The Wii will almost certainly be remembered for its control scheme and high sales rather than its games. That’s a shame, because despite the machine’s out-dated technology it actually hosted some pretty damn entertaining games over the course of its life. With the Wii U around the corner and the technological gap too much for many gamers to bear, the Wii is all but dead now – but it’s worth scouring those shelves before all the stock is dumped in some warehouse somewhere, because chances are you never got around to picking up some of the system’s most interesting titles.
This is by no means a definitive list. There are plenty of other Wii games you probably missed, but these are games that always elicit a surprised response from people when I recommend them.
Deadly Creatures | THQ / Rainbow Studios
The strangest thing about Deadly Creatures isn’t that its playable characters are a scorpion and a tarantula. The strangest thing about the game was its voice cast – throughout the game you repeatedly overhear and see two rednecks who are digging for gold, voiced by Billy-Bob Thornton (who has since come out with a whole bunch of anti-gaming vitriol) and Dennis Hopper (in one of his last roles ever). It’s not just these curiously cast performances that make the game worth playing though. Deadly Creatures is actually extremely enjoyable and inventive, despite a few camera woes, making solid use of the Wii remote. It’s a bit icky, naturally, but worth putting your phobias aside for.
The Godfather: Blackhand Edition | EA
The Godfather may not be the best open world game we’ve seen, but the Blackhand Edition does something that surprisingly few Wii games have done – it maps motion controls onto an existing game in ways that make it far more enjoyable than any other version. Fist-fights are particularly enjoyable, and the motion sensing is more accurate than most games of its type, with lots of different combat options. Want to knee someone in the face during a fight? Bring the Wii remote and nunchuk down to your knees. Want to garrotte someone? Sneak up behind them and make the appropriate motions. Actually pulling off these murderous actions makes this the definitive version of the game, believe it or not.
Silent Hill: Shattered Memories | Konami / Climax Studios
Many hardcore Silent Hill fans weren’t so into Shattered Memories, with its irritating chase sections and complete absence of combat, but many others have cited it as the definitive Silent Hill experience. It’s all about atmosphere – you’ll spend most of the game wandering around the town, guiding your flashlight with the Wii remote, listening to recordings through your Wii remote speaker, and being generally freaked out. It’s not as terrifying as the recent Project Zero 2: Wii Edition, but it’s still more than capable of getting under your skin. Best of all are the sections where a psychologist asks you alarmingly upfront, personal questions, your answers to which determine how the town looks, how other characters act and dress, and what kind of ending you get. It’s a six-hour journey that’s worth playing through more than once.
The Last Story | Nintendo / Mistwalker
In Australia, we’ve taken to calling Skyward Sword the Wii’s final big game (maybe because Twilight Princess was its first big game, so it seems fitting). In the USA, everyone’s gone and called Xenoblade the system’s swansong. Just quietly, The Last Story was actually (probably) the last must-have Wii release, but somehow people have forgotten about it already. Developed by Mistwalker, it features a combat system that makes enemy encounters and (most) boss fights a joy to take part in, a story that is sort of fun (despite being pretty damn lame in places) and a set of customisation options that are easy to wrap your head around. Simply put, it’s an excellent JRPG, and those things are in rare supply these days.
Little King’s Story | Rising Star Games / Cing
High on the list of games I regret never finishing, Little King’s Story is an amazing, odd little game about a boy king and his quest to make his subjects happy. As well as maintaining and growing your little town and kingdom, ultimately Little King’s Story was all about world domination. It was enormous and ambitious, like Pikmin meets Harvest Moon meets a great heaping bowl of awesomeness. There’s a Vita sequel on the way, which means that maybe it’ll finally find the following it deserves.
By James O'Connor