games / Columns

The 8 Ball: Top 8 Wii U Games

March 28, 2017 | Posted by Marc Morrison

Welcome all to another edition of The 8 Ball. This week, I’m here to talk about the Wii U and it’s…not so long lineup of games. Let’s be real, the Wii U on paper was a bit of a wreck, and most games for it weren’t so great. There was some amazing games for it though and I wanted to highlight them here. Not all of them appeared solely on the Wii U, but the games I picked were perhaps best on the Wii U. The big omission from this list is Breath of the Wild, because while it is an amazing game, the Wii U version isn’t the preferred platform. With that said, let’s begin:

#8: ZombiU

Here is the truly weird thing, ZombiU is a *very* flawed game, melee is kind of garbage, and the controls are generally awful. However, the idea of it is really great, with a survival game set in England during a zombie apocalypse, and your character becoming a zombie that you then have to kill to get your previous character’s stuff back. It also had some pretty good Wii U-tablet hooks, with scanning the environment. The perplexing thing is that Ubisoft didn’t make a sequel to it that improves the gameplay. If garbage like Red Steel got a sequel, then why not an actual interesting game like ZombiU?

#7: Smash Bros Wii U

Smash Bros Wii U seemed to invigorate the Smash community after the semi-disappointing Brawl came out. It was a faster game, though not as fast as Melee was, and had a more interesting roster. Stalwarts like Mario, Kirby, Pikachu, et al, were still there, but Nintendo added characters like Little Mac, Rosalina, the Wii Fit trainer, and Mega Man. Not only that, they had DLC support, so you get Cloud, Ryu, Bayonetta and more. It’s not the best Smash Bros game, that is still Melee, but it is a very worthy successor.

#6: The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD

Wind Waker was the last good Zelda game, at least prior to Breath of the Wild. Skyward Sword was a slog, and Twilight Princess aside from being a Gamecube title, was one of the most boring games ever made. Wind Waker is the one that people most wanted a HD remake of, that was at least viable (not Ocarina or Majora) so they made it. It didn’t change any overtly about the game but made more subtle improvements like increasing your sailing speed, or increasing your starting wallet size. These are just slice of life improvements that make it easier for new (or returning) players to get into the game. The more obvious improvement however, is the visuals, which got a nice update to bring it in like with HD graphics, which made the game even more beautiful to look at and play.

#5: Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8 was really Nintendo’s first foray into offering DLC for their games and it worked out pretty well. I think there were two DLC packs, both featuring 3 new racers and 4 new tracks, per pack. Like with Smash Bros, Mario Kart 8 was also a nice return to form for the series, after the bad motion controls of Mario Kart Wii, and the weird dual-racer system of Double Dash. While it looked good, it was really the sense of speed that this game established, which made it a more lively experience, especially where the online multiplayer was concerned.

#4: Rayman Legends

Rayman Legends came out on everything when it launched, but the Wii U version edged out the others with the touch controls. The other versions just had a button for when you need the frog to do activities, like uses switches or eat parts of the level. The Wii U version lets you tap the screen, or drag your finger around, to activate this ability. In speedy levels this was a small hindrance, but in the slower levels, it made a lot more sense and was fun to do. Aside from that, Rayman is Rayman, and is always awesome.

#3: Splatoon

Splatoon is the one big Wii U game I wish could come to other platforms. The art style is great, the tablet features make sense for the game, and it just has a very unique gameplay system where it’s more about territory control, via paint, rather than just deathmatch like most competitive shooters. I’m surprised Valve hasn’t tried to co-opt this into Team Fortress 2 mode yet. For all of the knuckle-dragging CoD or Battlefield players there are, Splatoon is a competitive shooter that requires good teamwork with your squad to actually win, and that should be applauded. Plus, the paint-roller weapon is fun to use.

#2: Bayonetta 2

In hindsight, if Platinum had come to either Sony or Microsoft and said “Pay us to make Bayonetta 2 on your console”, either one of them would have paid. But they didn’t, so Nintendo made the surprising choice of funding it themselves and got one of the best games of the generation for their troubles. Bayonetta 2 is in a master class of crazy action, over the top characters and pulling a deep roster of Nintendo history so as to show reverence for the company who helped co-fund it. For a company that has never really had a mature action-adventure focus, Bayonetta 2 is one of the best examples of the genre.

#1: Super Mario Maker

Most Wii U games never managed to make the tablet part of the console an important feature. Hell, most of the games even on this list didn’t quite know what to do with it, with it usually being relegated to maps, or subscreens, or that type of thing. Not only did Mario Maker make good use of the tablet, it practically required it and made the game truly special. Most level designers suck because you’re using a controller and it becomes a slow hassle. Super Mario Maker lets you essentially draw the level with either a stylus or just your finger, which makes actually creating a level intuitive and easy. Aside from that, there are dozens of playable characters with the Amiibo support. The best thing about the game though is the ability to upload and share levels and pulls levels down from your friends. While the actual tools for finding levels is still kind of trash, it’s still a marvelous feature to have, and makes the game something special.

For comments, list which Wii U games you enjoy and why.

Next Issue
Top 8 GameCube Games

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Nintendo Wii U, Marc Morrison