So with production now ceased, the Nintendo Wii U console has bowed out – not that it made much of an entry to begin with. With lifetime sales less than 14 million units, its presence seemed practically redundant compared to Sony’s and Microsoft’s offerings (The PS4 currently sits at almost 55 million units sold). The sheer irony, however is that many modern-day gamers complain of run-of-the-mill annual instalments of the same drab greyscale shooters with the constant lack of local multiplayer offering, compounded with the greedy DLC cash-grabs, are all but absent from Nintendo’s home console. The Wii U floundered with its 3rd-party support, but Nintendo published some absolute gems that fell by the wayside.
We’ve left out the Mario Kart and Splatoon franchises that are being heavily featured on the new Switch console and instead focused on the exclusive gaming feats that got left behind and deserve your attention now.
NintendoLand showcased the fact that the Wii U gamepad could be more than a mere gimmick, offering inventive and intuitive ways to use the controller. While the creative juices never quite got to the developers, Nintendoland delivered truly some of the most unique local multiplayer fun from this console generation, supporting five players with inventive Mini-games based off the Mario, Animal Crossing and Metroid franchises presented with a beautiful twee aesthetic. it was what Wii Sports was to the Wii. Only selling 70 odd million copies less. But details…
Super Smash Brothers Wii U
I will proudly declare that Super Smash Brothers for Wii U is probably one of the greatest local multiplayer games every released and one of the best value for money games too. The All-Star Nintendo fighting franchise has always been easy for newbies to pick up but devilish to master. The fourth instalment expands and polishes on previous iterations outings, Local multiplayer supported for up to a system-defying eight players, with the Wii U still pumping out 60 frames a second. In addition Smash for Wii U brought custom moves for the plethora of 58 characters including the fan-service of offering PacMan, Cloud, and Sonic to name a few making third party cameos. Creator Masahiro Sakurai has previously hinted that this may very well be his last swan song with Smash Brothers due to the relentless and obsessive work that goes into the game and the subsequent impact and strain the development has had on his life. A true labour of love and without a doubt, the definite version of Smash Brothers.
Pikmin has always been the black sheep in Nintendo’s franchises, often with the confusing and unusual concept resulting in many taking a pass. It’s their own loss. The third Pikmin instalment is a beautiful exploration experience for the curious, controlling 3 space captains and their quest to find food to bring back to their home planet, with the help of the Pikmin that populate the world, aiding their mission, solving puzzles and fighting the idiosyncratic myriad of enemies. It’s intuitive and innovative, much like the Wii U, the appeal of Pikmin is truly appreciated once the controller is in your hands. It’s pure unadulterated fun.
The hypersexualised mature-rated sequel to the original (released on the PS3 and Xbox 360) secured Wii U exclusivity thanks to Nintendo stepping in and co-funding the project. Much like its predecessor, Bayonetta 2 has to be played to be believed. It builds upon the original's fun and over-the-top action and then cranks the chaos and drama to another level of insanity. Bayonetta doesn’t demand your attention, it grabs you the throat and catapults you into its demonic world. Its blindly intense hack-and-slash action is the best of its class avoiding all the genre’s pitfalls with unique enemies and fighting patterns and slick presentation, combining this with outrageous stylised cinematic set pieces that are unrelenting and will constantly blow your mind.
Super Mario 3D World
While the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey seems more in the vein of Sunshine and Galaxy 4. Super Mario 3D World was perfectly executed 3D local multiplayer action. Cat-suits at the ready, the game encouraged co-operation and competition with up to four people playing as Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach and of course Toad, channelling the character attributes of the original Super Mario Bros 2. While progressing through the story is always better with friends, Super Mario 3D world brings so much to the table with its creative worlds and wondrous gameplay, it’s still an absolute joy to play solo.