N-Europe's Top 50 Wii Games: #10-#1
Posted 07 Dec 2012 at 23:27 by Dean Jones
The Wii has now been out in Europe for exactly six years, so sit back an enjoy the final part of our top 50 Wii games.
If ever there was a cure for low blood pressure, Mario Kart Wii had to be top of the list. Launching in 2008, Mario Kart Wii brought with it the addition of a host of new characters, bikes, motion-controlled play and ... online match-ups. Now, instead of clustering around a TV split four ways, you could red and green shell your friends miles away, but as was usual with Nintendo' online strategy, talking to them was out of the question. Perhaps it was for the best, as in the heat of the moment, when that blue shell smashes into you just before you hit the finish line, things could well be said that can never be taken back. Mario Kart Double Dash introduced a two-character mechanic that was abandoned for this latest installment, but the addition of high-speed-but-tough-to-control stunt bikes was a real breath of fresh air for the franchise. Motion controls were fun and easy for casual play, however, for the die-hard racing fanatic the nunchuck and Wiimote setup was the only way to go. Mario Kart Wii pushed the envelope in just enough ways to keep the series fresh, and yet managed to stay faithful enough to its roots to remind us why we always loved it in the first place.
Read our review.
“I love Mario Kart, one of my favourite gaming franchises but this had something none of the others had, it was online! This game had it all, great courses, new items, bikes for the first time in a Mario KART game and the N-E Mario Kart League which is still going strong today.” - Lostmario
“One of the few games that just about everyone likes to play (along with Wii Sports), I wasn't a fan of the bikes in this one, and I think the blue shell should be redesigned to make it fairer (anyone who has constantly been hit by one on the last corner of the last lap when on 150cc mode I'm sure will agree), but when all is said and done you can't help but love those moments when you perfectly time the POW block to send your best friends off the edge of Rainbow Road, and nailing someone with a perfectly aimed green shell at medium to long range is one of the most satisfying things in any game.” - Ealdst
For many years it was mocked as a mere tech demo, but many have come to realize its tremendous achievements; Wii Sports perfectly encapsulates what Wii was meant to be and capitalizes on its strengths while minimizing the effects of its weaknesses.
The fact that the Remote didn’t offer the functionality Motion+ later added might have been disappointing, you could play with mostly small flicks, but it’s when you mimic the full motions that you get the most out of it and notice that it’s the simplicity of the controls together with some hidden depth that made inexperienced players constantly come back to it consolidating the Wii as the go-to party machine that got family and friends together. Add some simple graphics and the charming Miis and you have an unparalleled success story
Read our review.
“I prefer resort and haven't played this for years but it simply has to be there. I played wii sports with my grandma, my mum, it was part of social gatherings many many times video games would never have been a part of. When I lived with my mates we literally played wii sports bowling every day and it was always the game to play as we were drinking before a night out (that and wario ware). Wii sports is a game that will go down in history.” - Dazzybee
“The game that got folks used to/into the Wii, and lead the way for a lot. Also got my parents actually playing a console, albeit for like a week. Though having said that my dad kept going for a couple months until he broke his leg(totally unrelated).” - Rummy
Some die-hard Donkey Kong Country fans were disappointed with the Kremlins’ absence as well as a departure from the moody atmosphere the old Country games were famous for and Classic Controller support would surely be welcomed by many, but the level design is so inventive, so tight and has such a delightful rhythm perfectly coordinated with the music that it’s almost impossible to put down the controller even when the difficulty ramps up and boy, does it!
Once again encharged with resurrecting a beloved Nintendo IP, Retro didn’t disappoint and delivered a phenomenal game despite it their first go at the genre.
Read our review.
“Retro Studios, they're geniuses aren't they! That's right, no question mark at the end of that sentence, it's not a question, it's a statement! The genius that is Retro shone through in this game and boy I loved it! DK back to his best... those mine cart levels, oh my!” - Kav82
“I played through the entire campaign with my girl and we simply had a great time playing it. The waggle seems a bit strange at first, but, like a true gamer-person, one has to adapt to whatever a game offer you. The music was, to be quite frank, nothing in comparison to the original tracks, but it manage to create a fitting atmosphere, which is what matter in the end. Some boss battles were also a bit of a downer, but it's truly the level design that counts in a sidescroller like DKC and that was pretty damn fine! Co-Op was a nice addition which makes for some laughter and some crying on the couch, but the most important thing is that you're in it TOGETHER!” - Fused King
The first Monster Hunter game to grace a Nintendo system and the significance of this was not lost on Nintendo as they knew this was certainly a system seller in Japan where the franchise is one of the most popular in the land of the Rising Sun. For a time a western release seemed a distant hope but Capcom soon announced the good news with Nintendo taking the marketing reins and even publishing the game themselves in Europe. MH3 sees players adventure out into beautifully created landscapes to complete “quests” and of course to hunt monsters; gathering from their dead remains items they need to forge new weapons or armour. With online play the the world of Monster Hunter comes to life as you meet up with fellow hunters to take on bigger and harder quests together. The western versions also added voice chat, which was not included in Japan, via Nintendo WiiSpeak making this the first MH game to feature native voice chat.
Read our review.
“From the moment that the first trailer was released I was so hyped. I honestly had tears in my eyes when the trailer hit, it was kind of a Zelda TP reveal moment for me. I have been a fan of the series since the original game back on the PS2 and seeing the classic beast such as Rathlos and Rathian back in action was a dream come true.
A big bonus about the game this time around was it was on a Nintendo console, which meant that the guys on here could finally see what I was raving on about all this time. It was great meeting up with you lot and planning strategies for various quests. The banding together that went on when someone needed help, the first time I brought down Alatreon/Deviljoe, getting that one rare drop you needed for a new weapon or piece of equipment, all of these moments make up what the MH series is all about and the fact that I finally got to share these moments with people on here made it even better.
After 700 hours of gameplay I was finally done and ready for a new instalment. I’m still waiting Capcom….” - Hero-of-Time
“I had no idea what to expect when my cousin showed me this game. I had heard of the series before, but never really gave it much of a chance (the fact that it was only on PS2 and PSP when I never owned either of them didn't help either!). 290 hours later (my most played Wii game!) It's a hellishly addictive grind and yet an incredibly rewarding experience unlike any other series (no other clone comes close). The satisfaction that comes from finally toppling Deviljho is unmatched!
And while it doesn't really take advantage of the Wii's control capabilities, its online community is a far sight away from the cesspool that is Xbox Live and PSN. A true sense of togetherness that "We" is all about!”” - DCubed
After Wind Waker’s controversial cartoon style, Nintendo decided to do what the fans asked for and went back to something more akin to Ocarina of Time, with a “darker” setting and a gigantic, all encompassing quest.
Twilight Princess is in some ways the perfection of the formula created so long ago for Link’s first foray into the 3rd dimension, most importantly when it comes to dungeon design. The dungeons are intricately designed, the puzzles, familiar as they may be, make you reach new levels of head scratching as you connect all the dots, figure out what are the consequences for your actions and obsess over the map. This is a much welcome challenge that helps make the game engaging, as the enemies are painfully easy.
And on the opposite side of the huge fields, the sword fighting, the wide array of tools at your disposal and all the other natural evolutions of series’ classics is Wolf Link, playing on the game’s theme of oppression and helplessness. Robbed of your humanity, you can’t wield your sword or fire your bow, traversing the world map takes ages, opening doors is impossible, the very same people you’re trying to save run away from you and villagers from your hometown hunt for for you in the night with torches. Restricting at first, you soon find out that as a wolf a new game opens up: you can dig for treasure and passageways, follow scents, see spirits, talk to animals, slip through small holes, jump to new heights and even learn devastating attacks.
In its quest for scope, the game can be spread a bit too thin with the huge field providing few points of interest despite its many secrets and a lot of items quickly get useless as you rarely need them outside of the dungeon you acquired them in. Still, Twilight Princess is a fantastic adventure made even better by the pointer (the motion controls on the other hand don’t bring much to the table) and you'll be hard pressed to find many like it. It didn’t reinvent the wheel but it certainly refined it.
Read our review.
“A leftover from the Gamecube? Perhaps, but still a fantastical adventure from start to finish.” - Ganepark32
“Using the Wiimote to slice and dice my way through enemies (and shrubs and grass) as well as perfectly picking off my foes with the bow and arrow felt like pure and utter magic, not to mention the shield bashing etc with the nunchuk, but this was only part of what made the game feel so great and innovative for me
The actual story itself coupled with the adventure and drama that went along with it as well as the long treks through the fields to all corners of Hyrule was something that I really, really cherished and savored as well as the crisp graphics and as always, epic soundtrack
A joy for me to play from the very beginning in the humble surroundings of Ordon Village to the bitter end in that epic battle with Ganon in the vast fields of Hyrule make this not only one of my favourite Wii games but also my favourite Zelda game of all time (yes, its not everyone's choice but for me, personally, this is the number 1 Zelda game, although at the time of writing I am only about half way through Skyward Sword so that opinion MAY change although I don't think it will, as great as Skyward Sword has been so far)” - JamieDeCosta
“It'd probably be higher on my list if there wasn't so many other great games on Wii. I didn't want it to end, so much so that about half way through I banned myself from playing it and came back to finish it later in the year! And Midna was probably one of my favourite characters from a Zelda game. Think I might go back and play it again soon.” - Mr-Paul
Brawl followed from the same tactic as Melee did on the GameCube: trim the excess fat from the previous game, then dump a ton of new stuff on top of it. The biggest addition this time round was the story mode, a rather big extension to the adventure mode of Melee. The story mode utilised every single character in the game in a long and epic story told via silent yet funny cutscenes (although there was that rather cruel moment of Captain Falcon killing a load of Pikmin and Olimar looking at him, heartbroken).
The main jist of the game, as always, is the multiplayer, with many more options and items - including the Pokéball-like Assist Trophy, which gave many lesser-known Nintendo characters a few seconds to shine - and a host of new features such as level creators and the much-pined-for online mode. It also made it easier for people to play due to the game supporting the Wii Remote, Wii Remote & Nunchuck, Classic Controller and the trusty GameCube controller.
The new characters and levels were very welcome, with Pit even gaining enough popularity from Brawl to revive his franchise, and guest appearances from Sonic and Solid Snake meant that you could finally pit long-time rivals Mario & Sonic against each other in a proper (non-Olympic) fight.
Read our review.
“A long time ago I remember reading an April Fools’ joke in a Nintendo mag about a Mario fighting game. Who would’ve guessed that ‘joke’ was a pretty accurate prediction. What it didn’t predict was how good the series would be, or that Brawl would be the biggest selling fighting game this generation! A massive roster, incredible graphics and one of the best Nintendo stories ever. They managed to weave so many characters into one tale which was all told with the most wonderful cut scenes. The game play was also classic Nintendo, so easy to get into but with so many hidden depths and more content than you can shake a stick at.” - Zechs Merquise
“I really enjoyed the story mode in Brawl, especially the fun, silent cut-scenes. There were some great pairings and lots of fun levels. And that was on top of everything came with Smash Bros. Melee. Kid Icarus was a fun new character (and led to Kid Icarus Uprising) and it was great seeing Sonic in there.” - Cube
“Being a Sonic fan, I was pretty stoked that he showed up. Hours devoted to the main quest and beating my friends, would be higher but online was disappointing.” - Gardy
Originally titled “Monado: Beginning of the World” it was later retitled “Xenoblade Chronicles” in honor of Monolith Soft’s President, Tetsuya Takahashi, who previously worked on the Xeno series of games when he was at Square-Enix. Xenoblade was released in Japan in June 2010 to critical acclaim but there was no news on a Western release and for a time it seemed one may not come. Giving rise to “Operation Rainfall” in the US; a campaign by gamers to persuade Nintendo of America to localise the game (along with other RPG’s “The Last Story” and “Pandora’s Tower”). It was however Nintendo of Europe who step up to the challenge, localised the game for European markets and found a stellar voice cast for the English dub; while still including the original Japanese dub on the disc. Xenoblade would eventually release in Europe in August 2011 with NoA eventually coming around and releasing it Stateside in April 2012. The game itself creates a massive world that is open for and begs to the player to get lost in and explore. Sprawling landscapes with no breaks for load screens or invisible boundaries. A real-time battle system that will see players seeking out random battles rather than trying to avoid them. Great characters and a wonderful story. Not to mention the sheer volume of side quests and NPCs to help out, all blending perfectly making Xenoblade a must have for any RPG and Adventure fans alike.
Read our review.
“Just pure beautiful...Characters that I grew to love, an epic Story, seamless transition between field exploration and battles, amazing battle mechanics and a large...no massive...no giant...ack there is no word in the dictionary to describe the size of the world created that was just so far beyond expectations and beyond what I thought was technically possible on Wii. will be starting a 2nd playthrough soon in run up to WiiU release” - Franklin Ó hAodha
“In a time where the traditional JRPG genre has fallen so far from grace that there is no floor beneath it any longer, it would take nothing short of a divine miracle to restore my faith in these games...
Turns out that Xenoblade was that miracle and then some!
It's tied for 1st place alongside Chrono Trigger as the best traditional JRPG ever made. A world as grand as an open world GTA, yet as well crafted and lovingly produced as the best 16 bit RPGs. A game that takes a minimum of 70 hours to complete and yet has perfect pacing in both gameplay mechanics and story. A massive cast of characters who you actually care about (take THAT Chrono Cross!) and exploration like you had always dreamed of experiencing since you were a kid.
It's all that and a bag of chips really. Ironic then is it that the console supposedly ill suited to the genre actually produced its one saving grace this generation. And to think that we almost never got it on our shores!
Truly its tale of development is nothing short of a miracle... ” - DCubed
“The word "epic" gets thrown around a lot in gaming circles and yet rarely does it ever truly apply. It's been used so often it's become watered down and suggests a level of inexperience of games for the person using it. But Xenoblade Chronicles really is epic. And not the pathetically weak, publisher speak epic, but the genuine version of the word. The world is enormous, the art direction phenomenal, the music is sublime and the gameplay is fresh and with a variety of playable characters (and an incredibly large supporting cast) all with their own quirks and styles, there is as much depth as you are prepared to dig for. The mechanics are such that you are never punished for experimenting and the concept of failure is completely removed without ever undermining the challenge on offer. The repetitive/grindy nature of some of the side quests and an unnecessarily bizarre late game plot twist are the only things attempting, and failing, to detract from the experience.” - Captain Falcon
Super Mario Galaxy 2 started out as Galaxy 1.5, just a bunch of ideas that weren’t used in the first game, but it soon evolved past that and did the unthinkable by not only living up to its monumental predecessor, but to go past it.
Galaxy 2 was made for those who mastered the all too easy original and is much more challenging from start to finish. With tutorial videos being optional and a Super Guide available for those in need, the game accommodates for the less skilled without hampering the challenge more experienced players want, which together with a faster way to choose levels makes for a streamlined playthrough with no downtime.
Rather than an expansion pack, Super Mario Galaxy 2 turned into its own wonderful game, filled with new ideas and a fresh take on old ones (Yoshi!) that managed to surprise us a second time after reaching heights we thought couldn’t be reached again after Galaxy.
Read our review.
“The best game I've ever played and sadly over-looked by a lot of the gaming public and even old Nintendo fans. My friend pulled a face when I told him how good Galaxy was, it wasn't until I slammed it in his mouth and ordered him to embrace it that he truly understood the beauty of it.” - Josh64
“The Mario Galaxy games in general are the most-polished on the Wii. To be frank, I'd have more fondness for this game if not for the post-game content, which seemed designed to be frustrating. When I think of this game, I tend to think "Ugh! Star 242..." But for the purpose of this poll, I remember how good the first 120 Stars were. Yoshi controlled surprisingly well and, for me, the giant slide in Tall Trunk Galaxy surpassed anything in the first game.” - Grazza
“The original was a masterpiece – but this is an improvement in every way. Every level and every challenge felt that little bit more polished. The inventive nature of each challenge and the way Nintendo had taken almost every idea in the original and pushed it to the next level is astounding. Everything about this game is pure brilliance and at the same time it’s longer and provides a much tougher challenge. Along with Ocarina of Time this is possibly the single greatest game ever created and proof that when it comes to game play no other developer comes close to Nintendo. This is pure gaming heaven.” - Zechs Merquise
What’s the point of designing an intricate dungeon if you’ll abandon it after one visit? Why commit a layout to memory if you’re never going back? Why do I want an item I’ll only use a few times? These were, one can imagine, the questions that were in Nintendo’s mind when designing Skyward Sword.
Instead of investing in wide variety of areas, Skyward Sword squeezes every last drop from each one by having you revisit them later in a completely different way. The forest where you swung on vines and carefully made your way up to climb a giant tree is now completely submerged, the top of the tree a few strokes away and the volcano you slashed your way through is now a prison camp where you must recover your gear without being detected. Plenty of major locations are presented later with a twist, namely the Silent Realm trials where you must call upon your knowledge of a previous area’s layout and mastery of Link’s stamina to collect the Tears of Goddesses without being attacked.
Dungeons no longer revolve around pushing blocks, finding keys or lighting torches, this formula, perfected in Twilight Princess was overstaying its welcome and Skyward Sword does away with it. Instead we have a breadth of new ideas that use the motion controlled sword, Link’s newfound agility and stamina mechanics and a much more imaginative and extensive use of every item. All this together with an overworld, or rather, an underworld that much like 2D Zeldas’ worlds, is filled to the brim with puzzles, enemies, treasures and bugs, the line between dungeon and overworld is blurred making progression in Skyward Sword very different from previous Zelda’s. Exploration plays a smaller role here, which might not be to everyone's liking, but the game's biggest problem is the hand-holding as Fi stubbornly points out the obvious throughout the game. Thankfully, she remains mostly silent inside the dungeons for the harder stuff.
Of course, it’s impossible to overlook the motion controlled sword fighting, clearly the game’s main attraction. With controls that find a sweet spot between Twilight Princess’ mindless shaking and impracticable true 1:1, Skyward’s Sword combat completely upends the series norms turning every enemy into a riddle to be solved, saying goodbye to button mashing and welcoming calculated attacks and parries. The combat system is a gigantic leap from previous Zeldas' or most other games for that matter; defeating an enemy provides new levels of satisfaction.
Celebrating the series’ 25th anniversary without being burdened by past conventions, Skyward Sword is the game many bought their Wii for.
Read our review.
“The best controls I've ever experienced in any game. Absolutely incredible art design. I loved this game and flew through it from start to finish. It started pretty slowly, fefifofum was really fucking irritating and the limiting tech of the wii stopped this from beating the next 2 though.” - Dazzybee
“Its another Zelda game and it does what a lot of people feel Twilight Princess should have done, it gives you direct control over Links sword and shield! This completely changes how you play the game for the better. Sure the actual game around this hasn't changed that much, but as always with Nintendo, the story is great, the world is beautiful and interacting with puzzles directly by using the wiimote is a complete joy!” - Shin_Kagato
“A fantastic game, up there with Ocarina of Time. I really enjoyed the storyline, it had great dungeons, Skyloft was a great main hub for the game and the flying was enjoyable. The motion controls thanks to the Wii MotionPlus remote were perfect.” - Lostmario
Mario 64 taught us that polygons could work in platformers, Sunshine taught us that washing walls was a blast and Galaxy taught us that the all-encompassing suck-party that we call "gravity" could be used to create one of the most entertaining gaming experiences in years. Truly, there is no-one else that does a platformer as well as Nintendo, and Galaxy epitomised all their greatest achievements: great level design, fun characters, almost too-cute-to-stomp enemies and a near-perfect difficulty curve. But this time, almost uniquely, Mario Galaxy had a thoroughly engaging story: true, Bowser had once again kidnapped that irritatingly ditzy Princess Peach, but that was merely the backdrop that led us to a poignant tale of loneliness, motherly love and even self-sacrifice. Mario Galaxy was not only the best game on the Wii by far, it was also the best Mario game in the history of the franchise. So good, so unique and so exciting was Mario Galaxy that it even spawned a direct sequel - something that hasn't happened since the golden days of the original NES.
Read our review.
“While I haven't played the 2nd one, this game is fantastic. The planet/gravity platforming is gorgeous, the music is majestic, everything is so fluid and well designed... This is magic, it's what it is. It isn't designed like Super Mario 64, it's more linear, but that's cool, because it works quite well like this. We don't get a big world to explore, but each mission gives you a third of the map, so it essentially follows the philosophy of the 2D Marios.” - Jonnas
“This game breathed new life into the platforming genre... hell, it breathed a freshness into gaming that only the Wii seemed to be doing, only with much more gusto and aplomb than anything prior this generation. I cannot fault this game, everything is measured, beautiful and simply a joy! I've not smiled so much whilst playing a game in oh so long!” - Kav82
“The game we were all waiting for. Not only did it not disappoint, but it can stand shoulder to shoulder with its sequel next to the hallowed Mario 64. In many respects it raised the bar for Nintendo’s franchises in terms of graphical finesse, invention and polish (the NSMB series suffers by comparison). Just messing around in this is a ton of fun: jumping between, around and inside planetoids of different shapes and sizes, surfing the idiosyncratic gravity fields, diving with shells, swinging on vines, floating, flying, even skating around a translucent suspended ice donut! The orchestral musical score was a huge landmark moment for Nintendo; Mahito Yokota, with a little help from a certain Koji Kondo, really pulled it out of the bag. The genius of this music is that it manages to expand the palette to a full orchestra and yet still sound like “videogame music”. And who on earth would have thought that latin and sci-fi would go together??! But they do!” - Lens of Truth
So there you have it - Super Mario Galaxy is your favourite Wii game. We would like to thank everyone who voted, especially those who wrote a bit about each game. Because of the massive variety of games voted, we were able to expand our previous plans of a top 25 into a top 50. What's more is that most of the games on this list are exclusive games - which goes to show just how great the Wii was.
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