The Ten Best Wii Mini-Game Collections

Sometimes All You Want are Bite-Sized Games

The popularity of mini-games on the Wii has been both a strength and a weakness. The intuitive controller has proven itself a wonderfully flexible tool for pick-up-and-play gaming, and accessible to those who wouldn’t touch a traditional controller. But the resulting popularity of these collections resulted in a flood of terrible products that made us all sad. Still, at their best, mini-games offer a lovely form of low-commitment play that is hard to resist. Here are 10 games that do it right.

Wii Sports Resort
You can put so much spin on a ping pong ball that it arcs like a Frisbee. Nintendo

Nintendo’s proof-of-concept release for the Wii MotionPlus is a beautiful example of how to show off new technology, offering a wide variety of tremendously fun and well-made mini-games that used the MotionPlus technology in every way Nintendo’s designer’s could think of. It is almost a blueprint for the control scheme of the subsequent Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.

Wii Fit Plus
Skateboarding via Balance Board. Nintendo

While mainly known as exercise software, the souped-up version of Wii Fit known as Wii Fit Plus is also notable for a terrific collection of mini-games that offer some of the most ingenious uses ever created for the Wii Balance Board. No other game has so cleverly used everything the Board is capable of. If you have a Wii U, Wii Fit U is preferable in some ways, but this was the best Wii version of the series.

Mario Party 9
Instead of each player inhabiting a different space, players all travel together to a common destination. Nintendo

This game gets points simply for the vast number of mini-games it holds. MP9 is more board game-style party game than mini-game collection, but it has a lot of entertaining mini-games and players can ignore the board game aspect if they like. Even though the mini-games are essentially part of a larger whole, it still contains better mini-games than a lot of Wii games that offer nothing else.

Winter Sports: The Ultimate Challenge
Conspiracy Entertainment

This unusually successful collection of Olympics-based sports games was never quite as popular with the world at large as I thought it should be. The game did a wonderful job of creating the feel of its various sports, and made me want to try bobsledding in real life, a notion only not acted upon due to a general dislike of becoming severely injured on a freezing mountain.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: The Crystal Bearers
Crystal Bearers is one of the Wii's prettiest games. Square-Enix

Crystal Bearers represents a rather different approach to mini-games, in that you play through a story in which you keep encountering new mini-games throughout, rather than choosing them from a menu. You rarely playing any game twice. The game also has a little combat strewn in. Most of the mini-games aren’t especially difficult, but the presentation, which includes an engaging story and pretty scenery, makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts.

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Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games

Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games

This solid collection of mini-games won’t electrify you with its brilliance, but the game is impressive for making similar sports feel distinctly different. And beyond the straight-ahead Olympic sports mini-games there are a number of clever, multi-player-oriented fantasy versions to check out.

Gaijin Games

BIT.TRIP COMPLETE collects six games that were originally sold as separate WiiWare titles. Some of them, most notably BIT.TRIP RUNNER, aren’t all that mini. While I had mixed feelings about the games that comprise COMPLETE, the stylish presentation that includes retro graphics and an ingenious use of music make it one of the most notable mini-game collections, even if I was more lost in admiration than lost in enjoyment.

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Let's Tap

This ingenious package contains four mini-games, all controlled by tapping the flat surface your Wii lays on top of. Tap to make racers run or space ships fire missiles. The mini-games are a mixed bag, but I’ve always admired the cleverness of the control system.

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Wii Sports

Wii Sports

While later eclipsed by Wii Sports Resort, the original Wii Sports was a revelation when it arrived. In fact, for many non-gamers who bought the Wii back when it was bundled with this game, Wii Sports was all they ever needed; the bowling mini-game has inspired entire bowling leagues and tournaments. This turned out to be a problem for Nintendo; how do you sell games to non-gamers who figure one mini-game collection is all they really need? While the gameplay was improved in the Wii U version, this was an impressive early use of gesture gaming.

WarioWare: Smooth Moves

Like all the WarioWare games, Smooth Moves is not really a mini-game collection but rather a micro-game collection in which players are asked to perform simple motions within a few seconds. Think of it as a mini-game collection for those with ADD.