5 Wii & Wii U Games You Need to Play Before the Switch Takes Over

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We're less than a fortnight away from the Switch release, and a new generation of Nintendo games. But before we say farewell to the Wii and the much-maligned Wii U, it's worth looking back at their respective catalogs and reminding ourselves that, yes, there were actually a number of decent games on both systems.

So, dust off your consoles, and take a look at the games we'd really recommend playing before you move into the Switch era.

Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

It was a toss-up between the 2011 original and its Wii U follow-up, but Xenoblade Chronicles edged it thanks to its sheer wow factor -- no-one was expecting the open world extravaganza that arrived on the Wii in its ailing years.

That it was a JRPG which proved to be huge and accessible took gamers by surprise, and while its graphics paled somewhat in comparison to the other consoles at the time, it was still lovely to look at and also boasted a killer soundtrack. It proved that the Wii was capable of more than just party games, but it unfortunately came too late in the console's life to cause a surge of similar titles. It was re-released on the 3DS in 2015.

Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)

While the Wii U spent much of its life churning out iterations of classic Nintendo franchises, it also managed to score a few great exclusives. Bayonetta 2 was one such title, and PlatinumGames followed up their wacky original with a hack 'n' slash that cranked everything up to frenetic levels of madness.

Better still, they addressed the criticisms of the first game, resulting in a seamless mesh of slick fighting, ridiculous combos, and a combat system that needed significant mastering to fully appreciate the attention to detail on show. It didn't shift the number of units needed to help the Wii U, but that didn't stop Bayonetta 2 from becoming one of the best reasons to own the console.

Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)

The plumber had a number of fantastic outings across both consoles, but Mario's first 3D foray on the Wii remains one of the best in the series, as well as one of the best 3D platform games ever created. Super Mario Galaxy took everything you knew about the characters and the world they inhabited, and ported them into space. The result was a dizzying and spectacularly well-designed platformer, spanning 42 galaxies, with no fewer than nine different power suits to aid you in your task (collecting stars, obviously).

The level design was near perfect, the pacing sublime, and the graphics stretched the capabilities of the Wii, but without any loss of fidelity or frame rate. The use of gravity added a new dimension which bolstered everything great about its mechanics, but without making it confusing. A technical triumph, which the sequel built on even further.

Super Smash Bros. (Wii U)

Following up a critically acclaimed game like Super Smash Bros. Brawl was never going to be an easy task. Yet the Wii U was the perfect console to host this party brawler, doubling the amount of possible players to eight, and offering up a staggering 51 characters to pick from (with another seven available to download). The eight-player Smash could have been a disaster but it actually worked perfectly, with the screen panning out to ensure that none of the mayhem was lost.

What could have presented itself as an incoherent mass of characters actually turned into a tactical triumph of mini-battles, each player working singly or with others to pick off potentially weak fighters, before turning on each other. Ferocious, colorful and always manic, it was also released on 3DS, but the Wii U version remains the one to pick up.

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD

One of the darkest entries in Link's canon, Twilight Princess HD took the original Wii game and gave it a coat of high-def paint for Nintendo's follow-up console. Along with the graphical upgrade, the Wii U version added extra support for Amiibo, a new dungeon, and a super tough Hero mode.

However, the real benefit came from the gameplay tweaks, as Nintendo addressed many of the criticisms of the original, such as fast-switching to the Wolf version of Link, increasing your wallet, and streamlining a couple of the tougher side quests to make them easier.

For fans, it remains as divisive as ever, but for those looking for a more mature vision of Hyrule, Twilight Princess HD is hard to beat.

There are plenty of other wonderful games we could have listed here. In truth, both the Wii and Wii U were home to a number of excellent titles, and some of the best ones -- including Mario Kart 8 and Rayman Origins -- will be getting a deserved re-release on the Switch.

However, we're hoping that Nintendo's new console fares better than the last one, and that third-party developers get on board early. The dearth of software that sounded the Wii U's death knell is completely avoidable. Nintendo know the mistakes that were made, so there's really no excuse to repeat them on the Switch. But in the interim, take a look at the last decade of releases -- you'll be surprised at how many gems you'll find.

What were your favorite Wii and Wii U games? Do you think the Switch will become home to similar classics? Let us know in the comments!

Published Feb. 21st 2017

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