A lot of people are having issues justifying the purchase of a Nintendo Wii U. Whatever your reasoning is behind it, I’m going to list fifteen retail games that demand you own a Wii U. What’s more? It doesn’t include this year’s juggernaut titles Mario Kart 8 and Super Smash Bros. – these are games you can walk out of the store with TODAY – and many of them are already at great prices.
This is not a “Top 15” list – these are games hand picked by our staff as great experiences you can ONLY have on the Wii U; and all of these are retail SKUs (although some are available digitally as well).
Are you ready? We’ll go in alphabetical order and provide you with good, solid representative assets so you can evaluate yourself!
Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze
Yes, essentially the same game was just out for the 3DS – but that doesn’t change the brilliance of the Wii U version. Sure, it is easily one of the best looking games on the system – featuring gorgeous, lush graphics running super smooth – but the insidiously fun level designs chock full of hidden goodies and special events really sell the game. Even if you played the 3DS version, you’re going to find a lot new here to play; plus you can fully play the game on the Gamepad.
Game and Wario
Wario is back with an all new collection of fun games for the whole family. The gamepad immerses you in Wario’s world – letting you play the games in a whole new way. Medals to earn, prizes to collect and more games to unlock as you go. This is a solid entry into the Wario franchise and a great debut for Wii U.
Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD
Technically an “HD Reboot”, Wind Waker is a much beloved entry in the Zelda franchise. You haven’t seen Link come alive until you witness it in 1080p. Loaded with new features like message in a bottle, precision aiming and a streamlined interface – you’ll be ready to visit Hyrule again. Did I mention you can play the whole game on your Gamepad?
Lego City Undercover
An open sandbox world with dozens of hours of play, Lego City will keep you busy. The gamepad’s clever use as a scanner, interactive map and pocket computer give this game an edge on the Wii U system. It isn’t just for kids, either. The fun use of humor and puzzle elements will keep the “older” kids interested too.
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
Four player action spanning 24 different events – use the gamepad in all new ways and compete in online events! This franchise is always fun and this entry takes the same action sport games to a whole new level with fantastic visuals and controls. It is also a cheap way of getting a cool blue Wii-mote controller!
Not nearly enough credit has been given to Nintendo Land. At first glance, it is easy to dismiss this title as “Wii Play Pack In” material, but once you get inside you’ll realize this game is loaded to the brim with top notch experiences. While there are some good single player experiences in there, local multiplayer is where this game will blow you away. The Metroid and Zelda themed doubles games are amazing and there are even games for four players to enjoy together, featuring great IPs like Luigi’s Mansion. If you have a family that plays together? You’ll find little to top this excellent first party title.
Easily one of Nintendo’s best known IPs, Pikmin on the Wii U not only plays great but looks simply incredible. For the first time in HD, you can really get sucked into the world of these little guys. Amazing controls, fantastic levels and great multiplayer make it a game not to miss – only on Wii U.
Like a few other titles in this list, Rayman is not exclusive to Wii U (although it was supposed to be – AND should have been) but it is also by far the best implementation of the game. While the PSVita version sort of handles the touch screen elements of the Wii U version, it doesn’t hold a candle to playing through the levels asymmetrically with family or friends. Throw in the fact that it is easily one of the best looking games on the platform (or any platform for that matter) and you have a real winner.
Resident Evil Revelations
We have to acknowledge up front that this is a port of the high quality 3DS title of the same name. Fortunately, that doesn’t stop this game from being a fantastic experience on its own. In game mechanics like surveying areas with a scanner are far better on the Wii U – and the controls aren’t quite as cramped.
Sonic Lost World
Another cross platform game but Sega loves Nintendo hardware – and they pulled out all the stops to bring you one hot looking (and playing) Sonic game. Big boss battles, asymmetric gameplay for multiplayer lots of gamepad exclusive powers; this ain’t your daddy’s Sonic the Hedgehog!
Super Mario 3D Worlds
You know any first party Mario title is going to be top notch – but this game is through the roof. Not only in seeing Mario in HD glory, but all the graphics are insanely good and when you match that with solid, inventive level design and tons of disparate world types? This is a AAA title on ANY system. Fortunately it is Wii U only.
Tank! Tank! Tank!
You’ll need multiple players to truly appreciate this quirky tank battle game, but once you’ve snapped a pic of your face and you and your buddies are laying siege to giant creatures, huge insects and even each other – you’ll be a believer. While this title was initially over priced, it is at a perfect price point to pick up and enjoy right now.
Wii U Party
If you liked Mario Party on Nintendo’s other platforms, you’re going to love this. While similar to the Wii version, they corrected all the shortcomings and pulled out all stops for this version. In addition to the fun, perfectly tuned board style games you also get incredible “gamepad only” games you can place on the table between two people and throw down; completely independent of the TV; fantastic mini-games you won’t find anywhere else. Plus they include a free Wii-Mote Plus!
The Wonderful 101
The love-hate relationship people have with Wonderful 101 is well known. Now that the price is down to something a bit more impulsive, it is far easier to give this new IP a chance and to fall in love with it. Clever, action based levels with a twist of puzzle and strategy, Wonderful 101 is a breath of fresh air in an otherwise Nintendo first party dominated platform. There is a demo available on eShop, so there is no risk in trying it out for yourself.
As long as you’re not expecting Call of Duty Zombies, you’re going to love this undead-filled creepy action adventure. Designed exclusively for the Wii U, it really represents some of the capabilities developers can explore with the hardware. As a launch title, the price has come down a lot, so there is no reason NOT to add this title to your collection right away.