Today we’re going over the best Wii U games the system had to offer. It’s a console that, you could say, was ahead of its time. In reality, that’s just being overly generous. The Wii U was an objective failure that failed to capitalize on the runaway mainstream success of the Wii.
The one thing that wasn’t a failure with the Wii U, however, was the games. While there wasn’t a vast line-up of titles, the quality was sure there. That’s why we will go over the 27 best Wii U Games.
Why 22? Because that’s all there was for this particular Nintendo console!
I kid; let’s get on with the list! As always, the only parameters used were my opinion. In addition, these games are listed in no particular order. You may agree. You’ll probably disagree, but let’s have some fun regardless and then sound off in the comments section.
Lego City Undercover
One of the best Wii games, Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, was released at the console’s launch. The Wii U didn’t have a day one killer app, although it did have a Mario game. More on that later. Within its launch window, though, was an underrated gem.
Lego City Undercover takes all the charm of the franchised Lego titles and brings it into an original open-world adventure. Dubbed the “Lego Grand Theft Auto,” Lego City Undercover delivered laughs, wit, and enjoyable gameplay.
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
Both Ninja Gaiden and Ninja Gaiden Black are some of the best Xbox games of all time. The follow-up, Ninja Gaiden 2, was just okay. Ninja Gaiden 3 was less than okay; it was pretty bad. Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge came in and changed things for the better.
Team Ninja took the criticism of the original release to heart and addressed the issues in this Nintendo-published edition. While the game still didn’t meet the lofty expectations of the original, it was now worth your time and an impressive launch title as well that earned its mark as one of the best Wii U games.
New Super Mario Bros. U
Sticking within the launch Window, New Super Mario Bros. U was the first Mario game to launch with a system since the Nintendo 64. Yes, that sounds as insane as you’d expect, although launching the Wii with one of the best Zelda games was a good idea by Nintendo.
New Super Mario Bros. U isn’t anywhere close to as revolutionary as Mario 64, but honestly, what game is. The title knows what it’s supposed to be about: an accessible and enjoyable platformer. That’s what it does well.
The Wii had Wii Sports. The Wii U had Nintendo Land. Both were equally great multiplayer games, and I will die on this hill.
Nintendo Land was the perfect showcase of what the Wii U could do. It may have lacked mainstream and crossover appeal and accessibility, but it got everyone talking that played it. My dad even mentioned how the asymmetrical gameplay was a great hook. He’s dead right, too: part of the magic of Nintendo Land, and the Wii U in general, was the possibilities that lied within asymmetrical gameplay. Giving people multiple experiences had great potential.
Sadly, Nintendo never capitalized, but we’ll also have Nintendo Land to look back on fondly.
Nano Assault Neo
Nano Assault Neo isn’t precisely an indie title. Its availability on day one on the Nintendo eShop, though, proved that the Wii U would welcome downloadable and independent games. The system was better for it, and Nano Assault Neo was a perfect launch title.
The sequel to Nano Assault on the Nintendo 3DS, the twin-stick shooter was perfect for playing in short bursts or even off-TV on the Wii U GamePad. It wasn’t Geometry Wars, one of the best Xbox 360 games, but it didn’t have to be. It was a great way to kill time between larger titles, especially true given the lack of games the Wii U would go on to see.
New Super Luigi U
2013 was the Year of Luigi for Nintendo. In celebration, they released an expansion to New Super Mario Bros. U: New Super Luigi U. Mario was gone and Luigi was now the star. Also gone were the accessible and simple levels and gameplay design.
New Super Luigi U was more challenging, together, and, if I’m being perfectly honest, a much better game than its predecessor. You were constantly in a race against time (you only had 100 seconds to finish the levels), adding to the game’s difficulty. Not to mention that Luigi also handled it differently than Mario. The game played on this, knowing the strengths of the playable character.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution – Director’s Cut
For the second time on this list, Wii U owners benefited from a superior version of a base game.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution was already a fantastic game. The Director’s Cut, originally planned as a Wii U exclusive, took it to another level. The addition of non-lethal boss eliminations, AI improvements, improved visuals, and re-worked features helped to make the Director’s Cut the definitive edition of one of the best games of 2011.
Developer Straight Right, who also handled the Mass Effect 3 port to Wii U, worked wonders making the game run as smoothly as it does on the Wii U hardware.
Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario 3D World has aged like fine wine. While it may not have been the 3D Mario title people were clamoring for, it was still a platforming gem.
The game manages to be both a homage to the past titles in the franchise while simultaneously moving it forward. It’s filled with new ideas and re-imagines what it means to be a Mario platformer. It’s a wonderful blend of old-school and new-school that deserves all the credit in the world as one of the best Wii U games.
Plus my wife loves it and she has the most important opinion out of everyone.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
If Super Mario 3D World is a great mix of old-school and new-school, then Tropical Freeze is old-school platforming perfected.
To say it blows New Super Mario Bros. U, a game that deserves to be included among the best Wii U games, out of the water is an understatement. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a gorgeous, challenging, and addictive platformer.
Retro Studios has shown that they know Donkey Kong Country on an intimate level. They’ve proven worthy of the task in terms of not just making games that hold up to their predecessors, but also exceeding them.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is one of many Wii U games that have been brought to the Nintendo Switch. Both my wife and I cannot recommend it enough.
Mario Kart 8
What is there to say about Mario Kart 8 that I haven’t already said before.
It’s the best Mario Kart game of all time. I took the time to rank the Mario Kart 8 tracks from worst to best. Naturally, it’s going to be one of the best Wii U games ever made because it’s also one of the best games ever made period.
Mario Kart 8 is the definitive edition of Mario Kart. The only way to improve is to go the Super Smash Bros. route: keep the mechanics and gameplay from Mario Kart 8 and add in every character, track, and customization option the franchise has ever seen.
It was a long time coming for Pikmin 3. Releasing nine years after its predecessor, the wait was absolutely worth it.
The satisfying strategic gameplay is a natural fit for the Wii U, especially when a later update added in touch screen support as well. The HD visuals breathed new life into the series, making it easily the most gorgeous and detailed entry to date.
I recall Miyamoto stating that Pikmin 3 is ultimately best for the Wii’s successor. Despite frustrations at the time, it’s clear that he was right. The game was meant for the console, making it a no-brainer as one of the best Wii U games available.
Rayman Legends made me a believer in love at first sight. From the art style, satisfying platforming, and absolute charm, Legends had it all.
An absolute underrated gem, the design of Rayman Legends impressed throughout. It proved that developers outside of Nintendo’s reach could deliver solid platforming action. It was not just a breath of fresh air, but fun throughout. It’s hard to play the game without a constant smile on your face. This makes it an easy selection as one of the best Wii U games out there.
Bayonetta oozes with style and flair. What makes the game so remarkable is that I’m referring to both the game itself and the titular character.
Platinum Games has rightfully earned a reputation in terms of making games complete with satisfying combat, over-the-top spectacles, and insane boss battles. Bayonetta is the perfect example of that and manages to get it done as a brand new, original IP too.
This is a game that deserves every ounce of praise it has ever received. It also deserves your time and attention. As does…
While the original is a multiplatform release, Bayonetta 2 is a Nintendo exclusive. Published by Nintendo themselves, the sequel is a highly touted exclusive to the console and one of the best Wii U games period.
The addictive, satisfying, and accessible gameplay delivers in every possible way. It expands on the original while staying true to its roots. This franchise is a bonafide system-seller that deserves more respect than it received.
There’s a reason why Bayonetta 3 is so highly anticipated. You owe it to yourself to discover why.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
It isn’t as memorable as Super Smash Bros. Ultimate or as beloved as Super Smash Bros. Melee. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U is still one of the best Wii U games hands down, though.
For me, it felt like a return to form for the series after my disappointment with Brawl. The new cast of third-party characters helps to round out rock-solid gameplay. It felt like the franchise had nowhere else to go in terms of improvement after this. The only possible solution would be Nintendo throwing us the kitchen sink.
Of course, that’s what they did with Ultimate. I guess you could say that the Wii U Smash Bros. walked so Ultimate could run.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Originally a side mission in Super Mario 3D World, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker became its own title. Who could have ever guessed that these adventure/puzzle levels would lead to one of the best Wii U games available?
Captain Toad builds on Nintendo’s strength when it comes to level design and accessibility. There aren’t any crazy gimmicks or hooks. There’s no wacky, complicated gameplay to be found either. It’s just solid game design that knows what it’s about and plays to its strength.
Like several other titles on this list, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker has both aged like wine and found new life on Nintendo Switch. It’s a new life that’s well deserved.
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
HD Remakes will often come with the same selling point: “you’ve never seen
One of the best Gamecube games is now one of the best Wii U games. Wind Waker was made for HD and its world never looked better. The ocean is more inviting, the colors are crisper, and the gameplay is even more satisfying than before.
This is the way Wind Waker was meant to be played. To miss out on this it to miss out on a classic.
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
Bringing Twilight Princess to HD didn’t bring the same “wow” factor visually that Wind Waker HD. Nevertheless, the remaster did include some quality of life improvements.
At a time where Nintendo was starting to lag behind with Wii U releases, Twilight Princess HD was a welcome sight. Traditional third-party publishers were focused on Xbox and PlayStation. Nintendo game people another remastered Zelda title. Win-win for everybody.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Monolith Soft proved more than capable of delivering an epic JRPG on the Wii with 2012’s Xenoblade Chronicles. Their follow-up, 2015’s Xenoblade Chronicles X, is easily one of the best Wii U games ever made.
More spiritual successor than a sequel, Xenoblade Chronicles X is an absolutely massive game that’s worth exploring. Monolith takes full advantage of the improved hardware on Wii U, proving that bigger can indeed mean better.
I know I already said it, but the game is truly massive. At times, the game’s size and scope are downright intimidating, comparable with other massive RPGs of the time. It was a game that I didn’t think was possible on the Wii U. I’m very happy to report that I was proved wrong.
As I mentioned above, it felt like Wii U support was starting to wane. The console was started to be seen as a failure and a massive disappointment.
Enter independent developer Yacht Club Games.
Shovel Knight wasn’t just one of the best Wii U games ever made, it was one of the best games of the generation. It redefined old-school platforming, free DLC updates, and challenging gameplay. Inspired by NES-era classics, Shovel Knight became a classic in its own right. It plays on your nostalgic memories, combining the classic look-and-feel of old-school video games with modern ideas and design.
Originally a PlayStation exclusive, OlliOlli eventually found its way to the Wii U. It brought slick side-scrolling skateboarding with it.
OlliOlli managed to fill a skateboarding void extraordinarily well. It was simple, efficient, and addictive. Gameplay was the definition of “easy to learn, hard to master.” No matter how frustrating things got, I just couldn’t put the game down. Nailing combos and stringing tricks together is as satisfying as ever.
It’s a perfect pick-up-and-play game as well, making it perfect to play strictly on the Wii U GamePad.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Technically, this is indeed a Wii U game. Since Breath of the Wild is one of the greatest games of all time, it only makes sense to include it in this list of the best Wii U games ever released.
The game was originally a Wii U exclusive to release in 2015 before receiving several years of delays. It’s safe to say that those delays were 100% worth it. Launched on the Wii U and alongside the release of its console successor, the Nintendo Switch, Breath of the Wild re-defined open-world gaming.
Yes, item durability gets annoying over time, but personally, I was able to overlook that. This is the first time an open world truly caught my attention. I wanted to explore every inch of the world possible, due to the fact that there wasn’t anything directing in me in specific directions. The world truly was my oyster and I could do just about anything I wanted.
Visually, the game does fail in comparison to the more powerful Nintendo Switch, but it absolutely holds its own in terms of beauty.
Super Mario Maker
Super Mario Maker is the game responsible for making me regret trading in my Wii U. It is, without a doubt, not just one of the best Wii U games out there, but the best one period.
Sure, you have to deal with a bunch of user-created levels that are uninspiring, overly difficult, and bland. When you find the best levels, though, and discover the cream of the crop of user design, all of your struggles become worth it.
I believe Super Mario Maker couldn’t exist before the Wii U. I don’t say this because of the wide selection of side-scrolling Mario generations now available, but also because of the various hardware and infrastructure features now possible. Creating levels with the Wii U GamePad is super easy and convenient. Nintendo finally figured out how to have some semblance of a successful online platform. The HD visuals on the Wii U allow each level to look as good as they deserve.
Super Mario Maker was a reason to own a Wii U. It gave me some serious FOMO and I’m glad I was able to play it as much as I did until we saw the sequel arrive on Nintendo Switch.
That wraps up our list of the best Wii U games, now feel free to sound off in the comments with any we missed and tell us why you love your favorite choice.