascore: 96 User Score: 9.1
GoldenEye 007 is the third highest selling Nintendo 64 game, being beaten only by Super Mario 64 and Mario Kart 64.
However, neither game can beat the first-person shooters mighty metascore.
Based on the James Bond film Goldeneye, this classic shooter remains a much-loved game to this day. The ground-breaking multiplayer mode was backed up by an equally entertaining single player mode. A firm favorite and retro classic, which for many still holds up today in terms of game play and entertainment.
18 Worst: Flip Wars
Metascore: 53 User Score: 5.2
The newest game on our list of failures, Flip Wars is an action and tile-matching party game released for the Nintendo Switch in 2017. The concept is simple and involves competing against CPU characters or other players to flip panels and control the board.
Reviews are mostly mixed, with many lamenting the lack of diversity, especially for single players. It is likened to a mini game and is definitely a cheap and cheerful simple title which many critics feel lacks replay-ability.
17 Worst: Pokémon Dash
Metascore: 46 User Score: 5.4
Pokémon Dash is a racing game for the DS. In it, Pikachu is the racer and you control his movements using the stylus. There are checkpoints to pass and a range of courses and terrains to race through.
Reviews were mixed at best, with this uniquely controlled racer gaining mostly negative comments. The main gripe appears to be the control method. Racing Pickachu involves constantly rubbing the DS screen with the stylus, which seems to irritate most people.
Overall the disappointment with this title is high, best left to younger players or those who don’t mind the unconventional controls.
16 Best: Super Mario Galaxy
Metascore: 97 User Score: 9.0
Super Mario Galaxy is the third 3D game in the Mario series and one of the highest rated on Metacritic. It racks up nothing but positive critical reviews and overwhelmingly positive user ones.
Players and critics alike adored the galaxy theme and the sense of wonder it evokes. It’s praised for every aspect of its development, from the graphics to the gameplay. Many feel it is some of Nintendo’s finest work. The game even won Metacritic’s 2007 Wii Game of the Year award.
15 Worst: Disney's Magical Mirror Starring Mickey Mouse
Metascore: 50 User Score: 7.8
This Disney action game came out in 2002 for the GameCube. The title features an array of mini games to overcome in order to restore Mickey’s magical mirror.
Although the game gained some positive reviews from users, the majority of critics gave it a thumbs down. This was said to be due to the tedious nature of the game. Many reviewers called the game simple or boring, however, this simplicity was a plus for others. Users in particular felt it was greatly suited to younger children. This shows in the mismatch between critic and user scores. Definitely one for a younger audience.
14 Worst: Aquaspace
Metascore: 45 User Score: tbd
Aquaspace is a WiiWare game which turns your tv into an aquarium. Not only can you watch the fish swim by, but you can also join them in the tank with your mii. You can even find out different facts about fish and choose from a variety of backgrounds and wallpaper.
The main criticism is that it just doesn’t stack up well against other aquarium simulator type games.
While it boasts 1 lone fan on the user’s side, who rated it 10 out of 10, the critics reviews were either mixed or negative.
13 Best: Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Metascore: 96 User Score: 8.9 (Gamecube) Metascore: 95 User Score: 9.0 (Wii)
The Legend of Zelda series is an action-adventure franchise which is a firm favorite of fans and critics alike. Twilight Princess is no exception with both the Gamecube and Wii versions scoring highly with critics and players alike. The game also received several Game of The Year awards.
As with most Legend of Zelda games the gameplay, graphics, storyline and score were all praised by critics. Player reviews are equally gushing, with many proclaiming it one of the best games of all time.
12 Worst: Pokémon Rumble U
Metascore: 49 User Score 5.2
This 2013 action game for the Wii U does exactly what it says in the title. Its is essentially a gigantic Pokémon fight. Players battle Pokémon in a range of different arenas in order to gain coins and new Pokémon.
Most reviews from both critics and users are mixed.
Critics described the game as simplistic and also a cash grab.
This is thanks to the addition of NFC support, meaning you can buy separate Pokémon figures to use in the game, similar to Disney Infinity and Skylanders games. Users are slightly less scathing but that doesn’t save this game from gaining a distinctly average score.
11 Worst: 3D Classics: Urban Champion
Metascore: 37 User Score: 5.8
Urban Champion is a 1984 2-player fighting game, originally released on the Nintendo Entertainment System. This version is a 3D revamp for the 3DS. Its dismal metascore makes it the joint worst scoring game on Nintendo’s list.
The main issue critics have is that no one can understand how Urban Champion was defined as a classic in the first place.
It is described, like so many of the low scoring games, as simple, repetitive and just plain terrible. This is definitely one best reserved only for hardcore fans of the original.