Nintendo Wii was a great console that never truly garnered the respect that it deserved. Sure, it sold around 97 million units, but I won’t deny that most of these purchases were made by people who were never going to use the console to it’s full potential. Sure, as a huge Nintendo fan, I revelled in the defeat of PS3 and (mostly) XBox 360 at the hands of a technologically inferior console. However, this was at the sacrifice of some brilliant titles not receiving the attention they deserved.
Now that Wii, from Nintendo’s perspective at least, has ended it’s life it means that some of those great games may even remain as forgotten gems in the history of the mighty Wii. Fortunately, Nintendo have seen fit to make Wii U almost entirely backward compatible with not only Wii peripherals, but a large portion of the games too. As a final swansong for the wonderful white box, I just thought to share my personal selection of games that, I personally believe that you should hunt down and play on Wii U’s ‘Wii Mode’.
1. Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure
If Wii Sports was the game that shows off what the Wii Remote could do, Zack & Wiki is the one that takes that basic principle and runs with it. The pre-packaged and wildly popular sports title had you using the Remote in simple ways such as swinging a tennis racquet or bowling a ball. Zack & Wiki however had you reaching items, sawing through wood, ringing bells, comforting a baby dragon, and plenty of others besides. The game is an almost old school point-and-click where the point is to solve each level, each of which was a large puzzle, by figuring out each step of the solution, with most steps being solved by different uses of the Wii Remote. Add a wonderfully charming storyline to this simple (but often frustratingly hard to solve) principle and you have a game that is criminally underrated among Wii titles.
2. Super Mario Galaxy
I personally do not think that any list of the best games for Wii is complete without Super Mario Galaxy. Being a bit of a Nintendo fanboy there was always going to be a Mario title in this list but, fortunately for me, this is one hell of a title. Taking the classic Mario formula and taking it to new heights is something that Nintendo do very well (take the jump from World to 64 for instance), but I don’t think anyone was ready for this. Galaxy; with it’s beautifully created worlds, often ingenious boss battles, wonderful new story (involving Peach’s abduction to the centre of the Universe), and breath-taking fully-orchestrated soundtrack, was simply an incredible game that I would urge anyone to play. For me personally, it is the pinnacle of modern Mario.
3. Xenoblade Chronicles
This is one of the titles that appeared very late in Wii’s lifespan, and was most definitely worth the wait. Xenoblade was released as part of a set of three JRPGs that were released as a wonderful swansong for Wii (the other two being Pandora’s Tower and The Last Story) and is arguably the best of the three. Monolith Soft created an RPG that felt hauntingly similar to previous entries to the genre, but which also felt staggeringly fresh. They chose to dispense with the complicated number-driven menus, random battles, and enclosed areas of other RPGs and instead focusing on creating an entire world to explore, a simple set of menus, and a intuitive battle system. It all gives the impression that Monolith Soft looked at the JRPG genre, took out all the bits that were stale and made a game from that, adding new bits as they went. The game is also probably one of the best looking games on Wii, possesses a beautiful soundtrack, and has one of the best JRPG story lines of recent times with believable and well-written characters. If you add to all this the fact that the game takes 40+ hours, and that’s not including any side quests, Xenoblade Chronicles is a game that deserves to be a part of any collection of Wii titles.
I admit that this title was on Sony’s Playstation 2 first, and that I haven’t played the recent HD version with PS Move support, but this is still arguably one of the best games on Wii. This game is Capcom’s great undiscovered gem, a lot of people haven’t played it, but the ones who have came away thoroughly impressed. At it’s core Okami plays like a Zelda title, with the emphasis on exploration of dungeons to discover new powers, with each dungeon containing a boss. However, with Okami, it is a case of how it is done that matters. With it’s Japanese watercolour graphics, lovable and quirky characters, epic boss fights (especially the final fight), and some of the most beautiful cut-scenes I have ever seen, Okami really never disappoints. It should really be a crime to have not played this title, in fact I would urge people to play this in any way they can. If you don’t have a Wii U/Wii, download it from the Playstation Store on PS3 or hunt down a PS2 copy, you really need to experience this game.
5. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
The final game I would recommend is one that almost no one seems to know exists, the Fire Emblem title on Wii. Fire Emblem is most definitely one of the lesser-known Nintendo-exclusive franchises, but it deserves so much more praise. The franchise is a series of turn-based strategy games in which you control units (of various classes), and need to complete the objectives of the maps without losing any soldiers. As opposed to games like Command and Conquer, Fire Emblem only gives you a set amount of units and most of these units have names, back stories and relationships with other characters. Speaking of the last part there, Radiant Dawn has one of the best stories of the entire series, with quite a lot of characters knowing each other from the previous Gamecube title, Path of Radiance. However, if a unit falls in battle, they are gone from the story permanently leading to some harrowing text-based cutscenes if you do lose one. It may not be to everyone’s tastes, but Radiant Dawn is most definitely one of the best titles on Wii, it just needs to be given that chance.
So there you have it, my top 5 Wii games. Of course, there are other great Wii titles such as The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess and Mario Kart Wii, but these are my personal best. If you have recently got yourself a Wii U, or if you are getting one for Xmas, I would really recommend that you give these titles a try. After all, you have no excuse now that Wii games have gone down in price. Feel free to comment away below or tweet me @reubenmount. Can’t wait to hear from you.