Nintendo Land might not have been the Wii U killer app in the vein of Wii Sports, but it's still a wonderful celebration of Nintendo's past and an exciting glimpse of a future that might have been had developers been a little more adventurous with the GamePad (and had players responded, of course). When it works and while the magic lasts, Nintendo Land delivers riotous fun and is one of the best local multiplayer experiences ever crafted. There's also a surprising amount of depth to the single-player offerings, too, and Miiverse integration meant you were never really on your own.
For nostalgic Nintendo fans, it was simultaneously comforting and exciting (we'll take any drop of F-Zero-adjacent content we can!), and in its best moments it managed to make you feel like a kid again.
The ‘light’ in the title sums things up nicely – Child of Light serves up game mechanics usually reserved for massive RPG epics in a concise, beautifully refreshing package. A touching score matches the tone of the lovely artwork, and a few framerate hitches aren't enough to cast a shadow on this delightful adventure. The Ultimate Edition on Switch is more easily accessible these days, but the Wii U version is still de-light-ful. Geddit?
The Wii U turned out to be a surprisingly excellent platform for download-only 'indie' titles, and FAST Racing NEO was a shining example (a Shin'en example, actually). Its gorgeous graphics, incredible sense of speed and steep challenge made for a unique futuristic racing game on the system at the time, although one which you can now enjoy in Switch in the form of Fast RMX. It's a good'un.
Hyrule Warriors represented Dynasty Warriors developer Omega Force's first foray into the Zelda universe, and it was clear from the off that the team had a deep respect for the setting and characters of Hyrule. This first attempt lacked the polish we'd see in its Switch 'sequel', Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, but there was enough hack-and-slash entertainment on offer to make this a rather enjoyable diversion. The game has since been ported to both 3DS and Switch with extra content and improvements, but the Wii U original remains an entertaining addition to the Zelda stable for action fans.
A quality, credible alternative to Mario Kart 8, and one starring the plumber's erstwhile platform rival Sonic the Hedgehog (and other Sega luminaries)? It shouldn’t really have come as a surprise to discover that Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed was top-shelf stuff; Sumo Digital’s track record speaks for itself, and at the time the studio had been bolstered by an influx of staff from racing experts Bizarre Creations (Project Gotham Racing, Blur) and Black Rock Studio (Split Second, Pure).
The result was a game which was far more focused and entertaining than the either original Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing — which was a fine game — or Team Sonic Racing, the less exciting Switch follow-up which ditched the thrilling cast of Sega luminaries.
Drinkbox's Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition might have a short campaign, but the opportunities to explore, collect, take on challenges or simply play it again deliver more than enough bang for your buck. As a single-player adventure, the mechanics — both complex yet impressively intuitive — combine with terrific attention to detail to deliver a truly polished experience. If you're an action platformer fan with quick thumbs, this is a must wherever you find it (yes, it's on Switch, too).
Image & Form's brilliant SteamWorld Dig provides nearly endless hours of spelunking fun – it even keeps track of how many metres you've dug altogether so you can marvel at how much of your life you've wasted away caving deeper. With an exceptionally high level of polish and focus, tight controls, a lush Western soundtrack, beautifully animated sprites, and a simple gameplay loop that kept you coming back for more (until SteamWorld Dig 2 arrived, at least) SteamWorld Dig is a very fine game whether you play it on Wii U, 3DS, or — yes, of course — Switch.
As its name appropriately suggested, Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate took the already exceptional Wii title and added a daunting amount of new content and HD sheen. It's not a game for everyone, and unsuspecting players may have had a nasty surprise at the level of commitment and skill the game demands.
That's nothing new in the Monster Hunter series, though. Assuming you were up to the task, MH3U on Wii U was hard to put down. Some elements felt a little phoned-in (some ugly clipping, poor textures and the 3DS touch screen ratio on the GamePad, for example), yet they were minor blemishes on an impressive package. Those that missed Monster Hunter Tri the first time round had an excellent opportunity to catch up on Wii U, and veterans got the chance to upgrade to the big screen.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is an RPG that's roughly 85% Shin Megami Tensei, 15% Fire Emblem, and somehow ends up feeling like something completely separate from either of the two. It strikes a middle ground that's rooted in the format of many modern role-playing titles, boasting an energetic and dynamic combat system all wrapped up in a setting that takes J-Pop cheesiness to astral heights. There's a remarkably lengthy and enjoyable experience to be found here for anyone that doesn't already have stage-fright from its relatively niche proposition. The Switch 'Encore' port makes it easy to catch up with these days, but just as so many quirky (and excellent!) games did, it was originally part of Wii U's wonderfully diverse and underrated library.
SteamWorld Heist on Wii U is exactly what you expect — a high quality Wii U iteration of a game that was already fantastic on 3DS. The wider field of view and sharper graphics are certainly appealing (and those benefits obviously apply to the Switch port, too), and this remains a game that can easily keep you engrossed many excellent hours. Image & Form struck gold with its blend of turn-based strategy and skill-based combat on 3DS, and it stole our affections twice more on Nintendo's home consoles.
Must. Stop. Rebuying. SteamWorld Games. On Sale!