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The 30 Best Wii U Games of All Time

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Loveleen Kaur / ONE37pm

Much has been made about Nintendo's hybrid console being one of its biggest failures when you consider the overwhelming success of its previous hardware. In order to get in on the iPad craze of the time, the Wii U was outfitted with a tablet that allowed for creative uses within various games. But the allure of that gimmick seemingly wasn't enough to do gangbusters like the Wii with its motion control mechanics. Say what you want about the lackluster run of the Wii U, but you have to admit that it has a ton of great games housed within its underrated software library. We managed to find 30 of those titles and are now ready to prop them up in a well-deserved manner. So without further ado, here are the best Wii U games of all time.

Best Wii U Games

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Nintendo

1. 'The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild'

The Wii U certainly went out with a bang. One of the last major releases for the console coincided with the Switch getting one of its first major titles. And that game is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. This open-world trek through the vast kingdom of Hyrule enraptured fans at the time - Link's crusade against Calamity Ganon took him to tons of mini-dungeons that provided the brainteasers fans regard so highly. The weapon-breaking system has its detractors, but it definitely pushed us to experiment with all the different offensive tools this game provided. Breath of the Wild's free explorable world provides so much to do, see, ride, and head into battle with.

Buy Now, $53.99

2. 'Super Smash Bros. for Wii U'

This game ruled our lives when it launched on the 3DS. It damn near became the only fighting game we played once it finally came to the Wii U. This edition of Super Smash Bros. provided one of the best series rosters to date by adding in the likes of Mega Man and Pac-Man. The DLC characters truly pushed this game into the stratosphere with some awesome picks - Ryu, Bayonetta, and even Cloud Strife popped up to knock some fools off the side of stages based on iconic Nintendo IPs. The usage of Mii Fighters welcomed extensive customization features, plus the 8-Player Smash allowed for the best local multiplayer experience on the Wii U.

Buy Now, $56.95

3. 'Pokkén Tournament'

Nintendo made the right move when it tasked Bandai Namco Studios with creating a proper fighting game starring a slew of fan-favorite Pokémon. The result of that partnership arrived in the form of this underrated arena brawler. Pokkén Tournament offers a smart mixture of 2D and 3D fighting game mechanics, which switches up on the fly according to the type of attacks you land on your opponent. It definitely paid off to be strategic with your movements and offense as this fighter is a lot deeper than one would expect. The Tekken, Power Stone, and Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm vibes are well implemented here. And we'll always make time to hop into this game to catch some W's with Pikachu Libre.

Buy Now, $31

4. 'Mario Kart 8'

You can never go wrong by asking everyone at one of your parties to participate in some Mario Kart hilarity. The eighth game in the long-running series upped the ante in so many ways that we hope to see make a return in the next entry. Mario Kart 8's implementation of anti-gravity racing makes certain tracks way more appealing as you can race on the sides of them and boost just by bumping into your rivals. Speaking of this game's track list, Mario Kart Stadium, Sunshine Airport, and Mount Wario will forever be among our faves. Thank god this kart racer is still getting new content via the updated Switch version.

Buy Now, $84.95

5. 'Bayonetta 2'

The demon summoning, katana-wielding, and pistol-toting witch known as Bayonetta got a second lease on life with this amazing Wii U exclusive. Bayonetta 2 saw the game's titular title character square off with all types of new angels and demons with a new arsenal in tow. Sawing enemies into angel halos with the Salamandra and slashing enemies to death with the Rakshasa are just two examples of the incredible melee gameplay this wild action romp features. We also adore this game for introducing the "Umbran Climax" mode that let us go even harder on the battlefield.

Buy Now, $53.64

6. 'New Super Mario Bros. U'

The New Super Mario Bros. series has done an amazing job of revisiting the classic 2D side-scrolling Nintendo's mustachoed plumber changed the world with. New Super Mario Bros. U keeps the good times going as players take control of either Mario, Luigi, Yellow Toad, or Blue Toad as they hop and bop through the Mushroom Kingdom. The Wii U GamePad plays a big part in how the onscreen action unfolds as the player holding it can put down item blocks and trip up the enemies blocking the players' progress. The formula that worked with the original Super Mario Bros. still works like a charm here.

Buy Now, $79.99

7. 'Super Mario 3D World'

Now we have to showcase the more open 3D exploring that got its start on the Nintendo 64. Super Mario 3D World brought us into the colorful expanses seen in Super Mario 3D Land and added a bunch of new elements that made them even harder to step away from. The addition of the Super Bell item added a lot more mobility and verticality to Mario and his crew's ability set, which allowed for fun multiplayer sequences where everyone jumped around in furry catsuits. The Wii U GamePad came into play in a fun way as you could actually blow into it to reveal hidden items and activate random mechanisms.

Buy Now, $64.99

8. 'The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD'

Props to Nintendo for always finding a way to port its classic games over to new consoles. This GameCube/Wii Legend of Zelda adventure got the HD rerelease treatment on the Wii U, which meant the visuals got a proper upgrade. The gameplay itself remains strong just like the original, plus the implementation of Zelda-themed amiibo figurines added game-changing features and an extra dungeon that offers the type of challenge only the most hardened Zelda fans could complete. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD is the best way to venture through Hyrule and the Twilight Realm.

Buy Now, $274.99

9. 'The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD'

The Legend of Zelda game that caused an uproar once everyone saw its art style ended up being one of the finest entries in the long-running action/adventure franchise. And once it finally made its way over to the Wii U, the animation style that fans eventually warmed up got to look its very best. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD features even better-looking visuals, vastly improved lighting, and new items to boot. The best part about this game is how it made the Triforce quest way less of a chore, which hardcore fans of this game were more than happy to revisit in its improved form.

Buy Now, $82.95

10. 'Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze'

Donkey Kong Country Returns brought back Nintendo's big and little ape duo for some retro 2D banana collecting and barrel throwing. And thanks to the great response to that welcome return to form, a sequel to that classic came through and produced a more "frosty" group of stages to explore. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze brought Dixie Kong and Cranky Kong into the mix for some thought platforming challenges that truly kept players on their toes. Dixie's ability to fly with her ponytail and Cranky's pogo stick-like cane added fun new exploration elements, which kept all the action fresh and fun throughout. This is Donkey Kong Country platforming at its finest - this is undoubtedly one of the best Wii U games ever made.

Buy Now, $36.91

11. 'Splatoon'

Splatoon is one of those games that came out of nowhere and turned into the de facto multiplayer smash hit Wii U owners couldn't get enough of. This third-person shooter launched and caught everyone's attention due to its colorful exterior/interior, insanely addictive gameplay take on paintball, and lovable cast of characters. The single-player campaign is just as strong as the game's extensive multiplayer mode suite (TURF WARS RULEZ!), which helped the game's replay value stay strong right up until its final batch of updates. Nintendo took a risk on pushing this new IP to the forefront of the Wii U library - it's safe to say that that gamble paid off in full.

Buy Now, $63.95

12. 'Paper Mario: Color Splash'

The Paper Mario series has done a bang-up job when it comes to offering plenty of humor and a nice offering of enjoyable action/adventure and RPG elements. Paper Mario: Color Splash added a new gameplay mechanic that deals with using a paint hammer to solve color-coded puzzles and unveil all types of hidden rewards. The turn-based combat the Paper Mario games are known for is retained here thankfully, which remains as fun as they've ever been. All that paint splashing and battling with Mario's full ability set is still a blast.

Buy Now, $31.74

13. 'Super Mario Maker'

Super Mario Maker is pretty much Nintendo's clever take on what came from PlayStation's LittleBigPlanet games. Along with a host of pre-made courses, this crazy 2D platformer gave creators the chance to create their own wacky stages. The overall art design and items tied to Super Mario Bros., Super Mario Bros. 3, Super Mario World, and New Super Mario Bros. U were thrown in here to allow for a wealth of creative takes when it comes to crafting custom courses. Most of the fun from this game comes from trying out all the user-uploaded stages and seeing just how wild all of them can be.

Buy Now, $80

14. 'Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker'

Toad is no longer just one of the best characters to pick in Mario Kart 64 - now he's one of the most beloved treasure hunters within the vast Mushroom Kingdom family. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is heavy on puzzle platforming mechanics as it plays around with isometric viewpoints as players avoid obstacles and look to retrieve a gold star at the end of every level. Seeing this concept evolve from a Super Mario 3D World minigame into an entire game is still super dope. Toad and Toadette got to embark on some fun adventures of their own with this one.

Buy Now, $46.84

15. 'Pikmin 3'

The Pikmin series got its impressive start on the GameCube and has remained a viable staple within the Nintendo IP vault. Pikmin 3 focuses on the word "more" - there are more captains to use, more Pikmin types to command, and more gameplay modes to enjoy here. Planet PNF-404 has plenty of fun secrets to uncover, monuments to build, and alien creatures to eliminate. The overwhelming charm the cutesy Pikmin creatures have always exuded is still intact - we just can't stay away from our purple, red, and grey helpers here.

Buy Now, $43

16. 'Yoshi's Woolly World'

1997's Yoshi's Story gave Nintendo's little green dino his own adventure to embark on. It may have taken until 2015 to get another spinoff game focused on Yoshi's whimsical side-scrolling treks, but it was well worth the wait. Yoshi's Woolly World stuck close to the art style and cute aesthetic introduced by Kirby's Epic Yarn, which was the right decision to make. This platformer gave Yoshi the ability to swallow his enemies, turn them into balls of yarn, and use them to tie up all those other baddies in a knot. This game is just a wholesome adventure that's all about getting your paws on all sorts of collectibles while exploring Yoshi's highly endearing world.

Buy Now, $81.60

17. 'NES Remix Pack' (1 & 2)

One of the best Wii U games we've ever played just happens to be a collection of NES games that have been given a whole new spin. Retro gems, such as Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong, flipped the script by introducing outlandish game changes that made them feel new all over again. We still trip out over the fact that a miniature 8-bit Link gets to take over Mario's spot during his ladder-climbing crusade against the big ape. This compilation and its sequel come together as the total package for 80s gamers looking to revisit their favorite NES games in a whole new way. That Super Luigi Bros. is still a great time!

Buy Now, $49.98

18. 'Xenoblade Chronicles X'

Xenoblade Chronicles X is simultaneously a departure from and dedication to what arrived with the Wii's first entry in the series. A vast planet called Mira takes players on a wild voyage filled with alien wildlife, giant mechs, and epic battles to enjoy. Dedicating dozens upon dozens...upon dozens of hours to this extensive RPG doesn't feel like a waste of time whatsoever. The well-tuned battle system, a wealth of deep mechanics to learn & master, and a nearly infinite planetary expanse to go perusing through all make this game such an absorbing experience for JRPG fans. Xenoblade Chronicles X retains some of the best parts of its predecessor while trying new things that worked out just fine.

Buy Now, $79.99

19. 'Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE'

One of the most unexpected crossovers gamers have ever seen came in the form of a game that features the noticeable style and swagger of Persona and the legendary warriors seen in the Fire Emblem games. The quality of the JRPG that came from that wild partnership is still quite high. Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE features some of the swaggiest main characters we've ever seen - they seek to defend their world from evil Mirages with the help of friendly ones based on popular Fire Emblem characters. Hopping into combat is fun and all (entertaining the audience that's watching your battles is such a cool mechanic!), but we got an equal amount of enjoyment just from venturing through the game's appealing rendition of Tokyo.

Buy Now, $25.97

20. 'ZombiU'

The Wii U launch library had some good games worth bringing home with your newly acquired console back in 2012. One of the best Wii U games came from that day one games bunch - enter ZombiU. The Wii U GamePad is so crucial to staying alive in this game's zombie-ridden version of London - managing your items, hacking combination locks, and scanning the area for extra goodies are just a sample of the things you can do with the console's main peripheral. What we especially love and remember the most about this game is the way it treats players dying - after losing your life, you enter the body of a new survivor, who must run into the zombified version of their predecessor and retrieve their precious goods.

Buy Now, $7.99

21. 'Lego City: Undercover'

For years, LEGO games were all about offering action-packed adventures that delved into the worlds of Marvel, DC, and even Indiana Jones. Lego City Undercover went the "Grand Theft Auto...but for kids!" route as it produced an original escapade within that style of play. The do-gooding Chase McCain is at the center of this game and lets players command his many disguises to perform all types of cool actions. The wide gamut of cool vehicles at your disposal here are also worth the price of admission. Lego City Undercover is a fun take on the open-world formula and should be every young gamer's introduction to the genre as a whole.

Buy Now, $28.99

22. 'The Wonderful 101'

PlatinumGames is one of the more talented development studios out there that's known for offering the most kickass action games on the market. The Super Sentai vibes come into play here as the studio tried something very different from their usual line of singular character-focused action games. The Wonderful 101 makes the Wii U GamePad an essential part of all the anarchy that happens onscreen as players must draw out the formations needed to morph everyone into all sorts of massive weapons. The bombastic nature of this game and its cool implementation of the GamePad makes it a signature part of the Wii U software library.

Buy Now, $69.99

23. 'Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate'

We'd be insane to do a list of the best Wii U games and not even mention this highly improved version of the third Monster Hunter. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate did everything it needed to make a return visit to its new and improved self worth all the trouble. Certain weapon types could now be utilized underwater, a new focused camera viewpoint allowed hunters to zero in on larger prey, new monsters and subspecies became available for hunting, etc. Confronting the game's newly added beasts (such as Brachydios and Dire Miralis) with your new weapons in tow is a blast here.

Buy Now, $69.99

24. 'Rayman Legends'

Rayman Origins did a bang-up job when it came to reintroducing the limbless wonder back into the platforming genre. And once the Wii U got going, Ubisoft's platforming mascot returned for an equally strong outing called Rayman Legends. Rayman, Globox, the Teensies, and the debuting Barbara the Barbarian Princess are all together to hop and bop all over some of the most beautiful stages any platformer has ever featured. The music stages are what really give this game its finest feature, which is something worth playing for yourself if you've never given them a chance. Rayman Origins is 2D platforming at its best.

Buy Now, $67.30

25. 'Shovel Knight'

Yacht Club Games clearly noticed the lack of a new Mega Man game at the time and pulled a Thanos by telling everyone "fine...we'll do it ourselves." It filled the void left by that series' absence and made fans of the "Blue Bomber" quite pleased with what it had to offer. Shovel Knight is such a dope side-scrolling platformer that brings together the best of the aforementioned game we love so much and even DuckTales on the NES. The blue armored warrior this game is named after is just a lovable guy we still enjoy navigating tough 8-bit stages with. The boss fights in this game made us rage, but finally beating them made us feel so damn royal.

Buy Now, $52.99

26. 'Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition'

Metroidvania games come a dime a dozen in this current era of gaming. And for the most part, they tend to be pretty great. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition apes that subgenre's winning formula while also offering a Luca Libre-infused adventure. Learning about Juan Aguacate's devastating strikes and grapples is an excellent experience, especially for die-hard fans of all those squared circle antics. The add-on content included in this complete package of the game is worth every penny and more - platforming fans will love what's in store here.

27. 'Shantae: Half-Genie Hero'

Shantae actually got her start on the Game Boy Color super late into the portable console's life cycle. Even though the lady genie's first releases didn't do so well from a financial standpoint, it garnered enough critical love for developer WayForward to give her another try. As the series progressed, Shantae got to whip her hair at her foes and transform into a smorgasbord of animals within home console games. Shantae: Half-Genie Hero is one of the best titles in that regard thanks to its clean animated visuals, amazingly fun side-scrolling stage playthroughs, and challenging boss encounters. The more freely explorable hub worlds pushed the Shantae series forward here in a very major way.

Buy Now, $107.94

28. 'Minecraft'

What's been said about Minecraft that hasn't already been said at this point? It's considered to be one of the most critically acclaimed, financially successful, and groundbreaking video games anyone has ever seen. It's not only one of the best Wii U games, but it also happens to be of the most Nintendo-centric third-party games on the console. The overabundance of character skins that let you transform into the most popular members of the Mushroom Kingdom and mindblowing easter eggs spread throughout this version of Minecraft adds to the fun.

Buy Now, $60

29. 'Axiom Verge'

Axiom Verge did everything that Nintendo's Metroid series brought to the forefront during its debut. And to make itself stand apart from its clear inspiration, this super trippy action platformer employed the element of injecting glitches into the actual gameplay. That feature blew players' minds at the time of release as it used something gamers usually despised and turned it into an essential part of the game's wild 8-bit trek. Axiom Verge includes the best parts of other games such as Contra and Bionic Commando while still sticking out on its own with cool original ideas.

Buy Now, $339.99

30. 'Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut'

The original version of Deus Ex: Human Revolution was good for the most part. But a lot of vitriol entered the conversation about the game whenever it came to its highly disappointing boss fights. The highly retooled rendition of that first-person shooter/RPG is most definitely one of the best Wii U games that offered much-needed improvements. Deus Ex: Human Revolution - Director's Cut gives players more methods for taking down each boss, which made those fights much more approachable and enjoyable. Other upgrades come in the form of including all previously released DLC, Wii U GamePad implementation, and various mechanical changes that made this game the only way you need to play it.

Buy Now, Price Varies

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