Although its gameplay isn’t quite as ambitious as its concepts, there’s certainly something to be said for conceptual ambition. Especially when it’s this awesome. We’re kicking off our list with Epic Mickey, one of the Wii’s most daring third-party releases.
Disney fans will love the incredibly cool story about guilt, regret and forgotten characters, and the Mario Sunshine-inspired gameplay is classic 3D platforming. Four years after debuting as a minigame in a different game, the Geometry Wars universe expanded at the rate of awesome in Galaxies the series’ first retail release and the biggest Geometry Wars to date. New enemies, fantastic new boards and the introduction of geoms and support drones also make it the best Geometry Wars to date provided you own a Classic Controller.
“Hey, you know that beloved franchise we abandoned, like, 15 years ago? Yeah, we’re going to need you to make a new one. No pressure, guys. Just, you know, it’d better be a knockout.” I mean, that’s pretty much what Nintendo asked of Next Level Games. And to their credit, they delivered. Punch-Out!! Revived Little Mac’s waning career Rocky 4 style, introducing a whole new generation to the simple joys of pattern memorization.
For nearly a decade, most American gamers only knew Sin and Punishment as that awesome Nintendo 64 game they never got to play. But in 2009, Nintendo atoned for past sins by releasing a Wii sequel. Star Successor is an unforgiving journey into the depths of bullet hell, a magnificent shooter that proved that—even for a game this hardcore—the Wii Remote was on point.
Like Epic Mickey, this is another example of good gameplay made great thanks to visionary aesthetics and daring art. And all on the weakest system of its generation. Nintendo’s console forced developers to get creative, and few games show that as proudly—as violently—as the gorgeous MadWorld. Impaling a human has never been so stylish. It’s funny how things can change over the course of a system’s life cycle. When the Wii debuted, Rayman was upstaged in his own launch title.
Five years later, he’s the star of one of the console’s best platformers with nary a rabbid in sight. Coming in at #10 on our list, Rayman Origins isn’t exclusive to Wii, but alongside all of its other gorgeous platformers Rayman is right at home. And, uh speaking of gorgeous platformers. I actually think it’s worth repeating here that this is a list of Wii games. And I say this because this is one of the most visually stunning games of its generation. And yeah, it’s running on the Wii. Proving definitively that good art can always trump hardware specs, Vanillaware delivered a masterpiece in Muramasa. And, the game’s pretty good, too.
There’s a reason people all over the country organized on the Internet, raising their cyber voices and signing virtual petitions, to get this game to the States. Xenoblade Chronicles is an absolutely stunning RPG, as impressive for its technical flair as its sheer scope. The game is massive exactly the kind of classical, hardcore title its console is so often accused of not having. I’m pretty confident that, if you play video games at the average rate, you’ll go your entire life—high school, college, career, marriage, retirement, Florida—without ever seeing everything this game has to offer. With hundreds of options, modes, stages, characters, trophies, freaking stickers Super Smash Bros. Brawl is more than an outrageously rich fighter.
It’s almost like a life commitment. Only with plumbers, that punch monkeys. No Wii game has sold more copies than Wii Sports. Sure, it was packaged with the console in most places. But let’s be honest a good amount of the roughly 80 million people who own Wii Sports probably bought that Wii simply to get Wii Sports. This simple video game resonated with people like few products ever do. And the reason? It’s just perfect. Wii Sports may have been intended to be the mission statement that sparked a revolution, but in retrospect Wii Sports was the revolution. And yet, we still have five games to go. Which games will take the top honors in our countdown of the top 25 Wii games of all-time?