N-Europe's Top Ten Wii U Games
Posted 31 Aug 2019 at 20:15 by Glen O'Brien
It’s been almost 3 months since we started our journey through the greatest games for each of the Nintendo consoles, and each time, I’ve had to come up with some kind of opening paragraph to make these articles look even slightly professional. So, who’s the real hero here? OK, yeah, it’s not me.
Our last top ten focuses on possibly one of the biggest flops of Nintendo’s line-up (We don’t talk about the Virtual Boy here). The WiiU was mired with all sorts of trouble that impacted on its success. From its confusing name to third party support vanishing almost instantly, this console had it rough. That didn’t stop some great games getting released for it though and we’re going to find out which ones are the absolute 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...
We’re getting started with a slightly controversial entry in the arcade shooter series, Star Fox Zero takes the traditional shooter gameplay that the series is known for and adds a new spin to it with full 360 degree aiming courtesy of the Gamepad’s second screen and gyroscopic controls. This game demands a high level of dexterity that most certainly put people off, but those who stuck with it and learned how to handle the controls were rewarded with a tight, exciting arcade shooter. This game will always be an underappreciated gem.
"This is a fantastic game that sadly never got the love and attention it deserved. It is a fine successor to Star Fox 64 (even if it tells the same story yet again), and it absolutely satisfies the craving for a true arcade style StarFox game. It's actually incredible that this game even got made! Arcades are long dead and arcade-style score attack games are even deader. In a world where every game has to be a 100+ hour long RPG or open world game, it's incredible that Nintendo had the gonads to actually try and make a traditional style rail shooter Star Fox game that you can blast through in an hour; and I am incredibly thankful that they went ahead and did it. Because I will end up playing through this gem more than 100 times I'm sure! This game is a brilliant reminder of a time when games just had to be fun and nothing else; where replayability was far more important than running time. Do yourself a favour and give this game a chance; you may just be surprised at how deep the rabbit hole really goes!" - Dcubed
Nintendo’s real-time strategy series may have skipped a console, but it certainly returned in spectacular fashion on the WiiU. The Gamepad allowed for total control over the three captains, no matter where they are. 2 new types of Pikmin also helped to add some freshness for series veterans and that’s before I mention the great multiplayer mode and the deceptively deep Challenge Mode. It’s honestly hard to see how Nintendo can top this with a future entry.
"There are not many franchises in the world of Nintendo that hold a place in my heart as much as Pikmin. The world of 3 was similar to the past 2 Pikmin titles, but at the same time very different. Plenty of day to day objects to be explored and discovered, but in large format which provides cover and ways to defeat enemies. Playing as characters other than Olimar, with each being different in a lot of ways." – Jimbob
"It’s just such a joy to control Pikmin! Every obstacle overcome, each creature beaten, and every new area to explore is so incredibly satisfying and enjoyable. The seemingly short main game is extended massively with the additional challenge levels.
You will never tire of landing a perfect one hit kill on a Dwarf Bulborb, or taking down an evil Snagret. If these words make no sense then you owe it to yourself to find out and experience the pleasure yourself, where you’ll soon succumb to the charm and addiction of this delightful series." – WackerJr
I think we can all agree that Yoshi is very, very cute. So making a Yoshi game that’s made up of wool might just be the most heinously cute move to have ever happened in the history of gaming. If you manage not to die from cute overload, then you’ll be treated to an easy-going platformer that’s great for just unwinding after a hard day, or for relaxing with a friend. Thanks, Yoshi!
"It's a Yoshi game, what's more to like? Following on from the use of wool from Kirby, Nintendo converted another classic to use wool, and it was a great game. So much so, I bought it again on the 3DS. Each world was rife for exploration to uncover its secrets all knotted into clever hiding spots." – Jimbob
Mario Kart was certainly expected for the WiiU, but I don’t think anyone quite expected how much of a smash hit the latest one would turn out to be. 32 meticulously crafted tracks (48 if you got the bargain DLC packs), the largest roster of characters, including a few non-Mario characters like Link and Villager and the option to drive a miniature Mercedes makes this arguably the greatest Mario Kart to date. It’s so good that the Switch port is still played as part of the N-E Mario Kart League. Every Thursday, at 8pm, GMT. There, shameless plug over.
"Mario Kart 8 is the culmination of every single good idea used in the series mixed together and then turned upside down in a very literal manner thanks to the brilliant anti-gravity mechanic which Nintendo totally didn't take from another one of its racing series which it has all but left at the starting blocks these days, but even the great F-Zero gets some representation in the form of two dlc tracks, a Blue Falcon kart and an amiibo outfit for your Mii, so I can't be too mad I suppose.
Regardless, this is the finest entry in the Mario Kart series to date which you owe it to yourself to play if you have a Wii U and somehow don't own this game, if that's the case then "What's wrong with you?" as a certain former Nintendo executive once said.
The only way in which this game has been topped in recent years is with the release of Mario Kart 8 DX on the Switch which added the one main thing everyone wanted, which was Battle Mode, the dual item box made a return and the game runs a lot smoother in general; if it wasn't for the Wii U entry in the first place though then we might not even have a Mario Kart available on Nintendo's most popular system right now, plus the orchestrated soundtrack is nothing sort of amazing so it's worth checking out just for that really." - S.C.G
The home console counterpart of the fourth Smash title may have had the same characters as its 3DS sibling, but the similarities end there as this Smash focuses on a more demanding and challenging experience for the solo Smasher. Honestly, you haven’t lived until you’ve felt the exhilarating rush of fighting the secret hardest boss in Classic Mode.
Of course, this is Smash Bros. and the multiplayer is the best aspect of it. Grab some friends, stick some items on and proceed to laugh your face off as some idiot who thinks he has a match in the bag starts taunting, only to get hit by an item they completely forgot was in play and loses it all! We’re still laughing about it!
"Tight gameplay, bright graphics, and a general rework of the game's systems so that it would be friendly to casual and competitive smasher alike.
More importantly, this game still has more newcomers than any other game in the franchise, including 3rd party darlings like Mega Man or Cloud Strife. Character variety did so much for this game, and while Ultimate went on to blow up the franchise to new heights, we have Smash 4 to thank for keeping it together all these years." – Jonnas
A new IP from a publisher as big as Nintendo is always going to be a risk, especially one that carries a full retail price. It all depends on whether the idea resonates with your audience and appeals to a large crowd. It was never quite clear whether this title would be able to pull it off. It’s safe to say now that it did so spectacularly.
A third-person shooter focusing on team based competition; Splatoon has the undeniable Nintendo touch. Realistic gunplay is replaced with toy-like weaponry that utilise ink and spreading this ink around as much as possible is normally more important than flat out splatting your opponents. Splatoon provided a fresh new take on the third-person genre that’s easy to learn, but difficult to master.
"While I recognise the importance of Splatoon as an emerging new franchise for Nintendo, the way in which they advertised the first game will always stick in my mind as the defining moment for this series... "You're a kid, you're a squid, you're a kid, you're a squid now!" There isn't much else I can add to that really." - S.C.G
Following on from the format established by Mario 3D Land. Mario 3D World is a bigger, more bombastic 3D platformer with 2D Mario mechanics to sink your teeth into. Taking inspiration from SMB 2 (The Western version), you have four characters to choose from, each with different attributes, as well as the option to play with up to three other players for some added hilarity.
The thing that stands out the most for me is the amazing level design. Each level has a different mechanic or idea it focuses on which you rarely see twice. Each level is a discovery to be had and it helps the game to never outstay its welcome. Mario 3D World is pure, polished, platforming at its finest.
"Who knew Big Band music was so much fun? The best Mario game since Sunshine." – Nicktendo
"Mixes design choices from some of the best Mario games, with shorter more action-packed levels (ala Super Mario Bros 3) & mixing it with superb 3D level design (ala Super Mario Galaxy) produced a rather outstanding 3D platformer. Some of the later levels posed a challenge for even the most experienced of Mario players, but that just added to a game that displayed the creativity and talent of Nintendo’s game designers." - WackerJr
The selling point for this game is pretty easy to grasp. Make your own Mario levels and share them with the world. So it’s not surprising that this game has placed so high on our WiiU list. The creation process is intuitive and snappy and full of tools to help you create your dream level, whether it be a traditional platforming challenge or some load of rubbish where every block has an enemy in it.
Even if you’re not the creative type, there’s a practically unlimited amount of user-created levels to explore and test your Mario skills with. Sure, not every one is going to be a smash-hit, but stick with it, and you’re bound to find something to enjoy.
"This is your childhood dream realised. We all fancied ourselves a Miyamoto when we were kids, thinking "I could make amazing Mario levels! I know it all!"... now you can prove it! I've used lots of level editors for various games in the past, be they on console or on PC, but never has the actual act of level editing ever been so joyous! Super Mario Maker is more than just a simple level editor; it's an experience that is just FUN to use, even when you're not making anything amazing! I've spent hours just messing around with the little touches sprinkled throughout, like the way that the game sings along to the music with whatever you're placing (Ground, ground, shoe... hard block, question block, coin, coin, coin); or knocking on the door repeatedly to make a disconcertingly odd, and slightly scary, Weird Mario pop out of the door! This game captures the sheer joy of level creation in a way that no other game, or level editor, has ever done so before." – Dcubed
"Super Mario Maker allowed fans to create their own levels, bringing forth more traditional style levels as well as extremely creative uses of the Mario formula to create some truly fantastic levels. The addition of Amiibo support allowed for Mario recreations of other video games which was a really cool addition." – GenericAperson
"Mario Maker stands out for being a game about pure stage design, allowing the "art form", so to speak, to also be practiced by those who aren't computer-savvy. Aesthetics stay simple, and this plays well to the appeal of the game, as well as allowing it to be played by the most creation-intuitive control method of all: the touch screen. And because this is Nintendo, it's not just the essential stuff; you have sound effects, random fireworks, Amiibo interaction, and other zany stuff that's there just to make stuff more appealing.
But more importantly, Miiverse and today's online culture really allowed the fever to take off. Maybe the game allows you to see how players are beating your levels, but YouTube allows you to check their thought process as well. This feedback made the process really satisfying, and really worth your while." – Jonnas
It would have been such a shame to just leave the Donkey Kong Country revival at one title, thankfully, Retro Studios agreed and had one more go at the 2D platformer genre. Retaining the tight gameplay of the original game with some general improvements all round. Tropical Freeze may not have as many ice levels as the name would suggest, but what is there is visually stunning and musically perfect in so many ways. And if that wasn’t enough, you’ve Dixie Kong’s return to the series and Cranky’s first playable platforming venture to help you tackle the often difficult levels.
And for what it’s worth, I liked the Snowmads, they’re cool villains.
"Sure, Returns has more worlds but Tropical Freeze's worlds feel more distinct and backed up by one of the greatest soundtracks in video game history composed by David Wise. So many of this game's music went on my "Favourite VGM" playlist and the soundtrack goes in unexpected directions including heavy metal of all things. The level design is excellent and the new dynamic camera leads to even better level designs. The game is still really challenging especially the bonus levels for each world that eventually unlocks the last world. The game also feels great to play and it was the first game I committed to after getting a Wii U. A fantastic game which everyone should play, be it the original Wii U version of the Switch version with the new Funky Mode." – GenericAperson
"Taking the template from the brilliant revival that was Donkey Kong Country Returns which in turn aped the original Donkey Kong Country trilogy on the SNES, it should come as no surprise that Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze feels like the most complete title in the series as a general whole while managing to be a brilliant title in its own right. What was missing from the Wii game has been put right here in the form of a stunning soundtrack by none other than David Wise himself but not only that, each stage is not only carefully hand-crafted to bring the player an engaging and memorable moment but it also manages to tell a cohesive story as it progresses; there's not only thought in the way in which things are laid out but genuine logic which works on a game level but also wouldn't seem too outlandish in the real world." – S.C.G
Throughout these console top tens, there were more than a few times when it was hard to predict which game would top certain lists.
This was not one of those times.
More than tripling the amount of points of the second placing game, Breath of the Wild is a game that sets out to redefine what a Zelda game is. Focusing on having a ginormous open world that provides almost complete freedom to the player (after a small opening section), BotW was, and kinda still is a gaming phenomenon. It sports a truly impressive physics engine that rewards creativity and experimentation; it also makes for some of the most hilarious speed runs I’ve ever seen. You basically have to have been living under a rock to not be aware of what this game is.
"The Zelda series was built on the thrill of exploring the unknown and the mystery and excitement of experiencing a new adventure around every turn. Breath of the Wild’s pure open world experience encapsulates this better than possibly any videogame ever made. It’s an incredible adventure that you will sink hours into without realising it. If you only ever play one Wii U game, make it this one!" – WackerJr
"When everyone was excited for getting this game on the Switch, I picked it up on the WiiU. I felt (same as Twilight Princess was to the GameCube) that this title would be the Swansong for a console that didn't sell too well, nor had the reach they wanted it to. I played a good 50 hours of this game, never once reaching a Divine Beast but I did plenty of Shrines and lots of exploration. But, after a while I picked up a Switch and have played Breath of the Wild on this machine too (and have done some Divine Beasts this time around). As a final farewell to the WiiU, this game was nothing short of spectacular and a fitting farewell to such an underrated console." - Jimbob
"I played it on Switch... and what? My favourite video game of all time. This is 1986 NES Zelda fully realised in 3D. The trailer made me cry. All my hopes and dreams in a digital cartridge the size of my thumb. A masterpiece." – Nicktendo
"While it may have more reputation and association with the Nintendo Switch and indeed that was the platform I played this game on, Breath of the Wild is still a revolutionary Zelda game for the series that finally takes its adventure game element in the obvious direction, open world." – GenericAperson
While it's now too late to be a part of N-Europe's Top Ten game lists as we've reached the end for now please check out the thread on our forum as it's still a great place to discuss some of these fantastic games.
Exciting times indeed, thank you to the N-Europe community for making these Top Ten articles a reality and thanks to our readers for... well, reading them plus all staff members who helped to piece these articles together as it's a lot of work you know, but it's worth it for the love of all things Nintendo.