The Wii U is now over three years old having arrived in North America on 18th November 2012. In recent times we've celebrated some of the best games the system has to offer, with our staff voting (and readers through embedded polls) on their favourite Wii U retail and top eShop games.
Now, as a little bonus, are the results of a separate vote that we ran in which members of the team gave top tens combining both their favourite retail and download games.
We think the focused retail and eShop lists are the most reliable, ultimately, as they had the larger group of voters. When considering a joint list some weren't sure how to approach it and decided not to do top 10, perhaps feeling that comparing retail and download titles isn't a fair fight. A total of 12 writers did give it a go though, with 32 games receiving votes - 14 of those games were downloads, though as you can see in the results below most didn't win enough votes to make the cut. As always much of the voting is down to which games the voters own; we don't all buy the same games.
Due to the smaller sample group and the quirks of voting on both retail and the eShop separately there are some inconsistencies with the separate results linked in the introduction, to the point we were hesitant to post this list. In the end, though, it's all a bit of fun so we've opted to share the results.
So, below is the top 10 and some honourable mentions (with a couple of ties).
When the Wii U was yet to hit the market fantasies of a HD remake of this popular GameCube title were certainly doing the rounds. Nintendo delivered, providing a gorgeous new version of an already-attractive game, along with some additional features — including balancing of the campaign — and solid use of the GamePad's screen. It's a classic, and this is the definitive version.
We're pleased to see this make the list, especially as its recent arrival in North America may mean that it's waiting as a festive game for some in the region. Good-Feel is in excellent form in a platformer as wonderful to play as it is cute. It's also, in its own way, an impressive showcase of the visuals the Wii U can produce, while it arguably has the best accompanying amiibo that's possible - it's hard to resist that Yarn Yoshi figure.
This was 5th in our retail-only list, but evidently the dozen writers voting in the combined category had a few less fans of its charms. A hybrid of the commercially indispensable 2D titles and the much loved 3D platformers starring Nintendo's hero, this forges new ground from its 3DS predecessor and utilises the Wii U to provide a stunning experience. Endlessly creative and fun in single player, it also has multiple characters of different abilities and one of the most anarchic, enjoyable multiplayer modes available today.
After successfully rebooting the Donkey Kong Country series on Wii it's no surprise that Retro Studios revisited the IP for a HD title. Yes, it has HD fur, but it also throws in some neat dynamic camera effects, some amazing David Wise music and impressive level design. For platformer fans that enjoyed the Wii title this is definitely worth owning.
A clear win for the first game from Yacht Club Studios in our eShop list, it's the top download game in this overall vote. This title has had an extraordinary level of success across various systems, with an impressive Kickstarter campaign being followed up with a platformer of undoubted quality, from the controls to the pixel-based visuals and its terrific music. Most who've played this rave about it afterwards, and its various game of the year awards and upcoming amiibo figure - a first for 'Nindies' - are testament to its quality.
It's pleasing to see this PlatinumGames exclusive here as it's a title deserving of the position - one up from its Retail-only list placing. When development looked doomed Nintendo stepped in as publisher, and it has all the hallmarks of its cult-classic predecessor while upping the ante with fantastic visuals, set-pieces and - in this writer's opinion - tighter, improved combat. It's a wild ride of a game, and also includes some interesting Nintendo-inspired outfits.
We can sense that pitchforks are being sharpened at the position of this one - for many in the team it was one of the top games but only secured the number one spot for two members of the team. That said it was included by most in their lists of ten, and no wonder - Masahiro Sakurai and his team has never put so much content (in terms of stages and characters, at least) in a Smash title. It's in lovely HD, too, and when battling in 60 frames-per-second against friends it's one of the greatest experiences that the Wii U can offer.
A recent arrival that's nevertheless made the grade with many of the team, this level creation tool lets fans put together their own Mario levels. The concept alone is fantastic, with the tool-set being well designed and opening up possibilities for quirky designs and mechanics not even seen in the main series. With fun amiibo support and recent updates improving the experience further this is certainly one of the Wii U's definitive titles.
After winning in our retail-only list this one drops down one place. In its early days Mario Kart 8 brought a bump in Wii U sales and received critical acclaim — what really matters, however, is that it lives up to the hype. It has fantastic production values, yes, but it's arguably the most refined and solid racer Nintendo's produced yet. It undoubtedly achieves its goal of being terrific fun, has excellent online play and has been enhanced with the generously priced DLC additions that have brought non-Mario characters such as Link onto the track, along with some amazing extra courses. It's likely that most with a Wii U will own this with their system, and we expect the online community to be alive and well for years to come.
It's second time lucky as Splatoon claims top spot, which is a testament to the impact it's had since its arrival in May this year. It's a rare example of an entirely new IP that's captured the imagination of Nintendo fans in a big way, providing a very 'Nintendo' shooter experience. The inky territory-based mechanic is fantastic, and it's the online play that truly makes this a go-to game for a lot of Wii U owners. Regular updates and weekly free DLC additions are another reason why this is deservedly regarded as a first class game on the system.
- =11th - The Wonderful 101
- =11th - Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
- 12th - Pikmin 3
- 13th - Hyrule Warriors
- =14th - Affordable Space Adventures
- =14th - Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition
- 15th - Lone Survivor: The Director's Cut
Let us know what you think of the list and vote for your own favourites (top 10 plus honourable mentions) below - we're letting you vote for three once again. As always you can also have at it with your own lists and thoughts in the comments.