Here we go! Finally… My top 5 favourite games on the Wii console! The best of the best! The cream of the crop! The something of the something else not quite as good as the something but still amazing!
These are some fantastic games, guys. If you haven’t played them, well… I recommend them! Extra strongly! These are my 10/10s, on the Dtoid scale. They’re some of my very favourite games of all time. I love them so much!
Dramatic reveal time! Okay, it’s not that dramatic, since three of them are listed in my sidebar, and the other two are just, obvious, since they haven’t come up yet……
#5! The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Twilight Princess made this list, and it’s certainly a fantastic game, but Skyward Sword blows it away. While it’s not quite as good as Ocarina of Time, Majora’s Mask, or The Wind Waker, all in my top 10 favourite games of all time, which establish the 3D Zelda series as my favourite gaming series of all time… I’d put it in the same league as those. In some ways it’s better than those games. The amount of personality, humour, and charm this game exudes is pretty much above anything else Nintendo’s ever done.
Beyond that, the motion controls are excellent and the game remains the only game, besides Red Steel 2, to truly deliver on the potential of the Wii Motion+. It’s great. The art style is fantastic, and the game’s world is beautifully realized (if a bit less cohesive than in past games). The dungeons are some of the best, and there are tons of great little sidequests and NPC interactions to experience between dungeons. The balance of main quest, dungeons, and sidequests is pretty much ideal for me. The game is a massive 60 hours in length, if you do all the sidequests and stuff, and the quality of entertainment sustained over such a time is practically unheard of.
But what really matters is this: when I first started playing Skyward Sword, I felt it. I felt that magic I felt when I first started playing The Wind Waker, or, as a kid, the N64 games before it. There’s something special and amazing about exploring the worlds of these games and interacting with their NPCs. And Skyward Sword has it.
#4. Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Nearly ten years later, (having never owned Melee) I was still bringing out Super Smash Bros. for the Nintendo 64 when I needed a game to play with friends. When Brawl came out, the 64 game was finally one-upped. Sadly, when we’re in the mood for a shooter, despite the prevalence of shooters this generation, I still revert to Nightfire and TimeSplitters 2. As far as de facto, go-to, never-gets-old party games, for me this console generation has produced only Brawl. But what a de facto, go-to, never-gets-old party game it is!
Super Smash Bros. Brawl is by a wide margin my most played Wii game, having logged over 200 hours into it. And, though the PS3 doesn’t keep track of this stuff and I have no idea how much time I’ve spent in the level creator in LittleBigPlanet, it’s a strong contender for my most played game on any console this generation. I remember when I got the game, I think it was March Break, and I seem to recall the basement was being renovated or something and I had a little old TV temporarily set up in my room to play it on… I played more Wii that week than I had since the first day I got my Wii – actually more. Apparently, those first four days with the game, I played between nine-and-a-half and fourteen-and-a-half hours a day – and I’m sure I haven’t played any game that much at once since. I was beyond addicted to it, and I’ve had every character unlocked, and all the trophies and stuff that weren’t totally impossible for so long now, I hardly remember all that stuff. Now I mostly just play regular brawls with friends. Indeed, still, four years later, I bring it out as the go-to game to play with friends, as I’m sure I will continue to do, at least until the next Smash Bros. on WiiU.
It’s such a love-letter to so many Nintendo franchises (I found myself wanting to play all the games I hadn’t yet that all the characters came from, just to see these characters, who’re so well and appealingly presented here, on their own adventures) and there’s so much content crammed into every corner of the game, and the core mechanic just remains so very enjoyable. Brawl is the complete package, it’s pretty much perfect, and frankly, I don’t think there’s ever been a better party game.
#3. No More Heroes
I love No More Heroes so much. I’m hard-pressed to name a game as brimming with personality as this one. Travis Touchdown is easily my favourite videogame character of all-time. He’s hilarious, and playing as him both makes you feel like a complete badass, and a total dork and pervert. He’s amazing. This game also started my love affair with Suda51, which led to my discovery of Killer7, etc.; so many good games. But NMH remains, aside from Killer7, easily the best among them. It’s so good.
Sure, the open world aspect is kind of bland, and I wouldn’t want to look for all those “Lovikov Balls” and t-shirts again (luckily, you keep all that stuff on subsequent playthroughs), but still I found myself addicted to it when I first played it, to a degree few games achieve. I loved running around, trying to buy all the katana upgrades and clothing and shit. And the mini-games, like lawn-mowing, are awesome. It’s awesome that lawn-mowing is even a thing. But of course, it’s the main assassination missions that are the best part. The control scheme, which uses the A button to slash, and then a single waggle of the Wii remote for a finishing move… is the most fun thing ever. And when I waggle the remote to cut a guys head off, and like, six guys standing right next to him also get decapitated, their heads being launched into the air by the literal geysers of ultra-stylized cartoon blood shooting from between their shoulders… it’s the most satisfying thing ever. I remember being infinitely amused by the idea that you could cut guys in half the long way. Yeah. This game has the best murder in videogames.
But oh my god the boss fights! They’re all ten of them given so much personality, they’re such unique characters; they’re so bloody memorable. The cutscenes that introduce them are some of my favourite cutscenes in any game – I remember I’d watch them more on YouTube afterwards; they’re just so good. Again with these bosses, it’s that mix of badassness and total ridiculous hilarity.
But there’s another layer to No More Heroes, as a satire, wherein Travis is a metaphor for the gamer, the world is bland to him, except for the few stores he frequents (as we experience the open world), and he has to do boring jobs (like lawn-mowing) to make money to do the one thing he really loves: gaming (killing people). It’s surprisingly easy to accept this understanding of it, and once you get it, you can’t get it out of your head. It’s all executed so well and it’s really brilliant. And I’d say, if any game deserves the title of “art-game”, No More Heroes does. Just don’t think that means it isn’t fun to play, because, at its peak, I think it’s the most fun game I’ve ever played.
#2. Little King’s Story
It breaks my heart to think that Cing filed for bankruptcy after making easily the best original Wii game, period. It doesn’t help, how utterly endeared and emotionally attached to the game’s world I feel. Let me just, for a second, boot it up and watch that opening clip that always plays… “And so somehow, in some such way, the boy was no longer – lonely.” Wahhh I love this game so much! The way the music swells! I know a lot of the music is public domain stuff, but it’s so effective! And gosh, the art style. And now I’m flashing to the ending, which is so beautifully executed. Argh! Everything about Yoshiro Kimura’s game here, from the character and enemy design to the cutscenes to the world to the… – everything – it’s all so thoroughly lovingly crafted. From start to finish, it’s a completely first-class gaming experience.
The gameplay borrows that faux-RTS style from Pikmin that I mentioned earlier how much I adore. Except LKS does it its own way, and it’s kind of better in every way. Your followers start off as “lazy adults”, and you have to assign them to different classes. Unlike in Pikmin, there are a huge variety of classes, and they’re all palpably different, and you need to be strategic about who you take with you. It’s fantastic. And you know how you feel guilty when you let a Pikmin die? Think of that times a thousand. Your followers have names, they can get married, have children, and when even a single one dies, you may actually see your followers holding a funeral for the deceased the next morning. The game is cartoony and looks sort of childish, but underneath the surface, it can be very dark, bleak even, both in terms of stuff like this, and thematically, as it’s about war and global domination, with hints of genocide. It feels like a throwback, to when children’s stories could have this sort of edge – when they were profoundly affecting – instead of just so fucking sterile all the time.
Anyways, from the moment you defeat the first mini-boss, a skull-cow, and your followers throw a festival to celebrate the victory, all wearing skull-cow masks… there’s never any doubt, you’re in for something special with this game. But how special, you still won’t be prepared for. The game is 50+ hours of perfection. The slow evolution from living in a tiny shack, sending a couple lazy followers to pick some turnips, to reigning over a huge kingdom and leading an enormous army of followers all at once… it’s executed perfectly. The main boss fights are easily some of the most well-crafted, unique, and fun boss fights I’ve ever played in any game – “TV Dinnah” is a strong contender for my favourite boss fight ever, period – and they have a ton of personality to boot, being introduced in some of the most creative cutscenes ever.
I could keep going! There’s so much about the game I haven’t mentioned! But I need to try to sum it up now. That’s hard to do! The game is astonishingly deep, challenging, creative, inspired, delightful, endearing, and fun. There are so many surprises in store for you when you play it, around every corner; I don’t want to spoil them. Just play it! I know there’s a Vita version coming out, but it kind of looks like the exact same game, reskinned with a more generic art-style, which Kimura and folks have had no involvement in. If you can, play the Wii version. Please! Games like this certainly don’t come out every year – and there may well be nothing like it ever again.
my #1 favourite game on the Wii…
Heh, here’s where I feel a bit guilty about my weird rule about ports on this list. It just seems wrong to have a PS2 port in the number one spot. But the Wii version is what I played, and it remains my favourite game on the system. If you have a problem with that (punk!), feel free to consider Little King’s Story as taking its rightful title of “Best Wii Game”. It’s pretty much just as good, and in a way, it’s kind of similar to Ōkami. I mean, they’re both that very rare and special kind of game: They seem so very lovingly crafted, and, despite their being very niche and doomed to low sales and obscurity, everything about their production screams triple-A. They’re both 50+ hours of pure gaming bliss. Furthermore, they both offer their unique takes on formulas from Nintendo franchises – Ōkami is to The Legend of Zelda what LKS is to Pikmin – and somehow outdo the Nintendo games. The Legend of Zelda is my favourite videogame series, and while it’s a close call for me to select a preference between my favourite Zelda entry, The Wind Waker, and Ōkami, I tend to pick Ōkami.
The towns aren’t quite as fun to explore, and it’s not quite as voraciously fun as The Wind Waker, but in its own way, Ōkami is even more brilliant. Where to start? Okay, I suppose I’ll start with the most immediately striking thing in the game: the visuals. I consider Ōkami the single most visually beautiful game ever made – it doesn’t matter that it’s decidedly last gen (although the upcoming HD version could look amazing) – the art direction is incredible. The cel-shaded visuals, the way trees and stuff are 2D, the way mountains are drawn into the background – at all points this game looks like a watercolour, or rather, a ‘sumi-e’ painting come to life. It’s astonishing. And this traditional Japanese style of art is complemented by a traditional Japanese style of music, which is also fantastic.
The gameplay is all around fantastic. Being in or out of dungeons is less black-and-white than in the Zelda series – more organic – and on account of that I enjoy Ōkami’s ‘dungeons’ more. The unique “Celestial Brush” mechanic is a stroke (ugh) of genius. Every time you learn a new brush technique, there are tons of ways you can make use of it, and there are plenty of things you’ll have encountered in the game world that you’ll realise you couldn’t do anything with until now. It’s handled so well. The game is also massive, and when you think you’ve fought the final boss, you’ll realise you’ve only explored one third of what this game has to offer. Brand new, beautiful and unique areas open up to you even many dozens of hours into the game, with brand new enemy types and everything. It doesn’t run out of steam or grow repetitive. If you like the game, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
This is also a very funny game, full of memorable characters with tons of personality. And just as it can be light-hearted and silly, the game can also be epic and beautiful. It’s just, all around, one of the best, most lovingly made games ever made. It’s my favourite game on the Wii, and I’ve often considered it my favourite game of all time. I can’t really recommend it more highly than that.
And with that I finally wrap up this ridiculous feature I got myself into! And so now, I’d love to hear from you (yes YOU). What do you think of my choices for best Wii games? What are some of your biggest favourites that I didn’t include on the list? And have I by chance actually convinced anyone to play any of these games?