This is a game that highlights that simplicity, well-executed, can make for a very enjoyable time. In Race the Sun you pilot a ship at great speeds through a variety of courses, and that's pretty much it.
The aesthetic and sense of speed is enough, however, so this is certainly worth a look.
A rather unique title that did also eventually get a PS4 / PSVR port, it nevertheless offers up a fairly unique experience on the Wii U. As the name makes clear you're constantly attached to rails and frantically hopping between them while blasting away a lot of enemies.
In play, the GamePad and the TV have different views of the field — on GamePad you're more zoomed in to focus on fighting, while the TV gives a broader view of the stage. It's a high-tempo, challenging and quite unique experience.
A classic Indie-arena experience of the Wii U (and indeed 3DS) era, Woah Dave! offers frantic retro arcade gameplay. On single-screen stages your simple goal is to survive and earn coins, which you do by throwing enemies and eggs at each other.
It's simple, yes, but it ramps up the difficulty and has that 'one more go' feel as you try to get ever higher scores.
This is, admittedly, one of the more niche inclusions on our list. There was a full title — Art Academy: Atelier — released at retail on Wii U that featured lessons and other goodies. This eShop-only SketchPad release was a budget holdover at the time, to give artists the chance to doodle and experiment with the GamePad while we waited for the full game.
If you are an artist, though, for just a few dollars this basic version of the app is worth a download — the Miiverse integration is long gone, but there are some neat tools that will allow you to produce some impressive artwork on your humble GamePad.
This does actually have a new version coming to Switch (probably this year) called Super Lone Survivor, so keep that caveat in mind. In any case Lone Survivor is a fascinating psychological survival horror game, in which the level of detail given to sound design and storytelling is truly impressive. Figuring out what's real and what is part of the character's tormented mind is part of the challenge, and there are multiple endings to discover.
Developed by a small team of Rare alumni, Tengami is an intriguing adventure set in feudal Japan, but the game world is presented through a pop-up book aesthetic with traditional arts and crafts. It's a game that utilises the GamePad touchscreen to play (betraying the game's development for iOS, essentially) with little heed for the TV or even options to play with a Wii Remote, for example. Nonetheless it is a lovely experience if you can overlook those quirks.
We initially forgot to have DuckTales: Remastered in the list as it had a slightly strange history - after a successful launch it was delisted after a few years, and then reinstated some time later. We'd forgotten that it was back on the eShop now.
The original DuckTales is a classic, of course, and for this release WayForward revived it with a stylish new visual engine. The game feels the same though, which makes it a lot of fun, and though the voice acting certainly won't be to everyone's taste the updated music is excellent.
This interesting take on base defence was included as a bonus disc in some first-print copies of Star Fox Zero, but we include it here as, for many, it was instead a standalone download game.
Star Fox Guard was part of Nintendo's efforts to showcase the unique gaming possibilities of the GamePad, and it's rather fun either solo or with help from friends. On the TV you see the monitors of a dozen security cameras, while on the GamePad you place cameras and — once you've spotted an enemy on the main screen — quickly select the right video feed so you can subsequently shoot your enemies on the TV.
Either solo or in a team it's good frantic fun, making good use of the dual screen mechanic to both help you and cause panic. Don't sleep on this one.