This console, which launched a full year before the PS4 and Xbox One, is often overlooked when it comes to the current generation of gaming consoles, but it really deserves more. The Wii U, despite a rocky start, is a formidable contender now.
If you haven’t yet, check out our full review of the Wii U. If you’re still not convinced of the Wii U’s awesomeness after that, then take into account these seven compelling reasons for choosing it as your main gaming console.
The Best Exclusive Games
One problem with the launch of the Wii U was a lack of games. In fact, we even offered up some great ways to use your Wii U while waiting for new games to come — but that era is over. We are now beginning to see the rush of first-party titles that make Nintendo consoles so appealing. Here are a few of the best:
This is a gaming franchise with an amazing history and a dedicated following. The fourth iteration, set to be released this holiday season, has a lot of hype surrounding it. New characters have been introduced, including Mii Fighter, Palutena, Lucina, Robin, Mega Man, Pac-man, Greninja, Little Mac, Animal Crossing Villager, Rosalina & Luma, and Wii Fit Trainer. Some questioned the introduction of characters like Wii Fit Trainer, but in the end, gamers will have a large range of options to choose from.
Not only that, but Nintendo is making some pretty major changes to the game, adding in customizable special attacks and equippable weapons. This is the game to own when it comes out this holiday season.
The classic Super Mario Bros. reinvented for the Wii U. It was released way back in 2012, and this game, along with Luigi’s version, brings back the side-scrolling fun while allowing you to play with up to four other friends (five players total). You can’t find anything like it on the Xbox One or PS4.
Another Mario platformer, this time bringing in tons of different elements to make it the most fascinating and fun Mario game to date. After its release last November, it received critical acclaim and is an absolute must-play for Mario fans.
Mario Party invented the party game genre, and it remains the best option for simple pick-up-and-play fun between friends. Microsoft gave this style a shot with Fusion Frenzy, but you can’t top the original. Keep an eye out for Mario Party 10 in early 2015.
Just recently joining the Wii U this past May is everyone’s favorite racing game: Mario Kart. While other racing games strive to be realistic and intense, Mario Kart 8 manages to straddle the line between epic racer and family party game.
Yoshi’s back! And this time, his game takes place in a cloth and yarn setting, similar to the texture idea from Kirby’s Epic Yarn. This game should be landing in the beginning of 2015, hopefully alongside Mario Party 10.
That’s right, Toad is getting his own game. It’s a single-player adventure through a variety of fascinating puzzles that looks somewhat akin to Super Mario Galaxy. You can expect Toad to arrive on the Wii U by this holiday season.
Donkey Kong and the gang are back for another tricky side-scrolling platformer. Fans of the original Donkey Kong Country series really won’t want to miss this sixth installment, which came out in February of this year.
Any fan of Zelda needs to have this game. The HD remake of Wind Waker is a must-play, bringing modern controls and gorgeous graphics to one of your favorite games — and it’s out now!
Want even more Zelda? This hack-and-slash take on the series comes out on September 26th of this year, so you don’t have long to wait. Dynasty Warriors fans will love this game.
Sega’s mascot is back, and this time exclusively for the Wii U. Aside from an oddly muscular makeover for Knuckles, this game looks like the reinvention of Sonic that we’ve all been waiting for, and it’s coming out this holiday season. In the meantime, feel free to play through Sonic Lost World, last year’s exclusive Sonic platformer for the Wii U that you can often find discounted now.
Pikmin 3, ZombiU, And Wonderful 101
Still not convinced? These three games, while not exactly Mario or Zelda, make great use of the GamePad and really show off what the Wii U is capable of. Give them a shot and you won’t be sorry.
Both the Xbox One and PS4 have their own amazing exclusive titles (see: exclusives for the Xbox One and exclusives for the PS4), but Mario, Zelda, and Sonic just hold a place in many peoples’ hearts that can’t be replaced with Master Chief or Knack.
Your Favorite Retro Games
Without an old console lying around or a complicated emulator set up, a Wii U is your only way to play some of your favorite retro games. The built-in Virtual Console can emulate some old NES, SNES, and GBA games. There are currently 201 titles available for purchase, and Nintendo has said that N64 games should be coming soon.
That Low Price
Of the many reasons to buy the Wii U, it’s price just might be its best selling point. At only $300 for the Deluxe 32GB model with New Super Marios Bros. U and New Super Luigi U, this thing is a steal compared to the base models of the PS4 and Xbox One, which sell for $400. (And don’t forget, the PlayStation Camera and Microsoft Kinect cost even more!)
Not to mention that many Wii games start at $50 while leading PS4 and Xbox One games are dropping at $60 a piece. Even the controllers are cheaper — Ps4 and Xbox One controllers go for $60 each, while a new Wii Remote Plus costs only $40, and for more hardcore gamers, the more Xbox-like Wii U Pro controller is only $50. Plus, if you already have Wiimotes lying around, they’re still compatible with the Wii U!
While the Xbox One and PS4 certainly have their perks (see: reasons to buy the Xbox One and reasons to buy the PS4), both of them dropped backwards compatibility along the way. Not so for the Wii U. This means that you’re free to play any of your old Wii games on your Wii U, or buy cheap used Wii games.
There are a ton of great Wii games out there available for Wii U owners, and this is a sadly underrated feature.
The GamePad Really Is Unique
The differences between the PS4 and the Xbox One are minimal. Sure, they’ve got different interfaces and slightly different controllers, but for the most part you’re playing similar games on similar consoles.
Not so for the Wii U. Nintendo is constantly innovating, whether that means being the first to introduce an analog stick with the Nintendo 64, motion-sensing with the Wii, a 3D screen with the Nintendo 3DS, or bringing the GamePad to the Wii U.
Games made for the Wii U often take advantage of the GamePad in a way that Xbox One and PS4 games can’t emulate. It can be used for a second-screen experience, allowing one player to see something different from the rest of the players, or it can be used to display additional in-game information like a map or inventory. It may seem gimmicky, but try it for a bit and you’re sure to love it.
Best Option For Families And Parties
For people who like to play games with their kids or non-gamer friends, the Wii U is the obvious choice. It’s easy for anyone to join in thanks to its pick-up-and-play controls — making it a great party console or a console for families with little ones. And keep this in mind: Even if your parents have never been able to master the dual analog stick movement of Halo, they’ll surely be able to tilt the Wii Remote well enough to play Mario Kart 8.
Plus, with games like Nintendo Land and Wii U Party that are intended for everybody, the system really appeals to this audience. For the hardcore gamers, there’s still the Wii U Pro controller and first person shooters like Call Of Duty, but for everyone else there are party games and Wii Remotes.
You Don’t Even Need A TV
Off-TV Play for the Wii U means you can play any game on your Wii U right on the GamePad. You don’t need a TV or anything — just plug in your console and get going. This is awesome for gaming while others are using the TV, or just for having a more portable console if you want to game in a room that doesn’t have a TV.
Even the games from the previously mentioned Virtual Console work like this, allowing you to take games old or new with you wherever you want.
What Do You Think Of The Wii U?
Nintendo’s newest console has many underrated features, but not everyone can agree on which of the big three game consoles is the best.
Which would you choose and why? Let us know in the comments!