With Nintendo seemingly interested in porting Wii titles over to the Wii U eShop, it’s time to start dreaming about the future. Not the sentient robots taking over the world future, but a future in which the vast library of fantastic Wii titles are readily available on our Wii U without having to bother with pesky discs anymore–or their drastically overpriced counterparts at everyone’s favorite used game retailer.
The Big N has already ported over two huge releases in Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Punch-Out!!, and the elusive Metroid Prime Trilogy is slated to hit the eShop on the 29th. Now that the floodgates have opened, in no particular order, here’s my list of 10 games that I’d love to see make it over at some point!
1 – Xenoblade Chronicles
Taking place on the actual bodies of two titans frozen in combat, Xenoblade Chronicles was the first of three Operation Rainfall titles to see the light of day in North America. If you’re not familiar with the game, you may recognize Shulk from the latest Super Smash Bros. entry on Wii U and 3DS; albeit potentially with less clothing on. As the main protagonist, you’ll guide Shulk and company through vast landscapes, battle enemies in real-time combat, and witness a massive story unfold in one of the single greatest RPGs of the last console generation.
With a New Nintendo 3DS port on the way, I’d still really like to see this make its way to the Wii U as well. Xenoblade Chronicles X is on the horizon for Wii U after all, and this would be a smart way to build excitement for the series within Nintendo’s console crowd. It’s also a hell of a lot cheaper than trying to find a physical copy, as it was originally released in North America as a GameStop exclusive.
2 – The Last Story
The 2nd Operation Rainfall title to hit North America was The Last Story; a pretty brilliant action RPG featuring a colorful cast of mercs for hire. The Last Story was developed by Mistwalker Corporation, who was founded by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi and went on to create the stellar RPGs Lost Odyssey and Blue Dragon on the Xbox 360.
The Last Story had a lot hype going in to its release in 2012, and although it was generally met with positive reviews, some critics slammed the game’s choppy framerate, odd choice of auto-combat default controls, and its predictable storyline. Personally, I loved it, and I think a port to the Wii U could clear up some of those framerate issues that plagued its physical release. With Nintendo already confirming that the Wii U GamePad can be used in place of the Wii’s Classic Controller–the ideal way to play both Xenoblade and The Last Story–those of you who never invested in one would be able to enjoy the game the best way possible.
3 – Pandora’s Tower
The third and final Operation Rainfall RPG to land in North America is perhaps the most interesting. Pandora’s Tower is an action-RPG where you control the protagonist Aeron on his quest to break a curse laid upon his friend Elena. The curse is slowly turning Elena in to a hideous beast, and the only way to subdue it is to ascend thirteen different towers, slay the monsters within, and then feed her their flesh. Pretty gross, right?
Overall, I think Pandora’s Tower is the weakest of the three, but it’s still good and deserves a second chance on the Wii U eShop. It’s just such a weird concept to experience, and totally different from any other RPG that I’ve played. In a genre full of cliches, standing out is always a selling point, and I believe this one has already been confirmed to release on the eShop in Europe. Hopefully it’s just a matter of time before it hits our shores as well!
4 – The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Skyward Sword was already a huge success for Nintendo, but I strongly detest motion controls. With that being said, I’ve had a hard time getting in to this one no matter how deep my Zelda fandom runs, and I someday hope to see it released with standard controls. For selfish reasons, of course, as I know the depth of the combat lies in its use of the Wii’s Motion Plus features.
Skyward Sword already looks fantastic when upscaled on the Wii U. That alone puts it well below Twilight Princess in terms of a full-on HD remaster, making it the ideal Zelda from the Wii catalog to port over as a digital release. My fingers are still crossed, however, on one day playing through the game with a standard controller in my hands.
5 – Sin & Punishment: Star Successor
Sin & Punishment built a strong cult following on the N64 among the import crowd, as the game never made its way stateside until it became available as a digital download on the Wii’s Virtual Console. Star Successor is its punishingly difficult sequel featuring the on-rails shoot-em-up gameplay of Space Harrier, also allowing the player to run along the ground, leap over hazards, and even dodge roll to avoid becoming a bullet sponge.
Fans of the original may recognize one the game’s two protagonists, Isa Jo, as the child of the original’s Saki and Airan. You can also control a mysterious female character named Kachi while playing the game in local co-op mode. Star Successor is fast-paced, colorful, and a hell of a lot of fun if you’re up to the challenge. Fun fact: It’s also the last retail game released by beloved Japanese developer Treasure.
6 – Okami
The Wii port of Okami may be the weakest (mostly due to its touchy motion controls, if you’re noticing a trend here), especially in comparison to its eventual HD remaster on PS3. Still, it’s a fantastic action-adventure game that’s bathed in Japanese myth, legend, and folklore, and a re-release on Wii U could give the series a bit of a rebirth.
Eventually spawning the sequel Okamiden on the DS handheld, Okami tells the story of the Shinto sun goddess, Amaterasu, taking on the form of a white wolf and saving the land from darkness. Its distinct sumi-e art style is instantly recognizable, and players even use the Celestial Brush mechanic to create miracles in-game, use abilities in combat, solve puzzles, and advance through the storyline. Although it suffered from poor initial sales, it eventually became a cult classic with even IGN awarding it their 2006 Game of the Year. Trust me, we need this again.
7 – Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
While Fire Emblem is mostly known for its handheld offerings–like the incredible Awakening on 3DS–the Gamecube’s Path of Radiance was the first to be fully voice acted and feature its 3D cel-shaded art style. Radiant Dawn is the game’s direct sequel, and although most of the same fundamentals are present (including most of the original cast), like its predecessor, it introduced the series to a few new features as well; namely new unit classes to play, and giving the player an advantage for battling on different elevations within the terrain.
With Fire Emblem’s newfound popularity, what better way to keep the ball rolling than by porting over the series’ Wii offering, right? After all, who wants to pay $60 for a used copy? Unlike the other 9 games in this list, I actually have a concern with this one. You see, the Wii version of Radiant Dawn actually allowed players to import their Gamecube data from Path of Radiance to continue their perma-death storylines, but that wouldn’t be possible on the Virtual Console. Perhaps Nintendo could combine the two as a full-on retail remaster in the future instead?
8 – Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon is a bit of a depressing adventure game, where you control Seto, a fifteen year old boy who’s just buried his grandfather and becomes ultimately alone. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of earth, and after discovering a letter that points to survivors living inside of a giant red tower, Seto takes off to explore the ruins of Tokyo, Japan and the abandoned buildings that lie within it.
Although it features some horror elements, like ghosts and whatnot, it’s not really a survival horror game as much as a full-on adventure title. It wasn’t very well-received by critics, but I think it’s one of the Wii’s most criminally underrated games that definitely deserves a second chance on the Wii U.
9 – MadWorld
Clover Studios, a Japanese developer responsible for games like Viewtiful Joe, God Hand, and Okami, eventually folded, with key members forming what we now know and love as Platinum Games. Perhaps you’ve played the likes of Bayonetta, Wonderful 101, or Vanquish? Well it all started on the Wii with the black and white (and red) beat-em-up, MadWorld.
If any game showed that the Wii wasn’t just for kids, it was this one. The entire game is animated in a black and white comic book-style–inspired by Frank Miller’s Sin City–with the only color being the red blood of your enemies. As part of the gameshow DeathWatch, you control Jack Cayman, beating and mauling enemies throughout various levels that just happen to be littered with destructible objects and deadly traps. Its extreme amount of violence definitely shook the Wii’s audience, and with Platinum making a name for themselves on the Wii U with Bayonetta 2 and Wonderful 101, MadWorld is definitely deserving of a Virtual Console revival.
10 – No More Heroes
Suda51 directs some weird games, and his Grasshopper Manufacture studio’s No More Heroes on the Wii was no exception. It was eventually given a facelift on the PS3 (and Xbox 360 in Japan), but one could argue that porting the game with better visuals did take away one of the more interesting aspects–the motion controls. I know, I know, this is the first time I’ve actually praised the damn thing, but No More Heroes was just so much better using the Wiimote as a sort of lightsaber; swinging it around and frantically using questionable motions near your genital regions to recharge its battery.
Travis Touchdown is the sort of oddball anti-hero that Suda51 is known for, and No More Heroes has always been a series that I wished went on to spawn a slew of sequels. Unfortunately that all stopped with No More Heroes 2, but perhaps a relaunch on the Virtual Console could stoke the fire a bit? With Grasshopper currently finishing up development on Let it Die for the PS4, there’s always hope for a No More Heroes 3 in the future!
There’s no question that the Wii had a massive library of shovelware, but buried underneath lies a rock solid foundation of incredible games; some of which were sadly overshadowed by Nintendo’s legendary first-party offerings. These are just the 10 I’d like to see the most, but there’s definitely more I’d be willing to shell out for as well–Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure, House of the Dead: Overkill, Super Paper Mario, and Red Steel 2, just to name a few.
I think the idea of re-releasing Wii games on the Wii U is a great opportunity for Nintendo to rebuild third-party relations, and potentially create new development opportunities for games that are currently collecting dust at your local GameStop. The Wii U’s Virtual Console is already sorely lacking content in comparison to its Wii counterpart, so anything can help, right?
What did we miss? Are you even interested in Wii games on the Wii U? Let us know down in the comment section, and feel free to post your list as well!
Bradley Keene is the Executive Editor here at What’s Your Tag?, generally handling reviews, public relations, and our social media communications on Facebook and Twitter. He’s an aspiring video game journalist, Baltimore native, and an aficionado of bizarre indie games. If it’s weird and pixely, he’ll like it. If he’s not writing, he can usually be found glued to his OUYA and Xbox One, or knee-deep in an MMO. Get in touch with him by e-mail at the address above, or follow him on Twitter.