12 Games That Should Have Been on The Wii U

When the Wii came out, its gesture-based gaming started me thinking of existing games that would be perfect for it, like Penumbra: Overture and Space Channel 5. Alas, not one of my top 5 choices for Wii sports ever happened. When the Wii U was announced, I thought of 12 games that would be perfect for it. I got one. And yet, wouldn't these have been awesome?

Crayon Physics
Petri Purho

Why it would have worked: This brilliant puzzle game for the PC and iPhone is arguably the best drawing game ever released.  You can draw whatever you like and then see how gravity effects it.  A Wii U version of this could easily have been the best version of the game.

Why it never happened: No idea. Perhaps developer Petri Purho may not want to deal with the considerable hassles inherent in dealing with big publishers like Nintendo.  After all, it also seems perfect for the DS, but outside of a hacker version, it was not brought to that platform. 

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Why it would have worked: It would probably have been crazy for Capcom to re-release Okami for the Wii U, since it already came out for the Wii.  But wow, what game would be more perfectly suited to the Wii U?  Painting with the Wii remote was fun but didn’t always work as well as it should have; painting with the Wii U controller would be a breeze.  And the thought of the game’s gorgeous watercolor aesthetic in HD makes me salivate.

Why it didn't happen: Considering it had already been ported to the Wii, I would have been shocked if Capcom ported it to the Wii U as well. Still, it's a shame they didn't port the DS title Okamiden

Metroid Prime Trilogy
Samus. Nintendo

Why it would have worked: If you haven’t been thinking about the possibility of scanning objects in Metroid Prime with the Wii U controller then clearly you haven’t been thinking about the Wii U controller at all.  Samu often scans things; a player could have an actual scanner in hand, hold it up over the TV and scan objects while still able to shoot things.

Why it didn't happen: Inexplicably, n spite of countless fan requests, Nintendo just would not give the Wii U a Metroid game. It's heartbreaking.

Savage: The Battle for Newerth
S2 Games

Why it would have worked: One of the interesting features of the Wii U is asynchronous gaming, in which the player with the Wii U gamepad plays differently than those with Wii remotes, and this PC game is tailor-made for that style of play. In the original, online multiplayer game, there are two teams, with a commander and soldiers for each team. The commander gets a top-down view of the battlefield and plays the game as a strategy game. The soldiers play on the ground in an action game that mixes melee and ranged fighting.

How perfect is that? The gamepad players gets a strategy-game view on the touchscreen. It might be difficult to recreate Newerth exactly, but a similar game would be terrific.

Why it didn't happen:  Perhaps because the developers don't make console games.

Max and the Magic Marker
Press Play

Why it would have worked: This puzzle game was clever and well done but suffered from the issues inherent in drawing in the air with a pointer.  With the Wii U Controller, the game would, I suspect, have been close to perfect.

Why it didn't happen:  Perhaps because the development company was bought by Microsoft?

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uDraw Pictionary

uDraw Pictionary
uDraw Pictionary replaces pencil and paper with drawing tablet and TV screen. THQ

Why it would have worked: Although it was the most satisfactory of THQ’s games for their uDraw tablet, Pictionary was frustrating because it is so hard to draw on one surface and watch the results on your TV; being able to use the Wii U controller as a true drawing pad would have made this game so much better. 

Why it didn't happen: When the Wii U came out, I couldn't imagine THQ not doing this. But they didn't. I will never understand why

Phoenix Wright

Why it would have worked: Truthfully, I’m mainly including Phoenix Wright just because I really, really like Phoenix Wright.  But if I think about it, something in the series would certainly be a great choice for the Wii U.  The controller would work very well to scan for blood or to check fingerprints.  It would also work well for choosing Phoenix’s dialogue.

Why it didn't happen: Like most of the big publishers, Capcom lost interest in the Wii U early on. 

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Why it would have worked: Ingenious, complex and hugely frustrating, Siren was a fascinating PS2 game in which you played as a number of people trying to escape zombies.  What makes this a great game for the Wii U is that the main game mechanism was “sight jacking” zombies, which means you could see the world through a zombie’s eyes to see where they were looking and walking.  This is ideal for the Wii U, as you could have used the TV for your eyes and gamepad for the zombie’s eyes.

Why it didn't happen: It’s a Sony franchise.  

The Experiment
Lexis Numerique

Why it would have worked: This PC adventure game, also known as Experience112 had a really clever premise.  You are trapped in a control room on a ship, and must help a woman on that ship escape using camera and door controls at your fingertips.  The PC game had a number of windows to shift around, including a live stream from the video camera, maps and personal documents of the missing crew.  This would have worked beautifully on the Wii U, where you could use the controller as, well, a controller, turning lights on and off and searching for documents.

Why it didn't happen: The developer, Lexis Numerique, didn't evenlist the game on their main website when I first thought of this. Now they're out of business. It's a shame though that the mobile game République, which looks to use some similar ideas, wasn't brought to the Wii U either.

Robin Hood: Legend of Sherwood
Spellbound Studios

Why it would have worked: Whatever happened to squad-based strategy games?  It’s been years since there was anything like Commandos or Desperados, but the Wii U seemed like an ideal platform for reviving my favorite strategy sub-genre. My vote to lead off this revival went to the wonderful Robin Hood: Legend of Sherwood.  Imagine plotting out your strategy on the touch screen while the TV shows the action in full HD 3D.  Doesn’t that sound cool?  

Why it didn't happen: Usually when genres die out it’s because they just aren’t that popular anymore.

Blade Runner

Why it would have worked: This is admittedly a real stretch, but I would have loved to see a port of this old point and click PC adventure.  Admittedly it would be incredibly hard to update.  While the visual design is amazing, the graphics are, well, 1997 graphics.  But I love the idea of using the Wii U controller to perform the replicant test or zoom into photographs during photo analysis.

Why it didn't happen:  Sadly, it's unlikely anyone will ever remake this relatively obscure 1997 point-and-click adventure game. But I'll keep dreaming.

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Fatal Frame Zero New Project
Tecmo Koei

Why it worked: Fatal Frame was an obvious choice for the Wii U. The game involves exploring a haunted mansion and vanquishing ghosts by taking photos of them. The camera mechanism has been a little awkward throughout the series; you have to bring the camera up, aim and put it down to run. With the Wii U controller, you could simply use the controller as the camera, lifting it up to point at ghosts but still being able to see an unobstructed view of the scene on your TV.

And it happened: The game hwasn't perfect, but it really was a great use of the gamepad. Told you so.