Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Top Ten Multiplayer Wii U Games

With the focus of Nintendo and a lot of gamers on the NX, SuperPhillip Central would be remiss if it didn't look back on Nintendo's current system that is now in its twilight years. Despite lacking sales, Nintendo's Wii U certainly did not lack appealing games. However, as we've seen, appealing games isn't enough to sell a console nowadays.

Regardless, Nintendo's failed console was one of the last bastions for couch multiplayer gaming. The system was an embarrassment of riches in the multiplayer scene, both online and off. Today's top ten list delves into just some of these impressive multiplayer titles that are best played together than alone.

After you've read the SuperPhillip Central list, what multiplayer titles on the Wii U were your favorites?

10) Pokken Tournament

Our first game on this top ten list of the best multiplayer Wii U games gives us a concept that seemed like a no-brainer, yet we only got it this year in the west. I'm referring, of course, about a Pokemon fighting game. That is exactly what you get with Pokken Tournament, a fast and frenetic 3D fighter from the makers of Tekken. The game features a motley crew of Pokemon of various fighting styles, sizes, and Pokemon types to create a great roster of fighters. Other Pokemon are represented as assists, being able to be called in mid-match to help turn the tide of battle. Whether online (which performs really well with minimal lag, which is obviously important for a precision and timing-based fighter) or off, Pokken Tournament delivers engaging action and entertaining fights no matter your skill level.

9) Wii Party U

I wouldn't have guessed that the Mii-focused Wii Party U would out-party the Wii U version of a Mario Party, but it honestly did. With a myriad of modes like an island treasure hunt, a clothes-shopping adventure around the city, or a race to the goal across a multi-mile long highway where multiple dice are used, Wii Party U brought the party many a time at the Stortzum household. The mini-games used the Wii Remote well, whether it was trying to stay on a bucking bronco, trying to pop the balloons on the opposing players' helmets with a giant mallet, or trying to perform the perfect pole vault. The added GamePad-centric modes such as the table top games included, such as the marvelously fun baseball meant that two friends could have an intimate gameplay experience together. Wii Party U featured so many modes and mini-games that it was a fantastic party package all in all.

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

One of the two launch titles on the Wii U that are featured on this list, New Super Mario Bros. U and its downloadable content (also in retail form) New Super Luigi U brought the multiplayer mayhem that originated in New Super Mario Bros. Wii, and added the ability for a player to use the Wii U GamePad to summon temporary platforms for the other players. This could be a blessing or a curse depending on how mischievous the player adding platforms was. Nothing like blocking a player's jump over a bottomless pit by putting a bunch of platforms in their way! Even without the GamePad player, up to four players running and jumping through the duo of games' masterfully designed levels was a blast and made for a much different experience than just playing either New Super Mario Bros. U or New Super Luigi U alone.

7) Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

While also releasing on the Nintendo 3DS, the Wii U version of Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate was the only one with online multiplayer, allowing a crew of up to four players to hunt a monster together. However, if you owned both versions of the game, you could transport your hunter between versions, so essentially you could play on the go when needed and at home for some online monster hunting action. Being able to set up hunts with both friends and strangers, engage in battles with behemoth beasts, and team up to overcome the odds were all incredibly fun. It made each hunt take much less time as multiple people were taking on a monster at once, and made it so the odds were more in your favor. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate still has a dedicated community to it, even though both Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate and now Monster Hunter Generations on the 3DS have taken many players away from this Wii U game.

6) Runbow

The sole indie game on this list of multiplayer Wii U titles (though don't get the impression that the Wii U was lacking in engaging multiplayer indie games), Runbow focused on multiplayer platforming which had a goal of having players be the first to reach and collect a trophy. This is all the while running, jumping, and defeating enemies while the level background constantly changed in a cavalcade of colors. This color-changing mechanic in levels meant that some obstacles and platforms in the foreground would appear and disappear based on the color of the background. Thus, careful attention and timing were necessary to win. Up to nine players could play at once, pending enough Wii Remotes and Wii Classic Controllers or Nunchuks were available. Runbow will be receiving a retail version this fall for both the Wii and the New Nintendo 3DS, so if you've slept on Runbow now, you should definitely wake up and jump on the retail version when it releases.

5) Super Mario 3D World

The New Super Mario Bros. series as of the Wii iteration introduced multiplayer to the 2D line of Mario games. Super Mario 3D World finally brought multiplayer to the 3D games with fantastic results. Of course, the game could be played solo, and it was a pleasure to play that way. However, the true fun came from having up to four friends in the same room assist one another through the obstacle and enemy-laden courses that Super Mario 3D World was positively packed with. The level design of Super Mario 3D World featured a start and goal, much like the 2D series of Super Mario games and Super Mario 3D Land on the Nintendo 3DS. The game remains one of the best gameplay experiences on the Wii U, and it's an absolute blast with multiple players, showing that not only Super Mario 3D World is aces alone, but also aces with friends.

4) Nintendo Land

Another launch title for the Wii U, but this one better exuded the promise and potential of the Wii U GamePad and the system itself that unfortunately was left unfulfilled. Nintendo Land brought asymmetrical gameplay to the forefront, having a multitude of multiplayer attractions based on various Nintendo IP, such as Mario, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid, for starters. Having one player use the GamePad screen while other players used Wii Remotes and a television screen meant that players could take on different roles with the gameplay. For instance, in Mario Chase, players with Wii Remotes pursued the GamePad player, who had the luxury of their own screen as well as a map to determine the best route to escape his or her pursuers. The promise of asymmetrical gameplay might not have been expanded as much in later years with the Wii U, but for a moment, Nintendo Land gave a somewhat bright future for this type of gameplay.

3) Splatoon

Many of us ate crow when Splatoon, Nintendo's new franchise for the Wii U, sold amazingly and became an immediate hit on the system. Many thought the game would be DOA since it was a new IP on a failing system. However, Splatoon is one of the big success stories on the Wii U, and that is thanks in part to its astonishingly funky and (to borrow a word from the actual game) fresh gameplay mechanics. Shooting paint at the floors and walls of maps meant your squid kid could swim through the paint, reaching new areas of the map that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. The goal of covering the most map with your team's paint is a highly original concept that quickly made Splatoon stand out with the other third-person shooting competition. Splatoon is one of the only games on this list whose multiplayer is best experienced online. While the Splatfest competitions are officially over, Splatoon is still very much worth hopping online and playing, as the player base is as strong as ever.

2) Mario Kart 8

What I consider the best and most complete Mario Kart package yet, Mario Kart 8 was a great game already with its standard 32 tracks, 16 new and 16 remixed from past Mario Kart games. Then, two DLC packages released, containing 8 courses each. Now, Mario Kart 8 is packed with tracks that added to the game's already massive amount of entertaining gameplay. The tracks themselves feature some of the best design the series has ever seen, and this is thanks in part to the F-Zero-like twists and turns that the anti-gravity mechanic of tracks have incorporated. Even the retro tracks from past Mario Kart games have been remixed with anti-gravity portions, making them wild rides from beginning to end. Up to four players locally can engage in Grand Prix races, VS. mode, or Battle mode. Up to 12 players can race online with lag-free racing goodness. Mario Kart 8 remains a fixture in many a Wii U players' rotation, and it's amazingly easy to see why.

1) Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

The all-star brawl is on, even two years after its initial release. Masahiro Sakurai and the rest of the team behind Super Smash Bros. for Wii U continued a fine and constant stream of quality content to players, whether it was new characters, stages, Mii costumes, or modes. The game itself can be played as both a party fighter (where I find it is the most fun with up to eight friends in a specific mode, while up to four players elsewhere) and a competitive fighter, as seen at EVO and other events. The roster of characters allows players to pick the Nintendo or third-party all-star that best suits their play style, or if you're like me, you just play as everyone as you're a casual player. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U has a plethora of modes to choose from, and the gameplay is so engaging that many players will be seeing themselves keeping the game close by to play for years to come. It's all these reasons why SuperPhillip Central has selected Super Smash Bros. for Wii U as the top multiplayer game for the Wii U.

Honorable Mentions:

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Hyrule Warriors
Mario Party 10
Pikmin 3
Rayman Legends
Yoshi's Woolly World

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