The Nintendo Switch is just a few weeks from release. In honor of Nintendo and all that it’s brought to the gaming world, The Life of Gaming has decided to count down the top 10 games from each of Nintendo’s home consoles. Be sure to check back each week and see if your favorite game makes our list!
Today, we move on to the most successful Nintendo console of all time – the Nintendo Wii.
Looking at the history of the Nintendo Wii, no one could deny its mass appeal and success. By the end of it’s generation, over 100 million Wii’s were sold and over 1,600 games released for the system (with the final game releasing for Wii in November 2016). With the launch of the Nintendo Switch just around the corner, we thought we would look back at the 10 best Nintendo Wii games released last generation.
10) Wii Sports Resort
Released: July 2009 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
When looking for a game that exemplified what the Wii was all about, you wouldn’t have to look much further than the pack-in title, Wii Sports. Without Wii Sports, the Wii wouldn’t have been nearly as successful. However, when you look at it from a pure gameplay standpoint, Wii Sports Resort was the better game.
Wii Sports Resort took everything that made Wii Sports great and amplified it. Not only did it include 12 sports versus the originals 4, it added enhanced gameplay with the newly released Wii Motion Plus attachment (the Wii Motion Plus would eventually be added directly into the Wii remote itself). Adding great games like Swordplay, Basketball, and Table Tennis to the already excellent Bowling and Golf, there was something for everyone to love. It also set forth the beginnings of Wuhu Island, which we would see return in multiple places throughout the lifetime of the Wii and 3DS.
09) Mario Kart Wii
Released: April 2008 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
Mario Kart is one of the most successful series in Nintendo’s library, and its not hard to see why. The fun and frantic karting is easy to pick up and gratifying to master. Mario Kart Wii was the sixth Mario Kart game to date, and it was able to reach karting veterans as well as newbies by keeping the formula familiar, while also adding in a few additional twists.
The biggest addition to Mario Kart Wii was the use of motion control. Nintendo even went as far as packing in a free steering wheel holder for your Wii remote. I know my wife, along with many other first-time karters, wouldn’t love Mario Kart nearly as much without the use of motion control.
With nearly 39 million copies sold since launch, Mario Kart Wii was the second best Mario game released on the console. With 32 tracks, 16 of which were fan favorites from older games in the series, there is something here for every Mario Kart fan to enjoy – young and old. The game even included online multiplayer so you could prove your Mario Kart mettle to the world.
08) No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Released: January 2010 Publisher: Ubisoft Developer: Grasshopper Manufacture
So far, our list has been very safe for the kids. That all stops with our number 8 – No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle. The Wii was known for very family-friendly games, however, there were the occasional mature titles, and NMH2 fits that bill perfectly. Full of blood, assassinations, and off-the-walls humor, Suda 51 and Grasshopper Manufacture took things to the next level. Travis Touchdown is a far-throw from the Super Mario’s and Yoshi’s of Nintendo’s colorful world.
No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle followed the continuing adventures of Travis Touchdown, a samurai-wannabe-turned-hitman and the top assassin in the “United Assassins Association” (UAA). The game is made up of 15 different boss fights, where you face the most ridiculous enemies imaginable. You’ll be slicing apart cyborgs, ghosts, and everything-in-between. You’ll even see a few returning enemies from the original adventure.
Outside of the games many boss battles, Suda 51 included classic retro-style games that earn you in-game currency to unlock new boss fights. While the original game had you driving around the town of Santa Destroy to complete odd jobs, NMH2 decided to take a different approach. Whether you are flipping burgers or mowing grass, this game never ceases to surprise. The game even mixes up the combat and lets you play as Travis’ sidekick Shinobu, mixing up the title with even more unique gameplay.
Hopefully, there are more adventures for Travis Touchdown in the near future. Suda 51 was seen at the recent Nintendo Switch event letting us know a new No More Heroes game is on the way. Now could be the best time to catch up on the story of this epic video game anti-hero.
*Editors note: While you don’t have to play the original No More Heroes to enjoy No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle, it is highly recommended
07) Punch Out!!
Released: May 2009 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Next Level Games
In my opinion, Punch Out!! is one of the most underutilized IP in Nintendo’s great catalog of characters. With only 3 games released since it’s origination in 1987, the Wii version had a lot to live up to. I’m happy to say it passed with flying colors.
Created by the fine folks over at Next Level Games, (the company behind such great games as Super Mario Strikers and Luigi’s Mansion Dark Moon) the formula sticks closely to the original. While it is a boxing game, it’s more of an action-puzzle game. You watch your opponent closely, memorize their tell-signs, dodge at the right moments, and land your punches swiftly. Even by todays standards, the combat still feels as sharp and exhilarating as ever.
For fans of the original, the cast of characters is made up of fighters from Punch Out!! and Super Punch Out!!. However, you can’t get too comfortable. While the combos and tell-signs from the original are in tact, the game includes an extra mode for long time fans. Once you complete the first 4 circuits, you are taken into a “rematch” mode where you must down the opponents again, only this time with all new tell-signs and combos. There’s even a great surprise for Nintendo fans that are able to stick it out through both campaigns.
06) Resident Evil IV
Released: May 2007 Publisher: Capcom Developer: Capcom
With the recent release of Resident Evil VII, what better time to discuss (what is said by many to be) the greatest Resident Evil game of all time – Resident Evil IV. While Resident Evil IV released in January 2005 on the GameCube (and then again on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2016), the ultimate version the game released on the Wii in 2007. Why is it the best version of the game? Simple. Controls.
While the game had the standard Wii-waggle for certain quick-time events, it was the pointer controls that really made this game shine. It made the ability to pick-off head shots one-by-one a true art form, making the smallest of adjustments with just a slight movement of your hand. With a true wide-screen presentation, enhanced motion controls for aiming, and added content and missions, the Wii version is by far the best version to purchase of Resident Evil IV.
05) Xenoblade Chronicles
Released: April 2012 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Monolith Soft
If you’re looking for an outstanding 100+ hour JRPG to sink your teeth into, than look no further than Xenoblade Chronciles. Originally released in Japan in June 2010, it didn’t make its way to America until April 2012. It probably wouldn’t have even come to the United States without the help of the fan campaign known as Operation Rainfall. Even when it did release, however, it remained a GameStop exclusive. So, in other words, you may have missed it.
Xenoblade Chronicles follows the story of Shulk and his band of friends, and their quest for the Monodo, an ancient sword of great power. The world of this game is created on the backs of two great titans, Bionis and Mechonis, and the environments are extremely impressive for the low-powered specs of the aging Nintendo console (some may say pushing it too far). Another perk is that the game uses a real-time action-based combat system, where you always feel like you’re part of the action. It also doesn’t hurt that the voice acting in the game is pretty great, too.
If you’re a fan of Japanese RPG’s, this is one you shouldn’t miss.
04) Donkey Kong Country Returns
Released: November 2010 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Retro Studios
Just like Punch Out!! from earlier in our list, Donkey Kong Country Returns brought back a classic Nintendo series for a new generation. Retro Studios, the company behind the Metroid Prime series, put a new spin on the SNES gem; refining the mechanics, but keeping things true to the heart of the series.
If you desire a causal co-op platformer, look to Super Mario Bros Wii, but if you’re looking for a difficult, nail-biting platforming challenge, look no further than Donkey Kong Country Returns. While motion controls are implemented for certain tasks, such as ground pounds and rolls, the majority of the game is still played with good, old-fashioned buttons. The environments are gorgeous, the soundtrack brings back nostalgia, and the mine-cart levels will have you pulling out your hair all over again. They even throw in new rocket missions to mix things up!
03) Metroid Prime: Trilogy
Released: August 2009 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Retro Studios
Ok, sure. You can say this one is cheating, since it’s technically 3 games rolled into one package, but what a package it is! Bringing together Metroid Prime, Metroid Prime 2: Echoes, and Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the Metroid Prime: Trilogy adds the motion controls from Metroid Prime 3: Corruption that changed the series forever (I am still surprised that first-person shooters didn’t take off on the Wii after the strong proof-of-concept that Metroid Prime 3:Corruption brought to the system). It also added wide-screen mode to both Metroid: Prime and Metroid Prime 2: Echoes.
Sadly, this game was sent out as a limited release, so it may have passed you by. However, in recent years, GameStop had a reprinting of the disc. So now, more have the opportunity to pick up this great compilation. Like all Metroid games, It follows the story of Samus Aran and her never-ending battle with space pirates. It takes the traditional Metroid formula, but throws it on its head with a first-person perspective. After playing through this game ,you should see why so many Nintendo fans are chomping at the bit for the announcement of Metroid Prime 4.
02) Super Mario Galaxy
Released: November 2007 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
He’s been to burning deserts and icy peaks, flown through the sky and dived down to the watery deep. Where else could Nintendo take their world- famous mascot? Out of this world, course – shooting through outerspace. While the quest of rescuing Princess Peach remains the same, the gameplay is what really made this game so out-of-this-world.
The physics used for Mario really forces you to think in a whole new way. Every planet has it’s own gravity, and you must use that to solve many of the games platforming puzzles. It’s amazing how Nintendo can still make Mario feel fresh after all these years. Outside of taking his platforming to space, the game also featured a symphonic orchestral score, the first-time ever for Nintendo. The music is absolutely beautiful and fits the game perfectly.
01) The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Released: November 2011 Publisher: Nintendo Developer: Nintendo
This was a very hard choice for me to make. Which Legend of Zelda game should I include on this list? One Legend of Zelda game at the launch of the system, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and one Legend of Zelda game at the end of the consoles lifecycle, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. For this list, I decided to go with the later.
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was the ultimate swan-song for the Nintendo Wii. It was the culmination and true realization of what the Nintendo Wii always set out to be – True 1:1 motion control. Swinging Link’s sword, controlling his many gadgets and items, and flying his loftwing in the fanciful world of Skyloft all felt fantastic.
The game also featured, in my opinion, the best story ever told in a Legend of Zelda game. When fans heard that this game would be the official start of The Legend of Zelda timeline, they became ecstatic, but could this game live up to that legacy? I would have to say an emphatic yes. The relationship between Zelda and Link was unlike anything we had seen in the past. Their true friendship since childhood, and the quest they must go on to be together, really made the entire package memorable.
The game also had many first-time features for a Legend of Zelda game (many of which seem to be returning for the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild). It included an upgrade system for your shield and gadgets through the collection of items you found throughout the world, and it featured a stamina meter where Link would actually have to be cognizant of the amount of energy he used for each task. The game also features my favorite Legend of Zelda soundtrack of all time, and it doesn’t hurt that it was fully orchestrated. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is the beautiful closer Nintendo deserved for their most successful console of all time.
So, what’s your favorite game on the Nintendo Wii? Which game did we leave off the list? Let us know in the comments down below!