I’ve posted 3DS games, so now it’s the turn of the Wii U. Same rules apply here – physical, digital, and Virtual Console games are up for consideration, the only requirements are that they were released in 2015, and I have to have bought and played them.
10: Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush
It seems that for part of this year, Nintendo was on a charm offensive, as proven by numbers ten, nine and eight. First up on my list is Kirby’s claymation adventure, Kirby and the Rainbow Paintbrush, a direct sequel to Kirby: Power Paintbrush on the DS.
Anyway, in this game, you guide Kirby by drawing lines on the Wii U GamePad – the poor sod is unable to move on his own power in this game, so it’s up to you to steer him through the different stages. There are also several transformations that Kirby can undergo through the course of the game, which shakes things up a bit.
9: Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Released right at the beginning of the year, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a puzzle platformer game. The puzzle part comes from the fact that Captain Toad is unable to jump, which means having to tackle obstacles in different ways.
Toadette also gets a turn as a playable character, alternating back and forth with Captain Toad. This is pretty good for what just started off as a small distraction in Super Mario 3D World.
8: Yoshi’s Woolly World
Continuing the charm, and the arts-and-crafts vibe, Yoshi takes on a new yarn look. It’s taken some time, but this is a worthy follow-up to SNES classic Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island. Even better, there’s no Baby Mario to be concerned about. You can also unlock many different coloured Yarn Yoshis to play as, so if the typical green one isn’t your thing, you’ll be able to find alternative. Three Yarn Yoshi amiibos were released alongside this game – I got the green one, but there are pink and light blue available. Oh, and there’s the recently released ‘Mega Yarn Yoshi’, which is the biggest amiibo so far.
7: Guitar Hero Live
A reboot for the Guitar Hero franchise, which does away with DLC for a more Spotify-like service – oh, and there’s the offline mode where you play in front of a live crowd.
Guitar Hero TV is a streaming service where you can play along with songs that are being streamed on a couple of channels. Or you could use in-game currency, or real money, to buy plays so you can browse the extensive catalogue and play specific songs whenever you want.
6: Super Mario RPG
The only Virtual Console title on this list, and one that was released on Christmas Eve for the Wii U Virtual Console. This is the first RPG to feature Mario, which led on to the Paper Mario and Mario & Luigi series. Super Mario RPG was developed by Square, and features characters such as Mallow and Geno. It begins with Bowser kidnapping Peach (of course), but there’s the small matter of a giant sword crashing through Bowser’s castle that becomes the main plot of the game.
5: Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water
Also known as Fatal Frame, Project Zero: Maiden of Black Water focuses on Yuri Kozukata, who is able to see ghosts. She winds up on famed suicide spot Mt. Hikami, searching for missing persons. Of course, the spirits on Mt. Hikami are malevolent, so she has to fight them off by taking pictures with a Camera Obscura.
Yes, there was controversy surrounding this game, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. In fact, it’s easily one of the most atmospheric games of 2015, and is well worth a look for fans of horror. The Wii U GamePad works extremely well as the Camera Obscura, too.
4: Shantae and the Pirate’s Curse
The half-genie returns, though she no longer possesses any genie powers. She ends up forming an alliance with her nemesis Risky Boots, and using various pieces of pirate equipment to explore Sequin Land as she tries to free it from the pirate’s curse. This is the third game starring Shantae, and definitely the best of the lot so far. Definitely looking forward to Half-Genie Hero when that gets released.
3: Super Mario Maker
Nintendo have been making platforming games for years. They figured it’s time to let the players have a go, so we get Super Mario Maker. It’s simply a case of using the GamePad to place various blocks, obstacles and enemies down and you’ve created a course. Naturally, those who use the resources in clever ways make the best courses, or you could make an automatic level and receive way too much recognition…
Fortunately, a website has launched that should make searching for levels easier to deal with, though you never know what you’ll get in 100 Mario Mode. Still, it’s worth it when you discover a gem of a course in amongst the rest.
Here’s what happens when Nintendo takes on a new genre; they revitalise it. The Inklings of Inkopolis partake in Turf Wars, which means covering the ground with as much ink of their colour as possible. Battles are four vs. four, and killing enemies is not the name of the game. If you aren’t covering the floor with your ink, you’re doing it wrong.
Sure, the game was a bit sparse at first, but constant updates have provided new weapons, gear, maps and game modes – all of which for free. Easily the most fun multiplayer game of 2015. Another game with three amiibo released alongside it – Inkling Girl, Inkling Boy and Inkling Squid. They can be used to take on challenges to unlock new gear.
1: Xenoblade Chronicles X
The spiritual successor to Xenoblade Chronicles, Xenoblade Chronicles X boasts a massive game world. Set on the planet Mira, there are five continents to explore and you can do so right at the beginning of the game – sure, it might take a while, but the option is there.
Alternatively, you can play through the game and earn a Skell – basically a giant mech. Mind you, just earning a Skell doesn’t open up the entire world to you – no, that doesn’t happen until you obtain a flight module. Still, there’s loads to explore, and the gameplay has improved upon Xenoblade Chronicles. A variety of characters can join your party, my favourite of which is the xeno girl called Celica.
Xenoblade Chronicles X is a huge game, and has plenty to keep you occupied for a long time. There’s a story, on top of many sidequests and don’t forget about all the wildlife native to Mira that wants to murder you… and some hostiles who are not native to the planet, as well.
With that said, that’s my top ten Wii U games of 2015. I shall be continuing with my Wii U Game of the Month into and through 2016, though I’m a little unsure what games will be released in January. Still, I’m sure something will crop up – the eShop is handy for that kind of thing.
Regardless, the top three on this list are definitely things I would consider must-own, so if you have a Wii U, or intend to buy one, I’d strongly recommend those games.