With the Switch dropping next Friday I thought I would highlight 10 essential Wii U titles before the console is consigned to history.
1. Bayonetta 2
Put simply it is one of my favourite games ever, and if you are a fan of hack and slash games you need this. Yep, it is that good.
The combat is creative, deep and flowing plus every new piece of weaponry only adds to the considerable depth already on offer. The art and character design are phenomenal, incorporating grand heavenly themes and gothic hellacious themes with aplomb. Finally, and most importantly, the way the story fits seamlessly with the first is simply wondrous.
2. Super Mario Maker
This is the game you wanted ever since you were a kid playing the old school sidescrollers dreaming up your own levels. Nintendo made these dreams a reality on the Wii U.
The robust level creator features styles from 1,3,World and New Super Mario games all with their own nuances. The sky is the limit and all you have to do is go online to see what ingenious levels people have come up with. Ranging from auto playing levels to themed prison escape levels and all sorts in between, the variety is staggering. This is the perfect love letter to sidescrolling Mario games and is well worth your time.
3. Super Mario 3D World
New Super Mario Bros rejuvenated the sidescroller Mario titles with a slick look and multiplayer and this did the same for 3d. Obviously you don’t get the same level of freedom of a Super Mario 64 or Sunshine, but you do get wonderful rich courses that take advantage of that extra dimension. The levels are varied and have the usual Mario charm plus the cat suit is a great addition to Mario‘s powerup repertoire. It allows you to climb to really get into every nook and cranny of each level. With four players the game’s a hoot, and offers something a little different to the usual multiplayer party games or sidescrollers out on the market.
4. Mario Kart 8
A game so good it was rated up there with some of the finest Mario Kart‘s of yesteryear. I mean for myself the original will always be the best, but the very fact it’s in the conversation is impressive.
The wall riding aspect allows for some impressive courses and the powerups seem less overpowered than the Wii version. The online feels great and the gameplay feels a lot more down to the player rather than the powerups. The game even managed to incorporate some amazing dlc that added new characters and courses for a great value proposition. Excitingly the dlc allowed in other franchises, so surely a proper Nintendo crossover Kart title will be on the way someday. It was the game that convinced me to get me Wii U initially and even has a Switch re-release in the works. The best Mario Kart for quite some time.
5. Super Smash Bros for Wii U
Launched alongside the 3ds version this is one of the finest Smash Brothers games to date. It heads back slightly in a more competitive direction but is firmly a brawler that is best played with mates.
Unfortunately there is no story based mode but that’s all it’s missing, and there is plenty of game in here. You can now play with up to 7 other people plus it is the best use of Amiibo to date. As soon as they are scanned in they pop into the game and from there you mould and level your new pal. I say pal cos if you are anything like me you will level it so much it surpasses you! I’m looking at you Yoshi, it’s basically Skynet!
You can also head online and have a great ol’ time. If you have ever liked Smash you will like this iteration, it is more of the same but oh so more.
6. Pokken Tournament
I could be lazy and copy/paste my thoughts from my top 5. I wouldn’t do that though would I…
The reason for it’s inclusion is because we finally got a game where you can fight directly as Pokemon. Ever since getting Red on my old bulky grey Gameboy I’ve wanted to be able to take part in the fight not just issue orders on the sidelines.
Now in 2016, 20 years on, I can. Not only that but the makers of Tekken, as a side note Tekken is one of my favourite gaming franchises ever, made this dream come true. The action embraces a Dragon Ball Z like field phase to fire projectiles and scheme to get in then it switches to a 2d Street Fighter like phase where you can duke it out. The roster is varied with gen 1 faves like Gengar and more recent Pokemon like Chandelure. It’s a giggle, plus as complicated as it seems once you roll up your sleeves the Tekken-like easy to pick up and hard to master appeal is present.
A great fighter for the Pokemon fan who wants to get involved with the tussle.
Nintendo and shooters are not a combo you hear very often but boy did Splatoon make them make sense. You paint, shoot and traverse as a squid. You know classic shooter tropes.
There is a platforming and shooting heavy story mode but the meat of the game is playing online. You can play turf war unranked then when high enough take it into the ranked mode. The turf war in particular is a great starting point because it’s simply all about covering the stage in your colour so skill is not so much of an issue. Ranked is a little harder but hey that’s the nature of the beast. The presentation is very cool, and the teen culture inspired theme makes for a very funky and fashionable aesthetic.
Great practice for when the sequel arrives on the Switch.
8. Hyrule Warriors
Who would have thought the inclusion of a fun nostalgic Zelda theme to a Dynasty Warriors would have such a profound effect, but it truly does.
Chock full of great nods to the series plus it serves as the first time you can play as other members of the eclectic Zelda cast. The core story line is a fun 10 to 12 hours and the extra modes add triple that amount, so yeah plenty of game. Even the dlc is compelling, picking up on lesser known characters such as the Skull Kid from Majora’s Mask and Marin from Link’s Awakening.
9. Rayman Legends
Gotta admit I played this on the PS3 but this is more Rayman at it’s best. Legends continues the great reboot of the franchise which Origins kicked off.
There are fun little additions that ramp up the enjoyment beside the sensational platforming levels. The two finest examples are the nifty football minigame and the incredible musical levels. I mean you simply need to hear the fun Rayman-ised version of Black Betty.
10. Legend of Zelda : Twilight Princess HD
Yeah it’s kinda cheating as it was originally on the Wii. However, free of the dreaded waggle motion controls and with a HD makeover it is categorically the best version. The classic game that tapped into the more mature and darker themes set up in Majora‘s and Ocarina. A quality game with a ton of compelling dungeon design. If you missed it first time round or wanna try it, snatch it up.