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Best Overall: Zelda: Breadth of the Wild at Amazon
"Reinvents open world exploration and brings the best overall Nintendo Wii U game experience available to date."
Best for Families: Mario Kart 8 at Amazon
"An award-winning game that harkens back to the early Nintendo days and belongs in every Wii U collection."
Best Multiplayer: Mario Party 10 at Amazon
"The rules are simple enough for anyone to pick up, and there’s an optional warm-up mode before you jump into each mini-game."
Best Fighting: Super Smash Bros. at Amazon
"It’s one of the rare fighting games that you can feel comfortable letting your kids play without worrying about the gore."
Best Racing Game: Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed at Amazon
"It gives players their own unique vehicle that transforms into a car, boat, and plane."
Best Replay Value: Splatoon at Amazon
"It redefines the first-person shooter genre."
Best Sports: Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Amazon
"A prime example of what Nintendo’s Wii U motion controls can do."
Best Action: Star Fox Zero at Amazon
"You will be launched directly into the heat of war as you fight an onslaught of enemy forces in the galaxy."
You don’t need a Nintendo Switch to enjoy the critically acclaimed The Legend of Zelda: Breadth of the Wild. With what many reviewers consider a masterpiece, and the best selling Wii U game on Amazon to date, The Legend of Zelda: Breadth of the Wild reinvents open world exploration and brings the best overall Nintendo Wii U game experience available to date.
The Legend of Zelda: Breadth of the Wild reigns as the best overall Wii U game due to its immersive gameplay in a wide-open world environment that encourages and rewards exploration, throwing spontaneous sequences of both dangerous peril and pure tranquility. There is never a dull moment as players survive in the brisk of the wild where over 100 shrines and dungeons await. Each challenge presents a unique difficulty, like solving various puzzles or strategizing weaponry and approaches against enemies of all different shapes and sizes.
A long-time Nintendo staple, Mario Kart 8 is an award-winning game that harkens back to the early Nintendo days and belongs in every Wii U collection. Bigger, better and faster than its predecessors, Mario Kart 8 is quality family fun and perfect for all ages. No matter if you’re racing underwater, on land or in the air, Mario Kart 8 offers gravity-defying courses that take players up, down and all around.
Mario Kart 8 works for up to four players in multiplayer mode, separating a television screen into four separate blocks as you race and try to avoid dreaded bananas peels or turtle shells. Crisp HD graphics look bright and vibrant on TV screens large and small, while the online multiplayer version adds additional replay value.
Though Mario Party 10 may be the best multiplayer game for the Wii U on the list, it’s also one of the best games to ruin friendships. With up to five players, Mario Party 10 has you going head to head with your friends on a game board and participating in various mini-games to collect coins and buy stars (that act as points.) Don’t worry, the rules are simple enough for anyone to pick up, and there’s an optional warm-up mode before you jump into each mini-game.
Unlike the other Mario Party games before it, Mario Party 10 features Bowser Party, a new mode where a fifth player controls Bowser with the Wii U GamePad. Four other players team up to escape from Bowser, with their mission to reach the end of the game board without getting caught. Playing as Bowser gives one the feeling of a “dungeon master” that can only be defeated by the power of cooperation. Good luck.
Nintendo has never been a brand known for combat games, which make it somewhat ironic that they have one of the most beloved smash-em-up franchises in the world in Super Smash Bros. The version of this long-running series for the Wii U is one of the console’s best offerings, bringing together characters from generations of Nintendo games into one brightly-colored arena. The latest game even draws characters from other franchises, including Pac-Man, Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog. But, of course, the iconic characters like Mario, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Link, and even Kid Icarus are the real draw. This series has evolved a bit with every new release—adding new characters, moves, arenas, etc.—which makes the version for the Nintendo Wii U the most impressive Nintendo fighting game to date. And it’s one of the rare fighting games that you can feel comfortable letting your kids play without worrying about the gore.
Take all the best racing games for the Wii U and combine them into one and you’ll have Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. The creative and multiplayer racer for Wii U gives players their own unique vehicle that transforms into a car, boat and plane in order to adapt to various ever-changing terrains.
Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed features over 20 legendary SEGA characters from classic games such as Crazy Taxi, Nights into Dreams, Shenmue and Alex Kidd. Like Diddy Kong Racing for the N64, players race on land, in the sea and in the air in 16 dynamically changing courses that are modeled off of levels in Sega’s games. Players are given a large array of weapons that require skillful aiming, evasion and blocking in order to give them a competitive edge and lead them to the finishing line.
Lighthearted in its approach, Splatoon redefines the first-person shooter genre for the Nintendo Wii U. Lacking the traditional violence often associated with first-person shooters, Splatoon focuses on innocent and good-hearted gameplay. Based in the fictional city of Inkopolis, players are set with a goal of “inking” everything using their super-soaker look-alike weaponry to squirt colorful ink in every direction.
The single-player campaign adds 20 standalone levels that culminate with now-standard boss battles before moving to the next level, but this game is actually best played in multiplayer mode. The progression system allows you to increase your rank and unlock new gear, including new weapons or clothing as you earn more points. With Nintendo’s release of new content over time they've continued to add to Splatoon’s replayability by adding new maps, weapons, equipment and a new ranked game mode that lets you compete against friends or strangers.
A prime example of what Nintendo’s Wii U motion controls can do, Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games may not be the first sports game that comes to mind, but it’s the best. Available with 14 separate events and mini-games for added replay value, Mario & Sonic includes both solo gameplay and multiplayer events for up to four players at a time. Summer Olympic staples are all present, including the 100-yard dash, triple jump, beach volleyball, soccer and rugby. Some events require the pressing of two buttons, while others will have you waving the motion controllers around in the air to accelerate, slow down or jump high in the air. Mario & Sonic shines with a charm and serious fun factor (just imagine choosing legendary characters such as Bowser to run track & field events). Add in highly detailed graphics and Mario & Sonic quickly ranks as one of the best-looking games on the Wii U.
Flying at the speed of light in an intense space battle against an army of monkeys is what you will find in Star Fox Zero. From the start of your first mission, you will be launched directly into the heat of war as you fight an onslaught of enemy forces in the galaxy, piloting jets, flight drones and tanks among lush terrains.
Star Fox Zero is the latest installment of the ever-popular Star Fox series. The on-rails shooter places you in the action of dogfights over various planets. Gameplay relies on the strategy of evasive maneuvers like barrel rolls and somersaults as you strategize with your teammates while facing off a myriad of enemy fighters. With the Wii U’s gamepad, you’ll be able to have a first person perspective from the cockpit of your fighter pilot, while the view on your TV shows the full landscape of the planets you traverse.
Gameplay - Are you up for competition or do you prefer to team up with your friends? Gameplay dictates how players interact with each other, the game, and its challenges. Linear games, for example, have a series of challenges that must be completed in order, while nonlinear games encourage a more creative approach. In cooperative games, you work together with other players, but in competitive games like Mario Kart, you’ll face off against your enemies.
Franchise - If you’re already hooked on a specific franchise, like Zelda or Mario, there are plenty of games to explore that will immerse you in different aspects of that world. If, on the other hand, you want something new, there’s no shortage of new characters or realms to explore.
Rating - Before buying a video game, be sure to check the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating. The ratings are broken up into three parts: rating categories (“E” for everyone, “E10+” for ages 10 and up, “T” for teens, “M” for mature 17+, and “A” for adults only); content descriptors (comic mischief, mild language, etc.); and interactive elements (in-game purchases, users interact, shares location, unrestricted internet, etc.). Picking an appropriately rated game will help ensure everyone has fun.