N-Europe's Top Ten Wii Games
Posted 04 Aug 2019 at 20:16 by Glen O'Brien
Before 2006, home console gaming hinged on the graphical prowess of a console. How pretty games looked was a huge selling point for gaming enthusiasts. Sony was killing it with the PS2 and Microsoft jumping in to the ring with the Xbox was making competition even fiercer. It’s why the plucky Gamecube struggled with sales.
Microsoft had already jumped into HD gaming with its Xbox 360 and Sony was hot on its heels with the upcoming PS3. But there was a large, untapped market for video games, the people who didn’t play them as a hobby. And Nintendo would take a risk with its 5th home console by trying to appeal to that unreachable audience.
The Wii cannot play games in HD, it cannot play your DVDs, it has a weird controller that looks like a TV remote and it came bundled with a sports game where the main method of input involved pushing no buttons. And it blew the competition away. The Wii was huge, everyone wanted one. Even those people who thought gaming was only for nerds. It was instantly accessible to people with its revolutionary motion controls and appealing library of games. But don’t be fooled by its casual friendly face, there were still games that were just right for the gaming enthusiast, and we’re gonna find out which ones of those were the best.
And if you'd like to take a look at our previous Top Ten articles then you can do so by clicking any of the mini banners below...
Point-and-click adventures are almost exclusively a PC gaming venture, the control method of a mouse and keyboard lends itself well to that particular genre of gaming in a way that consoles couldn’t replicate in a satisfying way. Of course, the Wii was no ordinary console. The Wii Remote was a fantastic substitute for a mouse and Capcom capitalised on this with Zack & Wiki.
You take the role of Zack, a pirate who wants to be the greatest pirate, because who wouldn’t? After crash-landing, he meets the golden, talking skull of Barbaros, who promises to give Zack his pimping Pirate Ship if he helps to restore Barbaros’ body. Sounds legit. What follows is a delightful puzzle game that makes great use of the Wii Remote to transform enemies into a variety of objects to help solve all sorts of conundrums that you’re faced with.
This is a proper hidden gem in the Wii library and any puzzle game enthusiast should give it a look.
"I remember seeing previews for this game and being so excited for it. The thought of a modern take on point and click games where you actually had to use the items by acting out the action you wanted to do seemed like such a great idea (at the time the Wii motion controls were still a novelty that hadn't yet worn off), and as I had only discovered the Monkey Island series a couple of years before, this was something I very much wanted to play. Luckily the game did not disappoint, and unlike in many games those motion controls did feel like a worthwhile addition.
The puzzles can be quite difficult and as already mentioned, some can take a while to complete, so if you like a game that gives your brain a good workout then this is for you just as long as you can look past the cartoony graphics and sometimes grating voice acting. It's just a shame it never got a motion plus enabled sequel." – Ealdst
"A great puzzle game where the motion controls added to the immersion of the gameplay. Don’t let the fun characters and cartoon-like graphics fool you, the difficulty ramps up and there are extra items to find which will challenge even the most hardened of gamers. A wonderful surprise when it was first released & deserving of a sequel!" – WackerJr
Hey, look, it’s that sports game where the main method of input involved pushing no buttons. You don’t need me to tell you that Wii Sports was a phenomenon of the highest degree. It was the must-have game of its time and it’s not hard to see why. Instantly graspable controls meant that anyone could play it and sports such as Tennis and Bowling were presented in a fun, satisfying way that the whole family can enjoy.
Wii Sports was a stroke of genius and introduced us to the best gaming avatars, the Miis. I mean, where else can you punch your grandmother in the face and have a good laugh about it while you do? Nowhere, that’s where!
"First of all, it was a brilliant move to include this with the Wii. It perfectly introduced the Wiimote, and everyone and their grandmother wanted one because of it. It also led to hours of fun nights, and friends of mine who weren't into gaming now wanted to create a Mii and go bowling or boxing. I lived in a student dorm when the Wii was out, and my housemates came over often for the sheer fun of Wii Sports." – Vileplume2000
It might not have been the first time that Mario had travelled into outer space, but it’s safe to say that it never quite felt this grand. Mario Galaxy takes the tight platforming that the Mario series was known for and adds a new spin on it by having constantly changing gravity as the plumber travels between different planetoids. With 121 stars to collect, there’s a humongous amount of intricate, handcrafted levels to discover, satisfying platforming goodness, and a downright beautiful, orchestrated soundtrack. Mario Galaxy is one of the finest 3D Mario games ever.
"Gorgeous aesthetic, fantastic music, lots of cool levels and power-ups (shout out to the Ice Flower and the multiple ways gravity is used)... very good game. Mario keeps bringing his A-game to his console games." – Jonnas
With Rare being bought out by Microsoft, the Donkey Kong series had seen a weird uncertain period in its life, but in 2010, it saw a long awaited return to its traditional SNES roots thanks to Retro Studios. The first game to sport the “Donkey Kong Country” moniker in 14 years is just as great as its older entries with amazing level design, surprisingly difficult gameplay (in a good way, mind) and tons of secrets to find. Although, for me, it’s all about those insane, over-the-top mine cart levels.
"In an age that seems to want to do more and not look back, Retro Studios decided to make an ambitious, solid, 2D platformer. And they picked the best franchise for it. Donkey Kong is even more straightforward than Mario, while allowing the American developers to flex their creative muscles.
And thus, we had awesome set pieces involving krakens, or a musical drum level, or sunset levels, or Gear Getaway, or... you catch my drift.
Lovely aesthetic, lovely gameplay, groovy music, a bunch of surprises that keep on giving, some solid incentive for replayability with the collectibles... It's just good vibes all around." – Jonnas
"This game is a white knuckle thrill ride from start to finish! Tuned to absolute perfection, overflowing with creativity and new & novel ideas from start to finish and absolutely masterful level design that puts even the mighty Super Mario series to shame. Donkey Kong Country Returns has it all! Oh, and it's absolutely rock hard too! This game will put monkey hairs on your chest for sure!" – Dcubed
With such a different control scheme, the Wii had its fair share of controversial games. And they don’t get much more controversial than this underrated gem. In fact, underrated might be too much of an understatement. You’re liable to have something thrown at you for daring to say something as horrific as “Actually, I thought Other M was pretty fun”
The truth of the matter is that the first 3D Metroid game to play a lot like a traditional Metroid game is precisely that, fun. Controlling Samus makes you feel like the badass that she is, flinging yourself all over the place and shoving charge beams down the throats of anyone who dares to get in your way. It’s a rollercoaster ride from start to finish for those willing to roll with the admittedly stupid plot and dumb reasons for why you can’t use your completely non-lethal Varia Suit upgrade. Seriously, Adam, what the hell?
Also, it has the best Ridley boss fight, and that’s that.
"After the epic Metroid Prime trilogy, expectations for a new Metroid were insanely high. Metroid: Other M received a lot of mixed reactions but I personally loved it. Giving Samus a voice worked great during the cutscenes, and the mix of 2D and 3D playstyles was clever. I'm delighted a Metroid Prime 4 is in the making, but if a new Other M was also coming, I would not complain at all." – Vileplume2000
The third Smash title was a title that would break new ground for the series. Because for the first time ever, the Nintendo fighting cross-over would have characters that weren’t actually Nintendo characters. I still remember the moment where Solid Snake revealed himself and proceeded to punch your favourite Nintendo characters. I think the only thing that outdid that was when Sonic joined in. Finally, people could have the official Mario Vs Sonic fight that we were all dreaming of.
Of course, it wasn’t just the great new characters that made Brawl so great. The gameplay was still absolutely smashing and it even had a huge sprawling adventure for single players to get their teeth into with scenarios that only fan fiction could achieve. Diddy Kong and Fox McCloud beat the stuffing out of a Rayquaza. Why? Because it’s super cool!
"I'm a sucker for crossover games and all things Nintendo. Plus, this game got me to go to New York to the first ever Apex Smash Tournament back in 2013 I think. The Smash scene is an amazing place, and the game itself is pretty damn fun too. Kirby & Captain Falcon for life." – Fused King
How do you improve on a masterpiece such as Mario Galaxy? Why, with more Mario Galaxy, of course! The sequel to the Mario space adventure is bigger and better than its predecessor. Building on the engine of the first Galaxy, the sequel provides new and fresh ideas for fans to get stuck into. New power ups and more stars than you can shake a Wii Remote at makes this an absolute joy to play from start to starry finish. Also, Yoshi’s in it, in case you needed more reasons on why this game rocks.
"Nintendo took on the unenviable task of developing a sequel to one of the greatest 3D platformers of all time. Not only did they improve upon it, they created a masterpiece that made the original seem like a tutorial level in comparison! So full of wonderfully imaginative ideas and an absolute joy to play from start to finish!" – WackerJr
"When it was announced that Nintendo would be making a sequel to Super Mario Galaxy, I honestly couldn't have been happier as it took everything which was so great about the first title and then pushed the boundaries even further, while giving everyone what they had wanted in the first place... a rideable Yoshi in space, because of course! Not only that though, the new transformations were truly something to bee-hold, elevating Mario's repertoire of power-ups to cloud nine and bowling players over like a boulder at the forefront of a landslide. This was a sequel for the ages.
I can remember there being so much to do, multiple planetoids to visit all from a hub ship plus a world map of sorts thrown in for good measure and... feeding Lubba... star bits, I'm not going to forget that in a hurry! In essence this was a sequel which really didn't need to do much in order to please its fans but instead it went above and beyond to deliver one of the most memorable Mario titles arguably since Super Mario 64 because while Sunshine shone brightly enough, it's not a patch on the Galaxy games.
There was a decent degree of challenge to it as well, I can recall this being one of the most brutal challenges in a 3D Mario game by the time I got towards the end, but I really wanted to see that ending because I wouldn't be denied it! Then after beating the entire game and finding a brand new challenge awaits you? It was almost just too much for one game. Not bad for something which started life as a collection of extra levels for the original game and it's just as well that DLC wasn't so much of a thing back then for Nintendo, otherwise we might not have ended up getting one of the greatest sequels of all time." - S.C.G
Easily the most known game from the Operation Rainfall fan campaign (Seriously, did you see it? Did you see what they did?), Xenoblade Chronicles is a strange example of a game being localised by Europe instead of America. And boy, was I really feeling it while I was playing. Let’s not lose our heads though; there are a great number of reasons for this game placing so high. Sporting an amazing world to explore, engaging battle system and charming British voice acting. Xenoblade is a Wii RPG that makes other games look like a bunch of jokers! If you haven’t played it yet, you should fix that now. Yes, now. Now it’s Xenoblade time.
No, I’m not apologising for that last paragraph.
"Of the three "operation rainfall" titles, this one was the one furthest from my radar but I picked it up because I wanted to support the future localisation of games like this. As it turned out this would become my favourite game on the Wii, and one of my favourite games of all time. A massive JRPG with a great battle system which mixes auto attacking with manually activated "arts" adding a lot of strategy to the action, an amazing soundtrack and a story of Man Vs machine that takes a few twists along the way - this game is nothing short of epic and belongs in everyone's Wii collection!" – Ealdst
While it may not be quite as well-known as most of the other games on this list, Little King’s Story has certainly made a big impact on N-Europe’s members to grasp the runner-up spot. Playing as a kid who finds a magic crown that gets people to obey his orders, you have to build the kingdom of Alpoko up from a cluttered field to a magnificent place to live in. This game is a real-time strategy game with similarities to Pikmin, planning and quick thinking are the name of the game as you slowly conquer other kingdoms to increase your influence.
Little King’s Story is a charming, imaginative title that any RTS fan owes it to themselves to check out.
"The silly and simplistic plot and presentation really make this game what it is, from your quirky ministers to the even quirkier foreign Kings. Everything here is loveable. And the soundtrack is all arrangements of classical music with each major boss having a unique track. It's fantastic to keep hearing new-yet-familiar tracks up until the end of the game.
Honestly, I find it brilliant on several levels. Sure, it starts slow, but LKS accomplishes what few games can: it keeps getting better and better. When you think you found the high point of the game, when you find an awesome boss fight that can't be topped...odds are, it will. Definitely the biggest surprise of the generation." – Jonnas
"On appearance, this was just a child-like simple Pikmin clone. How looks can be deceiving! It was challenging, tactical, fun, and one of the Wii’s best kept secrets! Even the music, which included many remixes of classical music, was instantly hummable & enjoyable. A fantastic title that was a real treat to the few people that purchased it." – WackerJr
"To this day this game is nothing short of perfect to me. The various kingdoms, the gradual rise of your kingdom, the remixes of classical music (dear god, the remixes. It actually helped me discover Dvorak!), and who could forget Nietzsche's quote being hidden away in the Worrywart Kingdom. To me, this game along with its box art epitomizes the Wii's vast catalogue of games: A colourful, and kiddy looking box art which hides one of the hardest and most charming games of all time." – Fused King
Ah, there it is. The obligatory Zelda title. This one managed to top our top ten list, making it the third Zelda title to do so. No, I’m not telling you what the others were, read the other top tens!
Utilising the Wii Motion Plus, an accessory that enhanced the capabilities of the Wii Remote’s motion controls, Skyward Sword provided fans with something no other Zelda game had given us, one-to-one sword wielding controls. You’ll quickly find that waggling your controller aimlessly will soon result in you looking at the dreaded Game Over screen. Combat required precision and quick reactions that was so satisfying once you mastered it.
Along with that, the world consisted of intricate areas where getting to your destination was a puzzle in and of itself. Dungeons were just as complicated, with some great new items to discover and play with. It even had great characters with a more down-to-earth Zelda and secret best character, Groose. Skyward Sword is a game that is not appreciated nearly enough, it requires practice and rewards that with one of the finest Zelda experiences you’re ever likely to see.
"Generally speaking, we only really tend to get one proper Zelda game per console from Nintendo in terms of one which has been built from the ground up, sure Twilight Princess was nice but it was but a GameCube game at heart. It wouldn't be until very near the end of the Wii's life-cycle that we would finally get The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, a title which went through many iterations, a demonstration at E3 which could have gone a lot better and then a barrage of criticism when the game did come out due to the divisive motion controls.
You know what though? At the time, I loved it and even though I don't tend to use motion controls unless the game absolutely couldn't work without them, here I can see why it works so well, adding more to the gameplay than it detracts through fumbled inputs. No, the MotionPlus technology wasn't perfect but it did work well most of the time and it single-handedly gave us accurate sword controls, the likes of which we were expecting at the launch of the Wii but only really got towards the end of the machines relatively long life.
As a Zelda title, it was certainly memorable, it had a great origin story, brilliant mechanics (with only welcome surprises) and some of the best dungeons in the series history, the likes of which Breath of the Wild can only dream of matching. Of course it didn't really have a land-based overworld which is a shame, it didn't really have a lot of life when it comes to villages and the like but when it really, truly delivered in its fantastic and engaging battles it would really leave you hooked, eager to fight the next enemy or boss in a way that I've never experienced in any other Zelda game since. It took me a while to beat the game but when I did and I came up against that end boss fight, beating it was one of the greatest moments I have ever encountered in a videogame to date. I guess that surely counts for something?" - S.C.G
"The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the ultimate expression of handcrafted level design; it is the absolute polar opposite of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in that it eschews breadth for depth and turns its nose up at the popularity of open worlds & procedural generation in favour of truly handcrafted gameplay, where every piece of the game is tuned to perfection. Though this game is not perfect (the sky sections in particular are perhaps a bit underbaked; and its overbearing tutorials and notification pop ups can be grating after a while), the sheer quality of the gameplay and the sheer amount that they pack into these small spaces is just utterly absurd!
Now, more than ever, we need The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword; as it shows us just how truly valuable handcrafted design really is, and how much we truly are losing in today's world." – Dcubed
If you'd like to be part of N-Europe's Top Ten game lists, then check out the thread on our forum as while it's too late to nominate any Wii titles, or even 3DS titles we're now choosing the Top Ten Wii U Games to go on the shortlist, nominations will close on 10/08/19 but in any case please stop on by. It will be nice if we do get any new forum members (or even existing members) taking part, as we would very much welcome your input because these articles simply wouldn't happen without the valuable feedback and memories from our community.
Exciting times indeed, catch you next time when the article for the best Nintendo 3DS titles goes live on N-Europe sometime soon... a lot sooner than this article, that's for sure so you won't have to wait long for the next edition and I'm willing to bet that that final edition will appear a lot sooner than you might think.