Best Wii U Games: Top Picks For 2023 - GratiTea

The Wii U stands as a unique console in Nintendo's history, introducing the novel concept of a tablet-like GamePad paired with traditional home console gaming. Although the system did not achieve the same commercial success as its predecessor, the Wii, or its successor, the Switch, it nonetheless hosted a library of games that showcased innovative gameplay and charming experiences. These titles continue to offer enjoyment to players of all ages, blending familiar Nintendo franchises with fresh mechanics.

When considering the best Wii U games, it’s important to assess how they utilize the GamePad, as this was the primary selling point of the console. Games that creatively integrate the second screen offer a more immersive and distinctive experience compared to those on other platforms. Moreover, the quality of gameplay, graphics, and narrative are factors that players often weigh, especially given that many Wii U games can now also be found on the more recent Nintendo Switch.

Buyers should also consider the replayability of a game, considering whether it offers multiplayer options, additional modes, and challenges to keep the gameplay experience fresh. Exclusive content, compatibility with Amiibo figures, and downloadable content are additional perks that can enhance the longevity of a game's appeal.

Making a selection from the Wii U's catalogue means sifting through a blend of genre-defining titles and hidden gems that together define the console’s legacy. We've combed through the breadth of the Wii U library to craft a list of the top games that shouldn't be missed, focusing on those that deliver the best that the system has to offer.

Best Platformer: Super Mario 3D World

  • Innovative use of the GamePad for certain levels.
  • Offers cooperative multiplayer for up to 4 players.
  • Critically acclaimed for level design and gameplay mechanics.

Best Action-Adventure: The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

  • Massive open world that sets a new standard for Zelda games.
  • Compatible with various Amiibo figures for in-game bonuses.
  • Graphically impressive, pushing the Wii U hardware to its limits.

Best Party Game: Mario Kart 8

  • Introduces anti-gravity racing adding a new twist to gameplay.
  • Features extensive DLC and Amiibo support for customizations.
  • Provides enjoyable multiplayer with online and local options.

Best RPG: Xenoblade Chronicles X

  • Vast, open-world environment ripe for exploration.
  • Customizable player characters and a deep battle system.
  • Engaging storyline complemented by side missions and activities.

Best Multiplayer Experience: Super Smash Bros. for Wii U

  • Extensive roster of characters from various franchises.
  • Supports Amiibo figures to train and level up AI fighters.
  • Offers a variety of multiplayer modes, both local and online.

Each of these games stands out not only for their genre but also for their exceptional use of the Wii U’s capabilities, providing memorable gaming experiences that are still relevant today. Whether you're racing, adventuring, or battling, each title brings something special to the table.

Top Picks for Wii U Games

Our carefully curated selection focuses on the finest experiences available for the Wii U console. We've taken into account a blend of critical acclaim, fan reception, and longevity to ensure that our recommendations will cater to a wide range of gaming tastes. Whether you're looking for immersive single-player adventures, competitive multiplayer, or innovative uses of the Wii U GamePad, you'll find something in this list that's worth your playtime.

1. Super Smash Bros. Wii U

Super Smash Bros. Wii U

If you're in search of a game that brings together Nintendo's iconic characters for exhilarating battles, this title is not to be missed.


  • Expansive character roster
  • Engaging multiplayer experience
  • Amiibo functionality adds depth


  • Unlocking content can be time-consuming
  • Requires additional amiibo purchases for full experience
  • Online play dependent on Internet connection

Embarking on the latest Super Smash Bros. for Wii U, we're met with an array of Nintendo's finest heroes and villains. The epic clashes that unfold are more than just brawls; they're a celebration of gaming history. Getting hands-on, we're struck by the smooth gameplay and vivid stages that pull us into the world of each character. From swinging Mario's iconic hammer to soaring through the air with Kirby, the game encompasses a wide array of playstyles suited for any type of gamer.

Our time pitting characters like Sonic against Link reveals a multiplayer platform that's as fun as it is competitive. The game's mechanics are fine-tuned, so newcomers and veterans alike can find joy in the chaos of battle. This isn't just about who can hit the hardest; it's a tactical dance where every move can turn the tides of combat. We find the experience easily customizable, with a plethora of game modes that cater to whatever style of play we're in the mood for.

We enjoy the intricate details that go into training amiibo figures, a unique feature that gives a personal touch to our gameplay. It's delightful watching our amiibo learn and evolve, becoming formidable opponents or allies on the battlefield. While the prospect of gathering additional amiibo might be daunting, it's an added layer of collectible fun that extends the game's replayability.

Feature Super Smash Bros. Wii U
Character Roster Expansive & Diverse
Game Modes Versatile & Customizable
Amiibo Integration Interactive & Addictive
Accessibility Beginner Friendly
Multiplayer Robust & Entertaining

In our collective gaming sessions, we've come to appreciate the depth that Super Smash Bros. for Wii U offers. It provides long-term engagement through its complex character mastery, robust multiplayer modes, and the added diversity of amiibo-trained fighters. However, patience is key, as unlocking the full breadth of content is a hefty endeavor. Despite this, we're confident in recommending it as a staple for any Wii U library.


2. Star Fox Zero + Guard

Star Fox Zero

If classic space shooting with a modern twist appeals to you, Star Fox Zero + Guard is an engaging must-have for your Wii U collection.


  • Nostalgic yet innovative gameplay
  • Dual-screen action heightens immersion
  • Superb use of the GamePad for control and perspective


  • Learning curve can be steep for controls
  • Some might find the GamePad integration gimmicky
  • Limited by the Wii U's discontinuation

Star Fox Zero brings us back to the beloved universe with its latest installment, and I must say, it's a blast playing as Fox McCloud and his team again. The new Walker transformation and vehicles like the Gyrowing add a refreshing dynamic to the series, while the return of the Landmaster Tank is a welcome nod to older titles.

The dual-screen experience is something to behold; actively switching between the TV display and the GamePad's cockpit view is like nothing we've seen before on the Wii U. It adds a level of depth and skill that's rarely found in games today, making every mission feel like a new discovery.

Admittedly, this game can challenge your dexterity and patience. You may find yourselves spending quite some time getting to grips with the innovative controls. But once we've mastered them, the sense of achievement is unparalleled. It's like the Wii U GamePad has become an extension of ourselves—perfectly capturing the essence of piloting a starfighter.

Feature Experience
Gameplay An exciting blend of nostalgia and innovation
Graphic and Sound Crisp visuals and immersive sound design; enhanced with the GamePad
Control Scheme Unique and engaging, though with a bit of learning curve
Multiplayer Cooperative elements are fun, offering new ways to play together
Replayability High, thanks to multiple paths and missions to explore

In a market often seeking the next groundbreaking advancement in gaming technology, it's refreshing to reconnect with a franchise that honors its roots while still pressing forwards. Star Fox Zero + Guard doesn’t merely ride on past successes—it forges its own path, and we're all better pilots for it. Whether you're a seasoned fan or new to the Lylat system, this game isn’t one to miss out on.


3. Mario Kart 8

Mario Kart 8

For Wii U owners seeking exhilarating races with a colorful cast of characters, this title is a must-have.


  • Intuitive and smooth controls enhance the racing experience.
  • Visually impressive with vibrant HD graphics.
  • Robust online play with friends or competitors worldwide.


  • Downloadable content may not be included, as mentioned.
  • Limited innovation in anti-gravity features is slightly disappointing.
  • Online connectivity issues can occasionally hinder multiplayer sessions.

Our time with Mario Kart 8 has left us very impressed. The racing mechanics feel as intuitive as ever, a testament to Nintendo's polished design. We've zipped across the beautifully rendered tracks both upside down and underwater, astonished by the stunning HD visuals that truly show off the Wii U's capabilities.

There's a potent nostalgia at work when gliding through the air or dashing across walls that brings new life to the franchise, while still keeping that quintessential 'Mario Kart' charm we’ve all come to cherish. With motorbikes, mid-air tricks, and the sleek Mario Kart TV feature for sharing highlights, our gameplay has been nothing short of thrilling.

The game excels at its multiplayer offerings – locally, we’ve battled it out with friends in our living room amidst laughter and friendly competition. Online, we’ve raced against people from around the world, although we noticed that a spotty internet connection can interrupt an otherwise seamless online experience. Despite some minor hiccups, we feel any fan of racing games would find Mario Kart 8 to be a valuable addition to their gaming library.


4. Super Mario Maker

Super Mario Maker

If you're itching to both play and design custom Mario levels, Super Mario Maker for the Wii U is a dream come true with its intuitive tools and community-driven content.


  • Limitless creative potential with user-generated levels
  • Intuitive level design interface on the GamePad
  • Variety of classic Mario themes to choose from


  • Requires creativity to get the most out of the game
  • Online sharing features may be limited due to the platform's age
  • Some in-game content unlocks tied to amiibo which may be additional cost

Nintendo has once again outdone itself with Super Mario Maker. Playing this game, we're granted the power to craft an infinite stream of Mario levels, which is nothing short of miraculous. As veterans of the franchise, we're delighted by the homage to Mario's history across its different themes, from the nostalgic pixel art of the original Super Mario Bros. to the sleek visuals of New Super Mario Bros. U. It's surreal to see our own designs come to life—enemies and power-ups dropped with a tap, and complex puzzles quickly sketched out as if by magic.

What makes it even more fantastic is the boundless creativity we see from the global community. Each new level presents a unique challenge or a clever twist, keeping the experience fresh endlessly. If you're not into creating, just diving into the plethora of levels others have made provides endless enjoyment.

However, we've noticed that creating truly engaging levels requires a spark of ingenuity. Not everyone has a designer's mind, and if you're not inclined to craft levels, the game's shine might dull over time. Additionally, with the Wii U's position in the current gaming market, online interactions aren't as robust as they once were, potentially limiting the social aspects of sharing and playing community-crafted courses.

In summary, Super Mario Maker is an exceptional platform that empowers us to author the Mario experience of our dreams, offering endless hours of platforming joy. Whether you're looking to hop through expertly designed courses or express your own ideas, this game provides the perfect canvas for creativity.


Buying Guide

Understanding Game Genres

When choosing Wii U games, consider various genres to find what suits your preferences best.

Genre Description Typical Features
Action Fast-paced gameplay involving reflexes. Combat, Platforming
RPG Character progression and storytelling. Customization, Deep lore
Puzzle Problem-solving and logical challenges. Brain teasers, Strategy
Adventure Exploration and story-driven experiences. Quests, Immersive worlds
Sports Simulating real-world sports. Team management, Realism

Graphics and Performance

We also look at the graphical fidelity and performance. While not as powerful as some newer consoles, the Wii U still offers vibrant and engaging visuals.

Aspect Consideration
Resolution Higher resolution for clearer images.
Frame Rate Smooth gameplay, ideally 30-60 FPS.
Art Style Unique styles can offer timeless appeal.

Multiplayer Features

Multiplayer options are important for those who enjoy playing with others.

Feature Description
Local Co-op Multiple people playing on one console.
Online Play Compete or cooperate with players online.
Party Games Games designed for groups and parties.

Price and Value

Consider the cost of the game, looking for a balance between quality and budget.

Cost Criteria
Initial Price Reflects the upfront cost of the game.
DLC Additional content, sometimes at extra cost.

Remember, our ultimate goal is to ensure that you find a game that offers you hours of enjoyment and fits your personal interests.

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