The best Wii games of all time
Twist and turn your attention (and body) to the best of Nintendo's classic console with these best Wii games
The best Wii games evoke a degree of nostalgia few other consoles are capable of. That’s not to say that previous iterations of PlayStation, Xbox, or any other older hardware doesn’t stir memories of youth and excitement in us, but the Nintendo Wii was revolutionary in its execution, it brought gaming to the mainstream, and made playing video games properly cool for, really, the first time in living memory. Naming just 15 of the best Wii games, then, is hardly an easy task but we’ve given it a bash all the same. We’ve sidestepped multiple series entries in the following list, which covers multiple genres and intrigues.
1. The House of the Dead: Overkill
There have been lightgun-style games for almost as long as there have been home game consoles, but The House of the Dead: Overkill is easily one of the best in class, let alone on the Wii. Good old-fashioned zombie slaying mixed with grindhouse cinema presentation make this a fun (and funny) title that meshes naturally with the Wii Remote's design.
2. Mario Kart Wii
Were it not for its Wii U sequel, Mario Kart Wii would undisputably hold the crown for best Mario Kart game. The addition of more riders per race, motorbikes, a tweaked drifting system, and the ability to perform tricks were all hailed as major improvements, and the courses are as wonderful as they've ever been.
Reboots and remakes are a tricky business. You want the experience to feel fresh, but you need to pay respect to what came before. Thankfully, Punch-Out!! for the wii rom does exactly that, bringing back the dodge, dodge, punch rhythm that made the original such a classic, and wrapping it up in a beautifully stylized package.
4. Rhythm Heaven Fever
With its simple design and gyroscope sensor, the Wii Remote makes for a great music game controller. And while Just Dance parties were fun, it was Rhythm Heaven Fever that stuck with you, ensaring players with its adorable visuals, cutesy storylines, and catchy tunes. Plus, it had a certain wacky charm that simply can't be described on the back of a box.
5. Excitebots: Trick Racing
Excitebots: Trick Racing proves that it's not all about how fast you cross the finish line, but how cool you looked when you did it. Rather than focus on tight curves and single-file racing speedways, Excitebots features large, sprawling courses with multiple pathways. And while you may end up in first place just from being fast, you'll want to challenge yourself to be the best trickster too.
6. Red Steel 2
The first Red Steel promised us the fantasy of wielding a console controller like a sword, transforming us into badass samurai (that also wielded guns). But it wasn't until Red Steel 2 that we finally got a sense of how utterly cool that could feel. With more stylized visuals and support for the Wii MotionPlus, Red Steel 2 is one of the tightest action games the Wii ever had.
7. Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Without question, Muramasa: The Demon Blade is very high on our list of most beautiful Wii games. Its lavish, superbly animated world shames the system's tepid 3D offerings to the point where "pretty for a Wii game" should be forever stricken from gaming phraseology. With fantastic combat, a diverse armory of unique weapons, and over a dozen hours of gameplay, Muramasa would stand out on any system. On the Wii it shines as one more ray of inspiration to anyone who passed on the system for good.
8. Dead Space: Extraction
Dead Space: Extraction is much more than a haunted shooting gallery, as the presentation, voice acting, and exceptional visuals make you feel like a part of the action. You're not just moving along with a target reticle blasting grotesque monsters; you are that person – ducking and weaving, cussing in disbelief, shuddering with the guerrilla-style shaky cam that immerses you in the world like no other game in the genre. Like any good rollercoaster, Extraction gets your heart racing and adrenaline pounding even though you have no control. An interesting and emotional take on the lightgun scene.
9. A Boy and His Blob
With highly inventive gameplay and outstanding storybook visuals, the updated adventure of A Boy and His Blob (originally on the NES) is absolutely worth checking out again or for the first time. Whether it's the boy calling his pal in alternately playful and impatient tones or the blob obediently hopping along awaiting its next jellybean snack, this tale is as much about friendship as it about adventure. Nothing drives this point home more than the hug button, which serves no other purpose than to make the boy snuggle his blob like a favorite teddy bear. Simply put: You'd have to have a frigid, icy heart to not love this game on some level.
10. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
It would be easy to overlook Silent Hill: Shattered Memories as a sloppy Wii remake – we all know there were plenty of those – but going in with that mindset would be a mistake. In reality, it was essentially an original story loosely based on the first Silent Hill, using the franchise as a platform to tell a dark, mature tale. Though it lacked many of the classic Silent Hill tropes, it came with a few tricks of its own, sporting interesting gameplay that analyzed your decisions to taunt you with specific elements suited to your playstyle. If that sounds weird or psychological, that's because it is. Shattered Memories is a game every Wii owner should experience.
11. Super Paper Mario
Fans of Mario RPG clamored for years for more role-playing Mario goodness, and got their wish with the Paper Mario series. The Wii entry, Super Paper Mario, brings all of the silliness and charm of the RPG series to the modern era, mixing in some interesting 3D puzzles and platforming. But what really sets it apart is the dialogue and narrative, which doesn't shy away from shattering the fourth wall in favor of silly puns and awesome jokes that will have anyone, Mario fan or not, rolling on the floor with laughter.
12. Donkey Kong Country Returns
Donkey Kong Country Returns is everything fans wanted from the series. It's beautiful, painfully difficult, and a nostalgic trip for fans of the storied franchise. And yet it feels remarkably new, with strong mechanics and emphasis on cooperative play. DKCR is a lush, vibrant reimagining of the franchise, and one that we hope is only the first step toward a future resurgence for DK and crew.
13. New Super Mario Bros. Wii
There's a reason that New Super Mario Bros. Wii is one of the best-selling games on the system: It wonderfully blended together the nostalgic feeling of classic Mario with four-player cooperative play, creating an experience that had children laughing and adults grinning from ear to ear. Though the level design isn't the best in the series and things can get hectic with four people onscreen at the same time, the overall experience is fantastic, providing some worthwhile fun for groups and solo players alike. Just make sure to share the mushrooms.
14. Boom Blox Bash Party
The Steven Spielberg-produced (seriously) Boom Blox was an early success on the Wii, and the sequel, Boom Blox Bash Party, improves on the formula in every way. Bash Party is a brilliant little toy to mess around with, and one you'll get a lot of pleasure from regardless of how many friends or family members you rope in. It wouldn't work on any other console, and as a Wii owner you really ought to check out at least one Boom Blox game; ideally, make it this one.
15. Xenoblade Chronicles
Xenoblade Chronicles, a latecomer to the Wii, offers a singularly beautiful world, streamlined gameplay, likable characters, and a fantastic soundtrack. For these reasons alone it's probably the best RPG on the Wii. Lest you think we're damning it with faint praise, there's no denying that Xenoblade is invigorating and engaging like few recent games of its kind, giving us reason to hope that this once-proud genre may yet have better days ahead. Visit the strange world of Xenoblade for 100-odd hours and see if you don't feel the same.