The best games on Wii U

By Dave Cook, Friday, 30 May 2014 16:50 GMT

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Mario Kart 8 is out today and you just bought a Wii U for it, where do you go from there? Dave Cook runs down the cream of Nintendo’s current-gen crop with some thoughts on new games coming down the line.

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It’s quite easy to poke fun at Wii U and call it a joke of a machine. It’s also quite lazy.

Sure, you’d have to be nuts to say that Nintendo hasn’t suffered a wobble while transitioning into the current generation but the fact is that the Japanese giant is trying to get back on course, and there’s actually a suite of solid Wii U games out there if you care to look.

So here’s some of the best games available on the format today, and some that are in-development now.

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Mario Kart 8

As I said in my Mario Kart 8 review, the latest Nintendo racer is an absolute delight to play and it’s comfortably the most visually pleasing first-party title on the hardware. Do you recall days spent racing your pals on Mario Kart 64’s local multiplayer? Those days are back again, seriously.

Except now the racer benefits from exemplary track design, that utterly impeccable handling that Nintendo has made its own and now, online multiplayer for the masses. This is absolutely the best reason to invest in a Wii U console today, and judging by the noise among our community today, we’re guessing a lot of you have bought one for this game. We hope you wont be disappointed.

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Super Mario 3D World

‘Oh great. Another Mario game.’

You know, I see people saying this all the time online and I really don’t get it. Yeah, Mario games all share a similar aesthetic to the point that they look the same, but you could say that about Call of Duty too. I’m a big fan of those shooters, and although they look similar, they absolutely do handle differently if you dig into the nuances.

But Super Mario 3D World is a superb title. The reason there are so few 3D platformers out there today is because Nintendo still does it best. They’re near untouchable. The point is that every single level in this game – and there’s like a million or something – has a new mechanic that is unique to that stage and is rarely repeated again. That’s a monumental effort, and it makes for a truly fresh and fun experience. Get on it, seriously.

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The Wonderful 101

When I reviewed this at launch, I asked if it was a pretty waste on Wii U. The point was that the console’s audience was really small at the time, and that was a shame because Platinum’s action game deserves to be played by many, many people. A lot of readers misinterpreted that as Nintendo-bashing. It wasn’t. At all.

I often describe this game as Bayonetta, but if your weapons were made up of a hundred little super heroes. It’s a bizarre game that sees every day citizens teaming together to defeat an army of giant alien robots by linking up to form colossal swords, pistols and other weapons. It’s big, loud and hilarious fun that sees whole sections of its city setting levelled during megaton battles. Above all, it’s a unique premise and a new IP. It just feels fresh, you know?

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ZombiU

During my ZombiU review I kept on comparing it to Dark Souls, but purely because it really does play like a first-person rendition of From Software’s opus in a survival horror setting. They share many common threads such as their brutal difficulty, a lack of blatant signposting, savage enemies, and a respawn system similar to Dark Souls bonfires.

It’s a great stab at the whole zombie apocalypse fantasy, as you scavenge for weapons and supplies, while exploring dark areas as quietly as possible for fear of rupturing the horde. Also, cracking undead skulls with a cricket bat never really gets old. If anyone tells you the Wii U is for infants, prove them wrong by showing them this game. Then let them play it and watch as they die miserable.

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The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

Yep, it’s a re-master, but if you haven’t played this game before then you really should. Although the GameCube original was met with disdain from some gamers at its initial reveal – partly due to its revamped art style – critics heaped massive praise on Wind Waker back in the day, and they did so again when the HD version launched. That proves it’s a game capable of withstanding the test of time.

Those kind of experiences don’t come around every day, and in Wind Waker, not only have you got one of the most charming and vibrant games of the GameCube era, it’s also an incredibly-designed game that keeps up the Zelda tradition of, well, incredibly-designed games. From the sea exploration to that sad little face Link makes – you know the one – this is another Nintendo game that’ll leave a lasting impression.

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