Ever since the late Satoru Iwata announced the NX’s development way back in 2015, it was clear that we were in the twilight period of the Wii U. Yet, even before that statement, Nintendo’s dual-screened home console struggled to gain any real footing with casual or hardcore gamers, leaving it without any real demographic. Still, sales aside, the Wii U managed to be an exclusive home for some truly fun titles. Don’t let the release date of a new console make you trigger shy, because the Wii U acquired quite the exclusive line up in its five year life cycle, and here are just a few—in no particular order.
Set in the distant future, the last beacon of hope for humanity sits on a ship floating aimlessly through space. Unfortunately, it’s shot down by an alien race, crashing on an unknown planet. Now, humans fight to survive on an increasingly hostile planet they’re trying to explore. Making matters worse, the native creatures—along with other aliens the humans run into—are out to kill them. Players take control of a nameless soldier found inside a pod with no real recollection of who they are. Still, their character appears to be pretty good with a gun, and quickly moves up through the military ranks in a division of their choosing, each of which focuses on different aspects of the game and offers different upgrades.
This is the biggest title on the Wii U in terms of size, and it’s a great RPG in its own right. As a sequel to the highly rated Wii title that fans fought tooth and nail to bring to North American shores, it does everything and more to live up to the legacy of its predecessor. While it can feel a little too open ended, and even overwhelming at times, RPG fans should not miss out on the best title in the genre on the Wii U.
Mario’s showings on the Wii U are mixed at best. While people tend to enjoy New Super Mario Bros. U and Super Mario 3D Land, they won’t go down as some of the greatest Mario games for a variety of reasons. Mario Maker on the other hand, changed the game—literally.
By playing into the do it yourself culture the videogame world has been moving into for the past generation and a half, Mario Maker lets players build and share their own levels. They choose an aesthetic ranging from the original game to Super Mario World (excluding number two), which actually determines the abilities Mario has. Aside from that, builders can choose the location and even extras like character skins Mario can wear. The creativity is community driven, and their presence is still going strong even a year after its release, meaning it’s still a good time to hop on board the Mario Maker Train.
This is easily the online powerhouse for the Wii U. Obviously this console has weak support from franchises like Call of Duty, meaning if gamers crave a traditional online shooter experience, then the Wii U isn’t their console. Still, Nintendo put their own spin on the genre with this, colourful, vibrant, personality filled shooter where the main goal isn’t to kill the opponent, but ink as much of the map as possible within the time limit.
It’s addictive, and receives consistent support from Nintendo in terms of updates, special events, and Amiibos, which makes Splatoon one of the most played titles on the Wii U.
This wouldn’t be a top Nintendo list if Smash Bros. wasn’t included. In many ways, this cross over king of the hill style fighter isn’t just a celebration of Nintendo and its rich history; it’s a celebration of gaming as a whole with characters from companies that have roots in gaming just as deep as the Big N. This time around, fans were treated to Pac-Man, Ryu from Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog, Bayonetta, and even the blue bomber himself, Mega Man.
In many game circles the term “settle it in Smash” is used as a way to determine a winner of any given argument, and that tradition lives on the Wii U. With some of the best couch multiplayer on any console, a pretty lively online population, and even a dedicated eSports scene, this is a title that both casual and hardcore gamers young and old will enjoy.
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
Okay, this one isn’t fair, but since The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild doesn’t release until after the holiday season, I’m calling this one a draw. Trying to choose between Wind Waker HD and Twilight Princess HD is like trying to choose which grandparent you’d rather die first. Yeah, you probably know deep down inside, but you’d never say it out loud. They’re also so different that it makes choosing one over the other nearly impossible.
On one hand, you have Wind Waker. To many this is the Zelda title of their childhood. With bright colours, a cute art style, and a flooded Hyrule, this game captures the childlike wonder of the world around you. It also has pirates and players can stab Ganon in the face, so that’s pretty cool as well. With some of the most memorable moments in the series, and a strong focus on exploration, Wind Waker is considered by many to be the best in the series.
Then we have Twilight Princess, Windwaker’s angry little brother who listens to Marilyn Manson and watches Tim Burton movies like they’re religious experiences. This title stands in direct contrast to its predecessor, tapping into a darker side Nintendo tried to escape from post-Majora’s Mask. While its plot is very simple, and it is the definition of “the Zelda formula”, its realistic art direction mixed with a wolf Link make for an experience unlike anything seen in The Legend of Zelda franchise. It also features some of the most frightening, unnerving scenes ever seen in the series, making this a must have for those looking for a more grown up Legend of Zelda.
The fact that we got a sequel to the cult classic developed by Platinum Games still feels surreal even two years later. With the original title—published by Sega—meeting lackluster sales despite high praise from critics and players alike, it seemed like this Devil May Cry inspired brawler wouldn’t see the light of day ever again. Enter Nintendo. Somehow, Nintendo managed to get the exclusive rights to the franchise and here we go.
With smooth, fast-paced combat, an empowered female lead, and a whole lot of angel fighting, Bayonetta 2 is considered by many to be the crown jewel of the Wii U library. Not only that, it was originally packaged with the first title that released on the Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2011, so you can experience the entire Bayonetta story on the Wii U.
Obviously, there are more titles than just what is listed here, but if players get their hands on these, they have a pretty good start to their Wii U collection. This won’t be a console that goes down in history as Nintendo’s strongest, but it is still a fun device, with a unique control scheme that was home to some very fun games. And at the end of its life, that is good enough.