My Top-10 Wii U Games

WiiUThe Wii U is officially coming to the end of its regrettably short life-span. Even though I had a blast with the system, loved the HD remake of Wind Waker and also got to experience EarthBound and re-experience (and beat) Mega Man X3 and Castlevania 3 on it, the system has sadly turned into Nintendo’s biggest dud since the Virtual Boy.

But let’s not focus on the negatives, here are my 10 favourite games for the system which I highly recommend giving a whirl.

Honourable mentions go to Fast Racing Neo, Wind Waker HD, Nintendo Land, Yoshi’s Woolly World, Mario Maker and Sonic Lost World.

Now, on with the list…

Game_&_Wario10. Game & Wario

Let me say this first and foremost, Game & Wario was not a flawless game in the very least. However, whereas in my original review I lumped it off as rather lukewarm entry from the WarioWare series, especially due to its lack of fast-paced mini-games, I got surprisingly a lot of gameplay hours off of it. Simply put, just because the game isn’t particularly refined… it’s a lot of fun!

The multiplayer really saves the whole thing. Artwork, Islands and that fruit-stealing game are just incredibly enjoyable especially with a large group. Artwork in particular is my favourite since it’s the only time where my ability to draw has actually been instrumental in a gaming experience. And chucking Fronks in Islands is just generally a good time.

Could Game & Wario had done more? Definitely yes. I’m surprised that Nintendo didn’t add new games and screens as DLC considering how that became a thing for them later with Mario Kart 8 (among others). Still, this is just a great game to pick up and play with friends (and unlike Nintendo Land, you only need one controller).

MarioParty109. Mario Party 10

Now again, Mario Party 10 wasn’t a flawless game – but it was a definite step-up from 9 in regards to variety of game modes. Sure, the mini-games maybe weren’t as good, but Bowser Party really saved this title in my book. While the new-format Mario Parties may not be to everyone’s liking, I personally do find them more fair. On top of that, the boards in Mario Party 10 were more varied and more fun.

But like I said, Bowser Party was the real winner of this game. It’s just wonderful to have the power to screw over all the people playing against you and it’s even more fun (and challenging) when the other players have to band together to beat the stage.

Now, just like with Game & Wario, there definitely was a lot of room for improvement in Mario Party 10 but in all, this was another title I enjoyed and ended up playing just a whole bunch. Another great party title from the Wii U.

Super_Mario_3D_World8. Super Mario 3D World

Some might be surprised to see this game this low and don’t get me wrong, while it lasted, Super Mario 3D World was a fantastic game. We saw the first really unique power-up from the Mario-series (the cat suit) in a long while as well as a bunch of old favourites (good old fire-flowers and the tanuki suit) make comebacks as well. Not to mention, four playable characters to choose from. And you know I just loved playing as Peach again (for the first time in the main series since SMB2).

Also, the graphic look and the variety of worlds was excellent. Plus, there were excellent clever little gimmicks (the shadow level) and all around the game is just a blast.

So why is SM3DW relegated to the bottom-half of the Top-10, then? Well, quite frankly, Nintendo failed to address the biggest elephant in the room with the 3D Mario titles and it’s an issue that’s been bugging the series since Super Mario Sunshine. That’s the fact that the 3D Mario games (with the sole exception of Super Mario 64) continue to be linear, with 3D World hammering the point home even more conclusively with both its level design and Map Overworld. And still Nintendo has the gall to force you to replay levels to get stars. =| Look, I just want another free-roaming, free-progression game like SM64 and 3D World failed to deliver.

It’s still a fantastic game regardless.

Donkey Kong Coutry Tropical Freeze7. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

I was a fan of Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii, so you can understand me being rather excited for Retro-Studios’ follow-up on the Wii U. Tropical Freeze really did everything right as a sequel. In fact, it was more colourful, varied with interesting levels. And the soundtrack was amazing. Unlike in DKCR where, as much as I hate to admit it, all the best music was just remixes of classic DKC tunes, Tropical Freeze had its own awesome and original music as well.

Plus, the game marked the return of Cranky and Dixie to the series which was a welcome surprise. The enemies were a whole lot more memorable and the challenge was also pleasingly difficult. It almost felt like the classic DKC titles all over again. Well, almost, the game still lets you cheat if you die enough times – but it was generally better than the first game.

I just love 2D platformers and the Wii U titles have also made me into a bit of a fan of 2½D titles as well. My only real complaint for this title, albeit a sizable one, is that you don’t actually get to play as Dixie (or the other Kongs) as you did in classic DKC. Instead, you’re simply choosing which of the characters is your companion and that kinda bites. I really just want there to be another DKC title where I can do an endless helicopter-whirl.

HyruleWarriors6. Hyrule Warriors

Koei-Tecmo has really become one of my favourite gaming companies in recent years and two of their Wii U titles are at least partly responsible. Some might feel that having this game up here instead of a proper Zelda title is tantamount to blasphemy – but Hyrule Warriors greatly exceeded all the expectations I had for it.

Apart from being just a beautiful game, playing it was surprisingly fun even with the hordes of Zelda monsters needing to take care of. I really loved the many different characters you got to play as and I was genuinely impressed with the depth of the story. While the levelling up system felt more than a little superfluous, it was sort of cool to try out different battle styles and weapons.

I definitely also had some pet peeves with the title, how the main gameplay can get a bit tiresome in long stints, how you have to be on your guard constantly in new levels and how, despite having a narrator, Koei-Tecmo somehow completely dropped the ball and failed to give the game a full, proper voice-over. Still, a highly recommended title.

Project Zero Maiden of Black Water5. Project Zero (Fatal Frame): Maiden of Black Water

Speaking of Koei-Tecmo, Project Zero was another wonderful surprise late in the system’s life-span. I’ve really started to like survival horror titles and Maiden of Black Water wasn’t just a butt-numbingly terrifying game, it was also just a whole lot of fun.

Even if you do revisit locations to a point that’s almost too repetitive, the dark story keeps you in its grips (for at least two of the three protagonists), the camera gameplay is really great (and works well with the Wii U’s controller) and the ghosts are genuinely disturbing as well as some being disturbingly hot. Plus, I love the little tongue-in-cheek extras you can open up for the game.

Now yes, Project Zero has its flaws. I found the game maybe a little too easy and linear in places – some of the boss fights were a little tedious and, like I said, revisiting certain locations started to get a bit tiresome. However, the atmosphere of this title is just brilliant and it’s a really cool, different type of survival horror game.

One of the must-have titles for the system.

DarksidersII4. Darksiders 2

While waiting for Wind Waker HD, I picked up Darksiders 2 simply because from what little I gathered from the series, it seemed like the closest thing to a Zelda game while waiting for the real McCoy. I was a little surprised that the game not only turned out to be just a whole lot of fun but genuinely one of my favourite RPGs (and I hate RPGs).

In Darksiders 2, you play as Death – the horseman of the apocalypse – on a quest to prove the innocence of your brother War (main character of Darksiders 1) and to prevent the destruction of existence itself. You accomplish this by entering dark dungeons, solving puzzles, climbing all around decrepit structures, talking to rugged characters and facing off against monsters in epic combat.

Though it’s an RPG, levelling up never becomes a hassle (although dealing with the inventory will) and you can experience excellent uninterrupted gameplay for very long stretches of time. Though the story eventually kinda falls flat, I love worlds you visit and the characters you encounter from the sexy Lilith (Death’s Mother), to the demonic Samael to the grumpy Bone King and those goofy looking forger giants. The voice-acting is amazingly cheesy and therefore, just plain amazing.

Sure, the game isn’t perfect, there’s a pretty crap shooter section – but the game is just genuinely a whole lot of fun with every dungeon having some kind of unique and cool game mechanic. I highly recommend this and hope that someone will eventually pick up this licence to make another instalment in the series.

MarioKart83. Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 is just a blast in all its various iterations. This one added the zero-G racing segments (which only really look cool on replays) and its own selection of original levels was really good. I’d say, actually better than Mario Kart Wii. Also, being able to piece your own car together was a really novel concept.

Mario Kart 8 also included some cool and nifty features in its DLC packs including some really awesome tracks and characters (Link, Isabelle). The 200cc mode in all its ridiculousness is quite fun and the game just provides you with near-endless enjoyment. Now yes, with multiple players designing cars, getting to the actual racing does feel like it takes a bit longer. At the same time, this is a cool way of giving players a chance to improve their race performance with small changes.

Having said that, the re-imagined tracks weren’t perhaps the best but all my nit-picks and complaints about the game are incredibly minor to say the least. Mario Kart 8 is just pure, clean fun. ‘Nuff said.

NewSMBU2. New Super Mario Bros. U

People may feel a little weird about seeing a 2½D Mario title trump the big 3D instalment of the series. However, if you remember back to my Top-10 Wii games list, you may remember something similar happening with New SMB Wii and Super Mario Galaxy 2. While SM3DW has a lot of virtues, it just doesn’t beat NSMBU in sheer fun factor.

Here’s the thing, classic Marios are linear and the gameplay is built around that mechanic. I loved the squirrel power-up and the levels were genuinely better and more memorable than in NSMBW. But more to the point, I didn’t feel NSMBU had any of the annoyances and hiccups that prevented me from just playing the game and enjoying myself unlike in 3D World.

I’m absolutely serious when I say that this game jumped into my Top-5 Mario games when I first played it. It’s just that good in its design and as a gaming experience over-all. Simply put, the Wii U was a brilliant system for traditional platformers and with games like this, who can argue…

DuckTales_Remastered1. Ducktales: Remastered

People seemed incredibly reserved in their praise for the long-awaited remake of one of the quintessential Capcom/Disney NES classics. Now, I don’t happen to consider this my favourite game on the Wii U. It’s a remake that’s head-and-shoulders above the original in sheer quality, has all its best elements (design & music), the original voice-cast of the cartoon the original game was based on, a lush cartoony look and just brilliantly entertaining and challenging gameplay.

Yes, Ducktales: Remastered is all that. It’s the creme de la creme of 2D platformers in a time when the whole genre is now largely relegated to pseudo-retro indy titles on virtual market-places. Ducktales is brilliant and an excellently crafted re-imagining of the game. I’m not even that big of a fan of the NES original – but I felt this was a brilliant move.

Now, if only Capcom would get around to remaking all their other NES classics. Yes, I loved this game and it’s my number-1 favourite from the Wii U.