10. Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)

Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)
Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Monolith Soft
Release Date: 4th Dec 2015 (USA) / 4th Dec 2015 (UK/EU)

Xenoblade Chronicles X is sprawling, diverse, complex and entrancing. It utilised the Wii U's capabilities not only to produce a beautiful world, but showed how something as simple as a map on the GamePad screen can be invaluable. What's most impressive is the dynamism and impression of freedom in play - level caps and grinding are naturally part of the equation, yet they're managed within a structure where even small missions or Affinity quests greatly enhance the narrative and sense of place. To truly experience the story of this human colony and the vast planet Mira requires exploration and patience, and Monolith Soft found an impressive balance in bringing its vast range of gameplay systems and mechanics together. Occasional bottlenecks are infrequent and easily overcome in the broader experience, and overall Xenoblade Chronicles X delivers a hugely impressive RPG adventure. It was an enormous accomplishment for Monolith Soft and an irresistible part of the Wii U library.

9. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U)

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U)
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD (Wii U)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 4th Mar 2016 (USA) / 4th Mar 2016 (UK/EU)

The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is an attractive remaster with some nice additions, encompassing improved controls, visuals and enjoyable extras for fans. It's a deep, involving 30+ hour adventure, which draws the player in with plenty of honesty and soul. It may have stuck a little too much to the Ocarina formula, but we're certainly glad this one came to light again on Wii U and gave us the opportunity to revisit Twilight Princess once more.

8. Pikmin 3 (Wii U)

Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
Pikmin 3 (Wii U)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 4th Aug 2013 (USA) / 26th Jul 2013 (UK/EU)

Beautifully crafted and filled to the brim with exciting gameplay features, Pikmin 3 is a worthy instalment in Nintendo's quirky strategy series. The core gameplay mechanics remain true to the GameCube originals, but were further enhanced by the unique features of the Wii U GamePad, although you could still use your Wii Remote and Nunchuk (the 'Deluxe' Switch port offers further proof that the GamePad really was a peripheral option here).

A few minor issues here and there arguably prevented it reaching the heights of its predecessors, but the HD sheen provided by the Wii U made the fruit hauled by your little plant-based helpers look more delicious than ever before and we're desperate to see the series return for a fourth mainline instalment.

7. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U)

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U)
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U (Wii U)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 21st Nov 2014 (USA) / 28th Nov 2014 (UK/EU)

In many ways, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U felt like a direct response to criticisms of the series' party-friendly aspirations. Nintendo’s crossover fighter series had its innocuous start as a goofy game with a playground spirit, allowing players to finally see who would win in a fight between the world’s two most famous Italian plumbers and some of their friends. Subsequent entries continued this theme, only with more figurines in the toy box to choose from and more playgrounds in which to do battle. All that fantastic fan service is still here and more polished than ever and the series finally embraced its hyper-competitive side, all the while still managing to deliver one of the most enjoyable party games in years. This was a smarter, more focused blast of fighting mayhem, confident in its ability to appeal to any audience willing to give it a chance.

6. Splatoon (Wii U)

Splatoon (Wii U)
Splatoon (Wii U)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD
Release Date: 29th May 2015 (USA) / 29th May 2015 (UK/EU)

In a sea of rock-solid single-player Nintendo experiences, Splatoon stood out as being an utterly sublime multiplayer endeavour. Everything is knitted beautifully and seamlessly together to create what is quite simply some of the most fun you can have online. The single player elements and the local multiplayer also presented a way to enjoy the game when you're not geared up for the chaos that comes from fighting others online, and provided a useful reprieve if your internet cut out. Indeed, the formula was potent enough for Nintendo to repeat it more or less verbatim in its Switch sequel, but Splatoon got away with it by being easily the freshest shooter we'd played in years.

5. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Retro Studios
Release Date: 21st Feb 2014 (USA) / 21st Feb 2014 (UK/EU)

Retro Studios demonstrated once again that it can take a treasured Nintendo franchise and keep it relevant, with modern thrills and retro nods expertly combined. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze utilised the Wii U’s graphical capabilities beautifully, with levels both stunning in design and looks, and impressive set-pieces that never skip a frame and can test any gamer’s skills. Small touches and masterful contributions, such as the music of David Wise, only add to the experience. As a single player experience it is near flawless, but the precision of the level design can lead the often fun multiplayer into moments of chaos. A excellent Wii U title that would inevitably be recruited for another tour of duty on Switch, it was a demonstration of how skilful developers and powerful hardware can be combined for spectacular results.

4. Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)

Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: 24th Oct 2014 (USA) / 24th Oct 2014 (UK/EU)

Bayonetta 2 is a must buy for action gaming fans. It's fast, intense and ridiculous, all with an entertaining story and a protagonist that is forever subverting and playing with her audience. It's pure Platinum Games, and one of the Wii U's best games — a rare arrival on that system that was unashamedly violent, gory and mature, while still mischievously winking at the player. Of course, the Switch port is the easier way to play it these days, but regardless of platform, Bayonetta 2 is brilliant, brash and impossible to ignore.

3. Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 30th May 2014 (USA) / 30th May 2014 (UK/EU)

Mario Kart 8 took a while to arrive, but was worth the wait. The vehicles and racers have never handled better, the collection of courses is possibly the best ever, while replayability through Ghost Races or — primarily — online races and Tournaments is almost endless. While the Deluxe version on Switch would include all the DLC, add the missing Battle Mode and polish everything until it glistened, the brilliant base game is largely unchanged. Mario Kart 8 was an accomplished effort that pushed the franchise forward in thrilling ways, and regardless of the version you play, you're guaranteed a great time.

2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (Wii U)

The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (Wii U)
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD (Wii U)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo
Release Date: 4th Oct 2013 (USA) / 4th Oct 2013 (UK/EU)

Nintendo did a valiant job of breathing new life into what was already an exceptional Legend of Zelda title. It took the game’s timeless art style and gave it a glorious new sheen thanks to HD technology, while also making an extensive amount of worthwhile improvements to previously flawed aspects of the gameplay. Sailing across the Great Sea, discovering new islands and exploring exciting dungeons — the designs of which still shine even today – has simply never been as much fun as it is on Wii U. It’s fair to say that Nintendo could have done more in certain areas (there really isn’t anything substantial in the way of new content), and the updated lighting does give it a different look to the sublime original that's not necessarily 'better'. Still, The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker was never in need of a drastic overhaul; this is a refinement which made welcome tweaks to the GameCube original that brought it more in line with modern standards. A great game made (for the most part) even greater, if you will.

1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U)

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U)
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (Wii U)
Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo EAD
Release Date: 3rd Mar 2017 (USA) / 3rd Mar 2017 (UK/EU)

Some will say, not unreasonably, that as the Wii U iteration of Breath of the Wild can't fully match the Switch version in visuals and performance it should be considered inferior. We understand and appreciate that perspective, but this is nevertheless a fully functional and still entrancing iteration of one of Nintendo's greatest ever games. Across dozens of hours it blends innovative ideas with established tropes, and unfolds in a manner different for everyone. The 'best' version of the game is on Nintendo Switch, but the freedom, the spontaneity, and the outstanding charm and craft of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild isn't lost on Wii U.


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