Where to Start with the Wii U
GameOn Magazine|Issue 135 - January 2021
Danielle tells us where to start with the Wii U.
Danielle Winter

With the next generation of consoles just around the corner, now is as good a time as any to appreciate what has come before.

And just from reading the title alone, I know what you’re thinking - but hear me out! Even though the Wii U was a commercial and financial flop, and was essentially an HD Wii with a touch-pad; the Wii U curated so many unique and enthralling experiences, that (for now) are exclusive to the console.

I doubt the Wii U could ever reach the level of nostalgic cultural reverence that Sega’s Dreamcast achieved, but the catalogue of gems produced during the Wii U’s era is nothing to be scoffed at.

SWITCHING LANES

The lucky ones that did make the switch to the Switch garnered the attention and acclaim they deserve, having these games more accessible on a successful console with a comparatively gargantuan player base.

Titles such as: Mario Kart 8 (Deluxe), The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Pikmin 3 (Deluxe), Splatoon 2, Hyrule Warriors (Definitive Edition), and Pokkén Tournament (DX).

By all means, pick any of them up on whichever platform suits your preference; although it goes without saying that if you own a Switch (or plan on doing so), the games listed above have more to offer in their latest iterations.

And so, here are seven games to help you know where to start with the Wii U.

Nintendo Land (2012)

(1-5 Players)

What should have been the system’s “killer app”, like how pivotal Wii Sports was to the launch and success of the Wii back in 2006; Nintendo Land was primed to be the exemplar for exhibiting the capabilities of the Wii U and its contentious “GamePad”.

The fictional theme park is home to 12 unique “attractions”, comprising Nintendo’s intellectual properties - from the obscure to their more beloved and well-known franchises. Those 12 mini-games are divided into three types of experiences: Half of which are single-player “Solo Attractions” (“Donkey Kong’s Crash Course” - presented as a toy obstacle course, being the most replayable and enjoyable out of the lot), plus three other “Team Attractions” (The Legend of Zelda inspired on-rails shooter/ slasher having impressive longevity and depth compared to every other mini-game of its ilk).

A majority of the virtual experiences are pretty much “one-and-done” affairs. Nevertheless, the biggest strength that the eponymous amusement park has to offer is in its “Competitive Attractions”: “Mario Chase”, “Luigi’s Ghost Mansion”, and “Animal Crossing’s Sweet Day”. All of which are variants of the 1 v 4 players asymmetric gameplay style, that you can easily sink hours upon hours of enjoyment into - and will always cause a ruckus no matter who you play with.

As an introduction to the system, Nintendo Land is an essential game with a diverse multitude of mini-games that you shouldn’t sleep on!

ZombiU (2012)

(1 Player Campaign / 2 Player Versus Mode) Being the best survival horror & first-person shooter on the Wii U must feel about as validating as being awarded a participation trophy for existing. Although something that may come as a surprise is that the Wii U version of ZombiU is the definitive iteration of the game (having been ported to the PS4 and Xbox One). This is largely thanks to Ubisoft actually using the GamePad, being your integral way of scavenging & managing your inventory.

When looting downed zombies and lockers, you are still always vulnerable to attack, as the game still plays on your TV in the background while you’re busy focusing on the GamePad; manually moving items of interest from their inventory into your backpack. The same goes for hacking computers and picking locks Moments like these elevate ZombiU from being another generic zombie game to a must-play experience for those even morbidly curious.

And this ain’t a casual stroll through Hyde Park either, the streets of London are stacked with determined undead that are adamant to munch on you - like a pack of mad-lads, peckish for “a cheeky Nandos”. You play as a random uninfected Londoner, smack dab in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. Given set objectives by an unknown voice, you’re responsible for aiding those leading the fight to survive and cure the populace.

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