2015 is here, and for Wii U owners it could be the most exciting year of HD Nintendo gaming yet. The past couple of years have delivered some truly fantastic games, of course, with the just-departed 2014 bringing two of Nintendo's biggest franchises into the current generation. Excitingly, though, the big N's already lining up an enticing batch of titles that mean 2015 could be even better.
To be clear on the retail front, we're directing our attention to games that Nintendo has confirmed for 2015, as per its most recent investor's update. As a result Shin Megami Tensei X Fire Emblem is out; we're excited about the concept, but its TBC release window, absence at E3 and in Nintendo Directs, along with rumours of cancellation makes it impossible to include. We've also found room for a stand-out eShop game that we're particularly excited about, and we can be sure that future announcements will flesh this list out nicely in future months.
As always you'll be able to vote for your choice in a poll at the end, so without further ado let's list 10 of the biggest games coming to Wii U in 2015.
While it's reasonable to be doubtful over whether this will hit in 2015, Eiji Aonuma reiterated that target - and emphasized his confidence - during the Video Game Awards in December last year. The new gameplay footage and details rocked our world, as we saw more of GamePad functionality, Epona's new auto-riding mechanic and were given a sense of the size of the world. With a huge, interconnected environment, this entry in the blockbuster franchise could be the most open, non-linear and draw-dropping release yet; we're hugely excited for this one.
A surprise announcement and hit of E3 2014, this is Nintendo's unique and colourful take on a third-person multiplayer arena shooter. The focus is on multiplayer, with two teams of four launching around a map and painting the environment in their team's colours. The controls offer a clever mix of gyroscope aiming and dual stick manoeuvring, while the tactical challenge of tackling enemies and dominating territory is a lot of fun. It will have a single player campaign, too, so we're keen to see more.
Nintendo's gearing up to provide us with a sanitised, simple but fun tool-set that is no doubt used - in some form - by the company's own teams to create 2D Mario platformers in double-quick time. With the ability to switch between visual sets for classic such as Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World - in addition to the modern HD look - this will allow us to create and share devious masterpieces. Demo builds have been intuitive to use, and we can't wait to see what Nintendo fans around the world produce when this arrives in stores.
Shigeru Miyamoto has confirmed that this this will arrive before The Legend of Zelda for Wii U in 2015, which does little to dull anticipation. This is a cheeky inclusion as we've seen practically nothing of this game, aside from blurred screens and limited previews talking about clever use of the GamePad screen. The idea of alternative views on the TV and GamePad, along with Shigeru Miyamoto's leadership and the fact that it's the first new Star Fox game in years, has us including this on reputation alone. We hope it won't let Wii U owners down.
Kirby's Epic Yarn was a gorgeous platformer on Wii, and the aesthetic looks even more amazing in HD. With staple Yoshi platforming mechanics and clever puzzles likely, we're rather hopeful that this'll provide top-class and adorable gameplay to keep us coming back throughout the year.
Predecessor Xenoblade Chronicles had a torturous route to the West, but Nintendo has been clear in promoting this entry to gamers all around the world. Monolith Soft is once again at the helm, and this adventure seems set for an enormous alien world, with the promise of unique and new creatures and enemies to discover and battle. In the opinion of this humble writer this pushes The Legend of Zelda close as the game to look forward to, a sentiment that may possibly be shared by a number of RPG fans.
It's easy to be snobbish about the Mario Party franchise, but it's important enough that it's had a huge number of releases; it's often perfect for casual and silly fun with friends and family. This entry will no doubt make good use of the GamePad and the potential for asynchronous multiplayer, while amiibo support is also confirmed.
This is out in Japan and North America pretty darn soon, though bizarrely Europe's latest update is for the second half of the year. This adopts a lovely clay-based visual style and makes heavy use of the stylus and GamePad screen; multiplayer with others running and jumping as per a conventional platformer looks fun. Bringing to mind DS title Kirby: Canvas Curse, this'll have 28 stages and will utilise the Kirby, King Dedede and Meta Knight amiibo figures for extra abilities.
A surprising reveal as a Wii U exclusive, this is the work of former Team Ninja boss and Ninja Gaiden chief Tomonobu Itagaki, and was originally set to be published by THQ for the PS3 and Xbox 360. Nintendo stepped in when the publisher folded; it'll feature up to 16 multiplayer modes and a diverse range of environments, with its mix of shooting and melee combat looking hugely entertaining. A Wii U dark horse for 2015.
Here's our wildcard for this list, with this Wii U-exclusive download impressing us a good deal in our hands on time to date. A collaboration between Nifflas (Knytt Underground) and Knapnok Games (Spin the Bottle: Bumpie's Party), this tasks one player with controlling the small ship through dangerous environments, and another with managing systems and power resources on the GamePad. Though it can be played alone, it's best enjoyed in two or three player co-op, as you explore and solve clever puzzles together; you can learn more about this in our interview with Nifflas and our first impressions of the game.
Those are ten games that we think will bring a lot of fun to Wii U owners in 2015. Honourable Nintendo mentions must go to Project Giant Robot, Project Guard and Mario vs. Donkey Kong. Download mentions are also due for SteamWorld Heist, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Citizens of Earth and Mighty No. 9, though there are a good number of multi-platform eShop games to look forward to.
Let us know what you think of this list with a vote for your favourite in the poll below, while you can share views and post your own lists in the comments section.
What's your most anticipated Wii U game of 2015? (885 votes)
The Legend of Zelda
Yoshi's Woolly World
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Mario Party 10
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
Affordable Space Adventures
My choice isn't on the list
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