Remembering The Wii U: Five Great Games From Nintendo’s Failed Experiment

by Darrin Wright

I think it’s safe to say, a mere hour before the Nintendo Switch is released worldwide, that the console’s predecessor – the Wii U – was not what Nintendo wanted it to be. Or what anyone wanted it to be, actually.

Released in November 2012, the Wii U was plagued from the beginning with some unfortunate marketing – even members of the gaming press were initially unsure if it was just an add-on for the Wii, or a new distinct console – combined with a disastrous case of third-party abandonment. Yet it would be disingenuous of us to say that it was a complete failure. Sure, from a sales perspective it was, but the ultimate goal of a gaming console is to give its audience some memorable moments, and we’ve collected a list of times it did just that:


5) Hyrule Warriors

OK, show of hands, who thought this would actually work? Yeah, not many of us. When Nintendo first announced this marriage of the Zelda and Dynasty Warriors series, many thought they were insane, but it turns out – aside from some odd decisions – Hyrule Warriors was actually a really solid and fun title, loaded with content that Nintendo and Koei Tecmo kept providing. It was successful enough to spawn a 3DS version, so that has to count for something.


4) Splatoon

Another one of those “nobody saw this coming” moments, Nintendo finally decided to take on multiplayer shooters, but in a non-violent way and involving massive amounts of bright colors instead of different shades of brown and grey. And it worked, as Splatoon quickly captured gamers’ hearts and became such a success that Nintendo even thinks it has a future in eSports. We engaged in turf wars, argued over which Squid Girl was best (it’s Callie), and engaged in some crazy down-to-the-wire battles that were nothing short of fun, every time.


3) Bayonetta 2

This is an example of Nintendo taking a chance when nobody else would. The first Bayonetta was beloved by its fans, but unfortunately didn’t do as well as hoped from a sales perspective. Fans wanted a sequel, but only Nintendo was brave enough to pony up the cash to make it happen, and so Bayonetta 2 became a Wii U exclusive. Those who hadn’t played the first game in the series got that too, in the game’s initial release.


2) Super Mario 3D World

One of the most well-received games of its generation, Super Mario 3D World brought multiplayer Mario to the masses in beautiful HD, and was not only an extremely fun platformer, it also gave us a great spinoff in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker. It was a big contender on many folks’ Game of the Year lists, and is a worthy addition to anyone’s collection.


1) The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

OK, this might be cheating a little, since it’s also a Nintendo Switch launch title, but Breath of the Wild is already not only in Game of the Year contention, but is being talked about as one of the best games of all time. Just read our review, I don’t have to say anything about it you don’t already know. It’s certainly a great swan song for the Wii U, even if it’s a duet.

Anyway, that’s our list. What Wii U titles will you look back fondly on (if any)?

- This article was updated on March 8th, 2018

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