The Wii often gets a bad rap. Hardcore gamers dismiss it as a casual console, intended only for families to play and with no real, serious gaming experiences to be had. This is a gross underestimation of how many great games there are on the Wii. This is, after all, a Nintendo console, and Nintendo has been dedicated to making excellent games for many years now. The Wii, despite its hardware gimmicks, is no different. Let’s take a look, in no particular order, at the top 25 Wii games of all time.
1. Mario Kart Wii
There are gamers out there who, despite the availability of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on the Switch, are still playing Mario Kart Wii. That’s because for many, it’s still the best iteration of the long-running kart racer franchise. Mario Kart Wii boasts a huge amount of well-designed tracks, as well as the series’ usual tight, well-crafted kart racing gameplay.
2. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Technically, Twilight Princess is a GameCube title ported to the Wii, but this is the superior platform on which to play it. This full-blooded Zelda adventure takes things back to the pseudo-realistic stylings of Ocarina of Time, offering a lengthy, satisfying blend of combat, puzzles, and exploration. What’s more, you can use the Wii Remote to aim your bow!
3. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
This is where the Zelda series came into its own on the Wii. Skyward Sword used the Wii Motion Plus accessory, which improved the motion recognition of the Wii Remote. This allowed for one-to-one movement of Link’s sword and other items, and Nintendo used this to its fullest potential. Each enemy and boss encounter was a puzzle to be solved, and Skyward Sword also boasts one of the series’ best soundtracks to boot.
4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
To many, Brawl is the black sheep of the family; its mechanics aren’t quite as polished as the GameCube’s Super Smash Bros. Melee. However, it added a number of excellent characters and stages to its roster, as well as a surprisingly full story campaign in the form of Subspace Emissary. Brawl is still a superb fighting game, even if it doesn’t quite hit the dizzying highs of the best of its franchise.
5. Super Mario Galaxy
Every single Nintendo 3D platformer has been a consummate hit. The developers just don’t miss, and Super Mario Galaxy is no exception. It’s shot through with a sense of whimsical wonder thanks to a fully orchestrated soundtrack and endlessly varied level design. Mario’s moves might not be quite as useful as they were in Sunshine, but this is a wonderfully imaginative platformer.
6. Super Mario Galaxy 2
The restless innovation Nintendo usually showcases in its approach to Mario titles was largely absent from Super Mario Galaxy 2, but that doesn’t work to its detriment. It’s essentially an expansion pack for the first game, complete with new mechanics, powerups, and Yoshi. The levels are as creative and fun as ever, so if you loved Galaxy, you’ll love this too.
7. Xenoblade Chronicles
If you’ve never heard of “Operation Rainfall”, you’re missing out. This was a dedicated fan attempt to raise awareness for three JRPGs on the Wii, of which Xenoblade Chronicles was one. It’s a huge open-ended game with inflections of MMORPGs; you’ll routinely encounter enemies you simply can’t beat, making exploration feel much more tense and alive than in other JRPGs.
8. Pandora’s Tower
This is one of the most underrated games on the Wii. Pandora’s Tower blends a very light dating sim with a Zelda-style puzzle adventure. You play as Aeron, a young man who must explore a series of towers in order to cure his lover Elena of a curse. In between dungeons, you can talk to Elena to develop your relationship with her and learn more about her history.
9. The Last Story
The final RPG under the Operation Rainfall umbrella (ha ha), The Last Story was created by Lost Odyssey developer Mistwalker under the supervision of Final Fantasy legend Hironobu Sakaguchi. The story is a little inconsequential, but the gameplay, which blends action RPG mechanics with stealth, is satisfying throughout. This one’s worth a playthrough.
10. Red Steel 2
The first Red Steel was an admirable experiment, but it largely failed thanks to clunky controls. Red Steel 2 is a huge improvement, thanks in large part to the Wii Motion Plus accessory. The one-to-one swordplay feels incredible, and switching from slashing enemies to blasting them with your revolver is almost criminally satisfying. There’s not much of a story, but you don’t need one with gameplay this good.
11. Metroid Prime Trilogy
There is only one Metroid game (or collection) worth playing on the Wii, and it is this one. Skip Metroid Other M; it’s absolutely not worth your time. Metroid Prime Trilogy, on the other hand, packs three of the greatest first-person shooters ever made into a single collection, complete with updated motion controls. If you’ve never played Metroid Prime before, pick this up. You won’t regret it.
12. Super Paper Mario
Some see Super Paper Mario as the beginning of the end for Nintendo’s RPG franchise. After all, this game ditches the traditional turn-based gameplay of the preceding Paper Mario titles, favouring a hybrid between standard Mario platforming and RPG stat grinding instead. However, the excellent writing is still very much in evidence, and Super Paper Mario’s gameplay feels smooth and intuitive enough to overlook its deviation from tradition.
13. Donkey Kong Country Returns
The triumphant return of everyone’s favourite simian platforming duo was simultaneously a great blast from the past and a leap forward for the franchise. Donkey Kong Country’s first true 3D (well, 2.5D) outing had an incredible soundtrack, tightly-designed platforming, and a frankly embarrassing level of difficulty. The 3DS version tones down the nightmarish challenge a little.
14. Resident Evil 4
We’re cheating a bit here, as Resident Evil 4 is technically a last-gen game by Wii standards. However, this version adds more precise motion aiming, as well as all of the extra content you’d expect from the PS2 version. If you love Resident Evil, it’s also well worth checking out the two rail shooter games on the Wii, as they’re surprisingly solid experiences.
15. Wii Sports Resort
The original Wii Sports was a pack-in game for the Wii that demonstrated its capabilities handily, but Wii Sports Resort is the superior game. It includes a number of additional sporting disciplines such as wakeboarding, archery, and power cruising, and the Wii Motion Plus accessory, which came with the game, also enhanced the characteristic casual sports action.
16. Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure
Capcom’s off-the-wall adventure game used the Wii Remote in an innovative and impressive way. While you’re still solving inventory puzzles by figuring out which item goes where, you’ll now also need to interact with each item using the Wii Remote. For example, you’ll need to saw back and forth with the Remote if it’s taking the form of a saw, and you’ll need to pull it back if you’re trying to yank a lever.
17. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
The Wii excelled at rail shooters, because one of the things its Remote controller could do with aplomb was act as a sort of impromptu lightgun. Sin & Punishment: Star Successor is one of many excellent Wii rail shooters, following on from the N64 cult classic and starring the original protagonist’s son. The visuals are dazzling, the action is pulsing and frantic, and the story, while insane, is worth following.
18. Little King’s Story
How to describe Little King’s Story? It’s a sort of mixture of Pikmin, a Facebook-style casual mobile game, and Fable, with a classical soundtrack and an unexpectedly dark sense of humour. Exploring the game’s whimsical fairytale-inspired lands feels like you’re playing a game with an imaginative child, right down to the storybook aesthetics of the cutscenes.
19. No More Heroes
Given Suda51’s reputation in the gaming industry, the initial setup for No More Heroes is surprisingly straightforward: you’re an assassin, and you have to kill your way through a colourful group of fellow murderers in order to reach the top rank. The gameplay itself, though, is far more idiosyncratic; between boss fights, you’ll need to complete menial tasks to earn enough cash to take them on.
20. A Boy and His Blob
The original A Boy and His Blob is a flawed, but charming puzzle platformer, but this 2009 remake is a complete reimagining. It takes cues from indie darlings like Braid as it imagines the boy and his blob as an inseparable pair of close friends; there’s even a dedicated “hug” button for maximum cute factor. The puzzles are never hard enough to feel unfair, but there’s a decent level of challenge here.
Another remake of a NES-era classic, Punch-Out!! adds endless visual character and flair to the original game’s dance of observation and mistake punishment. Once again, you are Little Mac, a scrappy boxer with speed on your side, and you must win in a series of battles against what can charitably be described as “suspect” stereotypical characters. It’s hard to stay mad at Nintendo when it’s all this vibrant and fun, though.
22. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
It’s best to think of Shattered Memories as a reimagining of Silent Hill rather than an out-and-out remake. It takes the basic premise of the original game – Harry Mason is searching for his daughter – and completely revamps it, telling a darker and more personal tale than the PS1 horror classic’s slightly silly story of cults and monsters. Shattered Memories’ big tricks still hold up today, so we won’t spoil them.
23. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii added one explosive element to the 2006 DS platformer: co-op. It’s probably best not to think of NSMB Wii’s co-op play as co-operative, though; it’s more competitive than many actual competitive multiplayer games, given that you can pick up your fellow players and throw them into bottomless pits or towards enemies. Not one to play if you’re protective of your friendships.
24. Rayman Origins
After many years in the wilderness and a stint as a backseat player to the Rabbids, Rayman returned in 2011’s Rayman Origins. This is a tremendously enjoyable 2D platformer, not least because of its gorgeous art style, but also thanks to its expert design and challenge. Some levels might strike you as a little too tough, but with perseverance, you’ll get through.
25. Kirby’s Epic Yarn
If there’s one word you could use to describe Kirby’s Epic Yarn, that word would be “adorable”. Its arts and crafts-inspired aesthetic make it a consistent joy to experience, and while the challenge is a little on the light side, it doesn’t matter. There’s plenty to see and do in Epic Yarn, and the adorable visuals and soundtrack should keep you going even if the gameplay starts to feel a little samey.