It's the Summer Solstice here at Nintendo Life HQ in the UK, the longest day of the year. That comes at the end of the longest week of the year following E3, at which Nintendo had a mixed showing. What the event did deliver, in addition to some controversy and a clutch of wonderful moments, was a clearer look at the release line-up for the rest of the year; it gives us an opportunity, then, to consider the big games on the way.
The focus of this list is on retail Wii U games, as shoe-horning a couple of downloads into this feature seemed rather unfair; the fact is that there are plenty of Wii U eShop titles competing for places in their own list to come in the hopefully-not-too-distant future. On the flipside that means that this retail list has a couple of titles that, perhaps, will be lucky to accumulate 1% each in the poll at the end. They're not bad games, but we have plenty of evidence to suggest they won't push the buttons of the Nintendo Life community, either.
Oh, and there's no place for Animal Crossing amiibo Festival, as your humble writer and the editorial team simply don't feel it merits a place based on the limited evidence out of E3.
As always you'll be able to vote for your choice in a poll at the end, so without further ado let's list 10 of the biggest games still coming to Wii U in 2015.
E3 2015 - or to be specific the Nintendo World Championships - was a wonderful moment where this title truly shined. With the ability to switch between four visual sets for classic titles and to throw in charming amiibo-based characters, this will allow us to create and share devious masterpieces in various ways. It's evolved into a substantial, powerful level creation tool that'll also be home to some truly wonderful stages, and we're really looking forward to its arrival.
We finally had a good look at this title, with a final name and a clear sense of the direction it's taking. Utilising the GamePad in various ways, along with neat vehicle transformations and enough nostalgic throwbacks to satisfy any retro gamer, this is conceptually exciting. That said, this PlatinumGames co-development project has attracted critics for its visuals, and in our first impressions article we didn't get on brilliantly with the controls, either. There's plenty of excitement, but also a little concern - let's hope the final product will deliver the goods.
Kirby's Epic Yarn was a gorgeous platformer on Wii, and the aesthetic looks even more amazing in HD. With staple Yoshi platforming mechanics and clever puzzles in plentiful supply, this also has some so-cute-it-hurts Yarn Yoshi amiibo and neat in-game character designs based on the toys and also collectible within levels. We hope over-exposure doesn't make too many players jaded towards this, as it's a platforming treat.
Predecessor Xenoblade Chronicles had a torturous route to the West, but Nintendo has been quicker in preparing this one, no doubt feverishly working on localisation right up to the Holiday release. Monolith Soft is once again at the helm, and this adventure brings enormous alien world to explore and Skells (mechs known as Dolls in Japan) that'll make this writer squee once they're available to fly. This should keep plenty of Wii U owners busy into 2016.
A Wii U exclusive that effectively skipped E3 this year, this is the work of former Team Ninja boss and Ninja Gaiden chief Tomonobu Itagaki, and was originally set to be published by THQ for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Nintendo stepped in when the publisher folded; it'll feature up to 16 multiplayer modes and a diverse range of environments, with its mix of shooting and melee combat looking hugely entertaining.
This made a late appearance in the Treehouse broadcasts in LA, and is a welcome dose of suspense and horror on the Wii U. Picking up on the general approach of series predecessors, this one will also provide some neat usage of the GamePad as the camera, providing some promising motion controls to immerse us in the experience. The demo looked full of potential, so this could be a dark horse for the year on Wii U.
Sometimes it's enough for a game franchise to simply keep up its standard formula, and this probably qualifies in that category. This new entry has HD visuals, Jump Shots and Mega Mushrooms, and aside from that it's likely to serve up the familiar action that we rather enjoyed (most recently) in Mario Tennis Open; we think that's no bad thing in our first impressions.
Would this hugely successful toys-to-life title normally be in our list? Not necessarily, but a combination of a limited retail release slate in 2015 and the marketing coup of Nintendo securing unique Donkey Kong and Bowser-themed toys and Starter Kits is worth acknowledgement. This franchise is a big deal on the retail scene, and the Wii U version's prospects won't have been harmed by the arrival of Nintendo IP in the series.
Going head-to-head with Skylanders is this LEGO entry, which is surely as grave a threat to many bank accounts as buying a house or sports car. The most successful toy brand in the world is combining its brick-forming appeal with its long established video game formula, and as a result this could be one of the biggest-selling titles of the year. An honourable mention for Disney Infinity 3.0 at this stage, too, which will also have a big say in the toys-to-life market.
This is just days away at the time of writing and is only available at physical retail in Europe, so we're being big cheaters as we feel this deserves a mention, and don't want to deprive a 'Nindie' of a spot on the eShop list. That scandalous rule-bending aside, this is a lovely continuation of the franchise that benefits from the sizeable GamePad touch screen; we loved it in our Art Academy: Atelier review.
Let us know what you think of this list with a vote for your favourite in the poll below, while you can share views and post your own lists in the comments section.