With the recent launch of the Nintendo Switch, I thought now would be a good time to have a rundown of some of its predecessors best games. The Wii U definitely did not hit the mainstream in the way Nintendo wanted, partly due to lack of 3rd party support but also due to the big N’s terrible marketing and confusion over what the system was (even as recently as last year I’ve heard people saying they thought it was an add-on for the original Wii).
That’s not to say that the system did not have any good games, however. Even at a cursory glance its diminished library is full of quality titles which hopefully won’t be lost to time as the system fades from our memories. Here are some of our picks and a few honourable mentions – if you find the system for cheap and these games haven’t been announced for a Switch port then these are definitely worth having a look at.
Not quite the mammoth 3D Mario game Wii U owners may have been hoping for, but SM3DW is a wonderful 3D take on the sidescrolling side of the series. The levels are as varied and interesting as you’d hope and the cat power ups add a new twist to the gameplay. As you’d expect, the controls are precise and on point and the jazz influenced soundtrack is a joy to listen to.
If you like this, try: LEGO City: Undercover
Put simply, this is the best Mario Kart has ever been. The tracks are gorgeous and challenging in their own unique way, while the anti-grav spin which this installment adds in a new tactical element to racing. Plus for only the second time in the series, you’re not fighting a controller not designed with racing games in mind (Double Dash being the other entry). Some may lament the lack of Battle Mode, but personally I don’t think you’re missing much without it.
If you like this, try: Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed, Fast Racing Neo
It doesn’t quite have the same feel as Melee, but Smash 4 is definitely a worthy entry into the series, with a gargantuan set of characters and stages from across Nintendo (and 3rd party) history. Single player is decent enough if a little bare bones but the fun comes with fighting other people; it’s a wonderful couch multiplayer game.
If you like this, try: Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Nintendoland
When the Wii U was announced, many were surprised that this was the game they chose to showcase it with, and while Pikmin 3 was hit by a delay it turned out to be a wonderful title. The world, monsters and most importantly the Pikmin are full of charm and whimsy in, for my money, the best console RTS on the market. Plus the fruit in this game looks so good I’m actually slightly hungry.
If you like this, try: The Wonderful 101
Many were surprised when Nintendo decided to pick up Bayonetta 2 after other publishers turned it down, but it turned out to be a masterstroke. Balls-to-the-wall action, some wonderful Nintendo Easter Eggs, an ecelctic soundtrack and more of the wonderful gameplay from the original make this an excellent addition to the Wii U library
If you like this, try: Hyrule Warriors
What if Nintendo did a shooter? That’s a question many people didn’t realise would be answered on the Wii U, but I bet even fewer thought it would be answered so well. They managed to turn what is perceived as a more adult genre into something kid-friendly with relative eases, thanks to squids and paint and di it with aplomb
If you like this, try: ZombiU
If there was one genre which found a home on the Wii U, it was the 2D platformer; the system had a plethora of them featuring all the usual mascots; your Yoshis, Marios, Donkey Kongs etc., but it was Ubisoft who ran away with the crown thanks to the beautiful Rayman Legends. The game managed to utilise the touchscreen better than nearly all of its competitors and managed to provide a massively satisfying single and multiplayer experience. And let’s not forget about Kung-Foot, a football mini-game which turned out the be the best sports title on the Wii U
If you like this, try: Yoshi’s Woolly World, Donkey Kong Tropical Freeze, Affordable Space Adventures, Runbow
To celebrate the series 30th anniversary. Nintendo pulled something special out of the bag with Super Mario Maker. The touchpad was used perfectly for designing your own levels, and while many user creations may not be the pinnacle of design, it’s super satisfying to create your own playground for Marios around the world to play through.
If you like this, try: Minecraft, Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush
Is it cheat to add in two HD remasters? Possibly. But this is Zelda we’re talking about, and the changes made in the remasters actually benefit both games as a whole. Wind Waker manages to look even more beautiful while adding some excellent quality of life features, while Twilight Princess is a good opportunity to play the game without waggle controls for those who missed out on the Gamecube version
If you like this, try: Xenoblade Chronicles X, Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE
Originally a mini-game in Super Mario 3D World, Captain Toad is a wonderfully charming (there’s that word again) puzzle game for the Wii U. Each level is its own diorama and you can rotate it to investigate every nook and cranny to help you perfect your run.
If you like this, try: Nintendoland
So farewell Wii U, we hardly knew thee. Hopefully some of these games manage to get a Switch version at some point as it would be a massive shame to see them lost to a console which did not succeed against the competition. Are there any games which I haven;t mentioned which you think deserves some time in the sun, or have I made a catastrophic error with one of my inclusions? Let me know below.