The 12 Best Games On The Wii

The 12 Best Games On The Wii

The Wii is in a weird spot in its life cycle. Nintendo’s announced a successor and fans of the new eagerly await more details of the inbound system. But someone gave you the current system. Maybe that someone was you.

What do you do once the parties are all over and Wii Sports has worn out its welcome? Welcome to the Bests, friend. They will take care of you.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii

House of the Dead: Overkill

No one was expecting a potty-mouthed, gore-obsessed shooter to find a home on the Wii, but this spinoff of Sega’s popular shooting gallery arcade games wound up being a sleazy pleasure when it hit in 2009. Funk music, grindhouse presentation and action-first gameplay make this Overkill perfect for a boozy house party.

A Good Match for: Robert Rodriguez fans. This House of the Dead seems like a zombie apocalypse pulled straight out of the Texan outsider director’s head.

Not for Those Who Want: Subtlety. From its fixation on cuss words to its repetitive boss battles, very little about House of the Dead: Overkill will come across as thoughtful.

Here’s how it looks in action.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Link gets airborne in the newest Zelda but that’s not the biggest change in Skyward Sword. In a strong shift from its typical design orthodoxy, Nintendo lets individual decisions send players down different threads. So, the experience you get while adventuring in this Zelda title will differ from those of your friends.

A Good Match for: Explorers. Another big change to the Zelda formula comes in how Skyward Sword presents its dungeons. The environments around the encounter areas are themselves more puzzle-like than in other LoZ entries, making the experience more seamless and more engrossing.

Not for Those Who Want: Imprecise flailing. You’re going to need the improved accuracy of the Wii Motion Plus to slice at specific angles during the swordfights. This ain’t Wii Sports.

Here’s how it looks in action.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars

Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars takes place in a big, breakable world that continually generates a singular sense of awe. As the cute, blocky versions of Jedi and Stormtroopers bounce and build their ways through the planets of the Force’s fiction, you’ll see hundreds of in-screen characters coming in conflict as far as the eye can see at times.

A Good Match for: Game-hungry children and their mum or dad who wants to play video games against them. Any parent worried about what little Johnny or Jenny’s first playable adventure will be charmed this title’s silent slapstick. You’ll also get to avoid any claims of sibling favoritism, thanks to the fun co-operative options.

Not for Those Who Want: Online play. Sadly, cross-country acquaintances won’t be able to romp through the Anakin/Obi-Wan hijinx together, as shared adventures are limited to same-room play only.

Here’s how it looks in action.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii

Metroid Prime 3: Corruption

Going first-person in the Metroid Prime games proved to be a welcome shift in perspective for Nintendo’s space bounty hunter. The spinoff series’ first Wii entry made the console’s motion controls seem like an attractive alternative to gamepads for an FPS experience.

A Good Match for: Detectives. The Prime games offer more gameplay by letting you scan the environment for interactive elements, making the exploration aspect almost as fun as all the shooting.

Not for Those Who Want: Repetitive stress injuries. All the aiming and flicking of Corruption‘s controls aren’t kind to the wrists of those who play. Marathon sessions may render players arthritic.

Here’s how it looks in action.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii


This cartoony re-imagination of the old school boxing game has you lacing up the bright green gloves of Little Mac all over again. Once you spot and exploit their punch patterns, you’ll be able to uppercut the familiar faces of Great Tiger, King Hippo and the other international pugilists until you become world champ.

A Good Match for: Feuding siblings. The 2009 update includes a competitive mode where two players each control a differently coloured Mac and throw blows at each other.

Not for Those Who Want: A game that doesn’t ruin them. Punch-Out is an easy game…briefly. Then it gets extremely hard.

Here’s how it looks in action.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii

Sin & Punishment: Star Successor

The antithesis to the loads of mum-friendly, low-stakes fare that you’ll find on the Wii, this title offers up intense shooting and dodging action that picks up after a cult 2000 Nintendo 64 game.

A Good Match for: People who want options. You’ll get two different attributes with the pair of playable characters, and can pick either Kachi’s lock-on targeting to shoot multiple enemies at once or Isa’s faster rate of fire for a twitch-centric experience.

Not for Those Who Want: Decent storytelling. The generic sci-fi story doesn’t give you much reason to care, but horrible voice acting completely kills any connection to Star Successor‘s plot.

Here’s how it looks in action.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii

Super Mario Galaxy 2

One of the reasons that Nintendo’s mascot remains so beloved is that Mario titles always find interesting evolutionary spins for the plumber’s core platformer gameplay. Super Mario Galaxy 2‘s the latest example of that, with Yoshi-blimp segments, Cloud Suit power-ups and asymmetrical co-op that provide freshness and fun variation for even the most seasoned Mario acolytes.

A Good Match for: Theme park enthusiasts. Because you’ll do several different types of activities while playing this sequel’s planet-hopping adventures, Galaxy 2 feels like going from attraction to attraction in a virtual vacation destination.

Not for Those Who Want: The classic approach. If you’re someone who loves Mario best when he’s in a sidescrolling point-of-view, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

Here’s how it looks in action.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii

Super Smash Bros Brawl

All of Nintendo’s biggest characters — joined by more obscure ones and third-party characters, too — get to throw down against each other in the most recent all-star jam. Already a dream release for the publisher’s faithful, Brawl adds a level editor, a single-player story mode and oodles of Nintendo minutiae to sweeten the deal.

A Good Match for: Guest stars. A-list characters like Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake from Konami’s Metal Gear Solid series show up to go toe-to-toe against Nintendo royalty Mario, Samus and Sora.

Not for Those Who Want: Online fighting. The Wii’s got the sketchiest online implementation of any current console, annoying friend codes and crippling lag combining to smash any fun out of online play.

Here’s how it looks in action.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii

Trauma Team

The Wii Remote makes a surprisingly effective scalpel in the fifth instalment of Atlus’ heroic doctor franchise. You’ll treat patients on the operating table, as expected, but you’ll also do some detective work to find out what’s ailing them, too. Remember: first, do no harm.

A Good Match for: Grey’s Anatomy fans. It’s more than just the hospital setting that will make Trauma Team appeal to watchers of the medical drama. You’ll also get to play through the storylines of multiple characters. And who doesn’t want to perform some co-op surgery with a friend?

Not for Those Who Want: Naturalism. Trauma Team traffics in the same kind of overblown melodrama that you’ll find in Japanese anime or manga. Skip this doctor’s visit if lots of gasps and exclamations points make you sick to your stomach.

Here’s how it looks in action.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii

Wii Sports Resort

Nintendo followed up the game that comes with every Wii by adding a slew of new events and introducing new technology to increase the precision of the console’s motion controls. You’ll shoot hoops in Basketball, throw a plastic disc in Frisbee and glide over virtual water in Wakeboarding, with better results in all the game’s new sporting competitions.

A Good Match for: Wannabe Robin Hoods. One of the standout sports in Resort is Archery, which shows off the improved aiming and forces players to find a patient focus to achieve their best scores.

Not for Those Who Want: A tweak-free experience. The most tiring thing about Wii Sports Resort isn’t all the gestue gaming. It’s the constant prompts to recalibrate the controller, which will throw you out of a groove.

Here’s how it looks in action.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii

World of Goo

Built by a two-man team, the clever construction game tasks players with connecting loveable globs into gooey assemblages to get from point A to B. Already loved as one of the biggest indie successes ever after a PC debut, 2D Boy’s hit feels fresh with the Wii’s controls, too.

A Good Match for: Architectural fanatics. The Goo balls become a drippy erector set and the challenge of completing the levels while using as few as possible presents a fun, addictive puzzle archetype unique in its execution.

Not for Those Who Want: Hyper-realism. While the tee-totter physics in World of Goo are well-simulated, the humans and Goo Balls look like they’re straight out of grade school sketchbooks.

Here’s how it looks in action.

The 12 Best Games on the Wii

Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure

Done in a cel-shaded manga art style, Zack & Wiki made players rethink the Wii remote’s relation to physical space by having them turn it this way and that to solve riddles. It’s a more clever usage of the Wii’s motion-sensitive inputs and make all of that waggle-centric shovelware look flaccid by comparison.

A Good Match for: Performance artists. Depending on the puzzle, Z&W asks you to imagine the Wii remote as a key, hammer, crank or saw, miming motions with each to complete various tasks.

Not for Those Who Want: To turn their brains off. Though there’s action to be had in the game’s boss battles, Zack & Wiki is more of a classic adventure/brain-teaser affair with puzzles that will definitely stump you the first time out.

Here’s how it looks in action.

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  • I’d have to put Xenoblade Chronicles on the list, but that’s not out in the US yet, so I’ll let it slide…for now.

  • Muramasa, Fire Emblem, Battalion Wars, No More Heroes (both of them) and Xenoblade.

    Also, I can’t believe he didn’t even mention the Metroid Prime Trilogy, which includes Corruption and improved versions of the previous two.

  • Or how about Monster Hunter Tri? Pretty sure it knocked Smash Bros of it’s perch for the most played online Wii game at one point.

  • WTF Sora !??!? Don’t do mean Pit from Kid Icarus in Super Smash Bros brawl?

    And why is Trauma Team game on this list when it has only been released in America. And also noting the fact that the Wii is now region protected, hence we are not able to play this game at all.!!

    • Yeah I had no idea there was another trauma center game out. Ended up downloading it and am playing it on my computer with emulator. I would love to actually own it but CBF importing a game that wont work with my wii anyways, already got burned by getting smash bros early…thanks Nintendo.

      Meanwhile on the computer it is 1080p with anti-aliasing too (which apparently not even the wii-U will do with its backwards compatability)

      Trauma team is BTW amazing, if you liked the earlier ones this is the best by far.

      • tbh I enjoyed the other trauma series games i played on wii and ds. Sadly my wii doesnt support american games and I got a shit computer so I cant play on emulator or anything haha. Yeah damn I wonder what happened when games were region free. Better marketing if that happens I say.

  • Okami . Fabulous game for the PS2, made even better by the port to the Wii. Motion control very well suited the brush triggered abilities, and let’s not forget that the Wii version was widescreen tv compatible.

  • “A Good Match for: Guest stars. A-list characters like Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog and Solid Snake from Konami’s Metal Gear Solid series show up to go toe-to-toe against Nintendo royalty Mario, Samus and Sora.”



  • I think MP3 should be replaced by the Metroid Prime Trilogy: MP3 with the brilliant first prime games with the much better Wii controls, all on the one disc? Easily the best Wii game.

  • I think MP3 should be replaced by the Metroid Prime Trilogy: MP3 along with the brilliant first prime games with much better Wii controls, all on the one disc? Easily the best Wii game.

  • I think it’s important to realise that they’ve selected the best twelve games FROM DIFFERENT GENRES. If it was actually ‘The 12 Best Games On The Wii’, it would be made up of Nintendo releases and a few other RPG/Adventure titles.

    Twilight Princess is a good example of this. It’s clearly among the top ten games on the Wii, but they’ve chosen to exclude it as they’ve already added Skyward Sword.

  • If I ever bought a Wii (not likely but maybe one day) I would get MP Trilogy, the Mario Galaxy Games, DKCountry, The Zelda games and the No More Heroes Games – that is all.

  • HotD:O, lego star wars, wii sports resort and trauma team could easily be replaced by Little King’s Story, No More Heroes (either of them), Xenoblade Chronicles and DKCR.

  • Mario kart wii
    Donkey kong country
    Monster hunter tri
    Smash bros brawl
    Xenoblade chronicles
    Metroid prime triology
    Super mario galaxy / Super mario galaxy 2
    Tatsunoko vs capcom
    The legend of zelda skyward sword
    New super mario bros wii
    Mad world
    Epic mickey
    Zack & wiki
    Okami (I know, i know…)

  • No Xenoblade? No No More Heroes 2? No Warioware? No Tatsunoko vs Capcom?

    Disappoint Kotaku… very disappoint.

  • Clicking on this article I thought “They could come up with 12?”

    Then after reading it I could think of several games that weren’t mentioned that I felt should have been… Suddenly I realized the Wii has a lot more awesome games on it than I give it credit for, despite owning many of them.

    The Wii is currently latched to the TV in the family room and therefore I almost never play it. Guess I’d forgotten about the potential fun I’ve been ignoring 😛

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