The Nintendo Wii certainly wasn’t the most powerful in its generation of consoles, but instead of focusing on graphics or power, Nintendo took a chance on motion controls. Every game on the console required it, and many third-party companies were excited to develop for it. While not all of them were hits, the Wii’s library of good and fun games was staggering. Plus, it almost had more exclusives than both of its competitors combined.
Danana-nana-na-naaaa. If you’re like me you were able to just sing that text correctly in your head. For those who don’t remember, Wii Sports came packaged with the Wii. It was essentially Nintendo’s way of demoing their new, revolutionary motion controls. And even though it was just a demo of sorts, it was so much fun. Some people (my parents for example) didn’t even buy any other games for the Wii.
It came with five games in all: Tennis, Bowling, Golf, Boxing, and Baseball. Nintendo also introduced “stamps.” Similar to achievements or trophies on Xbox and Playstation. Unfortunately, they were only ever used again on Wii Sports Resort, and never seen again.
Wii Sports Resort
A few years later Nintendo fine-tuned the Wii remote with the ‘Wii MotionPlus’, an attachment that made the movements of the controller more sensitive. Wii Sports Resort came bundled with the Wii MotionPlus; essentially it was a second, better version of Wii Sports.
Wii Sports Resort was pretty much the same as its predecessor, but it had 12 games instead of just the five that Wii Sports had. More “stamps” were added as well, which made the replayability of each game that much more enticing. There were five stamps per activity, making a total of 60 different stamps to collect.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
This was the first time in franchise history that Nintendo offered a dual release for a Zelda game. Twilight Princess was released simultaneously on the Gamecube and the Wii. The two versions’ only difference is the world is mirrored on the Wii version. Link is typically left-handed and they kept that characteristic on the Gamecube version. Most players however are right-handed so Nintendo mirrored the world for the Wii as most players would be using their sword-wielding hand on the right side.
Twilight Princess has one of the greatest stories in The Legend of Zelda history. Mix that with beautiful graphics and superb gameplay and you’ve got one of the best Zelda games ever made.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Nintendo went a bit over-board with the motion controls on Skyward Sword. Unlike Twilight Princess where Link attacks with a button, Skyward Sword opted for full-motion controls, where each sword swipe would dictate which way Link would swing his sword. Certain enemies could only be attacked in a specific direction and if your angle wasn’t exact you would be punished. These frustrating controls left a bad taste in the mouth of players for years.
Skyward Sword does have redeeming qualities though, learning how the Legend of Zelda story started and the enthralling music alone is enough to make it a game worth playing.
Super Mario Galaxy
Not just one of the best Wii games, or even one of the best Mario games. One of the greatest games ever (only Galaxy 2 compares). The player is thrown into this game with some of the most beautiful visuals yet on the Wii with music that draws them in instantly. Running around planets, sometimes upside down made for some amazing gameplay that was unmatched in any previous Mario game.
There’s a total of 121 stars to collect across 42 worlds in six beautiful galaxies, each with its own special theme. The game can be played again with Luigi doubling the amount of gameplay.
Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario Galaxy 2 took everything that was great about the first one and made it even better. More levels, more powerups, and Yoshi! There is so much gameplay and so much to do in Super Mario Galaxy 2. Over 240 power stars to collect across 49 different galaxies make for extensive gameplay. New powerups were added including Cloud Mario, Spin Drill, and Rock Mario.
The inclusion of Yoshi adds new challenges not seen in the predecessor. Yoshi was also given three abilities including the Blimp Fruit, the Dash Pepper, and the Bulb Berry which allows him to see hidden passages.
Super Smash Bros Brawl
Super Smash Bros Brawl was definitely the least popular of the Smash Bros games, but it still did some revolutionary things for the franchise. First of all, they added a very in-depth story mode called the Subspace Emissary. This had beautiful computer-generated cutscenes that moved the story along nicely. Also, it was the first Smash Bros game to include third-party characters, Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake.
The multiplayer was sub-par compared to Melee on the Gamecube with much slower combat and new mechanics that were frowned upon. Even so, die-hard fans played and enjoyed it, some even played with the wonky motion controls.
Metroid Prime Trilogy
After the immense success of Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes on the Gamecube, Nintendo released Metroid Prime 3: Corruption on the Wii with their new motion controls. It did surprisingly well, so much so in fact that they rebuilt Metroid Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes with motion controls and re-released all three in one nice package.
The collector’s edition came in a steel case with an art booklet including concepts from all three games. Many players are still hoping Nintendo does a re-release of the Trilogy for the Switch before Metroid Prime 4 is released.
Resident Evil 4
Released two years after it came out on the Gamecube, the Wii version of Resident Evil 4 played surprisingly well with the Wii Remote/nunchuck combo. Resident Evil 4 overall was a much different game than its predecessors. The game focused more on shooting (from a third-person view) instead of the creepy camera angles from the games before.
Using the Wii remote to aim and shoot was very fluid and felt more in the action than using a joystick. Therefore being more in the action also meant being up close when Leon’s head got cut off with a chainsaw.
New Super Mario Bros Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii goes back to the typical Mario needs to rescue Peach after she’s been kidnapped by Bowser. This time around though Mario has some help thanks to Luigi and two random Toads. The game looks like a typical side scroller but it has 3D models throughout.
This was the first Super Mario game to feature simultaneous cooperative multiplayer gameplay. There are eight worlds total for players to conquer as a team or by fighting each other to the end.
Kirby’s Epic Yarn
Probably the cutest game ever on the Wii (and that’s saying something). Kirby and his entire world have been turned into fabric. This makes for some interesting gameplay as Kirby loses his best knowability, to inhale items. Instead, he can use his yarn body to turn into various objects to defeat enemies and overcome obstacles. Kirby will collect beads that can be used to purchase furniture and other home furnishings to customize his home. Kirby also can’t die in Epic Yarn, if he does take damage or fall into a pit he will only lose some beads.
This is one of the few games made for the Wii where the Wii remote is not used in a traditional sense throughout the game. As a side scroller, the Wii remote is primarily held sideways. There are a few times when a path needs to be drawn in which case the Wii remote will need to be pointed at the screen.
Mario Kart Wii
Another standard Mario Kart game, but this time it’s all about the motion controls. Mario Kart Wii came bundled with the Wii Wheel, a plastic steering wheel with a cutout in the middle to hold the Wii remote. Players would turn the wheel – or just hold the remote sideways if they preferred – to control their kart.
Mario Kart Wii had the largest roster to date with 24 racers to choose from. There were also 32 tracks to race on, and 16 of those were new to the franchise. For the first time on a console, this version of Mario Kart could be played online with players all around the world.
Super Paper Mario
Super Paper Mario was the third installment of the Paper Mario saga. This one had Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Bowser teaming up to stop Count Bleck. The battle system and gameplay style changed this time around. Previous Paper Mario games had turn-based battles, this version was more of a platformer with RPG battle elements.
The newest gameplay element gives the player the ability to switch from 2D to 3D. As a result, this would help solve puzzles by seeing things from a different perspective. Similarly, Nintendo would use this type of gameplay again on another game; A Link Between Worlds on the 3DS.
Donkey Kong Country Returns
Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong were back on a console for the first time since 1999. However, the game plays mostly the same as the original Donkey Kong Country (not that there’s anything wrong with that). In typical Donkey Kong style, he and Diddy Kong need to collect bananas, this time the bananas have been stolen by hypnotized animals, mind controlled by the Tiki Tak Tribe.
Most of the levels use the same sidescrolling layout from the original. For instance, swinging on vines through the jungle, racing through caves on mine carts, and of course, jumping around on the beach, just to name a few.
Xenoblade Chronicles was easily one of the most beautiful games on the Wii. Especially considering the lack of power the Wii had compared to its competitors. It’s an action-adventure role-playing game based in an open world. The player plays as Shulk with a party of three friends on a quest for revenge after their colony was attacked. Many side quests are present and the day-night cycle will change some missions and make other quests available as well.
Exploring the open world, collecting items, and completing quests are the core mechanics of the game. Therefore, the player had many hours of gameplay, even if they weren’t doing the main storyline.
Wario Ware: Smooth Moves
The Wario Ware series has always been a fun, quirky, fast-actioned party game. Each Wario Ware is made up of tons of five-second microgames with very few instructions (if any). The Wii version was no different. The player is shown a quick picture of how to hold the remote and then the microgame starts. The games get faster and faster cranking up the difficulty.
While the single-player campaign was really short, most people who played the game played it for the multiplayer anyway. Up to 12 players could play, all with one Wii remote that would be passed around in a sort of hot potato fashion.
Mario Strikers Charged
Mario Strikers Charged is the sequel to Mario Strikers from the Gamecube. The game is basically soccer but with power-ups and special abilities. Players can choose from 12 captains all from the standard Mario roster, and eight sidekicks to form a team of five players. The player plays as the captain and is the only one that can use the special abilities and power-ups.
It had a fun, yet gritty art style, with good multiplayer, and solid online play. Not many soccer games could compete with the popularity of FIFA, but when you add Mario and friends to a game, that’s hard to beat.
No More Heroes
No More Heroes is an action/adventure game that follows the character Travis Touchdown. After winning a beam sword in an auction, he must hunt down and kill the top ten assassins of the area. In addition, Travis must tread carefully as he is now one of the assassins being hunted. Eliminating the other assassins can be done in any order as the game is set in an open world.
Furthermore, Several side quests are available to complete which will help Travis on his journey. He will earn money to train, upgrade weapons and change clothes among other things.
Based on Japanese mythology, Okami tells the story of the Amaterasu, a Goddess that saved the world from darkness. The game is considered part of several genres including action, adventure, puzzle, and some platform characteristics. The game is primarily story-driven, that being said it’s a very linear game. However, that means the players can play through the compelling story at their own pace.
Okami’s main weapon is called the Celestial Brush. The brush is used to complete puzzles as well as combat enemies. Patterns that can be painted are based on the Chinese Zodiac Constellations and give Okami upgraded powers when she unlocks a new Brush God.
The evil INKT corporation has taken all of the colors out of Chroma City. The player’s objective is to take de Blob, essentially just a ball of water, and reclaim paint to bring color back to the buildings and citizens. In addition, he must also destroy any INKT patrols still roaming the city.
Although the gameplay is somewhat repetitive, each area of Chroma City gets larger than the last. Therefore the levels do get more difficult as you’re only given a set amount of time to complete each one. This game is an OCD player’s dream come true or worst nightmare depending on how much you can get painted in the set amount of time.