The Wii U is coming out next year, but what about that Wii you have right now? Sure you could wait and play Wii games on the Wii U, but you won’t. And if you feel like there aren’t any good games for your Wii, here’s a list that includes two of the best indie games ever, four multiplayer games, and six “Game of the Year” winners to change your mind.
10) Kirby's Epic Yarn
Stealing “Best Graphics of the Year” Awards from the high-production value titles in 2010, Kirby’s Epic Yarn not only sports a totally original art style, but also literally weaves that style into new kinds of gameplay. Kirby used to suck, a lot. No literally, his powers were based around inhaling enemies to copy their abilities. Since Kirby is now made of yarn, his body is hollow, so air just passes right through. You won’t miss his suction power though as his new yarn whip attack allows you to unbutton levels and take down giant bosses one thread at a time. With the ability to have a co-op partner jump in at will, there’s no reason to hesitate in unraveling this one.
9) Donkey Kong Country Returns
This barrel of monkeys is also a rocket launcher. Whether you come for the nostalgia, the challenge, or the co-op play, this iteration of Donkey Kong Country really is a return to form. The classic 2D gameplay is fully intact as you make your way through dense levels packed with secrets and bathed in new visual flourishes. And yes, there are mine carts. If you’re ready for a more demanding Wii game, jump on the rhino and ride.
8) Cave Story Wii
The sleeper on the list, PC indie game Cave Story finally made it to a home console with this Wiiware iteration. A retro gaming fan’s dream come true, Cave Story borrows heavily from classic Metroid for its gameplay and rocks some truly gorgeous NES-inspired visuals. Looking for serious difficulty? It’s here if you want it. Better still, the game feels like it was originally designed to be played with a Wiimote turned on its side. The Wii port doesn’t just add better visuals and new modes, it’s the only way to play Cave Story on your couch.
7) Okami Wii
There are countless games influenced by Nintendo’s Zelda series, but few of them go on to inspire future Zelda games. Okami’s aesthetics and story evoke classical Japanese art and mythology respectively, and to beautiful effect (the story follows a sun goddess who took the form of a white wolf). The player interacts with the world of Okami using a magical brush, making the game a perfect fit for the Wii’s motion controls. Though critically acclaimed, Okami failed to garner the sales it deserved with either of its iterations. We give it a big wolf whistle.
6) World of Goo
With a hilariously absurdist tone, gripping music, and an entirely unique aesthetic, this ingenious and kinetic puzzle game literally oozes style. The Wii controls are perfect for the one-of-a-kind point, grab, and drop gameplay, which poses a real challenge to even the experienced gamer. World of Goo is everything indie games do well, done masterfully for this platform.
5) Metroid Prime Trilogy
Currently listed at $124.43 on Amazon.com, this limited edition release that bundled all three Metroid Prime games onto one Wii disc is not the easiest game to get your hands on. The Prime series set the standard for first-person adventure games, and then went on to set the standard for first-person shooters on the Wii. The three games boast massive worlds, varied enemies, and countless secrets. The attention to detail is staggering, with every surface, item, object, and enemy in the games being scannable for further reading. Frequently referred to as the Citizen Kane of video games, it might just be worth breaking the bank to see your reflection in Samus’ visor one more time.
4) The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
This is the only Zelda game to ever receive a “T for Teen” rating (and there have been more than a dozen since 1986). With that knowledge you should already be sold on this darker, grittier, more mature Zelda story. The world of Twilight Princess is more massive and dense than ever, while at the same time introducing horseback combat and adding much needed complexity to the classic Zelda swordplay. You won’t just be wailing on enemies until they die, you’ll be dodging, parrying, countering, and rolling around them to attack from behind. As if that wasn’t enough, the protagonist Link can turn into a wolf for a whole new set of abilities.
3) Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
Considered by many critics to be the greatest game of all time, Resident Evil 4 broke the mold for both horror games and third-person shooters. The Wii Edition not only bundles all the extra content from previous versions, but also adds pitch perfect motion controls that make blowing off zombies’ heads more intuitive and satisfying than ever. What’s more, the atmosphere is mind-blowingly rich and elaborate, and the game comes from a time when the survival horror genre still had moments of real horror.
2) Super Smash Bros. Brawl
The Wii isn’t just the exclusive home to Smash Bros., it’s the only place to play the game’s entire genre. Referred to as a “platform fighter,” the series abandons traditional fighting game lifebars and instead tasks you with knocking your opponents off of highly-varied, multi-tiered stages. With infinite replay value, user-created levels, the best multiplayer experience on the Wii, and a huge roster of characters, Brawl is far and away the most played game on the console. There’s an incredible amount of depth for those who want it, and simple controls that anyone can pick up and understand. It is the game that brought hardcore gamers to the Wii.
1) Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2
Obvious? To some, perhaps. But we can’t leave this off the list of the 10 best games for the Wii. First, consider that almost every level in the Galaxy series introduces a completely new and well-realized gameplay element. It’s not just running, jumping, swimming, and flying anymore. You’ll be balancing on glass spheres, swinging from stars, riding stingrays, filling up like a balloon, and becoming a bee, just to name a few. Forget story, forget cut scenes: Galaxy will make you smile, shiver, and maybe even tear up with level design that raises the bar for the entire industry. New and old power-ups, motion controls thoughtfully used and seamlessly weaved in, and Luigi and Yoshi make this the complete Mario package, and Nintendo at its finest. If you don’t own a Wii, find one just to play these games.