Nintendo took the wraps off its next console, the Wii U, all the way back at E3 2011. But it wasn’t until September 2012 that it decided to reveal the full and official launch details. The Wii U will be released in the U.S. on Nov. 18, in Europe on Nov. 30, and in Japan on Dec. 8. It will cost between $300 and $350 depending on which of the two editions you choose.
There will be 22 Wii U games available at launch, with an additional 11 promised before the end of the year. But the one thing we all know from previous console generations is that launch games generally suck. Thankfully Nintendo has made the Wii U backwards-compatible with the Wii, meaning all of those games released for the original motion-control console over the last six years will work on the Wii U.
What follows is a list of Wii games – presented in no particular order – that all new Wii U owners should play. And as they’re aging classics they should be available to buy for less money than new releases. We don’t yet know whether the Wii U will succeed or fail, so why not hedge your bets by sticking with these older games.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is one of the highest-rated games ever released… on any system, not just the Wii. It takes the simple appeal of a Mario platformer and adds a whole host of creative 3D elements. As the name suggests this is the sequel to Super Mario Galaxy, which is also more than worthy of your time and attention.
The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess
The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess should suck: not only was it a Wii launch title, it was ported over from the GameCube. But as is the case with most of Zelda titles, it has an indefinable magic that means most people will become engrossed in its story and setting. The Wii boasts two Zelda games, but while Skyward Song is good, Twilight Princess is better.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn
Kirby is somewhat underused as a character these days, but he made a triumphant return to the console scene in Kirby’s Epic Yarn for the Wii. The knitted and textured graphics are unique – though reminiscent of LittleBigPlanet – and the gameplay thoroughly entertaining. If you love platformers but hate Mario, then it has to be Kirby.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is just about the most fun you can have with a group of fully-clothed friends. It features a roster of much-loved Nintendo characters fighting with their own particular styles and weapons. Sony has since “borrowed” the idea for its own side-scrolling beat ‘em up titled PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale.
Xenoblade Chronicles is one of the select few Wii titles proving Nintendo hadn’t abandoned core gamers while chasing the casual market. It’s a Japanese RPG that many feel is the best to have been released in this generation. With a convoluted plot and complex battle system, this won’t be for everyone, but those who ignore it will be missing out.
The Last Story
Another Japanese RPG that deserves attention is The Last Story. The name gives its nature away… for The Last Story read Final Fantasy. The difference is that the recent Final Fantasy games were bogged down with long cutscenes, boring plots, and over-complicated battle systems. The Last Story treads a different path, and is all the better for it.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
One of the Wii U launch titles is New Super Mario Bros. Wii U, but if the HD graphics and GamePad elements hold no interest for you then you may as well buy the original New Super Mario Bros. Wii. This is old-skool 2D fun for those who prefer the classic gameplay to the innovative style exhibited in Super Mario Galaxy and its sequel.
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Donkey Kong is another character that was brought out of semi-retirement in order to grace the Wii. Donkey Kong Country Returns was the rather fitting title of the game, and it’s a superb side-scrolling platformer that will bring back memories for anyone who played the original Donkey Kong Country on the SNES.
Little King’s Story
If you can’t decide which genre to lump your game into then why not create your own? That’s exactly what the developer behind Little King’s Story did, forging a game that defies sensible pigeon-holing. Part real-time strategy game, part simulation, part RPG, Little King’s Story offers an epic mixture of gameplay styles that together make a great game.
Mario Kart Wii
We end as we begin, with a Mario title. He sure gets around, and speedier than usual when he straps himself into a motorized vehicle. Mario Kart Wii may not better the SNES version of the game, but it’s still massively fun to play. Place your Wii remote into the steering wheel peripheral and the hours will fly by as quick as the characters do.
These games represent the very best of the Wii, and collectively they should tide Wii U owners over until the good titles start appearing for the new console. Assuming they ever do, of course. This list should also provide existing Wii owners with a set of titles they should make sure to play before they inevitably sell their console to fund the jump to the next generation of hardware. Unless they find a new use for it in the meantime.
Do you agree with the choice of Wii games listed above? Are there any other unmissable gems you feel Wii U gamers should fight tooth and nail to get their hands on? Are you planning on buying a Wii U this year or will you be waiting to see what Sony and Microsoft unveil next year? As always we welcome a discussion on the subject at hand in the comments section below.