Intriguing Wii Homebrew Games

Cool free games for homebrewed Wiis

Gamers can install the homebrew channel to use the Wii as a media player or to run game emulators, but they can also download a number of interesting games. Many are simply ports of old games or new versions of standards like Pong, Tower Defense, or Break-Out, but others are original, free games that, in spite of often primitive graphics and bare-bones gameplay can be wonderfully entertaining. Here are six you really should check out.

The Wii Shop Channel was discontinued in 2018, but most of these game can be played on other platforms. It's also now possible to hack your Wii and install the Homebrew Channel manually.

06
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Helium Boy

Helium Boy
Bertil Hörberg

What We Like

  • Novel concept based on the Nintendo classic Balloon Fight.

  • Charming character design.

What We Don't Like

  • Awkward controls and camera angles.

  • Mobile version has much more to offer.

Helium Boy is a surprisingly slick but extremely short homebrew game in which a boy uses balloons to float through his environment collecting floating stars. There’s only one level, so even if it takes you a few tries to make it to the end you’ll still be finished in less than an hour even if you try to collect every star. But this is still one of the most professional-looking homebrew games for the Wii; one can only hope the designer decides to create some more levels.

The full version of the game is currently available for iOS, Android, and Fire OS.

05
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MahJong Wii

Mahjongg Wii
JustWoody

What We Like

  • Pleasant music and sound effects.

  • Cast of characters adds personality to game play.

What We Don't Like

  • Choosing tiles with the Wii remote can be tedious.

  • Grainy graphics.

Just your basic MahJong game, but a notably slick one with nice graphics, the ability to get a hint or shuffle tiles if you’re stuck and a very pretty song that unfortunately wears out its welcome pretty quickly. There are games that cost money that are inferior to this nice little homebrew title.

While MahJong Wii is no longer available, some form on MahJong can be played on virtually any device including the Wii U.

04
of 06

Sand Traps

Sand Traps
Uffe Flarup

What We Like

  • Easy to create your own levels.

  • Impressive physics modeling.

What We Don't Like

  • Motion controls aren't perfect.

  • Twitchy camera motions.

The most impressive Wii homebrew game has got to be Sand Traps, a puzzle game that involves tilting the Wii remote to move sand to a target. While visually very primitive, Sand Traps is one of the few homebrew games that fully takes advantage of the Wii remote. The game also does a good job of varying the basics; sometimes certain parts of a level will burn the sand away, or the sand will dissolve platforms, or you will be able to draw stone onto the screen to corral sand. The controls are reminiscent of Marble Mania: Kororinpa, and the gameplay is similar to parts of the iPhone game Aqua Forest, but the end result is a unique game that shows the potential of Wii homebrew games.

Sand Traps hasn't made it to other consoles, but you can download the file and upload it to your Wii console manually if you already have the homebrew channel installed.

03
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Portii

Portii
Beardface

What We Like

  • Creative level design.

  • Simple controls.

What We Don't Like

  • Only a few levels are available.

  • The official website has been shut down.

Valve’s puzzle 3D game Portal has inspired a number of 2D knock-offs like Portal: The Flash Game. Two such games exist as Wii homebrew games, Portii and StillAliveWii, which we discuss below. Portii is a fun, tricky game in which you use a gun that creates portals that take you from one part of a level to another. While it uses the central portals concept of the original, Portii has a different approach to level design, making players gather slices of cake and requiring quick reflexes to create portals to keep the avatar from falling through space to its death. It’s interesting to see someone put their own spin on a familiar game mechanic.

Sadly, Portii wasn't released for other platforms, but you can still download the original file and play it on Wii if you have the Homebrew Channel installed.

02
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Beneath a Steel Sky

Beneath a Steel Sky
Revolution Software

What We Like

  • Perfect title for Wii motion controls.

  • Stellar animation and writing.

What We Don't Like

  • Tips system makes the game a little too easy.

  • Gritty in-game graphics.

The SCUMMVM engine allows you to play point-and-click LucasArts adventure games on a variety of platforms. Installing SCUMVM on a homebrewed Wii will let you play any of the old LucasArts games (or other games that use that engine) such as Day of the Tentacle or Loom, but you need to own the original disks to play them. The exceptions are a handful of adventure games that have been re-released as freeware, the most notable of which is Beneath a Steel Sky, a minor classic from the folks who went on to create the Broken Sword series. Originally designed as a PC game, Sky works beautifully on the point-and-click-friendly Wii.

01
of 06

StillAliveWii

Still alive

t4ils

What We Like

  • Supports two players.

  • Includes a level editor.

What We Don't Like

  • The official website is offline, a challenge to find the game.

Unlike Portii (see above), StillAliveWii’s level design feels very similar to that of Portal, with the same basic traverse-an-impassable room puzzle style. A port of a DS homebrew game, StillAliveWii expands slowly beyond portals to switches, moveable barrels and turret guns. The game is probably our favorite of all the Portal clones we’ve played, but if you like one you should play them all. You can even play the internet flash game on your Wii if you have an internet connection, the internet channel and a connected keyboard. (You don’t even need the homebrew channel.)