May 18, 2021

Feature: Best Wii U Games


Best Wii U GamesBest Wii U Games

Despite our affection for the the console, there’s no denying that Wii U had its share of issues. Chiefly, Nintendo failed to properly communicate the hardware’s unique potential to the game-playing public — a mistake the company was careful avoid repeating with Switch. The name was a point of confusion, too, with some people assuming that it was some sort of add-on peripheral for the original Wii (quite understandably given the strategic focus of pre-release materials on the GamePad while the new console was tucked away out of view).

Throw in some oversized, chunky styling and a lack of Wii Sports-esque launch title to instantly convey the product’s appeal and it comes as little surprise that Wii U was a commercial failure, and one all the more painful following the unprecedented success of its immediate predecessor. However, all fair criticism aside, there’s one area where we won’t hear a word against Wii U: the games.

Say what you like about the hardware or Nintendo’s misguided marketing, but Wii U had a large library of software across a breadth of genres and styles. There’s a very good reason Nintendo and third-parties have been plundering the catalogue and re-releasing Wii U games on Switch — many of them are utterly fantastic.

Below you’ll find a list of the 50 best Wii U games, including both full retail releases and downloadable eShop titles. Similar to many of our other Best Games lists, the ranking is governed entirely by each title’s User Rating in the Nintendo Life Game database and will constantly evolve to reflect those ratings, so you can still participate even as you read this. To do so, simply click on the User Rating star next to each title below and give it a score out of 10. The score will immediately be counted towards the total and potentially alter the ranking.

We’ve assembled these Top 50 rankings for a growing number of Nintendo consoles, so be sure to check out the Best Nintendo DS games, the Best 3DS games, the Best Game Boy games, the Best Nintendo 64 Games, the Best Nintendo Wii Games, the Best SNES Games, and even the 50 best Switch games — each and every one a fluid list that can change over time. Try rating the games in those, too!

Ready, then? Let’s dive in and see why publishers the world over have been plundering this console’s treasure trove for ‘Deluxe’ and ‘Ultimate’ editions on Switch. Here are your picks for the all-time 50 best Wii U games ever…

Gunman Clive HD Collection (Wii U eShop)Gunman Clive HD Collection (Wii U eShop)
Gunman Clive HD Collection (Wii U eShop)Gunman Clive HD Collection (Wii U eShop)

Publisher: Horberg Productions / Developer: Bertil Hörberg

Release Date: 3rd Sep 2015 (USA) /
3rd Sep 2015 (UK/EU)

Gunman Clive HD Collection is an absolute no-brainer. For the low price of entry, you are getting HD versions of not one, but two of the most impeccably-crafted action platformers of the last decade. They may be over a bit too soon and they may not always have the most fair level designs, but there’s more than enough replayability here to cancel out both of these problems. Do yourself a favor and go download this game immediately.

Nintendo Land (Wii U)Nintendo Land (Wii U)
Nintendo Land (Wii U)Nintendo Land (Wii U)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 18th Nov 2012 (USA) /
30th Nov 2012 (UK/EU)

Nintendo Land might not have been the Wii U killer app in the vein of Wii Sports, but it’s still a wonderful celebration of Nintendo’s past and an exciting glimpse of a future that might have been had developers been a little more adventurous with the GamePad (and had audiences responded, of course). When it works, Nintendo Land delivers riotous fun and is one of the best local multiplayer experiences ever crafted. There’s also a surprising amount of depth to the single-player offerings, too, and Miiverse integration meant you were never really on your own.

For nostalgic Nintendo fans, it was simultaneously comforting and exciting (we’ll take any drop of F-Zero-adjacent content we can!), and in its best moments it managed to make you feel like a kid again.

Mass Effect 3 (Wii U)Mass Effect 3 (Wii U)
Mass Effect 3 (Wii U)Mass Effect 3 (Wii U)

Publisher: Electronic Arts / Developer: BioWare

Release Date: 18th Nov 2012 (USA) /
30th Nov 2012 (UK/EU)

Yes, back when EA gave the impression of genuinely caring about Nintendo platforms, Mass Effect 3 was ported to Wii U. Starting with the third game in a series may not make sense much sense (with ME2 arguably being the pinnacle of the series to date), but it was a quality port from a Bioware series that excelled — at the time — in delivering complex storytelling with engaging gameplay. The ending might have rubbed some people the wrong way, but experiencing the beautiful Mass Effect universe on a Nintendo console was a treat that we’ve missed in the years since.

Trine 2: Director's Cut (Wii U eShop)Trine 2: Director's Cut (Wii U eShop)
Trine 2: Director's Cut (Wii U eShop)Trine 2: Director's Cut (Wii U eShop)

Publisher: Frozenbyte

Release Date: 18th Nov 2012 (USA) /
30th Nov 2012 (UK/EU)

Aesthetically speaking, Trine 2: Director’s Cut borders on perfection and deserves nothing less than to be framed and mounted. Unfortunately, that quality doesn’t quite permeate the game as a whole and uncomfortable controls and puzzle design issues mar the experience and slow the game down in a significant way. Anyone who enjoys physics-based puzzle platformers (with a hefty dose of hack-and-slash action) will find enough to overlook occasional issues, though, and its lovely environments also help mask its deficiencies in other areas. It’s available on Switch these days, too.

Axiom Verge (Wii U eShop)Axiom Verge (Wii U eShop)
Axiom Verge (Wii U eShop)Axiom Verge (Wii U eShop)

Publisher: Thomas Happ Games / Developer: Thomas Happ Games

Release Date: 1st Sep 2016 (USA) /
1st Sep 2016 (UK/EU)

Axiom Verge is an excellent Metroidvania that combines creative gameplay, beautiful visuals, and a compelling story to create a fantastic game which pays tribute to classics while doing something wholly new with the established formula. It’s made all the more impressive, too, by the fact that the entire thing is the product of one-man-team Tom Happ’s dedication. If you have even the remotest interest in 2D action games, do yourself a favour and pick this game up pronto. It’s available on Switch, too. You know, if your Wii U is packed away or something.

DuckTales: Remastered (Wii U eShop)DuckTales: Remastered (Wii U eShop)
DuckTales: Remastered (Wii U eShop)DuckTales: Remastered (Wii U eShop)

Publisher: Capcom / Developer: WayForward

Release Date: 13th Aug 2013 (USA) /
15th Aug 2013 (UK/EU)

Don’t let the cartoony graphics and Disney branding fool you: DuckTales: Remastered is a challenging duck-blur of a platformer that’s absolutely brimming with charm. The campaign of this affectionate remake of the NES classic may be short, but WayForward updated it in a way that makes the experience feel fresh and guarantees you’ll want to revisit it. This is essential gaming for fans of the original DuckTales or the animated series, and even if you’re not in those camps, it’s still worth a look for fans of Disney, platformers, and Disney platformers.

NES Remix (Wii U eShop)NES Remix (Wii U eShop)
NES Remix (Wii U eShop)NES Remix (Wii U eShop)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: indies zero

Release Date: 18th Dec 2013 (USA) /
18th Dec 2013 (UK/EU)

It would be simple to write off NES Remix as something only die-hard retro gamers would enjoy, but developer Indies Zero was really on to something here. The 200+ challenges are short enough to be interesting and fun to replay, but not long enough to outstay their welcome. The developer has even managed to make challenges based on games like Urban Champion and Baseball fun, which is an achievement in itself. If you’re the type who likes to relentlessly collect stuff, the stars and stamps will also keep you entertained.

Pairs well with its sequel, too. Who wouldn’t want to play Super Mario Bros. backwards?

New Super Luigi U (Wii U eShop)New Super Luigi U (Wii U eShop)
New Super Luigi U (Wii U eShop)New Super Luigi U (Wii U eShop)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo

Release Date: 20th Jun 2013 (USA) /
20th Jun 2013 (UK/EU)

New Super Luigi U is a terrific title for capable platform gamers, with intense and exciting bursts of momentum to put those thumbs to the test. What that does do, however, is make multiplayer even more awkward than it was before in New Super Mario Bros. U, and arguably puts this beyond the reach of less experienced gamers, even using the indestructible Nabbit. The sense of the old you get from revisiting familiar stages here is thankfully tempered by a fresh feel and clever level design, however, and even if Luigi’s adventure doesn’t last long for those without completionist instincts, it’s fun while it does last.

Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Wii U)Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Wii U)
Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Wii U)Tekken Tag Tournament 2 (Wii U)

Publisher: Bandai Namco

Release Date: 18th Nov 2012 (USA) /
30th Nov 2012 (UK/EU)

Another great addition to the roster of the console with ‘no games’, Tekken Tag Tournament 2 launched alongside Wii U and threw exclusive Nintendo costumes and power-ups into its quality fighting mix, plus DLC content from other platforms, too. This entry in Namco’s franchise had already cemented itself as a quality participant contender in the genre, but add in the Wii U exclusive modes, bells and whistles and you’re left with perhaps the best console version of a fine fighter.

New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)
New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)New Super Mario Bros. U (Wii U)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD

Release Date: 18th Nov 2012 (USA) /
30th Nov 2012 (UK/EU)

If you loaded up New Super Mario Bros. U with the expectation of playing another genre-defying escapade like Super Mario 64 or Super Mario Galaxy, then you may have come away disappointed. Mario’s first game for the Wii U played it safe when it came to theme and concept; like previous titles in the ‘New’ series, this was essentially a colourful rehash of the same old blueprint. The mechanics remained the same, but gilded by decades of subtle refinements and enhancements, ultimately leading to one of the most accomplished 2D platformers ever created. New Super Mario Bros. U may not have offered a cataclysmic genre shift, but it was a fine Wii U launch game and remains a 2D gem in the Mario canon (now more easily accessed on Switch in ‘Deluxe’ form).


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