This year has been a great one for gamers. Game developers continued to push hardware limits so that players could experience incredible new worlds and stories. Old friends made appearances as well. Mario, Link, Crash, Samus and Sonic all returned to the gaming fold and did not disappoint. Without question, rounding up the top 10 this year was really tough — so many games were worthy of being included — but we feel we picked the best of the best.


(Microsoft Games)

CUPHEAD

Publisher: Microsoft Games

Platform: Xbox One and Windows

Price: $19.99 — download only

Rating: E10+ (Everyone age 10 and older)

Details: “Cuphead” has players taking on the role of the lead character as he platforms his way through numerous levels, dodging fire and engaging in incredibly tough boss battles. The visual style of the game is what puts it in a league of its own. Inspired by 1930s cartoons, each frame, animation and background was hand-drawn. Seeing the game in motion is pure magic. Be warned: The gameplay is pretty tough. Only seasoned platformers need apply.


(Nintendo of America)

SUPER MARIO ODYSSEY

Publisher: Nintendo of America

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Price: $59.99

Rating: E10+

Details: In the latest installment of an open-world Mario game, Bowser has once again kidnapped Princess Peach, and it’s up to you to save her before their wedding. Joining Mario this time around is Cappy — the hat that can take on many forms and help Mario get through enemy-filled levels. “Odyssey” looks like a full-featured animated movie. From the various landscapes and environments to the character animations and variety of enemies, it’s visually stunning. Without a doubt, “Super Mario Odyssey” is the best Mario yet.


(Nintendo of America)

THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD

Publisher: Nintendo of America

Platform: Nintendo Switch and Wii-U

Price: $59.99

Rating: E10+

Details: Breaking the mold of the typical linear style of gameplay found in Zelda games, this latest version introduces the idea of a fully open world. Players can approach the game any way they like. You might want to explore the land of Hyrule before tackling the main objectives. Or climb every tree and mountain. It’s up to you. As players progress, they will come across shrines containing puzzles, tasks and challenges. As you complete these, you are given items to help you in the game. From start to finish, “Breath of the Wild” is a masterpiece.


(Ubisoft)

MARIO + RABBIDS KINGDOM BATTLE

Publisher: Ubisoft

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Price: $59.99

Rating: E10+

Details: Ever wondered what would happen if the crazy ­Rabbids teamed up with classic ­Mario characters in a video game? Say hello to “Mario + ­Rabbids Kingdom Battle.” At first glance, you might think it’s a typical ­Mario game, but it’s not. It’s a turn-based strategy game, which means players will have to plan their moves in advance. This ­allows players to get their attacks just right. Spread across four worlds with a host of challenging enemies and bosses, players will have to put their thinking caps on to make it to the end.


(Activision)

CRASH BANDICOOT N. SANE TRILOGY

Publisher: Activision

Platform: PlayStation 4

Price: $39.99

Rating: E10+

Details: If you’re a PlayStation fan, you might remember the Crash Bandicoot series, in which players would guide a feisty marsupial through challenging jumping puzzles. Now Crash is back on the PS4. The N. Sane Trilogy has all three games of the Crash series: “Crash Bandicoot,” “Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back” and “Crash Bandicoot Warped.” All the fun platform action from the originals has been faithfully restored in this version. Fully remastered in HD, Crash has never looked better.


(Sega of America)

SONIC MANIA

Publisher: Sega of America

Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and Windows

Price: $59.99

Rating: E10+

Details: 2017 marked the 25th anniversary of our favorite hedgehog, Sonic. “Sonic Mania” showcases all of the side-scrolling, intense action you’re familiar with from previous Sonic games in which you have to jump, spin and dash your way to the goal. (Side-scrolling is when players look at the action from the side.) Players select one of three characters and then try to make it through 12 zones, where they face enemies and encounter tough boss battles. We love that the visual style has been maintained from the original.


(Nintendo of America)

SPLATOON 2

Publisher: Nintendo of America

Platform: Nintendo Switch

Price: $59.99

Rating: E10+

Details: “Splatoon 2” has players once again teaming up for four-against-four action! As Inklings, players shoot their ink at other players and the environment, aiming to color as much area as possible. In addition to new weapons to use against your opponents, “Splatoon 2” has ranked games across three modes, where you can see how you stack up to other players. Solo players can try the new single-player campaign mode. Here you can learn techniques and strategies that will help you when you play online against real opponents.


(Nintendo of America)

METROID II: RETURN OF SAMUS

Publisher: Nintendo of America

Platform: Nintendo 3DS

Price: $39.99

Rating: E10+

Details: Our favorite futuristic bounty hunter is back in a reimagined version of “Metroid II: Return of Samus.” As Samus, players head back to planet SR388, where an enemy race of aliens are looking to turn themselves into biological weapons. “Samus Returns” has added new controls, visuals and gameplay features, all of which are welcome additions. For starters, Samus is now able to execute a melee counterattack, which exposes enemies’ weak areas. She also can now see 360 degrees around her while aiming her weapon. This side-scrolling ad­ven­ture is a must for any 3DS owner.


(EA Sports)

MADDEN NFL 18

Publisher: EA Sports

Platform: Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Price: $59.99

Rating: E

Details: We’re not going to talk about how great this year’s “Madden” looks and plays. What’s more exciting is the brand-new single-player mode, Longshot. For the first time in a Madden game, there’s an actual story! Players take on the role of Devin Wade, a college football star trying to make it to the National Football League. Along the way, you will meet influential people who will guide you to the draft. Voiced by NFL players and Academy Award-winning actors, Longshot makes “Madden” a personal and in­cred­ibly deep ad­ven­ture game — complete with multiple endings and story paths.


(Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment)

LEGO MARVEL SUPER HEROES 2

Publisher: Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment

Platform: Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch and Windows

Price: $59.99

Rating: E10+

Details: When time traveler Kang the Conqueror is wreaking havoc across the World of Chronopolis, it’s up to the Marvel Super Heroes to save the day. Players will explore 17 Marvel locations as their favorite heroes, including Captain America, Thor and Spider-Man. The game has a new feature in which players can move back and forth in time to defeat enemies. Players may even see different versions of themselves! In addition to a solid single-player campaign, there is a fun, four-player competitive mode called Super Hero Battle, with various challenges and modes. It’s a terrific game for the whole family.

kidspost@washpost.com