The Nintendo Switch has a number of strengths, and one of them is delivering some quality Wii U games on a hybrid format. We can now play Mario Kart 8 on the go thanks to its Deluxe iteration, and you can also highlight the fact that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was a Wii U game first, developed for the previous system over a number of years before hopping across to the new hardware. We've also had the Tomorrow Corporation backlog on the eShop and don't forget, either, that Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition is still happening this year, even if Ubisoft is taking its sweet time confirming a release date.
Some may bemoan this trend for ports / re-releases / remasters, but don't forget that it's the norm with new hardware - PS4 and Xbox One have certainly played on nostalgia and a desire to play smoother and better looking iterations of last-gen games. This writer, for example, bought a PS3 when bundled with The Last of Us, and then bought a PS4 only when bundled with The Last of Us Remastered. Next will be a PS5 bundled with The Last of Us 2, probably (yes, we know it's confirmed for PS4, but we'll see).
In any case, Nintendo would be within its rights to tap up a few more Wii U hits as easy wins for the Switch, as a means of filling release window gaps and giving quality titles a second chance. Nintendo seems to be putting a strategy together for at least one major Switch release per month, which is grand, but there's always room for more. Some of these games could even be 'budget retail' or eShop-only titles, perhaps a 'Wii U Gold' range (or something less naff, but you get the idea). Bringing Wii U games to Switch may be more logistically challenging than with the past few systems - GameCube, Wii and Wii U iterated on similar technology, Switch is a notable departure in terms of its architecture - but it could still be worthwhile.
A month ago we asked for your choices in a poll, so we've taken the top ten for this list. It's also worth noting that we're not sure we want all ten of these Wii U games to arrive on Switch unless some arrive as equivalents of the Wii downloads on the Wii U eShop, which for the aforementioned logistical reasons may be unlikely. All of them in this list would perhaps represent overkill, but some plucked from the line-up would be welcome.
So, which ten won your votes?
When we say '4' in the title, what we really mean is Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and, of course, the 3DS equivalent. This one has actually been in the rumour mill for a long time, likely in the form of a 'Director's Cut' that throws in all of the DLC (rather like MK8 Deluxe). Considering the sheer volume of DLC and all the updated modes that fleshed out the original (especially on Wii U), that would be an exciting release. Of all the games in this list we'd argue this is the most likely to happen, and it wouldn't surprise us if there's an E3 reveal to tie-in with those final Smash Bros. amiibo due in July; it's also worth noting that Masahiro Sakurai wouldn't need to exhaust himself as director as there are a number of capable companies that are experienced in porting games. Time will tell, but keep an eye out for an upcoming feature on this from one of our resident Smash super-fans.
An interesting one, and we're not entirely without hope either (and yes, we're cheating again by counting them both together). For its part SEGA has been upping its porting game in bringing the original Bayonetta to Steam and just recently also confirming Vanquish for PC. Nintendo would need to take a lead with prospective Bayonetta Switch versions (especially as it published the sequel), but evidently PlatinumGames and SEGA are open to capitalising on an impressive back-catalogue with updated re-releases. The idea of playing Bayonetta 1 & 2 on a TV and then on the go is, well, intoxicating.
This is an interesting one, and we're undecided on whether it's 'realistic' or not. Super Mario Maker for 'NX' did the rounds in some rumours early on, but then Super Mario Maker for Nintendo 3DS happened. That portable iteration reframed the offering, though, ditching a lot of online sharing in exchange for a curated approach, possibly because of technical limitations. The Switch would have no such problems and offers an excellent touchscreen, while a docked system could feasibly use physical inputs (or motion / pointer controls using the Joy-Con, as demonstrated in games like World of Goo) in the editor. If a deluxe edition had all the Wii U content and functionality (post-updates) and added the rather fun solo 'campaign' from the 3DS iteration, that would be marvellous.
This one certainly makes sense on multiple levels. There was much hype when it was originally revealed for arcades, and some when it was announced and eventually made its way to Wii U, but it also landed at a time when the system was starting to toil for attention and success-stories. Nintendo and Bandai Namco did make a big push to promote this as an eSports title, too, so considering the evident long-term goal of bringing Switch more prominently into that world a complete edition of this fighter would certainly have some value.
Another one that did the rounds in the NX rumour mill, and even hung around after Switch was introduced to the world. What was revealed instead, of course, was Xenoblade Chronicles 2 which is still set for a 2017 release. Rumours did suggest the X port had been contracted out and wasn't being handled by Monolith Soft, so that would make sense. It's not been announced, of course, and if this game is going to happen it'd likely need to pop up during E3, perhaps as a surprise near-term eShop / limited retail release. If this excellent off-shoot was pitched as a warm-up for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 that would have some logic, and it's certainly a game that would benefit from a second chance on Switch.
Before anyone freaks out, we'd suggest any port of this game could be handled by a third-party developer, leaving Retro Studios to do whatever it is doing. That said, there's no real reason why this wouldn't make some commercial sense, especially as it was a title that (notoriously at the time) completely ignored the GamePad's second screen, and even shunned waggle in exchange for button controls. As a result it would fit nicely on the Switch, give us a welcome 2D platformer (there aren't many of those confirmed outside of Rayman Legends and some Nindie games) and allow us all to marvel once more at that HD fur.
We're getting into longshot territory now, but this is partly about fantasy, so let's do this. The big obstacle to this is Super Mario Odyssey, perhaps, but assuming Nintendo had clear branding around the fact this would be a re-release, that could be worked around. This game did make some use of the GamePad's screen but, to be honest, it wasn't extensive nor would it be too difficult to dodge in switching to a single screen format. The Switch would actually suit the multiplayer / co-op focus of the game well, too, and those that missed it first time around could see what the fuss was about.
Now we're onto very unlikely games, as this one had a long life on Wii U and then on 3DS; on top of that Omega Force / Koei Tecmo will no doubt be busy going overboard with content and DLC for Fire Emblem Warriors later this year on Switch and New 3DS. Of course, the premise here is that some of these games could be budget retail or even part of a special Wii U re-release range on the eShop, so it is possible that Nintendo would want to capitalise on the hype around Breath of the Wild and push a complete edition of this Legend of Zelda spin-off.
This writer is a big fan of Star Fox Zero, but plenty aren't and there's no denying that it was a divisive arrival on Wii U. Some delays also meant it arrived late in the day and at a point when the console's momentum was particularly low; add to that its alternative approach to dual-screen controls and it prompted mixed opinions. Any second chance on Switch would require a bit of a redesign, namely dropping the requirement for precision aiming in favour of old-school on-rails aiming from early games in the series. After all, piloting on the TV while aiming separately on the GamePad is not possible on the one-screen Switch setup. Don't hold your breath for this one, but you did vote for it...
Pikmin isn't one of Nintendo's most financially lucrative IPs, as shown by the long wait for this third entry, but it's charming and has won over some loyal fans. It's not clear where it stands, though Shigeru Miyamoto is its greatest champion, which surely makes a dedicated Pikmin 4 on Switch likely. Hey! Pikmin is a 2D spin-off for 3DS developed by Arzest, but Miyamoto-san has suggested on a few occasions in the past (when quizzed about 'Pikmin 4') that the series is very much in the company's plans. If Pikmin 4 takes a while, though, perhaps the Wii U game with all the DLC thrown in could fill a gap and give us a taste of how a 'full' Pikmin game works on the go as well as on a TV.
So there you go, ten Wii U games - as chosen by the Nintendo Life community - that could conceivably find a loving home on Nintendo Switch. Even if only a few of these happen they'd certainly bring some extra variety and quality to Nintendo's latest system, which can't do any harm.