It is time to put away the top Wii U exclusives list and look at the Wii U library as a whole, while I still intend to do more for my Wii U exclusive list for now I wanted to just give note to the Wii U’s best and brightest. There are so many great games on the Wii U that I am unable to give notice to on my exclusive list so here we should see a good variety of games that I think are worth playing and that I have enjoyed. I will note there are still many like Bayonetta 2 and Xenoblade Chronicles X that I have yet to play so they of course are not included.
25. Splinter Cell Blacklist
If Ubisoft does one type of game truly right it is stealth, from Assassin’s Creed to Splinter Cell these games offer thoughtful gameplay that tasks you planning every move and being careful. While the story may never be anything special, in face it is quite forgettable, Blacklist thrives in its gameplay which tasks you with taking the methodical approach and working out the best course of action to take out all foes that stand between you and your target. With a good range of weaponry and decent missions Blacklist is a truly great game, the Wii U version may be lacking in some places but the game is still well worth playing as it does offer a decent variety of gameplay options and certain specifics to the Wii U. It mostly is held back by the annoyingly long loading screens, curse you loading screens.
24. Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water (Fatal Frame)
There comes a time where we must forget about fun and excitement in gameplay and simply enjoy a game for the brilliance of its story, or at least just how confusing it is. To put it lightly Maiden of Black Water is a messed up game, there is quite a bit of lore which I am still trying to wrap my head around but also a very deep and compelling story, of death, loneliness, and waiting. Every second of the game is wrapped up in excellent story telling which urges you forward to want to know more and to uncover every mystery. Maiden of Black Water may suffer from many flaws which hold it back from the brilliant masterpiece it could have been, but it is the story which makes this game necessary. Mt. Hikami is a perfect playground for supernatural thrills and a compelling story that urges through the graphic details and truly unnerving moments, you need to look deep and have a lot of patience but Maiden of Black Water is worth it.
23. The Wonderful 101
A game where you play as one hundred different people at once, wow, and this game was confusing there was a lot to remember in terms of move patterns and battle situations were chaotic and yes often confusing, but still the Wonderful 101 is a memorable exclusive. All though the game was called the Wonderful 101 you only ever actually play as about seven of these characters with each having an ability that helped in combat and also worked well for puzzle solving. During my time with this game I was intrigued by the messed up story that I wanted to see through to the end and the characters varying powers were really cool.
One of the main things I loved about this game though was the gamepad usage. Its true Nintendo has not really made much use of the gamepad in their games but as part as the Wonderful 101 you got a decent use for it. The gamepad starred in this game with its ability to help form your little army into your powerhouse weapon by drawing them into little symbols which continued to be interesting all the way through. The best part this idea is quite original for the system and Platinum Games did a great job creating a game that looks Nintendo flare mixed with their own brand of humor and stylings. It establishes a great game that all Wii U owners should play.
22. Skylanders Superchargers
After four less then thrilling games and that is me putting this really nicely it was hard to imagine Activision could actually make one of these games interesting and yet as I gave up hope Superchargers raced onto the scene. It’s interesting to think that all the Skylanders franchise needed was cars and planes and suddenly the games could be amazing, Superchargers is the defining game of the franchise as finally the developers decided to do away with the crippling slow paces of the past games and speed things up with vehicles. While the base moments are still dull the second a vehicle space is in sight the thrills start to arrive and each section is exhilarating to say the least. If you owned the Wii U version things got improved even more as we got to play as Donkey Kong who surprisingly fit into the Skylanders universe seamlessly, improvements still could have been made but Superchargers is a thrill filled with many great ideas.
21. NES Remix 2
It is always great to go back in time and play the classics that we adored in our childhood, I will say I was a bit late for the Nintendo Entertainment System era but over the years I have gone ahead and played many of the deeply flawed but still great classics. So how do you make them better? Well, that is simple you remix the classic games are redo them as bite sized challenges that often overshadow the original games. Nintendo may have done this first in NES Remix but its sequel upped the ante and created a much more enjoyable experience with a somewhat better or challenging selection of games. The original may have had The Legend of Zelda and classic Mario Brothers, but here we got the sequels, okay fine Zelda 2 is kind of rubbish but it is its flaws that help make this game slightly more improved. The challenges offered for each game are often fun and really throw me back to a much different time before games started becoming too easy, and really changes the basic gameplay experience that we once had. Classics are great to begin with, but NES Remix 2 just improved them and offered a fun and refreshing experience for the Wii U.
20. Mario Kart 8
Who doesn’t love to play some Mario Kart, well personally I am very on and off with this franchise and have found it to get tedious very quickly, however Mario Kart 8 definitely delivered on a memorable and fun experience that I can honestly get behind. Mario Kart is a franchise that I can play I just often have preferred not to in the past because many of the courses get boring, though apart from maybe one or two of these courses Mario Kart 8 has a good variety that lured me in and kept me playing for hours. Mainly it is the courses that this game franchise is about and this entry delivered some of not only the most visually appealing, but also it brought some of the franchises best courses to play on, as well as remaking and reviving personal favorites like Toad’s Turnpike which has never looked better. Mario Kart 8 is not the best game on the Wii U and even the best game brought to us in 2014, but if one game can bring families together it is Mario Kart 8 which with its new courses and good range of characters proves to be a fun game, and a must own on the Wii U.
19. New Super Luigi U
What a better way to celebrate Luigi then to create a game that builds upon the already fantastic New Super Mario Brothers U. Luigi takes all the assets of his brothers game and builds upon it to make a much better game, Luigi was not as generous as his brother, levels are more restrictive and a whole lot harder something that makes the game even better. Luigi U deals with the issues that have plagued the Mario franchise regarding games becoming easier and takes us down a challenging path. Time was suffocating and levels just got harder as you went along, either way New Super Luigi U was brilliant and easily one of the most interesting Wii U releases.
18. Nintendo Land
When the Wii was released in 2006 it had one game that truly sold it, that game was Wii Sports, it showed us how to use and have fun with the console in a way that could not have been achieved in any other way. Nintendo Land should have been considered the same way, the game does a great job and showing us the reason for the Wii U and its gamepad by providing us with a handful of fun, interactive games to play. Each game showed a reason behind the Wii U and delivered games that could be enjoyed for hours, it is unfortunate that so many people looked down at this gem of gaming kind but sadly it what happened though. But if only people had given it a shot gathered round some friends and opened their minds they would have seen what I see when I played this game, fun. It is easy to get lost for hours in some family fun bouts of Mario Chase and enjoy some science fiction warfare in Metroid Blast. Nintendo Land is no Wii Sports but without a doubt it is one of the most fun and most memorable games that ever has graced my Wii U.
17. Zombi U
For many years the survival horror genre of games has been going downhill, and classic franchises such as Resident Evil which were once praised for their work in the genre have now lost their touch. So enter Ubisoft’s originally exclusive game on the Wii U, Zombi U re-established what the survival horror genre was all about, which is the fear of going around a corner not knowing what awaits you, remaining low on supplies and utilizing whatever you can scavenge and worrying about what sits in the impending darkness. This exclusive did all that and more by utilizing the very essence of the gamepad, the gamepad allowed for panic as you quickly rummaged through it to find what you needed while the game kept going on the TV, it also allowed the player to detect the locations of Zombies which is even scarier when you hear them moaning and constantly hear many beeps on the gamepad. The game is fun and well worth playing, it was just a shame so many people didn’t give it a shot. Just to get slightly off topic for a second, the supposedly enhanced version of this game for the Playstation 4 and Xbox One really don’t hold a candle to the truly definitive version, on all accounts this is the one that got it right, shamefully most people don’t understand this.
16. Disney Infinity
How do you make a beginning to a great experience? Where Skylanders originally dominated the toys to life market Disney stepped in with Disney Infinity and shined a bright light in a market that desperately needed Disney. Disney Infinity was a clever idea that utilized Disney’s brands in the best way possible by allowing players to explore the world of some of their favourite characters, Monster’s University, Cars and even the Incredibles each world well made in their own rights and a thrill to explore. You then step into the Toy Box and are set free to embrace their highest level of creativity, the world was their oyster, Disney their key set piece providing the tools to give players their access to a world of their choice. Disney Infinity was a great opening to a world full of Disney magic and a spark of imagination.
How often do we see a new idea from Nintendo? Not often right, Splatoon is the first new idea Nintendo’s had in a long time and it arrived to help the ailing Wii U with something new and exciting. Where Nintendo has traditionally stuck with the areas of platformers, occasional racers and Zelda, Splatoon offered something refreshing with an online first person shooter that is charming as it is fun. What is a Nintendo game without that particular magic, I would honestly say just another game and in every corner Splatoon shines of this magic. Where most shooters focused on guns, Splatoon offers a wide variety of weapons all to help with the games simple goal of claiming the most territory and trying to help your team attain its goal of victory. Unlike traditional games you play as a squid/kid who can ink territory and swim through it for quick navigation and stealth attacks. There are so many good things here including a brilliant single player campaign which is a fun version of a simplistic tutorial. At this time Splatoon is slowly being improved with more maps, weapons and even more good things, so while this may be sitting at fifteen at this time when I go to look at the game again it will likely have moved up based on how the game improves.
14. Batman Arkham Origins
Batman Arkham City was a great game, by many definitions it is the definitive Batman game that made us truly feel like the caped crusader. In my opinion Arkham Origins does just this but in the best way it can, Arkham Origins threw us back before the rise of Arkham City back when Gotham was still whole. Arkham Origins is just that a great origin story for Batman and his major nemesis the Joker, the game was nowhere near as long or as in depth as Arkham City but it struck all the right notes and was a truly great and highly memorable journey.
13. Disney Infinity 3.0
After the major disappointment that was Disney Infinity 2.0 the prospect of the third game redeeming the franchise did not seem likely but yet 3.0 is the best game in the franchise. Where the previous game did Marvel poorly 3.0 shined with the introduction of Star Wars to the Disney Infinity Universe, a better toy box and a decent tutorial system. If it could be improved 3.0 did it and the big part was how Star Wars was implemented to perfection, combat was refined so that the addition of force powers felt natural and the story behind the play set was a truly enjoyable experience. They played with the universe well and offered one of the best Star Wars experiences in years, I find it hard not like this game and it can’t be denied just how wonderful and enjoyable this game is.
12. Lego City Undercover
TT Games’ Wii U exclusive Lego experience draws a lot from the developer’s previous Lego endeavors, but this time comes out with a fresh story and world to play in. A lot of the experience of Lego City Undercover is pretty familiar to anyone who has played a Lego game before, from the combat, to the levels, to many other factors this is very familiar, but for its similarities, Lego City Undercover masterfully pulled itself out and stands unique in the name of Lego. For the original story or even just the stupidity in the comedy is why this game holds a special place as one of my best Wii U exclusives, plus the added bonus is that Lego City Undercover is a game that can be enjoyed by anyone. Mostly I enjoyed it for going around and playing a much more fun version of Grand Theft Auto, and following the well-crafted police drama of a story while just smashing up random people’s cars and all around having fun in Lego City.
11. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
My faith in the Donkey Kong Country series has been steadily declining for years, and Donkey Kong 64 was the last game in the series I truly enjoyed, which is half the reason why it is my favorite game of all time (but that is a story for another opinion piece). However I do feel that Retro Studios was finally ready to give the classic character a true return to greatness, and having the power and capabilities of the Wii U it was no wonder. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze takes a different approach to other games in its genre, and delivers a much more challenging experience, on top of that it shows plenty of diversity between each level you visit and plenty of detail which is hard not to love. Those, alongside the new additions such as multiple sidekick characters, easily help me to see this game as fun and a must play game on the console even if you are only looking for a challenge.
10. Wii Sports Club
Wii Sports is easily one of the most iconic games ever released and for good reason, the game singlehandly sold the Wii to consumers and introduced a series of non-gamers to the world of video games in a fun and easy to play sports game. Of course we cannot say the game did not have many flaws, lack of accurate controls, golf, need I go on. However with the Wii U the game got reborn and provided with the fixes it so desperately required, to be perfectly honest the game is not all improvements such as they made boxing worse. However this does not matter as the game still proved to be even more fun on the Wii U thanks to the much needed changes to tennis and baseball, both of these sports now play better than before and are a whole lot of fun. As such they help to make Wii Sports Club all that more worth owning and a great addition to the Wii U library as one of the consoles very best games.
9. Sonic and All Stars Racing Transformed
This game may have been released first but comparing this with Mario Kart 8 it is easy to see that this is the best racing game on the Wii U, sure many would not agree with me but to be honest I had more fun with this game. Sonic may have lacked balance and on many occasions struggled to find its footing but there is a certain thrill about this game that after eight entries the Mario Kart franchise just lacks. Sega included a fantastic who’s-who of their most iconic characters (even if I have no idea who many of them are) and chucked them into a fantastic racing game full of fun mechanics and memorable courses. The only thing keeping this game from being higher up on this list is the terrible menu system and the lack of the song Reach for the Stars on the obviously Sonic Colors inspired Sonic course.
8. Super Smash Brothers for Wii U
If Super Smash Brothers for 3DS was the appetizer then Smash Brothers on the Wii U is definitely the main course. It is hard to deny that this is easily one of the best entries in the franchise adding so many new ideas that it overflows with content. Sure there was a bad apple in this bunch (Smash Tour) but everything else was pure brilliance. Eight Player Smash is the definite highlight of this entry featuring chaotic battle sequences and a case of recurring “what on earth is going on”, you literally get lost in the crowd but it is fun for battles. Adding this type of battle with Amiibo characters it is even greater and adds an even greater level of chaos.
The single player side of things was also great featuring a far refined classic mode which is even more enjoyable. Smash Brothers for the Wii U is great fun and a must play on the console, with a wide variety of characters and some fun modes it is really good to play.
7. Assassins Creed 4 Black Flag
After playing Assassins Creed 3 I had high expectations for this game but it was not in a good way, this game needed to be good and very quickly it proved it. I have never been a fan of pirates and I hated the sailing mechanic in past Assassins Creed games but IV got to me, the story of Edward Kenway is memorable and mostly enjoyable to play. The world was large and full of possibilities, overall I loved this game, Black Flag quickly proved to be the best Assassins Creed experience I have had and still is to this day. We may not be seeing any more of the games in this franchise come to the Wii U but we can be glad we got this one, it is without a doubt one of the platforms best games.
6. Super Mario 3D World
5. Batman Arkham City Armored Edition
Batman Arkham City is widely considered to be the best Batman game on the market, within this game you were truly able to feel like Batman. Gliding across the skies and taking out villains as Batman was a thrill and one we won’t soon forget, however it was the Wii U version of this game that was by far the most superior. The game kept all the Batman goodness of the original release while also adding a series of new features that made the Wii U release the definitive version of the game and one of the Wii U’s must own games.
4. Hyrule Warriors
Nintendo and Koei Tecmo’s collaboration seemed like a weird one and one to be skeptical of for its mixture of two very different franchises The Legend of Zelda and the Warriors franchise, however it proved to be a fun and creative use of two franchises.
Before playing this I never imagined Hyrule would be the perfect location for what would become a full scale war, however, Hyrule Warriors proves otherwise. The positioning of battlefields around major popular locations makes things both different and also really fun, who wouldn’t want to wage a full scale battle at Lake Hylia from Ocarina of Time, or battle it out on a slightly altered version of Skyward Sword’s sealed grounds. Next include major enemies from Zelda games past and famous enemies in hordes and you have some really fun and really challenging battles.
Mix all this with a wide variety of playable characters from across the series history plus a couple of original characters and there you have it. You get a fun game full of possibilities and excellent characters to play as, each offering a different playstyle or strategy that could be used be used on the battlefield. Hyrule Warriors is a really fun, and at times stressful game but it is easily one of the consoles best and most fun games for players looking for just a bit of action, and by a bit I do mean a lot.
3. Super Mario Maker
For years we dreamed of building our own Mario levels, over the years I have felt like the quality of Mario’s 2D adventures had been severely deteriorating, while you can look at New Super Mario Brothers U and say with honesty that a certain number of levels are good, others just lacked creativity. Super Mario Maker removes this problem and puts the power in the hands of the player, if you have an idea you can build it, Super Mario Maker offers complete freedom to the player and I loved expressing some of my more sadistic Mario dreams. When not creating there is a great variety of levels to play thanks to the hard working community behind the game, the fans have made some of the best Mario levels I have played in years, and the possibilities makes Super Mario Maker both one of the best Mario games in years and one of the consoles best games.
2. Pikmin 3
Nintendo’s journey into the world of tiny microorganisms and the adventure to save their planet may not be the best game on the Wii U, but by all respects it has to be my favorite out of all the ones I have played. The game often feels like it wants to make you feel guilty about any mistakes you make and they can happen both easily and completely by accident. The key thing that I feel really makes this game one of my favorites on the Wii U is the fact the game never outstays its welcome. From the moment you start you are greeted with a fun adventure filled with strategy, but as fast as it arrives it is all over. In some games I would consider this a bad thing but for the course of the story the little actions and adventure are great and keep you interested. One final note it is kind of hard to resist the Pikmin as they are adorable.
1. The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker HD
Never count a good Zelda game out, it is sad that in a console so full of great games that a remake is the one that can grace the top of a list. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker may have been the game to hate back in the day all because of how it looked, but in truth it is really the high point of an amazing franchise. Wind Waker’s colorful world and cartoony graphics are one of the best qualities of this game, back on the GameCube they were astounding and beautiful but on the Wii U the game just looks better, it is just stunning there is no other word to describe Wind Waker then stunning. From the beautiful near endless oceans, to the islands so crammed full of mystery, to the story, Wind Waker may have distanced itself from the rest of the game in the series but it is not a bad thing. You should never ignore a game just because of its look and Wind Waker proved this, beyond its cutesy charm lied an amazing game full of fun gameplay, unique puzzles and an ocean that you can lose yourself in. The Wind Waker HD is by far the definitive Wii U game and one that everyone should own.