As we begin to say our goodbyes to the Wii U and make room in our homes and our hearts for the Switch, let’s reminisce. It’s no secret that the Wii U is getting ready to take the stage one last time for the release of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, but before March 3rd gets here, let’s take a look back at the Wii U’s library of games that deserved more players.
In no specific order, these are undoubtedly the crème de la crème:
Mario Kart 8
This game’s sales almost mirrored the sales of the Wii U itself, meaning that almost everyone who bought a Wii U bought this beautifully, fun game. Mario Kart 8 is arguably the best in the series to date (die-hards might argue Double Dash) but MK8 doesn’t disappoint, well maybe the battle mode, but other than that it’s pretty flawless. The post game support featured reasonably priced DLC, that offered up 6 total additional racers, 4 additional cups (16 courses), and 8 new vehicles. Needless to say, this well crafted kart racer will find it’s way into many drivers homes when Mario Kart 8 Deluxe launches in April on the Switch.
Super Smash Bros. 4 (for Wii U)
Hardcore fighting game enthusiasts, game party hosts, or casuals can all find enjoyment out of the most balanced, in depth fighter on the Wii U. Melee may have finally met it’s match (in my opinion it has). Most of the players in the competitive gaming scene shunned Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii and continued to play Melee both on the underground and on fighting games biggest stage, EVO. That has all changed now that SSB4 has taken over. While Melee still has a huge presence both with the pros and on the underground, Super Smash Bros. 4 has no doubtedly won over fans of the competitive nature of the series. Needless to say, whatever your needs are, the fourth installment in the series seems to fill the need for both the casual and the competitor.
Not only did we get a brand new Nintendo IP with Splatoon (the last major IP that comes to mind is Pikmin in 2001) but we also got a phenomenal game in a genre Nintendo has never really dabbled in. There were some pitfalls, but that is a product of Nintendo’s approach to their online network offerings. Besides the challenges with matchmaking and lack of native voice support, the aesthetic feel and tight gameplay mechanics offer a desirable experience that really shines bright. Not to mention, Nintendo decided to tackle DLC differently and offered a slow drip feed of new content over the lifespan of the game. You can read more about that here.
The fumbled release of this game may have been one of the first scars to mar the Wii U. Initially intended to not only be a launch title, but a Nintendo exclusive. One of the best platformers to come out in the last few years, Rayman Legends boasts beautiful artwork, creative level design, and a collect-a-thon that actually feels rewarding as you progress towards new levels and character skins. Oh how different the Wii U’s launch could have been. I feel like this kept Rayman out of Smash 4 too, just a hunch.
Super Mario 3D World
Personally, this Mario game is the best one in the series I’ve played since Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World. (Yes, it’s better than Sunshine and Galaxy). It’s the first true co-op Mario game, it boasts imaginative level designs, addictive gameplay, and the final level is a a trial that took me far too long to complete, but when you finally do beat it, oh how glorious the feeling is. (I finally did it after a few solid hours of playing it straight!)
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker
Arguably one of the finest Zelda games in a series that boasts some of the finest games ever made. For those of you who missed this gem on the Gamecube, this is a must own. Choose this over the Twilight Princess remaster.
Super Mario Maker
This is by far the quintessential Wii U game, or at least the perfect use for the Wii U’s gamepad. Imagine having an endless supply of Mario levels to play, well that option exists now. Not only is it a game where you can craft almost any level imaginable, but you can bend so many of the traditional rules that govern a Super Mario game and really change how you perceive the Mushroom Kingdom. The most important part of this game is how it takes the complex task of level creation, one that’s usually done very poorly in games, and makes it so user friendly you almost don’t need a tutorial to get started.
Yoshi’s Woolly World
Relaxing, beautiful, and ever so fun. When Nintendo chooses an art style, rarely do they disappoint. The gameplay elements that get added in due to the wool aspect of the game is truly enjoyable. The game can be played with a lackadaisical attitude or by casual gamers and be a completely satisfying adventure. Though, for those who want a more challenging experience, collecting everything and unlocking the bonus levels in each world offer true hurdles that only expert platforms would attempt.
A cult classic. An expensive piece of gaming history from the Super Nintendo era. Finally, rereleased again on the Virtual Console. Without emulators or a couple hundred bucks in your wallet to drop on Ebay, you’d be hard pressed to find a way to play this game. A true classic gaming experience and a must play for any fans of traditional JRPGs.
Earthbound Beginnings (Mother)
This was an epochal moment for Nintendo fans. Coming out a few years after the release of Earthbound on the Wii U’s Virtual Console, they released this previously Japan only title finally giving fans outside of the land of the rising sun a chance to play it, legally. Now, if the Switch can just deliver us Mother 3.
Honorable Mentions: Xenoblade Chronicles X, Shovel Knight, Runbow, Bayonetta 2, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, & Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE