The 10 Most Misunderstood Wii Games
by Mike D.
I suppose that it’s fitting that a console as misunderstood as the Wii has a library of equally misunderstood games. By reputation, you’d think ye olde white brick has virtually nothing to offer outside of a precious few critically-acclaimed, first-party releases. This isn’t true, of course, but the perception persists.
That brings us to this list. To be clear, this Top 10 isn’t aimed at hitting every possible good Wii game that hasn’t garnered classic – or even cult classic – status. As much as I’d like to include a game like Muramasa: The Demon Blade, few would deny its beauty or quality. No, this is a list of games that fell through the cracks of critical and gamer apathy, or worse, was met with a backlash that blinded many to truly great offerings. Give these games a chance, and you may be surprised at what you find.
Before devoting more space to the most misunderstood of all Wii games, lets kick this off proper with a sampling of some greats you may have missed. Without further adieu, the first five most misunderstood Wii games are…
10.) Fast Racing League
That screen is not for a retail Wii release. Somehow, developer Shin’en shoehorned that into a WiiWare game.
No, really. For the price of DLC, you get visuals like that and old-school, blink wrong and you’ve lost gameplay. So why is this title still toiling in obscurity? Perhaps it’s because some reviewers found it too hard for its own good, hoping instead for online multiplayer to go up against the rubber-thumbed opposition of the humanoid biped variety. There’s also the fact that, despite its namesake, you can find faster racers out there. However, you can also just go sit on your couch, click on the WiiShop channel, and download this particular game, which single-handedly destroys the idea that the Wii never offers anything new worth using your onboard memory for.
9.) The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces
Maybe it’s the anime trappings (or that the game expected its audience to be previously educated in the Japanese anime forbearer of the game). Maybe it’s the slightly unorthodox, nunchuck-centric control scheme.
Maybe it’s just bad luck. Either way, Sky Crawlers is a gas of an arcade-y flight sim (a term to be used lightly here), one that leverages the Wii’s controls in a unique and captivating way. It’s furiously fast, fantastically fun, and deceptively deep with its motion controls and combat repertoire.
Publisher XSEED had a true gem on its hands that few bothered to notice, and fewer still attempted to appreciate for what it was. Sadly, this will be a recurring theme in this countdown.
8.) Call of Duty Series
There isn’t another series on the Wii that has come as far as Call of Duty. What started off in COD3 as a single-player only port of a last gen game (even the PS2 got online multiplayer!), ended up as Modern Warfare 3, the closest online offering the Wii has to Xbox Live.
That isn’t hyperbole. If the Wii had launched with multiplayer games this comprehensive (and if Nintendo had been more flexible with their online policies), the gaming landscape could be far different. Instead, we’re left with the admirable progression Activision’s Treyarch studio has made over the years, adding more content and upping the graphical fidelity with every iteration. Oh, and they also managed to flat-out nail a customizable Wii remote aiming scheme years ago, something lesser developers still struggle with. Pity that most reviewers haven’t looked past the blurrier graphics to see a real achievement.
7.) Excitebots: Trick Racing
Crazy. Positively, smack a zoo animal, burn your groceries, kidnap an inanimate object, propose to Gary Busey, Nair-your-pet crazy.
Robot vehicles crossed with animals, crossed with style-points for big air, crossed with bowling? And this madness has online multiplayer?
If you’ve never played Excitebots, you’ve never played the fastest, craziest, most holy hell, now I’m playing POKER while racing?! game released this gen. There’s nothing else like it, which might be why critical reaction and overall sales alike were milquetoast. The same can’t be said of the game itself; few other titles have so proudly let their freak flag fly.
6.) Warioland: Shake It!
Beautiful, stylized graphics. Pitch-perfect controls. Pick-up and play simplicity, plus deeper challenges for replayability out the rear for dedicated gamers. What’s not to love?
Apparently, a lot. Maybe thems the breaks of being Mario’s ne’er-do-well mirror image. Upon its release, Warioland promptly worked its way toward RIAA-certified cardboard status. Oh, it ended up selling decently enough, and critics weren’t outright hostile to it, but there’s an apathy toward this game that is downright perplexing. It’s a piece of 2D platforming goodness with an extraordinarily high pedigree. It seems as if the goofball delivery obscured the brilliance underneath for some gamers. Me? After hours of playing, I’m still looking for things I’ve missed. This is a top-tier exercise in the genre not that you’d know it, based on its (lack) of reputation.
Five down, five to go. Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Most Misunderstood Games the Wii has ever seen.