Index – Wii Retrospective
- Best Wii Platformer Games
- Best Wii RPGs
- Best Wii Adventure Games
- Best Wii Action Games
- Best Wii FPS Games
- Best Wii Puzzle Games
- Miscellaneous Genres
- Best WiiWare Games
Welcome to another stupendous installment of the Wii Retrospective! There are a lot of genres in gaming and some don’t get much representation on a system or even in a generation. That doesn’t mean that the few games a system has in those respective genres can’t be good, so in this installment, I’ll be going over notable Wii games that didn’t belong to a genre numerous enough to get its own article. There are a lot of games to cover, so let’s dive right in!
Unless you are very strongly on the opposing side in the war over what genre to classify the games in, the first thing you think of when you hear fighting games and Nintendo together is the Super Smash Bros. series. A fighting/party game with Nintendo characters is one of the most exciting concepts a game can have. Super Smash Bros. Brawl had quite possibly the longest and biggest hype buildup of any title on the Wii, with one of Nintendo’s best ever trailers at E3 2006 and daily updates for the better part of a year before its release. With online play, an expansive story mode, and third-party characters, it seemed like it would be the best Smash Bros. game by a gigantic margin.
As was probably inevitable with a game that had so much hype — I’m convinced Brawl was a major reason Nintendo has announced their games so much closer to release date in recent years — a lot of people were disappointed. The online play was bad even by Nintendo standards, the story mode’s quality was controversial, and we didn’t get Mega Man! Regardless, the game has a huge amount of content and is incredibly fun for local multiplayer games. The amount of Nintendo references and trivia within the game is almost overwhelming. As bitter as some people are towards the game, every Wii owner needs to at least try it, especially if they have any sort of attachment to Nintendo.
The other notable Wii fighting game is Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars. An entry in the then-long absent Capcom Vs. series, the game was thought to have little chance of an international release due to its non-Capcom half being made of anime characters that had licensing issues and often little popularity outside of Japan. Miraculously, the game did make it out of Japan and filled a gap in the Wii’s library. While overshadowed when Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was released, Tatsunoko vs. Capcom is well-liked by those who played it.
Sports and Racing
While the Wii’s limited online emphasis made it rare for multi-platform sports games to shine on the system, there are some solid exclusives that the Wii can claim in the genre. The most notable easily is Mario Kart Wii. A mixed bag for the series, it added quite a bit by being the first console installment to have its amount of tracks doubled, thanks to a set from previous games in the series, and it had great online play for a Wii game.
Unfortunately, it also limited certain modes and the twelve racers made the infamous blue shells worse than ever. While it certainly isn’t a terrible game, all indications are that the imminent Mario Kart 8 will be a stronger entry. Mario made a few other sports appearances on Wii, with the heavily action infused soccer title Mario Strikers Charged being considered one of the better Mario sports games. The similarly over-the-top baseball title Super Mario Sluggers had a more mixed reception.
Nintendo revived their Excite series with two Wii retail entries, Excite Truck and Excitebots: Trick Racing. Excite Truck was a launch game for the Wii, demonstrating its motion controls by using them to steer in stunt-emphasizing truck races. The controls were generally considered to work well and the game is considered a solid entry in the series. Excitebots placed more emphasis on the battle and tricks than the actual racing, earning it a mixed reception.
The Wii had a few exclusives in popular sports series that took advantage of its controls. Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam was controversial, due to its linear racing-based structure as opposed to the traditionally open Tony Hawk games. SSX Blur, on the other hand, was faithful to the roots of its series and is considered a hidden gem by many fans who had little to play in the early parts of the seventh generation. Starting with Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2010, the golf series utilized the Wii Motion Plus accessory to great effect, making it one of the few multi-platform sports series where the Wii version is considered superior.
Shoot ’Em Ups
Shoot ’Em Ups, commonly known as shmups, are one of gaming’s oldest genres. Despite its perseverance, the genre has been considered well out of the mainstream for the majority of its existence. Although often confined to downloadable titles these days, the Wii had some notable retail shmups. The best and most significant of these is Sin and Punishment: Star Successor.
An entry in the exceptionally rare 3D shmup sub-genre — Star Fox being the closest thing to a mainstream series in it — Star Successor uses the Wii’s controller to great effect and fills the void that Star Fox left. Combining full-screen character movement with a Wii Remote-controlled cursor, Star Successor would be one of the best 3D shmups of all time, even if the genre wasn’t so rare. With constant action and a high difficulty level, it deserved much more attention than it received.
Blast Works: Build, Trade, Destroy is a unique 2D sidescrolling shmup. As the name implies, the game has an emphasis on creating your own levels. The game has a Little Big Planet-style building block feel to it — although Blast Works actually came out first — and also comes with pre-built levels. While the online level sharing never caught on, it is still a good choice for anyone who wants a unique shmup.
The Wii had a few vertical scrolling shmups as well. Ultimate Shooting Collection is a compilation of the bullet hell shooters Karous, Radirgy, and Chaos Field. Only Chaos Field was released outside of Japan, so Ultimate Shooting Collection is a good deal for fans of the genre. Castle of Shikigami III, another vertical bullet hell shooter, also saw its only North American release on the Wii.
The genre that Wii was best known for in the mainstream was its mini-game collections. Most prominent was, appropriately enough, the Wii series. Thanks to being bundled in with the Wii, Wii Sports is currently the best-selling game of all time. While its limited representations of the five sports covered makes it best known as a demo for motion controls, it did receive a deeper sequel later in the Wii’s lifespan.
Wii Sports Resort was designed to show off the improved motion capabilities of the Wii Motion Plus accessory and its twelve sports are indeed considered quite a bit deeper and more fun than the original game’s. Another accessory-promoting Wii game that caught on like wildfire is Wii Fit. While more of a trainer than a game, it was very popular and ensured the Wii Balance Board accessory was in millions of homes. Wii Play and its sequel Wii Play: Motion were more straightforward mini-games packs, fun at parties but with contested quality. Easily, the most notorious Wii game was Wii Music, infamous for having little real gameplay and being given far too much emphasis at Nintendo’s 2008 E3 presentation.
The Wii series weren’t the only first party mini-games on the Wii. Nintendo’s long-running Mario Party series had two Wii installments, one early in the system’s life and one near the end. Mario Party 8 is considered one of the weaker games in the series, focusing on little besides using the Wii Remote for mini-games — and not doing that very well. Nintendo seemed to get the message; Mario Party 9 is considered one of the stronger games and a good revival for the series. The WarioWare series saw its first original console game on the Wii in WarioWare: Smooth Moves. Utilizing the Wii Remote for its rapid-fire micro-games, it is one of the stronger entries in the series and surprisingly impressive graphically.
While many third parties made mini-game collections for the Wii, few were particularly good or memorable. One exception is the Raving Rabbids series, a spin-off from Rayman, which quickly surpassed it in popularity. Rayman Raving Rabbids was not exclusive to the Wii, but its use of the Wii’s unique controller made it easily the most popular version and made several sequels to it Wii exclusive. While many feel the quality dropped in later games, Rayman Raving Rabbids and Rayman Raving Rabbids 2 are some of the stronger party games on the Wii.
Arcade games can very easily slip through the cracks of gaming history, so collections of them on later systems that are powerful enough to perfectly replicate the arcade originals are always a good thing. A few compilations were mentioned in previous sections, but there are some left that deserve attention. With its absurdly expensive $200 games, ports are the most convenient way to play games for SNK’s Neo-Geo and the Wii had a couple of good collections.
Metal Slug Anthology contains the first six Metal Slug games, as well as the special edition of the second game. While the emulation isn’t perfect, it contains plentiful artwork extras and the option to play with a set amount of credits, which I greatly appreciate. SNK Arcade Classics Volume 1 — there sadly was not a Volume 2 — was released for the PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable, as well as the Wii, but the Wii version is the only one that runs well. With sixteen Neo-Geo games, including some great ones, like Magician Lord and Shock Troopers, it is much more economical than buying the games individually on the Virtual Console.
Data East Arcade Classics is another compilation of arcade games, capturing fifteen games from a lesser known publisher. Ranging from high score era games, like BurgerTime to early 90s games like Caveman Ninjas (better known as Joe and Mac), the collection is worth tracking down for retro gamers. Dragon’s Lair Trilogy contains the three iconic Don Bluth FMV games, Dragon’s Lair, Dragon’s Lair II: Time Warp, and Space Ace. They are among the best home ports of the games available and definitely worth it for anyone who likes the genre or Don Bluth’s animation.
The Wii had quite a bit of variety in its games and the genres covered in this article demonstrate that. Ranging from the best-selling games on the system to the most obscure, there was a lot to cover in this installment and I apologize for any games I missed. While we’ve reached the end of my list of retail genres to cover, the Wii Retrospective is not over yet. Stay tuned next time when I will finally dive into the WiiWare games that the system offers. Until then, keep building your Wii library while everything’s so cheap!