We here at SuperPhillip Central have been enjoying the Wii U for a while now. That said, it's safe to say that the system wasn't for everyone at its launch, and for almost a year it has had releases few and far in-between. Not only did this lead to poor sales, but so did (and does) the confusion among consumers on what the Wii U actually is. However, now the system and its manufacturer are starting to get some semblance of momentum with a fall and holiday season that is packed with some killer titles.
Much like Sony's PlayStation Vita has come into its own game-wise, Nintendo's Wii U has finally reached a point where there are plenty of games out that make the system a worthy purchase. The recent North American price drop and The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD bundle make a once-easy-to-ignore system all the more harder to look past. Of course, you could very well see this list of games and prefer more Western-oriented content, which the Wii U lacks when compared to other platforms. That said, the purpose of this article is to perhaps sway those of you still undecided on whether or not the Wii U is right for you. If the following list of released and upcoming retail games does nothing for you, then perhaps your taste in gaming could be broadened a little bit.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
Back when the GameCube original was debuted in trailer form, many criticized the more toon-like art style, disappointed that the more realistic aesthetic shown during a past Spaceworld event wasn't the one displayed for the new Zelda. Now, we're ten years since The Wind Waker's original release, and most of the Zelda fandom has ended up really enjoying the game, and specifically the art style. It absolutely comes to life in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD, offering high-def visuals, updates to help the experience feel less tedious, and an overhaul to the infamous Triforce Quest.
We sort of shake our heads when some folks say that they can't tell a difference between the graphics of Pikmin 2 and Pikmin 3. Yes, there are some people who say such a bizarre thing. Pikmin 3 might not be the most gorgeous game alive, but it really has subtle touches that make it a beaut to look at. Shigeru Miyamoto and the team behind the game crafted a splendid adventure, where solving environmental puzzles with your Pikmin posse was how to progress through the game, to collect more and more fruit. The added mission and bingo battle modes added even more variety to this rich and hardy game.
The term "mini-game collection" evokes a lot of negative connotations for a fair chunk of gamers. However, Nintendo Land goes above and beyond the simple "mini-game collection" by bringing players of the game twelve unique attractions, some deeper than others. Nintendo Land is still a popular title within the ranks of SuperPhillip Central, perfect for pulling out for parties or any other type of get-together. Each attraction has multiple stamps to collect through performing certain goals. Collecting all of these will take players quite a long time, as will gathering all of the objects around the Nintendo Land plaza. If you are a fan of Nintendo and their franchises or want a multiplayer game to enjoy with family and friends, Nintendo Land is the game to get.
New Super Mario Bros. U
Many criticize the New Super Mario Bros. series for playing it too safe-- for not reinventing the wheel (or taking steps to) with each iteration. With New Super Mario Bros. U, Nintendo has created a series of levels that rival some of their best efforts ever. No, the game does not amaze with its visuals, but with its tried and true gameplay it allows players of all skill levels plenty of excitement. The new challenge mode and boost mode concoct a different experience than what fans of 2D Mario have seen in the past-- tougher objectives with challenge mode and beginner-friendly assisting with boost mode.
New Super Luigi U
New Super Luigi U is like the Lost Levels of New Super Mario Bros. U, if that analogy makes any sense. (It should to most Mario fans). Luigi's game, seen in both retail and digital forms, implements a whole new set of much more challenging levels. Sure, they're shorter, but they contain no checkpoints. You also seldom get much of a chance to explore, as that timer always begins at 100 seconds. New Super Luigi U doesn't just serve the hardest of the hardcore either. The playable Nabbit character allows beginners to join in on the fun, seeing as the character cannot get hit by enemies. If you're looking for more challenge in your 2D Mario games, New Super Luigi U is a must.
LEGO City Undercover
One of our favorite Wii U titles at SuperPhillip Central, LEGO City Undercover features one of the most enjoyable open worlds we've ever encountered. There's no space wasted in the city, offering an abundance of things to do and things to collect. LEGO City is absolutely dense with content. The humor of the game appeals to all audiences, with some jokes and references that will go over the heads of the younger age set. Awful initial loading times aside, LEGO City Undercover brings an open world game to the Wii U that is charming and brimming with personality.
The Wonderful 101
Hideki Kamiya and the fine folks at Platinum Games teamed up with Nintendo to create two titles. The first of which is The Wonderful 101. The game allows you to take control of an ever-increasing number of heroes as they take on an alien menace. Through drawing symbols on the GamePad touch screen or utilizing the right analog stick, you can use special abilities to take down enemies and solve puzzles. The Wonderful 101 is packed with activities to do, things to collect, and pure platinum rankings to achieve on all levels on all difficulties. It's not a game for the faint of heart... or hands, for that matter. Underneath its colorful exterior is a game that will kick your wannabe superhero butt from here to Blossom City.
The Wii U has actually seen a fair amount of definitive versions of third-party multiplatform titles. No, it's not because of power differences between the Wii U and 7-8 year-old consoles. It's because of the features included. The Wii U version of Rayman Legends ingeniously uses the Wii U GamePad in certain levels to control a helper character, raising platforms, lowering spikes, cutting ropes, and removing things from the player's path. It's just not the same experience on other platforms (except Vita, but that version currently lacks Invasion levels and it is difficult to set up multiplayer, where Legends shines brightly). Rayman Legends isn't just a great platformer-- it's one of the best in recent memory.
Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate
This next game many players have a love-hate relationship with. Some absolutely adore it when it clicks, but with others the game never does, making them to quit, muttering about broken controls. However, a Monster Hunter faithful will tell you that the controls are made that way to force players to think before they act. Simply going at a monster all willy-nilly (that's the technical term for it, don't you know) will get you nowhere fast. It's about sizing up a monster, picking up on their patterns, and unleashing the wrath of God on them. The online community is still going strong, and many folks will help out beginner players to help them learn the ropes.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed
A third-party success story on the Wii U, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed sold best on Nintendo's system, a quarter of all sales were for the Wii U version. That's darn impressive considering the difference in user base between the Wii U and the already established Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC communities. While the game does have its soft spots (glitches and hard-to-see turns at times), Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed is a terrific kart racer that rivals Mario's recent racing efforts.
From a third-party success story to a tale of woe, ZombiU was Ubisoft's big exclusive for the Wii U. Unfortunately, the audience for a zombie game just wasn't there. Plus, Gamespot breaking the review embargo to post a negative review that was more of a reflection on the reviewer's skill/intelligence than the overall game didn't help matters either. Regardless, ZombiU is not really a first-person shooter. It's pure survival-horror. It's also pretty freaking scary. We don't play ZombiU with the lights off, and if we ever would, we would have a nightlight on at the very least. The game implemented the Wii U controller in some clever ways-- a scanner, a backpack (forcing players to move inventory in real time), and a keypad.
Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition
The majority of gamers would probably pass on Batman: Arkham City - Armored Edition despite it being the definitive version of Arkham City. They've already played the game to completion on other platforms. Why play through the game again? We actually wanted to replay the game, and a cheap Wii U version (price-wise, not quality-wise) made our decision simple. We cannot stress how great it is to have a map on the Wii U GamePad so we don't have to constantly pause and unpause the game. Arkham City - Armored Edition utilized the GamePad well, and it offers all of the DLC content on the disc. However, unlike what Reggie Fils-Amie said, it pretty much IS the same game with the same content.
Need for Speed: Most Wanted U
We really never thought we would say "definitive version" for a Wii U multiplatform game, much more three times, but that's exactly what we're doing. Need for Speed: Most Wanted U was Criterion Games giving the Wii U special treatment and all of their effort and cunning. The end result is a game that is gorgeous to look at, fun to play, and offers GamePad functionality like changing the time of day, removing traffic, switching vehicles on the fly, and other cool tricks. It's a shame EA's support hinged on multiple poor ports and this late port, as it's painfully obvious that they never wanted to give the Wii U a chance.
- What's Coming Next -
Sonic: Lost World
Sonic seems to sell really well on Nintendo systems. We're hoping that trend continues with Sonic: Lost World. The game is receiving a Nintendo 3DS version, but they have totally different level designs and developers, so it's almost too tempting to double dip. The Super Mario Galaxy inspiration is pretty apparent, but what better game to draw ideas from than one of the greatest games of all time?
Super Mario 3D World
We can't really say much about Super Mario 3D World regarding whether or not it's a "rehashed" game (we hate that word). We've only seen one demo, and the game is due out in two months. However, multiplayer 3D Mario is something we don't want to miss out on. Super Mario 3D Land on the Nintendo 3DS is one of our most loved games for the system, so it's no wonder why we are optimistic for the Wii U sequel.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Retro Studios knows how to deliver a capable, competent and satisfying platformer, if Donkey Kong Country Returns is anything to go by. Perhaps we're being too reserved with our accolades. Retro Studios knows how to deliver a superbly satisfying, incredibly capable, and overall near perfect platformer. This alone makes us truly hyped for the next adventure with DK and the gang. With the return of Dixie Kong and more dynamic levels, Tropical Freeze will surely heat up our December.
Mario Kart 8
One of the most visually impressive Wii U games won't be released until spring of next year. We can wait, but our excitement might not be able to! Mario Kart 8 brings anti-gravity into the mix, allowing racers to speed off walls, ceilings and traditional floors (if you want to be THAT guy) as they speed to the checkered flag. The demo we played was absolutely impressive and got our pulses racing as fast as Mario, Luigi and the rest of the field. We simply cannot wait for the eighth mainline Mario Kart.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Despite having pain in his hand, Masahiro Sakurai continues to be hard at work on not one but two Super Smash Bros. games, along with his talented team. Every weekday he updates the Super Smash Bros. site with a new screenshot. This drip-feeding of information is tiding us over while we wait for the final product to release-- or at least the next demonstration...
If The Wonderful 101 is anything to go by, Bayonetta 2 will start the action at high levels and only go higher from there. From fighting on a roaring jet to scrambling up a skyscraper, Bayonetta 2 is the game that spawned countless death threats, embarrassing reactions, and "Nintendo is stealing our games!" rhetoric. ...Now, we're depressed about gaming culture again.
After playing Xenoblade Chronicles we are ready to play anything and everything that Monolith Soft has to share with the gaming world. Their upcoming 2014 title (currently given the code name of X) features humongous mechs roaming across beautiful landscapes and battling colossal creatures. The Wii U doesn't have anything in the way of original RPGs on the system, so perhaps X is the start of a trend.
Other Games to Look Out For:
Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag
Call of Duty: Ghosts
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Wi-- we don't know what it's called. Come up with shorter names, please.
Batman: Arkham Origins
Skylanders Swap Force
Wii Party U
Wii Fit U
Yarn Yoshi (tentative title)