Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Top Ten Wii U Platformers

Last week SuperPhillip Central delved into the best 2D platformers on the Nintendo 3DS. After a positive review of Yoshi's Woolly World, it seems like a great time to talk about the best platformers, whether 2D or 3D, that the Wii U possesses. The system has no shortage of platformers to talk about-- retail, digital, AAA publisher, indie-- so this list was a little challenging to come up with. However, I managed to persevere and come up with the top ten platformers on the Wii U game console.

10) Adventures of Pip

The first game on SuperPhillip Central's countdown of the best Wii U platformers comes from a smaller indie studio, Tic Toc Games. This title is also available on the PS4, Xbox One, Steam, and iOS. It's Adventures of Pip, and it's quite unlike any 2D platformer you've played before. The central gimmick has Pip as a pixel, but through defeating certain enemies and touching specific objects, he evolves in 8-bit and even 16-bit forms. Each form offers different abilities to Pip, so the challenge is being the right form to progress through the game and even find the myriad hidden areas Adventures of Pip contains. The game is well designed through and through, and it simply amazed me just how much I enjoyed it, making it one of my favorite games of 2015. Big praise from a little blog!

9) DuckTales Remastered

Bless me bagpipes! DuckTales Remastered is an exceptional remake of the NES classic, offering intricate 2D sprites set against 3D backgrounds for quite the lovely design aesthetic. Everything you loved about the NES original is present in DuckTales Remastered... and then some. An added, more in-depth story helps players understand the reasoning for boss battles and Scrooge McDuck's adventures in places like the Himalayas and the Amazon, while a bonus final level adds to the game's longevity. Throw in unlockable goodies like behind-the-scenes sketches and Jake "Virt" Kaufman's excellent interpretation of the original DuckTales game score, and you have one worthy remake that any DuckTales fan or lover of the NES classic should play.

8) Rayman Legends

What I consider the definitive version of Rayman Legends, the Wii U GamePad just brings so much to the table with this game. You can opt to play multiplayer with a friend or three, using the GamePad to move obstacles and interact with the environment to help out your fellow players, or you could play solo and use the GamePad the same way, only with a quite capable AI player instead. While Rayman Legends is indeed a highly competent and enjoyable 2D platformer, most of its content is recycled from its predecessor, Rayman Origins, and some might not care for the Murfy levels I talked about. Still, it's a strong entry in the Rayman series and one of the best uses of the Wii U GamePad around.

7) Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition

What do you get when you combine luchador wrestling with Metroid? You get Guacamelee! What do you get when you combine Guacamelee! with a more complete version? Why, you get Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition. This game is an exceptional Metroid-style 2D platformer, offering deep combat, tremendous 2D art, and a world that is mighty fun to explore, looking for every hidden nook and cranny the game has to offer. Gaining new moves like dive kicks, charges, and more not only add to the combat possibilities our protagonist Juan has, but they allow him to use these moves to explore new areas of the world map. What it all boils down to is a humorous, self-deprecating, action-packed game full of video game references that anyone who needs some Metroid-structured gameplay will enjoy.

6) New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U

I'm including both the base game, New Super Mario Bros. U and its DLC, New Super Luigi U, for number six of our countdown. The base game features some of the greatest designed levels in Super Mario Bros. series history, and it's a shame that it's held back by the less than amazing art style and music. New Super Luigi U brought with it Luigi in the starring role, more difficult levels to complete-- especially if you wanted to collect all three star coins in a level-- and shorter levels. The games alone are some of the Mario series's best, but together, they really make a case that Nintendo has definitely not its way when it comes to 2D Mario.

5) Yoshi's Woolly World

For 20 years now, Yoshi's Island fans have waited for a suitable successor to the SNES original's crown. Nintendo had attempted to create sequels, but these were lesser experiences to fans, not really being anywhere near the same exceptional quality of the SNES classic. This year, however, Nintendo, and more specifically developer Good Feel, have finally created an entry in the Yoshi series that not only is more than an excellent successor, but it many ways, it outshines the original Yoshi's Island. That game is Yoshi's Woolly World, and with its exceptional level design, always introducing new, fresh concepts into levels, a terrific art style with basically everything being made out of yarn or fabric, and a tremendous soundtrack, Nintendo and Good Feel have a game that is absolutely sensational and worthy of the Yoshi name.

4) Shovel Knight

The only title that appears on both this and the top ten Nintendo 3DS platformers list, Shovel Knight is an exemplary title that borrows ideas from many NES classics and retro titles like Mega Man and DuckTales, while remaining a completely fresh entity of its own. Yacht Club Games' maiden game launched rightfully to high praise, and it's so popular that a Shovel Knight amiibo is being made. Shovel Knight will be receiving a retail version across most platforms at the beginning of next month, so it's yet another excuse to relive this action-intense 2D platformer. From digging up treasure to making precarious, death-defying leaps, Shovel Knight brings plenty of challenge, entertainment, and tight controls to the Wii U, making it SuperPhillip Central's number four pick as a top Wii U platformer.

3) Super Mario Maker

Not only is Super Mario Maker an ingenious, intuitive, and easy to use level creator, but it obviously has the Mario series's intricate platforming as the base for the game. The level creator itself brings forth an easy means of creating levels with tons of options to create classic Mario levels, Kaizo Mario monster creations, and great experiments to the formula. Want to make a totem of Hammer Brothers? Have at it. Want to chain a Chain Chomp to a moving platform? Go for it! Super Mario Maker is an expansive level creator that allows players to share their crafted levels with the world, granting players the ability to star favorite levels and creators. While the level search system is not up to perfect standards, Super Mario Maker still remains an incredible value for any Wii U owner. Just imagine if this game released at the Wii U 's launch. I think the Wii U's fortunes would have been different, as Super Mario Maker is an exceptional game that uses the GamePad really well.

2) Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

When it was announced that Retro Studios' next game was actually a sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns instead of a new IP or Metroid game, many fans were quite disappointed. Well, actually, since they were Nintendo fans, they went absolutely crazy with overreactions. Regardless, the actual final product turned out to be immensely incredible, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze. Featuring dynamic, well crafted levels, interesting boss battles, a steady difficulty curve, and a fully Dave Wise-composed soundtrack, Tropical Freeze delivered gameplay thrills and platforming perfection to players. Not only would I consider Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze an amazing game, but I would consider it one of the best 2D platformers of all time. Yes, even besting my former favorite DKC game, Diddy's Kong Quest. THAT'S saying something.

1) Super Mario 3D World

SuperPhillip Central's top Wii U platformer is none other than Super Mario 3D World. Many expressed disappointment when it was revealed that this 3D Mario was more like the Nintendo 3DS game Super Mario 3D Land rather than a more blockbuster game like Super Mario Galaxy. It didn't help that the original E3 trailer didn't do much to excite. However, subsequent trailers soon changed the tune of many skeptics, myself included. Finally playing the game, and many fell in love with the ingenious level design, the constant introductions of new gameplay and level concepts, the brilliant art style and direction, and the ultra catchy, big band-inspired soundtrack. Super Mario 3D World succeeds as not just a solo experience, but especially as a multiplayer one, delivering an amazingly fun experience with up to four players. Super Mario 3D World may not have been the Super Mario Galaxy-caliber game fans wanted, but you'd be hard pressed to find many who would say it was anything but extraordinary.

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