Whether you owned one or knew someone that did, the Nintendo Wii was a gaming spectacle. Its focus on motion controls divided some long-time Nintendo fans, but those that took the time to know and enjoy the Wii were treated to a library full of memorable games and best-selling greats. The following list encompasses the best Wii games ever, with a mix of Nintendo exclusives and third-party favorites.
If not for these releases, the Wii landscape would have looked quite a bit different and it may not have gone on to become one of the highest-selling, most enduring consoles ever made, and the shot in the arm that Nintendo dearly needed after the disappointing performance of the GameCube.
The Best Wii Games
20. Muramasa: The Demon Blade
Developer: Vanillaware Publisher: Marvelous Entertainment
Visually stunning and surprisingly engaging, Muramasa isn’t the type of game you’d expect to thrive on the Wii. And yet the side-scrolling action RPG landed well. While the traditional Japanese art style depicting Honshu island during the nation’s Edo period is a star feature, it’s the fast-paced and deep gameplay that drove home Muramasa’s place on this list.
Choosing between the leading characters Momohime and Kisuke, players engage small mobs of enemies in the 2D plane. Both make quick work of their foe with a mix of blade combat, frantic abilities, and well-timed parries. There are some subtle differences in how the two characters engage their enemies, but the biggest difference between the two is their story.
Developer: Blue Tongue Entertainment Publisher: THQ
It’s all about colors in this quirky Wii title that Nintendo’s own Splatoon may owe a slight debt of inspiration to.
When the I.N.K.T. Corporation removes all color from the once-beautiful Chroma City, the titular character steps in to save the day. It’s up to players to navigate the dreary Chroma City and repaint everything, from the plant life to buildings. The bouncy protagonist doesn’t have a lot at his disposal, and I.N.K.T. won’t make it easy to restore the city’s beauty.
de Blob could have very well been a quick release on the Wii Store with no real meat to it. However, Blue Tongue Entertainment was sure to flesh out a full experience that Wii owners could really sink their teeth into. There’s a multiplayer aspect that up to four players can enjoy, but the bulk of the fun is in leaving a trail of rich colors in your wake.
18. Wii Sports Resort
Developer: Nintendo EAD Publisher: Nintendo
The sequel to the phenomenon that helped newcomers to the Wii understand the nuances of motion control, Wii Sports Resort builds upon the core gameplay with several new sporting events. Fan favorites like bowling return amidst a considerably larger list of games that includes frisbee, archery, canoeing, cycling, and chaotic swordplay.
The focus on Mii avatars remained pivotal to the experience, meaning players still had reason to spend hours building their in-game caricature. Wii Sports Resort enhanced the responsiveness of the Wii Remote with Wii MotionPlus, an attachment that improved how well the remote reacted to movement.
The Nintendo Wii’s placement as a family-friendly console was solidified by games like New Super Mario Bros. and Wii Sports. However, there was no reason why motion gaming couldn’t also appeal to a more mature audience. MadWorld pulled no punches when it landed on the Wii, delivering a brutal and bloody beat ‘em up driven by the console’s signature Wii Remote and Nunchuck.
The game show setting called back to cult films like Running Man and Death Race. As if to double down on bringing stylistic violence to the Wii, the game is presented in all black and white, save for splashes of crimson when the action really heats up.
Players take control of Jack Cayman, who enters DeathWatch with his prosthetic arm chainsaw. It’s as silly as it sounds, but the dystopian setting and visual brutality landed surprisingly well on the Wii.
Developer: Next Level Games Publisher: Nintendo
The Punch-Out! series is one of Nintendo’s most underutilized franchises, but in 2009, after a 15-year hiatus, the title returned to the Nintendo Wii. Punch-Out!! served as a reboot for the series, returning Little Mac to the ring to square off against all of his classic bosses, save for Mike Tyson. Newcomers like Disco Kid, Donkey Kong, and Giga Mac fill out the roster nicely, building on an already memorable cast of eclectic characters.
Punch-Out!! made good use of the Wii Remote and even integrated the WiiBalance Board to allow players to physically dodge incoming punches. While Punch-Out!! can be physically demanding, players have the option to turn the Wii Remote for more traditional gameplay.
As much fun as the game is on its own, that physicality definitely added another layer that helped make it one of the best Wii games ever to release.
15. Monster Hunter Tri
Developer: Capcom Production Studio 1 Publisher: Capcom
The Wii was often regarded as nothing more than a child-friendly console, known for Wii Sports and Nintendo’s typical rogue’s gallery of quirky characters. But then games like Monster Hunter and Monster Hunter Tri started sneaking onto the console. And if there’s one thing the Monster Hunter series is not, it’s childish.
Sure, the talking cat-like creatures paint a very youthful aesthetic, but the series’ mechanics and gameplay are meticulous and require a degree of maturity to master. Though Tri wasn’t the first Monster Hunter game on the Wii in Japan, it was the first for the rest of the globe, and it was a surprising critical success.
The motion controls had the potential of being awful, but Capcom integrated them well to deliver a relatively user-friendly monster-hunting experience. A somewhat forgotten but still fun entry in the Monster Hunter series.
14. Sonic Colors
Developer: Sonic Team Publisher: Sega
Poor Sonic has had a rough run of things since his Genesis days. But every so often, he featured in a gem, and though Sonic Colors looks like some cheap spinoff, it really enamored fans, so much so that it was even remastered for more modern platforms.
The titular hedgehog finds himself in a 2D/3D adventure that blends his iconic side-scrolling platform with his oft-derided 3D exploits. Sonic Team did a fine job blending the two into a new adventure featuring old friends and iconic enemies.
When the villainous Doctor Eggman opens an amusement park, Sonic must travel to new heights to stop his latest dastardly plan. Spanning a multitude of colorful worlds, Sonic and Tails set out to save an enslaved alien race and restore the franchise’s good name.
Sonic Colors wasn’t the only Sonic game on the Wii, but it was the only one to really make an impact and stay true to the series’ high-speed whimsy.
13. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
Developer: Intelligent Systems Publisher: Nintendo
It’s rare to have a Nintendo console that doesn’t have at least one good Fire Emblem game on it. Radiant Dawn was the Wii’s standout entry for the series, serving as a direct sequel to the GameCube’s Path of Radiance.
If you played Path of Radiance, then Radiant Dawn would be quite familiar as Intelligent Systems opted to keep things largely the same. The four-part adventure picks up three years after the Mad King’s War and sends players on an epic quest featuring most of Path of Radiance’s cast.
Sticking to a formula that already worked, it wasn’t a surprise that Radiant Dawn performed well on the Wii. Tactical combat remained the focus as players strategically navigate a battle map, setting up their party to maximize their chance of victory. While the battles could run for quite some time, when everything played out accordingly, they were some of the most rewarding experiences you could have on the Wii.
12. No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle
Developer: Grasshopper Interactive Publisher: Ubisoft, Rising Star Games
Not long after reveling in his glory as the top assassin in the United Assassins Association, Travis Touchdown met with tragedy. When his best friend is murdered, Travis sets out to exact revenge and finds himself tangled in something much bigger.
No More Heroes 2 simplifies the experience a bit from the first game, allowing players to progress without having to pay to enter ranked battles. This opens the game up more, allowing for a more player-friendly experience.
The iconic beam katana returns and Travis has access to four blades all offering different fighting styles. No matter which you choose, though, the combat is brutal, bloody, and heavy-hitting. You’ll need to master Travis’ array of blade and wrestling attacks to take on the swarm of enemies standing in your way.
No More Heroes 2 is a quirky hack ‘n slash that further solidified that the Wii was a console not just for the young crowd. It took a few years, but we belatedly saw the equally bonkers No More Heroes 3 on the Switch, too.
11. Mario Kart Wii
Developer: Nintendo EAD Publisher: Nintendo
The chaotic racing of Mario Kart Wii may sound a bit much for a console built on motion controls, but the included wheel attachment actually lent to a surprisingly smooth experience. Well, as smooth as a bout of Mario Kart can get, as the Wii iteration was not short on the zany items that make each track a potential nightmare.
All the staples of the series returned for Mario Kart Wii, including a large roster of Mario’s closest friends and greatest enemies. And also the ability to absolutely ruin your closest friendships in a single lap.
Whether tackling the different tournament cups or the spotty online component, players were treated to fast-paced kart racing with a Nintendo twist. Most importantly, they got to test their merits on a new version of Rainbow Road, which remains as punishing and intimidating as always.
Even if you’re not a huge racing fan, Mario Kart keeps things entertaining and full of hilarious competition.
10. Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition
Developer: Capcom Production Studio 4 Publisher: Capcom
Since its release on the GameCube, Resident Evil 4 has landed on a multitude of different consoles. The Wii Edition, however, proves to be the most unique of them, integrating the console’s motion controls with Capcom’s survival horror romp.
Leon S. Kennedy returns to the series, leaving behind his rookie status to serve directly under the U.S. President. When the president’s daughter is kidnapped, Kennedy travels to a sleepy village, where he finds his nightmare in Raccoon City was just the beginning.
Resident Evil 4 feels like it belongs on the Wii, though the motion controls can feel a little gimmicky at times. However, it adds a degree of immersion that every other version (save for the Switch) is missing. The game’s Wii Edition featured Ada Wong’s “Separate Ways” side story and unlockables that were added to the game for its PS2 release. There was enough new content and the experience was just fresh enough to warrant a replay, even if you tackled Leon’s misadventure on the GameCube.
9. Kirby’s Epic Yarn
Developer: HAL Laboratory, Good-Feel Publisher: Nintendo
Kirby’s most notable feature is his big mouth, which is capable of sucking in enemies to adopt their powers or abilities. Epic Yarn changed that a little, swapping out the pink puffball’s signature move for the ability to turn into different items made of yarn. It’s a drastic change to the character and could have spelled doom for the Wii game, but it’s hard not to love Kirby in all situations he finds himself in, especially when they look this charming.
The visual aesthetic of Epic Yarn is a large part of the game’s appeal, but the gameplay holds its own to deliver a uniquely entertaining Kirby release. From a parachute to a small Kirby-mobile, the lovable hero has a number of different ways to traverse the environment, defeat his enemies, and ultimately return to his normal form.
Epic Yarn showed that Kirby isn’t reserved to just one mechanic, and it’s a shame Nintendo hasn’t explored this idea further. Luckily for you, Epic Yarn still holds up remarkably well to this day.
8. Donkey Kong Country Returns
Developer: Retro Studios Publisher: Nintendo
In 1996, developer Rare released what would be the last game in the Donkey Kong Country series for 14 years. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Retro Studios picked up where Rare left off with Returns. While the loss of Rare’s Kong knack certainly left some fans weary, the titular character’s return landed well on the Wii.
With their banana hoard put at risk by the Tiki Tak Tribe, Donkey and Diddy Kong must find a way to release their animal companions from hypnosis. The adventure plays out in Donkey Kong Country’s 2D side-scrolling platformer format, and though the developer changed, Donkey Kong’s entertainment value certainly did not.
Returns may not have utilized the motion controls in the best way, but when using a more stationary format, the game is a shining achievement for the Wii. Sure, you may have to go bananas with the motion controls at times, but Donkey Kong Country Returns distills a lot of what made the Wii so great.
7. Rayman Origins
Developer: Ubisoft Montpellier Publisher: Ubisoft
Eight years had passed since Rayman was last seen running amok, and his triumphant return proved to be worth the wait. While the devilish Rabbids from Rayman’s universe had been enjoying the spotlight for a bit, the titular character jumped back into the limelight with a vibrant side-scrolling platformer that can be tackled alone or with a group of friends.
Though the formula may seem simple, the game was a blend of smooth platforming and incredibly busy levels. Gameplay varied across some levels, such as aerial levels that had players inhaling enemies, but it was otherwise a true-to-form platformer that required patience, skill, and timing.
Rayman Origins supports up to four players locally for a riotous good time, making it one of the best Wii games for players of all ages.
6. Xenoblade Chronicles
Developer: Monolith Soft Publisher: Nintendo
Launched in 2010, Xenoblade Chronicles spearheaded a new series that would continue on within Nintendo’s ecosystem well into the Nintendo Switch’s life cycle. This inaugural entry was a longer, more robust experience for the Wii, following the staples of action RPGs with an expansive open world, plenty of character interaction, a grand story, and fluid combat. It was the type of game that really tested your endurance with the Wii Remote.
The Wii release of Xenoblade Chronicles has stood up well over time. Sure, it’s a little rough around the edges and the controls aren’t nearly as comfortable as they are for the Switch release, but it wouldn’t be a bad game to revisit if you still have a Wii to dust off and dozens of hours to spare.
With Xenoblade Chronicles 3 released on the Switch, you definitely want to make sure you play through the full series before diving into the newest entry. A decent remaster of this maiden entry on Switch is probably the best way to do just that.
5. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
Developer: Retro Studios Publisher: Nintendo
Metroid Prime has been a pretty sore subject for Switch owners, and we could really blame Corruption for that. If it weren’t as good as it is, then no one would really care about the long-overdue Metroid Prime 4, though it has equally never felt like it’s had the love it deserves.
In Corruption, everyone’s favorite space bounty hunter returns, navigating a galaxy worth of baddies just begging to be hunted. Unfortunately, she’ll have to deal with Dark Samus as the nuisance returns after the events of Metroid Prime 2.
Corruption emphasizes motion controls, allowing players to swing about the Wii Remote to aim Samus’ signature arm cannon. Other iconic tools return, including Samus’ morph ball, to help the bounty hunter on her latest mission. Without motion controls, it’s a little bit of a nightmare to aim, but those utilizing the Wii’s core mechanic will enjoy the immersion of fully controlling the galaxy’s most feared bounty hunter.
Eat your heart out, Boba.
Developer: Clover Studio Publisher: Capcom
As the white wolf Amaterasu, players wield the Celestial Brush as Okami Amaterasu and take on hordes of demons pulled from the fantastical tales of Japanese folklore.
Okami is very much rooted in Japanese culture, from its art style to its brilliant storytelling. Even the white wolf is an icon of Japanese lore, representing the goddess of the sun. Other Japanese legends arrive during Okami’s adventure, either helping the wolf on her journey or impeding her path in thrilling, unique combat.
It’s surprising to know that Okami wasn’t developed strictly as a Wii game, considering much of its core combat involves painting on the screen. But the shining star of Okami isn’t even the gameplay, as entertaining as it is. It’s the marvelous cel-shaded visuals, which look quite marvelous in the Wii port and have helped Okami to become something of a timeless cult classic that’s sadly never going to reach the massive audience that it sorely deserves.
3. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Developer: Sora Ltd., Nintendo Publisher: Nintendo
How do you get Mario, Lucas, Ike, Wario, Sonic, and Solid Snake in one game without some convoluted multiverse plot? You sneak them into a Super Smash Bros. roster.
Brawl boasted one of the largest selections of characters available in a Smash Bros. game, with characters joining the fight from all over. While Nintendo characters make up the bulk of the rogue’s gallery of fighters, Nintendo snuck in characters that appealed to a much larger audience.
Brawl set the tone for future Smash Bros. games, increasing the roster from GameCube’s Melee significantly and taking more chances with the types of characters included. The signature combat was relatively the same, though there’s more for players to do thanks to the new “The Subspace Emissary” adventure and online play, along with the returning “Target Smash!” minigame.
The game that essentially sold the Wii. Wherever there was a consumer demo of the motion-based console, Link’s latest adventure was available for prospective players to tinker with — and for good reason.
While motion controls in a Zelda game have the potential to be awful, Twilight Princess’ mechanics really did showcase the console’s capabilities very well. Not only did the game utilize the motion controls surprisingly well, but Twilight Princess still stands as one of the best looking games on the console.
The young, tunic-wearing Hylian is equipped with some of the series’ beloved staples. However, his Wii adventure also had him transforming into a wolf to add a new layer to the game’s mechanics, as well as teaming up with Midna, a shape-shifting Twili princess with more depth than most characters in the series.
Though some things have changed from Link’s previous console adventure, many familiar characters return, including Zelda and Ganondof. While they all fit within the Twilight Princess’ exemplary story, the game’s strongest point happens to be its gameplay. Nintendo did practically sell a console based on it, so it’s not entirely surprising.
1. Super Mario Galaxy 2
Developer: Nintendo EAD Tokyo Publisher: Nintendo
There were several Mario-centric games to choose from for this list of the best Wii games, but Super Mario Galaxy 2 had a few merits that made it stand out in the crowd.
First and foremost, it was the sequel to a wildly successful early Wii title that sent Mario across the universe. Galaxy 2 follows many of the same conventions as its predecessor, such as unique transformations, but builds upon them to great effect.
Galaxy 2 isn’t quite as forgiving as the original, pushing players to really test themselves as they guide the titular plumber through his intergalactic quest. However, not one to punish players, Nintendo integrated assist features to ensure everyone can keep the story going.
Super Mario Galaxy 2 is brilliant in every way, capturing the magic of a Super Mario game while delivering on the fun of the Nintendo Wii’s motion controls. Many outlets regarded it as the turning point for platform gaming, and it’s no surprise that the game walked away with seven different “Game of the Year” awards and the title of “Greatest Nintendo Game Ever” bestowed upon it by the Official Nintendo Magazine.
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