Ah, the Wii U! Not a console I’ve had a lot of great things to say about in 2013. With the absolutely HUGE shoes that the original Wii system left behind for its successor to fill, the Wii U has had a bit of an uphill climb. Even those in the gaming industry have been calling it a rocky start at best. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t gaming gold to be mined from Nintendo’s latest hardware release. So, if you have a Wii U, here are ten games that you absolutely need to play (or own).
OK, this may be one of those entries that only appeals to folks who had a real love for the original cartoon, but I promise you’ll enjoy this game even if you’re not familiar with Uncle Scrooge. Based on the classic 8-Bit Nintendo game, all the sprites have been redrawn by hand and the level designs are built on the bones of the retro title (while also expanding upon it). New and old players alike should find the Wii U version particularly fun to play, as it features integration with the consoles gamepad touchscreen.
The Cave is an interesting title that takes you on an adventure to, you guessed it, a cave. On more than one occasion I felt like this game was channeling the spirit of Monkey Island with its look and feel, which isn’t a bad thing in the slightest. However, don’t’ think the game is just a simple rehashing, as the real fun comes from figuring out the puzzles and navigating obstacles. The level layouts are winding (almost like looking into an ant farm) and you’ll find yourself backtracking a bit, but not in a frustrating way. It’s a lot of fun the first time through (and possibly a second), as it does sport some replay value as well.
New Super Luigi U
It’ no secret: if Mario ever does get offed in some mysterious accident, his over-shadowed brother Luigi is likely the culprit. In order to give the #2 Mario brother his time in the hot sun, Nintendo recognized 2013 as the “Year of Luigi.” Don’t expect all that much “new” in New Super Luigi , as this is essentially just a mod of the original New Super Mario Bros. Wii . However, the inclusion of Luigi’s signature high-jump (with many of the original levels featuring a shorter timer and higher difficulty), this update makes it worth a second look.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
There are two things every flagship Nintendo console needs: a new Mario title and a killer Zelda game. The Wii U has both, with the latter coming in the form of Wind Waker HD . Granted, this is just a souped-up version of the original, but this is by far the definitive edition to play. For fans of a cell shaded Link, this update gives us integrated Wii U touchscreen controls and should hopefully be enough to tide players over till the next official Zelda title is released (already confirmed but no release date set).
Wii Party U
Ain’t no party like a Wii U party ‘cause a Wii U party don’t stop! This is one of those games that has a lot to offer in small doses, so in the end it adds up to a big value. You’ll get a motion-sensing remote with the game and over 80 mini-games. Granted, they are pretty basic and don’t offer much in the way of depth, but that’s really the point here. Sometimes you need a casual title that anyone can pick up and play at a gathering of friends or family. Wii Party U is very low on commitment but high on fun factor.
Just Dance 2014
To be honest, it’s kinda hard for a game like Just Dance to go wrong. I mean, all you have to do is include good music, so people can just dance. The 2014 edition provides a solid selection of tunes from artists like Katy Perry and One Direction. To be clear, I want to say these tracks are meant to appeal to the average teenage girl, and at no time have I ever busted a move to Lady Gaga’s “Applause” (no matter what various YouTube videos may show to the contrary). Also, the game is as fun to look at as it is to jam to. The stylized neon will make you wanna raise the roof and jump-jump (kids still say that right?)
The Wonderful 101
Saving the Earth from an alien invasion is nothing new to gaming, but The Wonderful 101 brings something a bit different to the table. First of all, if you’re looking for a challenging Wii U game, this is your pick. There is a bit of a learning curve, but once you get some game time under your belt, you’re going to enjoy the action and Saturday morning cartoon feel. This comes from the same folks who brought you the stylized visions of Viewtiful Joe and Okami , so it’s guaranteed to provide a uniqueness you won’t find in other Wii U titles.
Rayman Legends is a master class in how much fun a 2D platform can be in today’s 3D gaming landscape. Rayman ’s controls are spot on and the game plays as smooth as silk. If I have any complaints, it’s that things are going to be introduced to you at such a rapid clip, you’ll barely have the time to digest some of the more interesting elements before you’re on to something else. However, I’d consider this an embarrassment of riches and not so much a problem, as Legends is just a great Wii U game to play.
If you’re a fan of the first couple of Pikmin games and are looking for something a little more involved on the story front, Pikmin 3 delivers. This game isn’t afraid to really push players to rise to the challenge of some of the more demanding strategy elements. It has been heralded as one of the best Wii U games in the early days of the consoles launch, and we’re not arguing. That fact still rings true, as this fun little tittle really is that damn charming.
Super Mario 3D World
OK, I know Mario is kind of a whore when it comes to pimping himself out on Nintendo’s consoles. From sports games to RPGs, he’s literally everywhere. However, Super Mario 3D World gets back to the core of what Mario does best: providing one hell of a good time. 3D World plays much like a hybrid of Super Mario 64 (which is one my favorite Mario titles) and the New Super Mario Bros. , with its new power-up suits that harken back to the glory days of the NES, is simply a must have for any Wii U owner. If you don’t have it, get it! If you’ve got it, go play it!
I’m not sure what 2014 may hold for the struggling Wii U, as the competition in the next-gen console market is going to be stiff. However, I can look back at 2013 and say that the system gave us some pretty interesting and fun games featuring our favorite franchises. If Nintendo can keep the wings level on this bird and keep it from dipping into a nose dive, she might just have a shot. Only time will tell.