One more week. That’s all the time that stands between now and getting our hands on the Nintendo Switch and I for one am beyond excited (I’ve been reminding my friends that the Switch is coming that they might not be my friends anymore). So as we start to look to the future (we will have a ton of Switch coverage in the next few weeks) it’s time to close the door on Nintendo’s previous system, the Wii U and what better to do that than to look at the games that defined the system. So without further ado, let’s conclude what we started last week and reveal our picks for the best Wii U games (you can check out part 1 of the article right here).
10 – Pikmin 3
I have a very vivid memory of being the in the audience during Nintendo’s E3 2012 press event and being thoroughly underwhelmed with the Wii U and it’s games (sorry New Super Mario Bros. U and Sing Party) since everything that was shown looked like a slightly better looking version of a Wii game. Until Pikmin 3 that is. This was the first Wii U game that truly impressed me with its jaw dropping-ly good graphics and soundtrack but Pikmin 3 is so much more than a pretty face thanks to its buttery smooth gameplay. Oddly enough though the game plays better with the Wii Remote and Nunchuck rather than the Wii U’s GamePad controller but that doesn’t mean that it’s stuck in the past. If you haven’t yet checked it out then get to it!
9 – Axiom Verge
I love this game. I love it with ever fiber of my being and I will likely buy it on every platform it releases on for all eternity. My personal favorite game of 2016 (because that’s when I bought it), Axiom Verge felt like a faster, harder and more thoughtful take on the classic Metroid formula. Not only that but the soundtrack is one of my personal favorites and I’ve been known to play it on loop while writing articles… like right now.
8 – Xenoblade Chronicles X
The first Xenoblade Chronicles currently sits as my second favorite game of all time and while it’s “sequel” has barely anything in common with the original I love it all the same. Xenoblade Chronicles X in many ways feel like a landmark title for Nintendo when you consider that’s its a massive open world action RPG with deep online integration, which are not things that company is traditionally known for. Add to that the game’s strong story, stunning vistas and hundreds of hours of gameplay and you have a game that fans of the genre shouldn’t overlook.
7 – Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
When this game was first announced many gamers reacted with disappointment since they were hoping that Retro Studios would go back to the Metroid universe but the ones that did check out found one of the best 2D platformers in recent memory. The gameplay was very fast paced, barely allowing you to stop to take a breath before something would happen to move you along, be it a collapsing platform or a tornado ripping through the level. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the type of game that makes you a better gamer and for that we salute it.
6 – Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
If I had to describe this game to someone in as few words as possible, I would say ‘stupid amount of content’. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U was probably the Wii U’s most anticipated title for a good part of the console’s life and with good reason. Masahiro Sakurai was able to deliver a game that not only blew away the previous games in the series in terms of things to do (which is impressive) but finally created a Smash Bros. game that found the perfect balance between Melee‘s competitive edge and Brawl‘s casual appeal, allowing Smash Bros. to flourish at competitive tournaments like EVO. And I mean, what other game lets you put Cloud against the dog from Duck Hunt in an epic battle on the Gaur Plains?
5 – Mario Kart 8
All in all Nintendo sold around 13 million Wii U consoles since it launched in 2012. They also sold 8.5 million copies of Mario Kart 8 on the same platform. That represents a ridiculous 65% adoption rate for the game. But it’s not all that surprising when you consider just how great Mario Kart 8 is. Seriously, not one of the game’s 48 (DLC included) tracks is dull and each has its own personality forcing you to be ready for anything. It’s no surprise that the Switch is getting a port of this game early on in its life.
4 – Bayonetta 2
Oh boy did this tick people off. When it was announced that Bayonetta 2 was coming exclusively to the Wii U, gamers everywhere revolted, demanding that the game come other platforms. Well that never happened and while the game probably would have sold better had it come to the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One it doesn’t take away from the quality of the experience. Bayonetta 2 is a fast-paced, brutal and sexy action game is basically the antitheses of a ‘Nintendo’ game. Though maybe, that’s about to change as we’ve seen Nintendo a more ‘core’ philosophy as of late, even allowing Bayonetta to be a playable character in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U.
3 – Super Mario 3D World
Building on the core gameplay set out in Super Mario 3D Land for the 3DS, 3D World takes those ideas and turns everything up to 11. More levels, more power-ups, more characters, more… everything. Super Mario 3D World also did a very important thing for the series and proved that multiplayer has a place in 3D Mario games as well as 2D ones. With Super Mario Odyssey on the horizon and many fans eager to go back to the ‘classic’ way of doing 3D Mario we should all take a moment to look back and appreciate the contributions that 3D World did for the series.
2 – The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
I already loved The Wind Waker before its HD remaster came out, but I did not realize just how good the game really was. The refinements that Nintendo made, like introducing the fast sail, streamlining the Triforce shards quest, making the Wii U GamePad a quick inventory menu and of course, the touched up graphics help soften the fact that the Wii U will never get a Zelda game all its own (even Hyrule Warriors was ported). Wind Waker HD is proof that a great game can be made better with just a few tweaks but without touching the core concepts and also helps make the case for Wind Waker to be considered among the series’ greats.
1 – Super Mario Maker
The Wii U’s core concept, of multi-screen gaming on a home console, was a tough sale for many. Unlike the Wii Remote that came before, it was hard to convince folks why they would need a giant, tablet shaped controller to play video games. Well Super Mario Maker is why. Being able to create any 2D Mario level your mind can conjure has been a dream of Nintendo fans for decades and Super Mario Maker pulls it off flawlessly. With millions of courses available to play its hard to imagine going back to the 2D Mario formula as it currently stands. This is a landmark game, a game that finally answered a desire we’ve had for years and simply put, the best game on the Wii U.
Did your favorite Wii U game make the list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!