Best Wii U Games
Image: Nintendo Life

Remember, this ranking is based on each game's User Rating in our games database, and is therefore subject to real-time change even as you read this! If you rated the Wii U games you've played, feel free to do so now and potentially alter the ranking below. Enjoy!

Despite our affection for the console, there's no denying that Wii U had its share of issues from the very beginning. Chiefly, Nintendo failed to properly communicate the hardware's unique potential to the game-playing public — a mistake the company was careful to 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.

Wii U Games
Image: Zion Grassl / Nintendo Life

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!

If there's a game bubbling under the top 50 that you'd like to rate, feel free to find it using the search tool below and give it a score out of 10. 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...

Note. In order for games to become eligible, they need a minimum of 50 User Ratings in total.

50. Scribblenauts Unlimited (Wii U)

If you were a fan of previous entries in the Scribblenauts series, then you were going to love Scribblenauts Unlimited. If you’d never played one before, then it was a great way to start. The campaign was a little on the short side, and the multiplayer gameplay leaved much to be desired, but, as always, Scribblenauts is about the pure joy of extending your imagination. Unlimited on Wii U looked great, controlled well thanks to the boon of GamePad input, and provided a heck of a lot of family-friendly fun.

49. Runbow (Wii U eShop)

Runbow is a game that is very ‘Nintendo’ in every single aspect, from concept to art and sound direction, to the point that Nintendo itself held a launch party for Runbow at the Nintendo World Store in NYC. It's an excellent party game with a solid single player campaign and more unlockables than the colours of the rainbow; you won't regret playing this gem on the Wii U (or Switch).

48. Pokkén Tournament (Wii U)

Pokkén Tournament attempted to break into the fighting game genre with a bang, although it remains relatively niche. It stripped back unnecessary complexity from the controls which made it easy to pick-up-and-play, but with a skill ceiling that left hardcore fans with plenty of room to explore. The visuals could have been sharper — something that's also true for the only-slightly improved DX port on Switch — but these are grotesquely outweighed by the sheer polish and replayability of the core gameplay. As a lovechild of such disparate properties as Tekken and Pokémon, Pokkén Tournament was a spectacularly scrappy surprise.

47. Mass Effect 3 (Wii U)

Yes, back when EA gave the impression of genuinely caring about Nintendo platforms (well, kinda), 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), 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.

46. Resident Evil Revelations (Wii U)

Another game that has since come to Switch, Resident Evil Revelations began life on 3DS before coming to Wii U in HD form. This title delivers the trademark franchise experience with moody environments, scares, action set-pieces and silly, campy storytelling in one enjoyable package. Raid mode was a fantastic extra, adding hours and hours of value as you can brainlessly gunned down creatures with a stranger, levelling up as you go.

Visually and mechanically, the game was designed for 3DS, but this version (and the ports on subsequent consoles) held up well. More importantly, this spin-off from the 'mainline' series demonstrated that bombast and eye-watering budgets aren't the secrets to capturing the essence of survival horror and helped steer the RE ship back on course after the perilous waters of Resident Evil 6.

45. ZombiU (Wii U)

ZombiU isn't perfect, but it set out to do a very specific thing and succeeded with style. As a Wii U launch game, Ubisoft showed that — despite the hardware's appearance — dark, mature games could work on Nintendo’s newest console. It was atmospheric, horrifying, and provided plenty of sweaty palms and jump scares. Anyone looking for a challenging and highly immersive experience with some real heft behind it found just that, and Ubisoft showcased the potential of the underutilised GamePad in a way that few third-party studios (and arguably Nintendo itself) would throughout the system's life cycle.

44. Need for Speed: Most Wanted U (Wii U)

Need for Speed: Most Wanted U a stunning port that went above and beyond in terms of tailoring a multiplatform title specifically for Nintendo's hardware and its feature set. Criterion's game is fast, fun, and absolutely beautiful, with an open-world design that creates a real feeling of freedom to go with the sense of speed, but it's the graphical upgrades and GamePad-specific features that made this the definitive console version at the time. It's one of the finest open-world racers we've ever played — the perfect example of a Nintendo port done right. Most wanted, indeed.

43. NES Remix (Wii U eShop)

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?

42. Affordable Space Adventures (Wii U eShop)

A really cracking title which shall never escape from Wii U (at least not until another console with two separate screens comes along), Affordable Space Adventures not only utilises the GamePad, but makes it integral to the experience as you navigate the dangerous caverns in your economy class spacefaring vehicle. Tackling it solo or with others is equally rewarding, and developer Nifflas' devotion to small details and quality is what truly sets it apart and makes it one of our favourite games on Wii eShop. There's nothing else quite like this out there, and it's still a trip worth taking — even without its clever Miiverse integration intact.

41. Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water (Wii U)

Koei Tecmo's Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water is drenched in the atmosphere and intrigue the Fatal Frame series is known for, and added some innovations that spark interest and excitement for fans to this day. It's not perfect — a bit too much repetition and a few rough edges do mar the experience a little — but that absolutely shouldn't stop you from taking the plunge if you're able. Given the mechanics and the excellent camera-based GamePad integration, this is likely to remain one of the few true Wii U exclusives.