Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Top Ten Under-appreciated Wii Games

Nintendo's Wii was the most dominant console this generation, but it really wasn't future-proof. Its graphical power was outperformed by both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 right out of the gates. Nonetheless, with its selection of casual titles and innovative motion control (so popular that the competition created their own solutions), the Wii sold strongly for about four or five years. Now we are at a stretch where sales have dwindled down, and the game selection is slowing to a crawl. For every Super Mario Galaxy, Smash Bros., and Mario Kart is a game that is overlooked and under-appreciated. This list is my attempt to enlighten Wii owners on games they may have missed out on. These are titles that either did not sell to their potential or were overlooked completely by nearly everyone.

10) Wario Land: Shake It!

Wario returns, but this time he's ditched the biker attire, the micro-games, and donned his familiar purple overalls for this console iteration of the popular Wario Land series. In every level there are a trio of treasures to find (entirely optional), bags of money just waiting to be shook loose-- performed through shaking the Wii remote, and a myriad of missions to attempt to complete such as reaching the goal in a set amount of time, not getting hit at all throughout a level, or collecting a certain amount of gold. The levels are cleverly designed both in how Wario reaches the treasure room to how he has to quickly race back to the goal soon after. The mellow soundtrack offers some memorable melodies as well. Wario is back, and he means business.

9) The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces

Take to the skies in one of many customizable fighter planes as you dogfight above enemy fortresses, dams, cities, and mountain ranges. Utilize motion controls to pilot your plane (the nunchuk is used as your throttle in this setting), or opt to use regular ones. The game features 20+ missions that have you protecting a friendly, taking down an enemy target or series of targets, or taking out as many fighters as possible within a given time frame. Containing massive amounts of customization, mission variety, a superb score, and intense dogfighting, The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces is great for the pilot in all of us.

8) Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Play as one of two characters in Muramasa: The Demon Blade as you venture across a perilous countryside, through forests, rough waves, and icy mountains, collecting cursed swords. This is all in an attempt to accomplish your task before the sinister Shogun has his way. Combat flows elegantly and effortlessly as you ward off soldiers, skeletons, giant krakens, and other mythical beasts. The true star of the show, however, are the gorgeous graphics. Hand-painted and never losing their luster, the worlds of Muramasa: The Demon Blade come to life with colorful backgrounds with objects such as blades of grass wafting in the wind and sensational scenery. This is one game that deserves a chance to shine in HD if only for the aforementioned visuals.

7) Go Vacation

Vacation, all I ever wanted. Vacation, had to get away. You will be able to get away with Go Vacation-- even in these cold fall and winter months. Participate in one of over fifty activities with over 100 different variants. Explore Kawawii Island's four unique resort areas: marine, mountain, snow, and city as you discover new activities, find new friends, and unlock new content. Create your own villa with furniture you collect from your various excursions on the island, and invite up to three other players to explore the island with you. Whether you're surfing, scuba diving, skydiving, hurling snowballs, riding horses, or inline skating, there's an activity for everyone in Namco Bandai's Go Vacation.

6) Endless Ocean: Blue World

Take a dive in Arctic seas, South American rivers full of piranha fish, and Caribbean oceans in this globetrotting adventure to find treasure within ancient underwater temples and tunnels. Interact with the aquatic wildlife-- just be sure to avoid those sharks! Discover buried treasure, make friends with a helpful dolphin, and hop online with a friend to explore the dank, deep depths of the ocean together. While the option to import custom soundtracks from the original Endless Ocean is gone, the Celtic Woman soundtrack is surprisingly poignant and pleasant. If deep water makes you anxious like me, then why not take a virtual tour of the many waterways of the earth with Endless Ocean: Blue World?

5) We Love Golf!

From Camelot, the makers of Mario Tennis, Mario Golf, and the Golden Sun series comes this Capcom-published take on arcade golf. With eight wacky, regular courses and three short courses, a cavalcade of characters and Mii support, online play, and the ability to unlock Capcom-related costumes such as Apollo Justice, Ryu, and Arthur from Ghost 'n Goblins, We Love Golf! is a golf bag packed full of content. The intuitive controls offered rewards for terrific timing, and the course design itself was challenging enough so the game never felt too boring. Couple all that with another sensational soundtrack by Motoi Sakuraba (Tales of, Star Ocean), and you have one mighty golfing game.

4) Klonoa

The floppy-eared wonder returns with this Wii remake of the PlayStation One classic, Klonoa: Door to Phantomile. With updated vibrant visuals and new modes, Klonoa's very first adventure shines brightly. He'll have to overcome perilous platforming challenges, grab enemies with his Wind Bullet and use them to launch himself to higher ledges, and solve intriguing puzzles to reach the final showdown with the being that threatens the very existence of Phantomile, a land made up of dreams. This all concludes with an out-of-nowhere heart-tugging ending that will touch even the most cynical with a hole in their heart.

3) Sin and Punishment: Star Successor

Taking place in a far away future, Sin and Punishment: Star Successor pits players against an increasingly more powerful enemy force. You'll point your Wii remote at the screen, picking off foes of low-level scrubs, mid-level forces, and big-time bosses taking up a sizable chunk of the screen. Up to two players can trek through the relatively short campaign, racking up multipliers to increase each others' score, and then hop online to add their scores to an online leaderboard. Those who missed having a console Star Fox this generation will find a lot to love about this substitute. It's the type of game that was a one-in-a-million shot to ever have been translated as the original S&P sold an atrociously pathetic amount of units in Japan. Regardless, Star Successor can now be found within bargain bins for less than twenty dollars.

2) The Munchables

Ranking at number two on my list comes The Munchables, a Pac-man meets Katamari Damacy type game. To progress through levels, your Munchable much gobble up lower level monsters than your character is currently at. As more monsters are munched upon, your creature grows, allowing him or her to digest larger enemies and advance to otherwise unreachable portions of levels. Boss battles have you eating a monster made up of grapes, broccoli, and chocolate, and the game features eight worlds of multiple levels to go through. For a colorful adventure that supports poor eating habits, there is no better alternative to a zany game than The Munchables on Wii.

1) Excitebots: Trick Racing

Sent out to die with no marketing whatsoever by Nintendo, this excellent arcade racer isn't so much about coming in first, but coming in first and doing so in style. At the conclusion of each race, the player with the most stars (earned by performing tricks, reaching high amounts of hang time, crashing into other vehicles, kicking field goals, catching butterflies, etc.) is the victor. Excitebots will have players purchasing new vehicle types such as squid, mice, lobster, ladybugs, frogs, and many more. The locales are numerous and have racers slogging through marshes, through dusty deserts in Mexico, and through wintry forests in Canada, to name a few. Online play has racers betting a set amount of stars and competing with up to five other players. For a game that will give you such a bang for your buck, Excitebots: Trick Racing is top of the heap.


Hopefully the following list provided you with some ideas of games that you may have not known were available. The Wii is an interesting console as it has the most niche games on it in comparison to the competition. Whether you're teeing it up in We Love Golf, soaring the unfriendly skies in The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces, or tricking out to rock music in Excitebots: Trick Racing, these under-appreciated treasures demand your attention.

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