Top 10 Wii U Games (So Far)


5: Super Mario 3D World

Super Mario 3D World

Released: 2013

Fun fact: The idea for the Double Cherry power-up came from one of the developers accidentally placing two Marios in the same level.

Super Mario 3D World may not match the perfection of the Galaxy series, or even boast their sense of newness. But it is a perfect marriage of the old and new. Nintendo has strived to make a 3D Mario title reminiscent of the 2D games for a while now, but with 3D World they really nailed it. Playing Super Mario 3D World feels closer to playing Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World than it does 64 or Sunshine. It even feels closer to Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World than any New Super Mario Bros. ever did.

Simply put, if you ever wondered what the Mario series might have been like if the gameplay of the 2D games were more literally translated when the series made the jump to 3D, Super Mario 3D World is the answer.

The levels are more linear than past 3D Marios, but that’s not a bad thing, despite what gamers on the internet like to think. But these levels are full of secrets that rival the 2D games. And nearly every stage showcases a new idea or a twist on the gameplay. Plus, you get to play as not only Mario, but Luigi, Toad and Peach as well! Each character comes with the abilities they had in Super Mario Bros. 2, and you can even unlock Rosalina as a fifth character, with Galaxy abilities in tow.

Combine all that with mini-games, Captain Toad levels, some fun boss fights and some of the best power-ups in the series (Cat Suits!), and Super Mario 3D World is an absolute winner.

4: Mario Kart 8

Luigi Death Stare

Released: 2014

Fun fact: The “Luigi Death Stare” meme was featured on a number of mainstream news outlets.

The best-selling Wii U game of all time is also one of the console’s very best games. I will even say it’s the best Mario Kart yet made due to its intricate balance that focuses more on racing and less on the items. It also has the best (and most) tracks of any game in the series, with brilliant original tracks and the smartest selection of retro stages yet. And the online couldn’t be any smoother.

So why is Mario Kart 8 only number four? Only because the Balloon Battle Mode is somehow the worst in the series. Ironic that the Mario Kart that does so much right is the one entry that gets the Battle mode wrong of all things. If it had a proper Battle Mode, it would probably top this list (some better character selection wouldn’t hurt either. Baby Daisy and Pink Gold Peach are as bad as it gets… Next to regular Daisy, of course).

Even with that said, Mario Kart 8 is one of the most fun games Nintendo has ever made. Let me say that again. One of the most fun games Nintendo has ever made. If that doesn’t say it all I don’t know what does.

Win or lose, Mario Kart 8 exudes fun. It’s local and online multiplayer modes are insanely entertaining and addictive, and the game as a whole has nearly endless replay value. The visuals are drop-dead gorgeous and the orchestrated soundtrack is, bar none, the best of any Mario Kart. The DLC has only made the game better, with crossover characters and tracks from The Legend of Zelda, Animal Crossing, F-Zero and Excite Bike adding some versatile Nintendo goodness into the mix.

Why am I not playing this right now?

3: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

Released: 2014

Fun fact: Takamura from The Mysterious Murasame Castle was originally going to be a playable fighter before being demoted to an Assist Trophy.

Speaking of games with seemingly endless replayability, it’s Super Smash Bros!

Despite what silly competitive kids stuck in the early 2000s would have you believe, this is the best, most balanced, and fully-realized Smash Bros. to date. The roster is bigger and more creative than ever, the stages are more fun, and the game does a wonderful job at catering to both its more casual and hardcore fanbases. You can play stages with gimmicks and items attached, or turn the stages into a level playing field and rely solely on your skills.

Yes, the excess amount of Kid Icarus characters and references are an annoying piece of self-aggrandizement on Masahiro Sakurai’s part, but they’re ultimately a small price to pay when the whole game is this enjoyable. It’s Smash Bros. made more fun, more addictive, and deeper than ever before.

It looks great, sounds even better, and is filled with countless modes and secrets. But at the heart of it all is the core gameplay, which is refined from previous installments to make this the best Smash Bros. to date. The 3DS version was released first, but by comparison that version feels like the appetizer to the Wii U’s main course.

2: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Tropical Freeze

Released: 2014

Fun fact: Tropical Freeze marked the first appearance of Dixie Kong in six years, and the first time Cranky Kong became a playable character.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze quickly became tragically underrated. Seemingly because it’s a Nintendo game that doesn’t star Mario, Link or Samus, the game was quickly forgotten after initially receiving high critical praise at its release. I named it my favorite video game of 2014, but good luck finding anyone else who even put it in the running. Even its phenomenal soundtrack – the best in recent years – failed to get its due.

But I’m here to say this: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is the best sidescrolling platformer in a decade’s time. I say that with full confidence, because Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is as brilliant as its title is silly.

Every stage, every stage, presents a new set of ideas, with no level being lazy enough to even repeat one. The HD visuals are beautiful, and the game recaptures the sense of atmosphere of the DKC series that Returns strangely lacked. And the soundtrack, by original series composer David Wise, is sublime.

Diddy, Dixie, and Cranky add meaningful variety to the gameplay, and the boss fights, though few, are among the most challenging in the genre. And the difficulty… Good heavens, the difficulty. Tropical Freeze is more or less Nintendo’s equivalent of Dark Souls. Let’s leave it at that.

2010’s Donkey Kong Country Returns was an excellent platformer, but it fell back on nostalgia for the old DKC games so much that it failed to develop much of its own identity, despite its often-great ideas. With Tropical Freeze, however, Retro Studios seems to have made DKC their own beast. It’s not merely a tribute to the DKCs of old, but a more than worthy successor to them.

Admittedly, the Gamepad has no use in this game other than off-TV play, and the bonus stages still lack variety. But those are small prices to pay for a platformer that plays so well and provides so much reward.


Author: themancalledscott

Born of cold and winter air and mountain rain combining, the man called Scott is an ancient sorcerer from a long-forgotten realm. He’s more machine now than man, twisted and evil. Or, you know, he could just be some guy who loves video games, animations and cinema who just wanted to write about such things.

13 thoughts on “Top 10 Wii U Games (So Far)”

  1. You’d be hard pressed to find a better list than this. I’ll probably make a list of my own one day, but it would probably include most, if not all, of the games you’ve listed, probably in a different order however. I have yet to play Tropical Freeze, but I shall rectify that sooner than later as I see you speak highly of it. Absolutely love the fun facts btw! They’re brilliant 🙂 Awesome list 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a really good top 10, I would have arranged some of the games differently but they are pretty much all there. Though I think Assassin’s Creed IV should be on the list unless this is first party games only 😉 Anyhow Great Article.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Believe me, thinking of the order of the games was the hardest part. Especially the top four, which I feel are on equal footing in a lot of ways. I basically had to nitpick between them. Sadly, I have yet to play Assassin’s Creed IV, which explains its absence here. Thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s fair to say the WiiU’s problems with its library are barely any different from what we saw with Nintendo consoles from the N64 onwards, good 1st party support, not so much with 3rd parties. I don’t own one at the moment, as the games I want for it are rather limited to justify buying an expensive console, but I’ll say it’s the closest thing I want to a current gen system (excluding the 3DS as I already own one).
    I have already played Shovel Knight on PC, but the amiibo unlocking coop might impulse me to double dip and get one of those figurines I never cared for before, and I’m sure my GF is curious to try out Wooly World sometime down the road. My personal interests are Bayonetta 2 and Smash Bros, but I also want to give Rainbow Curse a shot, despite reading some disappointing aspects about it in comparison to Canvas Curse, and Zelda will hopefully be out by next year to see how it handles the whole open world thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nintendo has had troubles with third-parties for a long time now (except Capcom), and it now doubt has an affect on many people’s outlook of their consoles.

      If you do decide to buy a Wii U, all the games I listed would justify the purchase I think. I’d say Mario Kart 8 alone would justify it. Definitely a lot of great games.


  4. Yeah. I agree with you on your opinion on the Wii U. My personal favorite games are Splatoon and Super Smash Bros for Wii U. Splatoon is exactly what I want a multiplayer shooter to be like. (Also, the style reminds me of 90’s Nick, y’know, before it got dethroned to bad live-action comedies? There’s a reason I mistook it to be a Nick game at first.) And Smash 4 is just endless fun. It’s one of those games that I just cannot explain why I love. (The wait was worth it.) Zelda Wii U would probably be at the top of my list now… if it was out… *Sad Violin*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Part of me wanted to put Splatoon in the top 5, but in the end I had to nitpick which ones were better. But Splatoon is an amazing game nonetheless, and so original. And I’m not sure I should admit how many hours I’ve put into Smash in less than a year’s time…

      Definitely looking forward to Zelda, hopefully it can live up to The Wind Waker, which I still feel is the best 3D entry in the series.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great list! I am not surprised to see Tropical Freeze ranked so high (and I fully agree with all the reasons given to support its position) and I was shocked to see Super Mario Maker top all games (some of which I was sure it would be trailing). As an endless source of Super Mario goodness, though, it has certainly earned its place!

    I am also glad to see positive comments towards Super Mario 3D World and New Super Mario Bros. U. It seems that just a few years after their respective releases some fans are forgetting how absolutely awesome those games were.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tropical Freeze deserves every bit of praise it gets (which should honestly be more than it’s received). It’s a masterful platformer. The only reason it didn’t top this list is because of the lack of Gamepad features, which prevents it from being the “definitive” Wii U game. It’s a better singular experience than Mario Maker, but as Mario Maker is an endless treasure box of Mario that allows me to make my own Mario levels, and it uses the Gamepad better than any other game, it just had to claim top honors.

      Super Mario 3D World definitely deserves more acclaim than it gets. It was beloved at launch but now seems to be talked about like a “lesser” Mario game, which it certainly isn’t. NSMBU is also better than it gets credit for, but I simply think people were New Super Mario Bros’ed out by that point.

      Liked by 1 person

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