Introduced by Nintendo in late 2012, the Wii U is the successor to the ever-popular Nintendo Wii. After the release of the Wii, new gamers emerged. Virtually anyone could play and enjoy the Wii, its simplistic motion controls allowing for an interactive experience like no system before had provided. Thousands of YouTube videos displayed gamers of all ages having fun playing games like Wii sports. Controller in hand, players were enthusiastic about the prospect of hurling a digital bowling ball down a bowling lane displayed on their television screens.
The Wii had something for everyone — well, almost everyone. Games like Wii Fit and Just Dance made the system attractive to the most casual of gamers, and games from publishers like Disney Interactive Studios made the system attractive to young children. The major audience the Wii has been unable to capture, however, is the hardcore gamers. Although the Wii is ideal for the casual gamer, it didn’t offer the resolution, graphics, controls, gameplay, menus, and types of games serious gamers look for in a gaming experience.
In spite of Nintendo’s inability to penetrate that portion of the market, Wii sales still soared. In 2007, Wii was the second highest selling U.S. system. With 6.3 million units sold throughout 2007, it was second only to its smaller cousin, the Nintendo DS. In 2007, 52 percent of video game hardware systems that were sold were made by Nintendo; both the Wii and the DS were bit hits for the gaming giant. By 2013, the Mario-maker had sold over 100 million Wiis.
Considering the success of the Wii, most people think it would make sense for a Wii successor to do well also. However, many have criticized the Wii U’s lack of focus. With graphics that are better, but still inferior to competitors, and a controller that offers touchscreen and mobile technology, but in a manner that’s less user friendly and not as streamlined as a smartphone, the Wii U has had a bit of difficulty finding its niche. Is it for hardcore gamers, casual gamers, children, or adults? Does Nintendo even know?
While the Wii U may have had a bit of difficulty targeting an exact type of gamer, it still sits in many living rooms. If you have the Wii U, you are by no means at a loss. There are some games available for the Wii U that are certainly well done. Here are a few Wii U games that have excellent reviews and high trade-in value and are therefore, well worth their price tag.
1. Super Mario 3D World
At $59.99 new and around $55 for a pre-owned copy, this 3D Mario platform received a Metascore of 93. Metacritic published a variety of positive critic reviews about the game, such as Hyper Magazine’s opinion: “You wanted a reason to buy a Wii U? Here you go.” Gamestyle also said that, “Super Mario 3D World shows that Nintendo are still on top of their game. Blending the old and the new into platforming gold, this is everything we could’ve wanted and more. The reason to own a Wii U has arrived.”
Like in many other Mario games, you have the option to be Mario, Luigi, Toad, or the lovely Princess Peach, and the objective is to defeat the evil Bowser. The game is visually stunning, from the cut scenes to the actual gameplay and is fun as a local couch co-op. The game is relatively short, though, taking only around six to ten hours to complete. Once you complete it, you can trade a working copy in its original case back to Walmart for a $38.56 gift card.
2. Rayman Legends
You can purchase Rayman Legends for $39.99 new and used you can get for around $38. Receiving a Metascore of 92, the Wii U version of this game scored higher than the Ps4 and Xbox One versions. As the sequel to Rayman Origins, Legends has a similar style of gameplay. In Legends, there are new characters, challenges, and a new storyline. Your objective while playing this platform is to save as many lums as possible and defeat the dark teensies.
Another excellent couch co-op, Legends offers around twenty hours of gameplay. Metacritic published this review of the sequel from Game Trailers: “Both visually and mechanically, Rayman Legends consistently sparks the imagination. The co-op play on the Wii U is something that really must be experienced.” Upon completing Rayman Legends, you can trade it back into Walmart today for a $9.71 gift card. This game does, however, have a lot of replay value. You can go back through and try to find all of the lums you missed throughout various stages.
3. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
If you’ve ever played Donkey Kong, you know it requires a certain level of precision. With each stage more challenging than the next, you are aware that you may have to try a stage a dozen times to get through. But, the challenge makes it more exciting. With price tag of $49.99 for a new copy and around $45 for a pre-owned copy, Donkey Kong County: Tropical Freeze received a 9.1 out of ten rating from Gamestop. It also received a Metascore of 83 and critics had tons of positive reviews of the revamped version of this classic. Game Informer had this to say about the side-scrolling platformer: “Just like the previous game, I yelled alternating cries of agony and relief working through particularly challenging areas. Almost everything is fair and doable with enough focus and patience; the bonus stages are a little ridiculous, but that’s to be expected.”
The time it takes to beat Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze depends on your skill and patience level, but if you beat each level one right after the next without dying several times, it would probably take you between four and six hours. If you decide you’ve had enough Kong, you can trade it into Walmart for a $28.56 gift card (as of publication.)
Some think the Nintendo Wii U is doomed to end up with the same fate as systems like Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Gamecube. In Nintendo’s 2003 annual report, the gaming giant writes: “By the end of March 2003, more than 9.55 million Gamecube consoles were being played in homes worldwide.” Although the system failed companywide, it is not worthless to millions of consumers who own it. On eBay, gamers still sell these systems for anywhere between $40 and $100. Whether or not Wii U has the same fate as Gamecube remains to be seen, but for now, you can certainly enjoy what Wii U has to offer.