The Wii U wasn’t exactly a raging success. The Nintendo Switch certainly is. So you can’t blame Nintendo for wanting to bring a bunch of games that a lot of people missed on the former over to the latter.
From Mario Kart to Captain Toad, the Switch is now home to a sizeable Wii U Catalogue In Exile, with an increasing number of Nintendo-published titles having made the jump.
To give you an idea of just how many Wii U ports have been shuffled over since the Switch’s release in 2016, here’s a list of every game Nintendo published for the Wii U.
Those that have been ported to the Switch — or at least been announced — are in bold.
Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival Party
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
Game & Wario
Just Dance Wii U
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild*
The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
Lego City Undercover
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games
Mario Kart 8
Mario Party 10
Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars
Mini Mario & Friends: Amiibo Challenge
NES Remix 2
NES Remix Pack
New Super Luigi U
New Super Mario Bros. U
Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge
Paper Mario: Colour Splash
Pokémon Rumble U
Star Fox Guard
Star Fox Zero
Super Mario 3D World
Super Mario Maker
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE
Wii Fit U
Wii Party U
Wii Sports Club
The Wonderful 101
Xenoblade Chronicles X**
Yoshi’s Woolly World
* – Not technically a port, but close enough** – It’s a port of a Wii game, not a Wii U game, but I’ll count it
I’ve been exhaustive for the sake of it here, but look closer at that list and most of the games that haven’t been ported are because of specific timing (the Olympics games), have sequels on the Switch that make going back to the original redundant (Smash, Splatoon, Super Mario Maker), were made specifically for the Wii U (Wii Fit U) or were already ports themselves (Twilight Princess, Wind Waker).
When you look at the big first-party releases for the Wii U that stood alone, so many of them have been ported, from Mario Kart to New Super Mario Bros and even Captain Toad. Pretty much the only games that really stand out here as not having been ported are Super Mario 3D World and Pikmin 3.
And maybe the Zelda ports if you’re getting fussy.
That’s a lot of re-releasing, more than even Sony and friends have pulled on the PS4 with ports like The Last Of Us and Shadow of the Colossus. And while it’s easy to label a practice like this as a shameless money grab, I think when it comes to Nintendo and the Wii U there’s probably also a humbling practicality at play where the company figures, you know what, the Wii U bombed so hard a lot of people never got a chance to play these great games.
Now that the Switch is doing great, maybe we can push them out once more and give them a second chance.
We’ll update this list going forwards, because there’s no way Nintendo don’t have more ports planned.
Oh, and before we go, check out Kohler’s 2017 predictions on which Wii U games did and didn’t deserve a port, in which he absolutely nails Mirage Sessions, but like most folks never saw Captain Toad coming.