Welcome to the final installment of the Wii Retrospective! In the past eight articles, I’ve covered eight categories of games and their most prominent examples on the Wii. It’s now time for an overview of those retrospectives and I can’t think of anything better to call it than a retroception. I’ll be giving my final thoughts on how well Wii did in each genre that I covered and choose what I feel is the very best example of it on the Wii. For the last time, let’s dive right in!
Genre Score: 5 out of 5
Best Platformer: Super Mario Galaxy 2
As I said in their article, I think platformers were by a wide margin the Wii’s strongest genre. Being my favorite genre, I will always be grateful to the Wii for setting it back on the right path. The Wii brought 3D platformers back to being linear games that were actually focused on platforming and made 2D platformers on home consoles viable again. Mario, Sonic, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Rayman, Wario — so many classic series saw great Wii releases. If you are a fan of platformers, the Wii is the best system for you since the golden age of the 16-bit era.
There was a lot of competition in this category, but this was still the easiest choice for me. There are plenty of exceptional platformers on the Wii, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 is my favorite game of all time. After Super Mario Galaxy revolutionzed 3D Mario, Super Mario Galaxy 2 took the formula and perfected it. Even more difficult, focused on platforming, less repetitive, with a large amount of unlockables and Yoshi, it was the perfect Mario platformer and, in my opinion, video game in general. Topping this masterpiece is going to be one of Nintendo’s greatest challenges.
Genre Score: 3 out of 5
Best Role Playing Game: Xenoblade Chronicles
Wii’s line-up of RPGs is pretty rear-loaded. It didn’t receive much early on in its life, besides a few Nintendo staples that weren’t the best in their series, but things eventually picked up. The system became something of a haven for Japanese RPGs in a generation that wasn’t very kind to them, although the quantity wasn’t that great, either. While only one RPG on the Wii received a huge amount of praise and attention, there are solid, overlooked entries in almost every sub-genre of JRPG, even if it’s only one or two games.
This is another easy choice. Even with the huge amount of hype delivered when its North American release seemed to be shelved, Xenoblade Chronicles managed to exceed expectations. The game fixes almost every problem associated with traditional JRPGs while taking full advantage of every strength. With a fast-paced battle system, expansive and open settings, great characters and story, it has earned its spot as one of the most beloved Wii games. North American gamers definitely dodged a bullet in what could have been one of the worst cases of a region being skipped.
Genre Score: 4 out of 5
Best Adventure Game: The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
The adventure genre may have been pretty vague and subjective, but the Wii had great games in almost any way that you interpret it. While the most notable were in Nintendo’s own Metroid and Zelda series, the Wii’s controller also lent itself to the nearly extinct point-and-click genre, as well as some solid action-adventure games. It provided a stable line-up, even if we never received the original Resident Evil that we always wanted.
While it may not have broken the cycle of hatred for the newest Zelda the way A Link Between Worlds did, Skyward Sword is an amazing game that uses the Wii Motion Plus to its full potential. With deeper combat than any Zelda game before it, wonderfully designed dungeons and outdoor areas that felt like dungeons, and increased combat difficulty, Skyward Sword is one of the best games in the series. Fi might talk too much, but there’s more than enough gameplay to make up for it.
Genre Score: 3 out of 5
Best Action Game: Muramasa: The Demon Blade
While the Wii was extremely lacking in what most people think of as modern action games, it had a number that fit best under the wide umbrella of the genre. The Wii controller never quite lived up to the potential it had, but that doesn’t mean the system was completely barren. Whether you were slicing off cel-shaded limbs, killing hordes of enemies in feudal Japan, or just punching out a blatantly cheating boxer, there are some great action experiences to be had on the Wii — just not as many as there could have been.
Ironically, the Wii game that best captures the modern ideal of the combo-and-dodging action game is a 2D sidescroller. Muramasa may have heavy RPG elements, but its core is intense action. With sword techniques and Japanese mythology-inspired enemies to slash through, wrapped in an intricate story and beautiful hand-drawn graphics, Muramasa hits the spot in multiple ways. It’s proof that you don’t need HD and a huge budget to make a beautiful and intense action game. Muramasa deserves a spot in every Wii library.
First Person Shooters
Genre Score: 3.5 out of 5
Best First Person Shooter: Goldeneye 007
First-person shooters on the Wii are difficult to evaluate. On the one hand, the Wii controller is perfect for the genre and I think it makes the games much more enjoyable than any other console’s controller. On the other hand, there just weren’t that many FPSes on the Wii, especially top-tier ones. The system did revive rail shooters, however, and they’re even more perfect for the Wii’s controller than conventional FPSes. While the quantity and quality on the Wii isn’t the greatest, the controller helps so much that I think it bumps the system’s performance in the genre into the respectable range.
While it may not have been the genre revolutionizing blockbuster that the Nintendo 64 Goldeneye was, the Wii Goldeneye is a solid FPS pushed into great territory by the Wii’s controller. It may feel like a standard FPS and not have that much of a connection to the Nintendo 64 game, but Goldeneye Wii is one of the few examples of a traditional FPS on the Wii being given the attention it deserved. Even with the impending end of online play, the game is still worth it for Wii owners who are fans of the genre.
Genre Score: 4.5 out of 5
Best Puzzle Game: Boom Blox Bash Party
The Wii may not have been overflowing with retail puzzle games, but it had some incredible ones. Games like Zack and Wiki, A Boy and his Blob, and the Boom Blox games are some of the best retail puzzle games on home consoles in generations. Considering how rare the genre is on all home systems, I think the Wii’s performance in it greatly exceeded expectations. I debated which score to give this genre more heavily than the others, but I think factoring in the context of the genre’s presence on other consoles helped the Wii earn the score I’m giving it.
With a name that makes it sound like a party game spin-off and being a sequel to a game that was already widely misunderstood, Boom Blox Bash Party didn’t get anywhere near the attention it deserved. A deep, gigantic, and hugely varied game, Boom Blox Bash Party is one of the best puzzle games of all time. It takes something inherently fun, such as demolishing block structures, and manages to make it into a complex yet intuitive and at times, brutally difficult game.
Genre Score: 4 out of 5
Best Miscellaneous Game: Sin and Punishment: Star Successor
It seems almost pointless to evaluate the Wii in a category that is made up of genres that didn’t have enough presence to receive their own section. Regardless, there were some great Wii games in genres that were underrepresented on the system, including some of its bestsellers (Mario Kart Wii, Super Smash Bros. Brawl), as well as some overlooked gems (Sin and Punishment: Star Successor, Tatsunoko Vs. Capcom). While I’m not sure whether it technically counts as a good or bad thing, this “genre” had a strong presence on the Wii.
This may seem like an odd choice with huge names like Mario Kart and Smash Bros. in this category, but Sin and Punishment: Star Successor really is a fantastic game. Few games fit the Wii’s controller more perfectly than Star Successor and it turns the weakest aspect of the Nintendo 64 original into the strongest. Dodging attacks with the analog stick while using the IR pointer for perfect precision aiming is incredibly fun and something that more games should have done. The game itself is also a challenging, highly replayable pinnacle of the extremely rare 3D shmup sub-genre. Star Successor deserved to sell much better than it did, pick it up while you still can!
Genre Score: 4 out of 5
Best WiiWare Game: Mega Man 10
The WiiWare library in many ways reflects the Wii’s retail library: while it missed out on many multi-platform digital games that were shared by the other seventh generation consoles, its library holds some overlooked exclusives. With a mix of often exclusive retro revivals and games that utilized the Wii’s controller in unique ways, WiiWare actually has quite a bit to offer. It’s worth dealing with the Wii Mode on Wii U to still be able to play all the games on the service.
Another pick that will probably not be expected, Mega Man 10 deserved praise even before everyone became so worried about the titular character and the fact that the last game he starred in was given a premature nostalgia filter. While Mega Man 9’s level were solid but not exceptional, Mega Man 10 is filled with new ideas that are used for intense platforming action. Forget about all the anger surrounding the Mega Man franchise right now, Mega Man 10 deserves to be enjoyed on its own merits.
My main theme with this series has always been that what will really define the Wii’s legacy are the games and I want to restate that once again, now that it is over. For all the bad games released on the Wii to cash in on the controller’s popularity, there really were a lot of great games released by both Nintendo and third parties. While I would certainly like the system to receive more respect, it is the people who are overlooking its library that will really benefit from giving it a chance. There are great games in a lot of genres for the system and I really doubt there will ever be a better time to pick up games for it in terms of price. I hope you enjoyed this series and discovered some new games that you might enjoy. The retrospective is over, but the games will last forever!