Best Wii U Games

Updated September 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

25 Models Considered
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1 Experts Interviewed
383 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best Wii U games

Last Updated September 2019

After the incredible success Nintendo had with the Wii, it was only natural that the company wanted to carry over their winning formula to the Wii U. Nintendo presented a variety of innovative games that took full advantage of the Wii U GamePad’s slick LCD screen. The Wii U library of video games focuses on quality, not quantity, and there are a variety of excellent games that players of all ages can appreciate.

The Wii U has a well-deserved reputation for being a family-friendly video game console. And while it’s true that there are plenty of Wii U games that cater to younger players, there are just as many video games that will put the gaming abilities of slightly more mature players to the test.

It can be intimidating to select the Wii U games that are right for you, but don’t worry; we’re here to help. This guide was made to showcase what you absolutely need to know when it comes to buying the best video games available for the Wii U.

While you can’t play DVDs or Blu-Ray discs on the Wii U, video streaming services like Hulu, Crunchyroll, and YouTube are available for download.

Key Considerations

Age group

Most of the Wii U’s best games are family-friendly titles that are accessible for younger gamers and simple-to-understand multiplayer games in which anyone can grab a controller and join the fun. Note that “family-friendly” doesn’t necessarily mean that the game lacks skill or depth. It simply means that the games are easy to learn and likely difficult to master.

Online play

Beating up on the AI can be fun for a while, but if you want a real challenge, it’s well worth connecting your Wii U to the internet for online play. For example, Splatoon is a colorful ink-splashing shooter with a primary focus on four vs. four matches that heavily rely on teamwork and strategy to pull off a win. Mario Kart 8 features up to eight racers at once, and when you get so many players together, it’s hilarious to watch the banana peels and boomerang flowers fly as you attempt to navigate this game’s wacky racetracks.

Replay value

Nothing’s worse than buying a new video game only to find out that you were able to cruise through it in less than an afternoon. Therefore, it’s best to seek out games that present plenty of challenges to overcome. For example, Minecraft is a surprisingly deep construction and exploration game with endless creative possibilities for imaginative players.

DID YOU KNOW?

Some Wii U games have downloadable demos so you can try before you buy.

Features

Amiibo compatibility

Amiibo are far more than well-designed replicas of your favorite video game characters. If you tap certain Amiibo figures to your Wii U GamePad while playing compatible games, you will unlock additional costumes, power-ups, levels, and other special bonuses. If you can’t stop collecting the toys, you’ll certainly appreciate the Wii U games that support Amiibo functionality.

Local multiplayer

There are lots of Wii U titles that place an emphasis on local (offline) multiplayer and gathering together in the living room to play. For instance, New Super Mario Bros. U can be played with four players using Wii Remotes, alongside a fifth player helping Mario and his friends with the aid of the Wii U GamePad. The back of a Wii U game box will clearly note the maximum number of players the a particular game supports.

Downloadable content

A handful of popular Wii U video games were given optional DLC, or downloadable content, to lengthen or improve upon an existing game. It’s always a great feeling to fall in love with a game while knowing that you are able to download additional characters, missions, or levels to extend the adventure. Note that the cost of DLC differs between games, but some downloadable content is free.

Super smashing fun

With an impressive roster including dozens of fan-favorite characters, and the option to have eight players duking it out at once, Super Smash Bros. is one of the most exhilarating online Wii U experiences. There is a large and dedicated Smash community online, so you’ll never have trouble getting matched up with teammates or opponents in Super Smash Bros. By the way, seven additional fighters are available as downloadable content, including Roy, Mewtwo, Ryu, and Lucas.

Wii U game prices

Budget-priced Wii U games

If you can find a Wii U game on your wishlist for less than $20, you’re getting an excellent deal. Keep an eye out for Nintendo Select titles in particular; not only are these exceptional games, but they are often sold for a budget price.

Mid-priced Wii U games

The mid-range price for a Wii U video game is between $20 and $40. There are a few factors that may determine a Wii U game’s price, including availability and the game’s publisher. There are a number of great Wii U games that share this common price point.

High-priced Wii U games

The high end of the price range of Wii U games is mostly populated by titles published by Nintendo that are either especially popular or fairly difficult to find. It’s common to find some of the most critically acclaimed Wii U titles for sale between $50 to $60 and up. If you’re having trouble with finding a Wii U game for an affordable price, don’t be afraid to shop around. Prices can vary widely online, even for scarcer Wii U titles.

EXPERT TIP

Don’t feel pressured to buy an outrageously priced Amiibo of your favorite character. Due to the rarity of each individual figure, Amiibo often vary dramatically in price, but these interactive toys become far less pricey after they have been re-released by Nintendo.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Unlike some video game consoles, there are absolutely no additional fees to play online games on your Wii U.

  • You need to stay within 24 feet of your Wii U if want to play a game exclusively on the GamePad screen. Otherwise, the signal won’t be able to reach the controller.

  • Between the Wii U GamePad, Wii Balance Board, Nunchuk, Wii Remote, and a collection of other controllers that are compatible with the Wii U, it may be confusing to know which accessories you need to play each game. If you’re unsure, simply flip over your Wii U game case and look for the dark gray horizontal band; it will display a list of controllers that are compatible with your game.

Other Wii U games we considered

This guide would stretch on forever if we listed every good Wii U game out there, so here are a few of our other favorites that are worth a look. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is as pretty as it is difficult, and fans of old-school platformers will get a kick out of its white-knuckle mine cart rides and intense boss battles. On the other end of the difficulty curve is New Super Luigi U, which encourages inexperienced players with the addition of Nabbit, the purple bunny character who only loses a life if he falls into a pit. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is an acclaimed puzzle game where players must navigate mini-mazes as the defenseless Captain Toad to uncover hidden items and gold stars.

A Wii U GamePad is bundled with every Wii U console, but most Wii U games also require a Wii Remote Plus controller or a Wii Remote using the Wii MotionPlus accessory, and a Nunchuk controller add-on for optimal play.

FAQ

Q. Is the Wii U backward compatible with games from other Nintendo consoles?

A. Yes! Not only can you play nearly every game on the original Wii on the Wii U, but Nintendo has made it fairly uncomplicated to transfer saved data from a Nintendo Wii to a Wii U console. You can also buy and download a wide range of classic video games originally available on older consoles via the Wii U Virtual Console, including the Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Nintendo 64, and Game Boy Advance.

Q. Are my Nintendo Wii controllers and accessories compatible with the Wii U?

A. Absolutely, Save some money and break out your collection of older Wii Remote and Wii Remote Plus controllers, Wii Sensor Bars, Wii Balance Boards, Wii Nunchuks, and other Wii accessories, because are all compatible with the Wii U. Please note that the Wii U GamePad is not backward compatible with original Wii games.

Q. Can I play games on my Wii U GamePad and away from the television?

A. Sometimes. As long as the console connected to the TV is on and you stay within transmission range, you can play certain Wii U games using the screen on the Wii U GamePad, allowing others to watch whatever they want on the big screen.

The team that worked on this review
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    Arnold
    Writer
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer

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