The Nintendo Wii celebrates its 10th birthday this weekend, and to celebrate we’ve compiled a list of the 10 best Wii games to have hit motion controllers in those years. The Wii had everything, from family-friendly sports resorts to horrifically violent killing simulations, so here’s the best of the bunch in every genre.
10. La Mulana
At the cheaper end of the list sits La Mulana, an archeology action / adventure title that sees players take on the role of Professor Lemeza in unearthing man’s oldest secrets. La Mulana never really picked up a critical following, but its cult fans were alive and kicking. Boasting fiendishly difficult levels, puzzles and fights were initially daunting for those who dared to pick it up, but this indie platformer brings the satisfaction that comes with any challenge.
9. House of the Dead: Overkill
The House of the Dead is a 90s and early 00s arcade classic, featuring light gun sensor action and the grisliest graphics of the arcade collection. Overkill is the first instalment in the series to see a home console release. The first person rail shooter sees players take on hordes of the undead after a Cold War-esque series of experiments has gone wrong. Initially released in 2009 on the Wii, further ports were completed in 2011 for the PS3 and 2013 for iOS and PC.
8. Project Zero 2: Wii Edition
A latecomer to the party Project Zero 2 was released in 2012 on the Wii. The ghost story took players on a rollercoaster of jump scares, atmospheric creeps, and environmental goose bumps. A Wii remaster of the PS2 classic, Project Zero 2: Wii Edition rid the title of the famed PS2 top down view and installed a third person viewpoint. A graphical upgrade polishes the experience up and ensures that each strafe, dodge, and scream is shiny and new.
7. Mario Kart Wii
Nintendo hit the jackpot with Super Mario Kart on the SNES, the initial title has spawned 7 more instalments and is one of the biggest sources of revenue for the franchise. Mario Kart Wii brought the series to the TVs of my generation. Everyone who owned a Wii owned Mario Kart – the steering wheel shaped peripheral was a must-have, and Rainbow Road was a true sign of mastery. Crowds gathered and friends were lost as Mario Kart Wii was booted up, and controllers were pulled from the charging dock. It was a must-have and a console staple that defined the Nintendo Wii for a generation.
6. Xenoblade Chronicles
Epic battles clash in across serene backdrops in the Nintendo Wii’s JRPG revolution. Combat mechanics were the main winners for this incredibly vast experience. The sheer scope of the open world, epic storyline, and complex range of characters and abilities redefined the capabilities of the RPG genre. Consequently, Xenoblade Chronicles held its place in the Nintendo Wii hall of fame for years.
5. Donkey Kong Country Returns
The first Donkey Kong Country title not to involve developers Rare hit Nintendo Wii in 2010. Carrying the Donkey Kong name into 21st century Nintendo home console market was a big undertaking, that DKCR took head on. With the same classic platformer mechanics that made Donkey Kong Jungle Beat a winner in 2005, Country Returns introduces new silhouette levels while retaining a retro look and feel. In fact it’s this adherence to the classic Donkey Kong aesthetic that sent it down so well in terms of critical reception. Today, Donkey Kong Country Returns stands as one of the best looking games on the Nintendo Wii, with vibrant colours and a classic soundtrack.
4. Resident Evil 4
Admittedly, Resident Evil 4 has been ported onto every system imaginable at this point. However the Wii version, released in 2007, was perhaps the best example of motion controls in a shooter of its day. Nunchuk and remote in hand, shooting down zombies never felt so intuitive. Of all the ports however, the Nintendo Wii version seemed to come out strongest, and in my opinion was the most enjoyable the play.
3. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
As we come down to the top 3, we have the first Mario title to approach multiplayer in a truly modern sense. The first in the franchise to allow up to 4 friends at the same time, New Super Mario Bros. Wii was released in 2009 to massive critical praise. Since then it’s become the fourth best-selling game for the system (as of Sept. 2016). Successfully capturing the innovative qualities that made Super Mario such an iconic franchise while offering new features and gameplay mechanics for everyone meant that New Super Mario Bros. Wii has become one of the most memorable releases for the system (and not just because of that red case sticking out on the shelf).
2. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Though The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword relied on the Wii MotionPlus controller expansion for its sword combat, the sword combat itself is second to none. It’s fitting that players were finally able to physically wield such weaponry themselves in the title that detailed the origins of the famous Master Sword. With a live orchestra behind most of the audio, Skyward Sword reached new aesthetic heights in the Zelda universe. On release, the 16th mainline entry into the franchise received perfect scores from multiple review sites, as well as numerous award entries. Selling over three million copies, Skyward Sword sits at the top of the Zelda tree as far as the Wii is concerned.
1. Super Mario Galaxy 2
Super Mario Galaxy 2 has long been held as one of the greatest video games of all time. There’s no denying it, the 2010 Wii classic was met with amazing responses from both players and critics. The platformer sequel to Super Mario Galaxy saw Mario hop from planet to planet in outer space with tonnes of new features and dynamic environments. Originally conceived as an update to the existing title, development soon grew into the years as more and more ideas were brought to the table and the game as a sequel started to appear before devs. 6.72 million copies later, Super Mario Galaxy 2 was the first Wii title to see the light of the Wii U eShop and holds one of the top spots in terms of best selling Nintendo Wii titles.