Coming from Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy, The Last Story was an impressive RPG and one of the last big releases for the system. While it struggled from a technical perspective at times, it's an ambitious title that's worth playing today if you missed out back in 2012. Along with Xenoblade Chronicles and Pandora's Tower, it's also notable as one of the titles North American players campaigned to see released in that territory — Nintendo, who published that game elsewhere, eventually granted Xseed publishing rights and it released six months after PAL regions.
Showcasing the sort of swordplay we'd hoped Twilight Princess would contain, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was a beautiful entry in the series which dared to try some new ideas, something the franchise desperately needed at the time. It arguably didn't get everything right — and we're still confused as to why Nintendo ditched the beautifully accurate IR pointer in favour of a gyro alternative which required constant re-centering (especially when everyone already had the IR sensor hooked up anyway!) — but we found the MotionPlus swordplay itself excellent. As the very first game in the Zelda timeline, it's essential reading for series fans, and while it has its naysayers, we look back on our time with Skyward Sword very fondly.
Next Level Games managed to recapture all the character and energy of the original Punch-Out!! on Wii while adding a beautiful cell-chaded graphical style. With all the fighters from the NES game returning, the motion controls were cute, if a little hit-and-miss, but the option to play using the old-school control style made this a truly excellent update of a classic boxer where it's all about watching your opponent.
A 20th anniversary collection of some of the most popular Kirby games ever, 2012's Kirby's Dream Collection: Special Edition spans the puffball's debut on Game Boy through his NES and SNES adventures and also includes his N64 outing; so, that's Kirby's Dream Land, Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Adventure, Kirby's Dream Land 3, Kirby Super Star and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards in one very convenient package. Convenient for Japanese and North American players, that is — it never saw the light of day in PAL regions.
You see that? That's our sad face.
Taking Kirby back to his classic style of game following a couple of genre departures, Kirby's Return to Dream Land was a worthy return and yet another glittering gem in the Wii's platforming line up. With all the colour and creativity you'd expect from HAL, and a ton of content to delve into, this was a wonderful trip to Kirby's land of dreams.
Introducing Wii Remote control into Retro's Prime template, Metroid Prime 3: Corruption was a excellent conclusion to the trilogy (well, until the next entry eventually makes it a quadrilogy), a series of games that proved Samus could not only survive the jump into 3D first-person shooting, but absolutely flourish in that genre. MP3:C as a separate disc was subsequently rendered a tad redundant with the release of the entire trilogy on one disc, but this is still a cracking shooter on its own.
Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, a direct sequel to Path of Radiance (which could even accept save data brought over from its predecessor), brought back dark magic and increased the scope and number of characters in comparison to its predecessor. Unfortunately, it wasn't the sales success Nintendo had hoped, perhaps due to its relatively brutal difficulty. It would be twelve years until the series would grace a home console again with Fire Emblem: Three Houses, but the Wii entry in the strategy series is still a very fine one.
Bringing the handheld series to home console, Rhythm Heaven Fever (or Beat the Beat: Rhythm Paradise as it was known in Europe) showcased the series' infectious beat-based surrealism on the TV for the first time. It's almost as fun to watch as it is to play.
Retro Studios revival of Rare's treasured Donkey Kong Country on SNES came after the developer had successfully reinvented Nintendo's Metroid as an exploratory first-person shooter, so perhaps we shouldn't have been surprised that the team was able to recapture the spirit of Rare's DKC platformers three console generations later with Donkey Kong Country Returns. However, it still came as something of a surprise just how good the game turned out, reimagining the SNES template for the 21st Century.
The 3DS port is equally impressive, but you really can't go wrong with whatever version you can get your hands on. When it comes to resurrections, it seems Retro is your go-to studio and DKC returned in fabulous form on Wii.
Some might say this is the best version of the best Pikmin game, offering the best of all worlds with Wii Remote pointer functionality and a surprisingly good multiplayer component, too. The sequel might make the fruit look tastier in gorgeous HD, but Pikmin 2 is still the gold standard of the series in our book, whether you play on GameCube or with some New Play Control! on Wii.