In less than a week, many will be getting their hands on Nintendo’s highly anticipated console, the Wii U. Being fully backwards compatible with Wii titles, I looked back at the games that really stood for me on the Wii. Seeing as how there are many people who skipped out on the Wii but garnered interest in the Wii U, I’ve compiled a list of favorites that I strongly recommend should be looked into.
10. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
When it comes psychological horror, Silent Hill has become infamous for that. While the franchise has seen it’s ups and downs recently, there is one notable installment that was outsourced to Climax Studios, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories. Climax (whom also developed Silent Hill: Origins) decided to provide a fresh experience by creating a re-imagining of the original Silent Hill from the PS1. Controlling Harry Mason, you search for your missing daughter after a car accident. As opposed to seeing Silent Hill from a “hellish” perspective, it is now a “frozen hell” in which the environment will ice up and when it does, it’s time to run for your life. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories takes full advantage of the Wiimote and does so without the use of Motionplus. For example, you’ll receive calls on your cell phone but the only way to hear the call is by putting the Wiimote speaker up to your ear, as if you were holding a cell phone. While there are a few others games that have done this (No More Heroes for example), Silent Hill brings elements that truly immerse you into this deep, psychological horror experience. To make things more tense, you don’t have a single weapon to utilize. It’s all about being powerless and having to utilize the environment to evade creatures that come after you. When a creature grabs you, you’ll have to thrust the Wiimote and Nunchuk in a motion that would replicate throwing them off in a specific direction. It registers very well and is more so impressive that it was done without the Motionplus attachment. If you’re looking for a unique and creepy experience, Silent Hill: Shattered Memories is one that should not be overlooked.
9. Kirby 20th Anniversary Collection
Kirby has really established quite the fan base since it’s original release on the Game Boy in 1992. Since then, we’ve seen a plethora of games starring the puffy pink guy throughout every console (except Virtual Boy) that Nintendo has put out. To celebrate Kirby’s success, Nintendo recently pieced together a 20th anniversary compilation that consists of Kirby’s Dream Land (Game Boy), Kirby’s Adventure (NES), Kirby Dream Land 2 (Game Boy), Kirby’s Dream Land 3 (SNES), Kirby Super Star (SNES) and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards (N64). While it’s not all the Kirby games ever released, it contains the essential ones that really made the franchise what it is today. There were numerous spin-offs as well, and you’ll be able to see what they all were in the game’s “History” which labels key events during the years of a Kirby title’s release. Aside from the excellent selection of Kirby titles included here, there’s also a brand new mini-game called “New Challenge Stages” which is built off of the “Kirby: Return to Dream Land” game engine. These provide levels to complete utilizing certain abilities Kirby can obtain. Compared to Nintendo’s previous anniversary collection which was very barebones (Super Mario All-Stars 25th Anniversary), this collection is worth every penny and feels like there was more care put into it.
Little Mac returns to the Wii to give fans a new fight to take part in. Developed by Next Level Games, whom were also behind Mario Strikers, Punch-Out!! brings back that classic feel of its predecessors by throwing in some classic fighters, while also introducing new ones. Having a very vivid art style, Punch-Out!! is a very nice looking game that runs at 60 fps, which is integral for the split-second reaction time you’ll need for dodging and attacking. Next Level Games incorporated a few control schemes to tailor to even the most old-school player. You can utilize the Wiimote and Nunchuk to throw punches and dodge, you can throw in the Wii Balance Board so that you can actually bob and weave your way through a fight, or you can even just hold the Wiimote sideways like an NES controller and play it old-school. Punch-Out!! fans owe it to themselves to enter the ring.
7. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
Sin & Punishment is by far, one of the most under-appreciated games in Nintendo’s library. When the original released for the N64, it never made it’s way overseas to the US. However, thanks to the Wii’s Virtual Console service, Nintendo made it available to download and even went back to translate all the menus into English. Upon playing through the N64 version and completing it entirely, it was a game that definitely seemed like it would’ve been a huge hit with the Wiimote controls. Apparently, the developers over at Treasure (Gunstar Heroes, Ikaruga, Sin & Punishment) were indeed working on a sequel to the N64 version, this time for the Wii. The game plays just like that of its predecessor but much more up-to-date and with incredibly simple controls. Your combat will consist of rapidly firing your blaster, charging up a power shot, or switching to your beam sword, all on the fly. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is one of those game’s that flew under the radar for many, but garnered much praise from fans of the original. The game’s mechanics are simple to pickup and play, but as with any Treasure game, choosing the Normal difficulty setting will have you really working for success. The game contains local co-op as well, so if you’ve got a buddy over, get them in on the crazy action. This is another game that takes advantage of the Wii’s hardware and boasts some impressive visuals. Also, the game has a rockin’ soundtrack that’ll stick with you, not to mention it has the best main menu song…ever. If you’re looking for an intense action/rails shooter, then Sin & Punishment: Star Successor deserves to be in your library.
6. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Samus is a very beloved character in the Nintendo universe. There are still those who recall finding out that Samus was actually a “girl” upon completing Metroid on the NES. From then, we’ve seen the series evolve dramatically, providing incredibly memorable soundtracks, ingenious level design and outstanding gameplay. Entering the GameCube era, Metroid was taken in a whole new direction in which the player would see through the eyes of Samus Aran in the first-person perspective. Thanks to the truly talented folks at Retro Studios, Metroid Prime ended up becoming a massive success amongst both critics and fans. When the Wii launched, Retro Studios decided to bring the final installment in their trilogy to Nintendo’s new console. Not only did they succeed in bringing the best installment to the trilogy, they also perfected FPS controls that set a new benchmark for the Wii. The controls really immersed you into actually “feeling” like Samus and aiming/shooting couldn’t have been smoother. Visually, the game looked stunning and ran at 60 fps no matter how intense the action got. If you’re looking for a first-person adventure with a hearty-sized campaign to tackle, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption fits the bill.
5. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The Wii has seen two proper installments in the Legend of Zelda franchise, one at launch and one completely tailored for the Wii Motionplus. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword celebrates the 25th anniversary of the franchise by providing players a new experience that once again reminds them as to what made the series the success it is. Our hero is raised in an entirely different form of environment, this time one that resides in the sky known as “Skyloft”. However, Link will soon be on a quest that will make him explore the lands below Skyloft. Link will have to use his wits and gear to rescue his childhood friend, Zelda, from the clutches of the Demon Lord. Utilizing the Wii’s Motionplus remote, you’ll be able to wield Link’s sword with a 1:1 ratio response. With it’s rich amount of content, beautiful art style, and perfected-as-ever gameplay, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword provides an experience that fans mustn’t miss out on.
4. Donkey Kong Country Returns
When it comes to 2D platformers, Donkey Kong Country on the SNES was considered an absolute gem and still is to this day. When Rareware was bought out by Microsoft, there was a bit of concern from Nintendo fans about whether we’d ever see the ape and his little buddy return. Thanks to the fine people at Retro Studios, Nintendo’s new “Rareware” in a sense, they’ve crafted an outstanding revitalization in the franchise that provides some of the most nostalgic fun you’ll get on the Wii. The game still retained the brutal difficulty but no matter the situation, this was one game that was incredibly difficult to turn off. DKCR was also a visual delight, pushing some really beautiful graphics on the Wii. Make no mistake, DKCR is one of the best Wii titles to ever be released and should not be missed at all.
3. Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
You can ask anyone on my staff and they’ll tell you, Resident Evil 4 is my personal favorite game of all-time. When it released in January of 2005 for the GameCube, Resident Evil 4 was THE game everyone was talking about during my High School days. I remember people going out to buy a GameCube just for this and for good reason. Then it came to the PS2 later that year (October 2005) with additional content and Ada’s extra campaign, Separate Ways. While the PS2 version contained more, visually and audio wise it was a downgrade from the GameCube version’s due to heavy compression. When the Wii was released in November 2006, the first GameCube backward compatible game I popped in was RE4 and at that moment I thought, “Capcom should bring this back to the Wii with the Wiimote controls…” Sure enough, in June of 2007, Capcom released Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition with all the content from the PS2 version, while building it from the audio and visually superior GameCube version. When playing RE4: Wii Edition, there was no question that it felt like a different game. It may have just incorporated Wiimote controls, but they made the game feel not only like a fresh experience, but one that was tailored for it. Capcom did bring RE4 HD to the PSN/XBLA but those are simply HD upscales of the PS2 build. If there’s any version of RE4 to own, it’s on a Nintendo platform and if you’ve still missed the game, this is the version to pick up for your new Wii U.
2. Super Mario Galaxy
Mario has come a long way since his NES days. What started as a simple, yet revolutionary step into gaming still continues to set impressive benchmarks. With its familiar, yet fresh gameplay, Super Mario Galaxy turned out to become the best Mario game since Super Mario 64 and was as much of a leap up for the franchise as that installment was as well. Galaxy is easily one of the best looking Wii titles, with visuals that really pop out and level designs that are simply brilliant. The difficulty is that of which you’d expect from a Mario game as well. Just going through to complete the story mode won’t be a terribly daunting task, but going back to collect all 120 stars will test the patience of even the most devoted of fans. Super Mario Galaxy is simply a game that deserves all the praise it has received.
1. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Super Smash Bros. is a franchise that carries a concept any Nintendo fan has ever dreamed of, pitting all their characters against each other. With the enormous success it received on the N64, HAL Laboratory went ahead to bring their sequel, Super Smash Bros. Melee, as a launch title for the GameCube in 2001. It goes without saying that the system sold like hotcakes for this title alone. Melee gave players a ton of content that blew the original game out of the water, filled with hidden characters, unlockable stages and a sweet Adventure mode that brought players through various Nintendo locales. In 2008, Game Arts brought the latest installment to the Wii, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, which provided so much content that the game was burned onto a dual-layer disc. With a hefty-sized story mode, stage builder feature, insane roster list that contained cameo appearances from even non-Nintendo franchises, and endless stream of unlockable content, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is a game that still continues to be played years after its release and must be owned by every single Nintendo fan.
Now there are plenty of other Wii titles that categorize themselves as must-owns as well. However, these were the ones that truly stood out for me within the console’s six year cycle.
Which games have you played here? Any particular Wii titles that stood out for you? Sound off in the comments below!