Jordan Jones with seven games to play before giving up on Wii U…
It’s happening. As of this writing, the Wii U is officially not long for this world. You know it. I know it. Nintendo certainly knows it. It’s certainly no surprise: the Wii U was, more or less, a complete a failure. We all had hope. I remember keeping my fingers crossed when the system approached its launch, hoping that it would surprise us all, and become a hit. I mean, I grew up with Nintendo, and I am always rooting for them. It’s unthinkable now, but there was a time when a Nintendo console was all you needed. A magic box that would fulfill all of your gaming needs. I was hoping that the Wii U would be that system. It wasn’t. Now? I’m hoping the same for the Nintendo Switch, and it honestly feels like the system is going in the right direction. With all of that said, it is now time to say goodbye to yet another Nintendo console. However, it may be wise to check out a few games before you move on. Here are a few fun games that have released toward the end of the Wii U’s lifecycle that you may have missed. After all, we know the Nintendo Switch won’t support Wii U discs, and there is no word yet about e-shop availability, so better safe than sorry!
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Originally a mini-game offered in Super Mario 3D World, the concept ended up being fun enough to warrant an entire game made around it. As ‘Captain Toad’, it is up to you to traverse various, increasingly difficult obstacles in order to reach the treasure at the end of each geometric level. When first announced, I’m not sure people paid much attention to this game. Nintendo has been known, in recent years, to release tie-in’s to their franchises that no one really asked for. Imagine my surprise, then, when the game was being unanimously praised for its charm, and clever level-design. There is a simple story here, but the main pull of this game comes from the way players can twist around the game-world to discover passages, and secrets. Expect plenty of “aha!” moments.
I may get some flak for including this one, but despite one glaring flaw, I still believe this is a game that Nintendo fans should try. How many years have fans asked for a traditional sequel to Star Fox 64? Well, I was 12 when the game released so… quite a while (I’m old). This year, fans got their wish, and the results are bitter-sweet. Visually, the game is very reminiscent of Star Fox 64, which is great for nostalgia’s sake, but also a strange comparison to make in 2016. Also, in true Nintendo fashion, a gimmick was introduced to shake-up the gameplay. Unfortunately, this gimmick took away the option for a traditional control scheme, which soured the experience for many players. Okay, so why am I including the game then? Simply put: maybe you will like it. Not everyone could get behind the motion controls, but maybe you will. If you can get over them, your in for a nostalgic treat. Plus, the controls aren’t anywhere near as bad as that Kid Icarus sequel on 3DS. My hands still hurt from that.
If I could jumble every review for Star Fox Zero into one sentence, it would read like this: the game has some frustrating issues, but Star Fox Guard is pretty awesome. Star Fox Guard is actually included with Star Fox Zero, but can also be bought digitally. It’s a very simple tower-defense game, but also a very fun one. You play as Slippy Toad’s uncle, “Grippy”, as he defends an outpost from incoming enemy ships. Players see from the view of surveillance cameras through their televisions, while monitoring enemy movement from the Wii U controller. Players can switch from camera to camera, and fire at incoming enemy ships. It’s nice to play a game that feels like it’s playing to the Wii U’s strengths. Surprisingly, there are not that many games in the Wii U’s library that do.
XenoBlade Chronicles X
This is a spiritual successor to Xenoblade Chronicles, which you may recall was one of the Nintendo Wii’s best titles. Thankfully, Xenoblade Chronicles X fully lives up to the reputation of its predecessor, featuring a giant sci-fi world to explore, and truly engaging combat. Players can traverse the game-world on foot, or explore in giant mechs called “Skells”. Did I mention these mechs can transform? By the way, did I mention that these mechs can transform into motorcycles? Honestly, if you really need further reason to play this: the music is composed by Hiroyuki Sawano (the man responsible for all of the music in Attack on Titan). The story is really thoughtful, and the world is even larger than the first game. If your still not sold, consider this: it’s an original RPG franchise on a Nintendo console. And it’s good! Very good, in fact. I can’t think of anything more nostalgic than that.
This game was an absolute hit in Japanese arcades circa 2015, and this year the game released world-wide for the Wii U. The best way I can describe Pokken Tournament is like this: remember all of the weekend arguments you had with your friends as a child, about what Pokemon would win in a fight? Well, Bandai Namco turned that argument into a video game. Pokken Tournament is not a turn-based RPG, but a no-holds-bar brawler in the vein of Tekken. The game has 19 Pokemon to choose from, as well as 30 support Pokemon to assist players in battle. Essentials like Pikachu, Charizard, and Mewtwo are present, as well as other fan favorites. A game more than deserving of that coveted spot next to your copy of Super Smash Bros.
Super Mario Maker
I was debating on wether to include this one, or not. It’s hard to recommend a game that I’m assuming most Wii U owners would have been crazy not to play. However, stranger things have happened, and I’m not taking any chances. Lets be honest: how many times, when playing a Super Mario Bros. title, have you thought: “I would make the craziest level ever. Other people may think that their level would be the best, but mine would be an absolute masterpiece”. Nintendo has made that dream come true in the form of Super Mario Maker, an absolutely brilliant level-editor that allows players to craft their own Mario stages, and share them with the larger community. Honestly, this is the best idea Nintendo has had in ages. Remember how fun Mario Paint was (maybe you don’t)? It’s like that, but 1,000 times better. The best part about Super Mario Maker is that it has endless replay value. The more time that passes, the more levels available, and the more tools available for players to make those levels. It’s the perfect game to put away for a while, and then rediscover all over again months later. I know this list was meant to be a goodbye to Wii U, but Super Mario Maker makes a good case for why you shouldn’t.
Severed, developed by Drinkbox Studios (Guacamelee), is the only game on this list that isn’t a Wii U exclusive, but I felt that it had a place here. The biggest reason is that the game originally released for PS Vita, and because of the Vita’s struggles, I don’t think many people have gotten the chance to play this amazing title. Well, you should, and you can play it on Wii U now. In Severed, you play as a one-armed warrior named Sasha who embarks on a quest to find her family. Using her living sword, she severs the limbs of enemies in order to upgrade her armor, and abilities. The game is extremely colorful, and has visuals straight out of a fever dream. It’s one of the more unique games to release this year, and shouldn’t be overlooked. (Also available on 3DS, and iOS).
The Wii U may be leaving us soon, but it still has a lot to offer gamers. The console isn’t perfect, but at its best, it provides a unique, and intuitive experience that is hard to emulate on other platforms. I feel that these games embody this experience, and provide a good reason to brush the dust off that Wii U, and give it one last spin.
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