The Top 10 WiiWare Games

10 Terrific Games You Can Download Through the Wii Shopping Channel

Some of the best games for the Wii don’t come on disk but are instead downloadable through the shopping channel. Here are my top 10 WiiWare choices. Sharp readers will notice that the majority of these are puzzle games. While WiiWare action games are often simple, rather dumb arcade-style shooters, WiiWare puzzle games are often wonderfully ingenious.

Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhale
Guybrush Threepwood in peril. TellTale Games

Tales of Monkey Island is an episodic puzzle-adventure game series consisting of 5 episodes. Since they’re all great, I could fill half my list with them. Instead I’ll just count them as one, wonderful, funny, clever WiiWare title. More »

And Yet It Moves
A pencil-sketch man runs through a paper-collage world. Broken Rules

A perfect game for the Wii that was actually original released for the PC, this unique platformer asks players to move the entire world to help one avatar reach his destination. With an imaginative visual design, clever puzzles, and a gesture control scheme far superior to the keyboard controls of the PC original, AYIM is everything you could want in a WiiWare title. More »

World of Goo
2D Boy

Perhaps the first really notable wiiware title, and still one of the best, this game combines clever, original, physics-based puzzles, beautiful graphics, and a very slight but amusing story into a wonderfully satisfying package. More »

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Art Style: Orbient

Art Style: Orbient
A game entirely about gravitational fields. Nintendo

A game of beautiful simplicity, Art Style: Orbient asks players to move an avatar planet using the gravitational mass of other planets and stars. Even at its most brutally difficult, there is still a wonderful peace in gliding past burning suns to the game's ethereal score.

Gaijin Games

While I wasn’t as big a fan of the old-school Bit.Trip series as a lot of critics, I did really like Bit.Trip Runner, a game in which you must make your little runner jump and duck at just the right places. Fast, exhilarating and very difficult, the game also has the typical Bit.Trip retro look and the fabulous use of music that infuses the entire series. There are six games in the series, but this is the only one I really loved to play. Apparenlty I wasn't alone - this was the game that got it's own sequel, Bit.Trip Presents Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien. More »

Burn the Rope
Big Blue Bubble

This clever puzzle game asks players to simply burn an elaborate rope sculpture. With interesting touches like exploding bugs and ropes that need special flames, the game does a lot with a very simple concept. More »

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Rotating the remote makes this little pool of water wander up and down ramps, among other things. Nintendo

Perhaps the most ambitious WiiWare game ever published by Nintendo, this puzzle platformer asks players to transport water through intricate, dangerous mazes. The game is also notable as one of those rare games built entirely around gesture gaming. More »

Tomena Sanner
Press the button at the right time and you can dance with a schoolgirl chorus line. Konami

Quirky and very Japanese, this game is nothing more than a man running forward while players press buttons at just the right time. Full of amusing animations, the game’s big flaw is not its simplicity but its brevity; easily completed in an hour, the game shouldn’t sell for more than $2. If only there were budget bins on Nintendo’s shopping channel. More »

Max and the Magic Marker
Big Blue Bubble

This puzzle game asks players to use a magic marker to create stairways and other objects to help Max get where he’s going. In spite of the frustrations of drawing freehand with the Wii remote, which makes the game more difficult and frustrating than the original PC version, the game is still fun and ingenious. More »

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Players need light sources to avoid the creepy crawlies in the dark. WayForward Technologies

This ingenious puzzle game asks players to navigate a dark room filled with deadly creepy crawlies by creating safe light zones using lamps, computer monitors and broken windows. The game starts out as a brilliant puzzle game but becomes frustrating as demands on player reflexes are thwarted by control issues that make some simple actions far too difficult. Even if, like me, you give up before the end, the creepy atmosphere and originality make this one worth trying.

Years later, LIT was released as a free game for iOS and Android. Unfortunately it plays an advertisement video after every level, so I uninstalled it after three levels. My advice: stick to the WiiWare version.