Wednesday, 19 October 2011

10 Wii games that really surprised me

The much maligned Nintendo Wii has been criticised by many gamers and media types alike for the amount of truly awful titles that call the machine home, indeed many of these of these are little more than mini games, shamelessly packaged as family entertainment. Recently though, I've come across quite a few that defy this label and stand up against anything from the PS3 or are my ten picks.

Xenoblade Chronicles

Xenoblade was a huge surprise to me not because it turned out to be great (you could tell that it would from the video previews), but because of just how great it actually was.

For me, Xenoblade is the game that Final Fantasy XII should have been, and if Squenix had put as much effort in with that as Monolith did with Xenoblade then the Final Fantasy series may have avoided the dire straights it currently finds itself in.

Xenoblade is probably the best looking game available for the Wii, it certainly the has the most depth and the greatest soundtrack and is a timely reminder of just how good the Wii can be in the right hands.

There is a good 60 hours of gameplay, which can be extended easily if you choose to play the side quests too. There's no other way of saying this, Xenoblade is worth getting a Wii for...and it's not out in America either, you don't see that every day.


This game was a genuine revelation and a definite contender for top spot in this list.

Madworld surprises for two reasons, first and most obvious is it's a Wii game that is dripping in ultra violence, true it's done in a comic book style (ala Sin City), but it's still brutal. Second is that it's a thoroughly enjoyable game to play, it's funny, looks amazing and has a surprising level of depth to it.

The aim is take your character through a Running Man style gameshow in which victory is achieved by killing your opponents in the harshest (and often funniest) ways. The entire game is displayed in black and white (like a comic) with the exception of blood...of which there is a lot, this really helps it to stand out, and makes it one of the most striking games on the Wii.

Because of it's questionable content, Madworld bombed badly and as a result can be picked up for peanuts now...I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Lost in Shadow/A Shadow's Tale

This game is an absolute cracker, in my eyes it's up there with the likes of Mario Galaxy and Twilight Princess as one of the best titles ever released for the Wii.

Lost in Shadow (or A Shadow's Tale in the UK) is a puzzle/platform game that takes much influence from the legendary ICO on the takes so much in fact that at times it feels almost like a sequel. Whilst it falls slightly short of the standard set by ICO, Lost in Shadow is easily the best game of it's kind on the Wii.

You're greeted to stunning (for the Wii) visuals complete with immense vistas, soothingly ambient soundtrack and tight controls. Unusually for a game of this ilk, it lasts for about 30 hours too, which isn't to be sniffed at.

Lost in Shadow is one of the most overlooked games on the Wii and would grace any collection.

Tatsunoko vs Capcom

This game really caught me off guard, not because it's worse than any of the other Capcom 'vs' games, but because it starred a franchise that (Tekkman Blade aside) I knew nothing about and it was a Wii exclusive. However, maximum respect to Capcom because they produced the Wii's premier fighting game (sorry Smash bros fans), and also a game that is easily the equal of Marvel vs Capcom 3.

Anyone familiar with the premise of the Capcom 'vs' games will feel right at home with this one. It has the usual hyper exaggerated carnage we've come to expect from the series, glorious graphics and a decent roster of characters.

The control system has been simplified somewhat for the Wii, but strangely this doesn't seem to dumb the game down. There is enough content and depth to keep hardcore fans happy while it remains accessible for those who aren't...or are new.

Tatsunoko vs Capcom is now relatively cheap so it's definitely worth a look, as is the awesome arcade stick that is also available.

Muramasa: The Demon Blade

Muramasa is the game that I consider to be the prettiest on the Wii. It boats glorious hand drawn, water coloured 2D visuals and is set that classic Tokugawa inspired period of Japanese history complete with sharp swords and samurai.

The big surprise with this one is that it's not just about the graphics, there is a quality game to be found here as well. It plays like an action RPG with platform elements, there are numerous weapons to collect and beating enemies helps you gain experience and progress through missions.

The story, though never ground breaking is solid and enjoyable, and is backed up by a breathtaking soundtrack. Any fan of ARPG's or games with a Japanese flavour should seek this out.

This is another Wii game that's available for very little money these days and as such, it's definitely worth a bash.

The Sky Crawlers: Innocent Aces

I must confess that I was first drawn to Innocent Aces because of the box art (I have a weakness for nice looking Japanese covers)...and after watching some videos and reading a few reviews I decided to take a punt on it.

Happily it was a good decision because Innocent Aces is a great game. It's made by the same Namco team responsible for the Ace Combat series so there is tons of arcade style dog fights and some really pretty anime cut scenes to boot.

The control system takes some getting used to and can be slightly off putting at first, but stick with it and you'll find yourself barrel rolling and ruling the skies pretty swiftly.

For fans of flying games or even just anime fans, this one is really worth a look

Little King's Story

Little King's Story is on the face of it another cutesy game for kids on a Nintendo console, but after spending just five minutes with it, you can tell it's been crafted in the mould of the awesome Animal Crossing, and is very close to being just as good.

It's one of those rare games that you can lose days in without even knowing it, there is lots to do but it never becomes repetitive or boring, and while progression is easy early on, later battles require the use of tactics and planning.

One of the standout features of the game is it's soundtrack. There are countless Nintendo style versions of classical tracks from the ages (Ride of the Valkyries, Land of Hope and Glory etc) and if you're not a fan of the originals, you'll soon find yourself humming along.

Little King will no doubt be dismissed by many, but it's easily one of the most addictive games I own for my Wii, it's brilliant.

Anno: Create A New World

When you think of the Wii, the historical real time strategy game probably isn't the first genre of game that will pop into your head. This is probably one big reason why not many people have heard of Anno: Create A New World.

Anno is a game in the style of Civilisation and Age of Empires and is genuinely brilliant. It combines empire building and expansion with trade, war and exploration, this is all backed up by a (slightly annoying at times) fully voiced cast of characters which adds a real sheen to the game.

It also makes excellent use of the Wii remote, something many games failed to do. The controls are responsive and easy to get the hang of...which is lucky because there are times when it's crucial to navigate the world quickly.

Although Anno certainly won't to appeal to all tastes, if you enjoy this kind of simulation title, then it's an absolute must.


On first inspection Opoona is just another cutesy Wii game aimed at kids, but give it a chance and you'll find a surprisingly deep and enjoyable RPG romp.

It's worth pointing out first though that if you pick this game up expecting something of the caliber of Xenoblade or Dragon Quest then you'll probably be disappointed, it's definitely a lighter experience.

Opoona kind of reminds me of an old style console RPG (ala Dragon Quest), it's blessed with some really imaginative graphics and a fun, interesting job system. It's not going to last you months and it won't have you emotionally involved like some games can, but if RPGs are your thing then definitely check it out.

Endless Ocean

Endless Ocean is one of those games that you either love or hate, there doesn't seem to be much middle ground. Gamers who enjoy non stop action should avoid like the plague, but if you like to play games that are relaxing and that promote exploration and have an open ended feel then you could do a lot worse than Endless Ocean.

The objective basically is to take your character (a scuba diver) to the seas and help them to explore, photograph and catalogue various types of creature.

When it was first released, I can remember spending hours marvelling at how nice the underwater environments looked and how the fantastic music adds to a really tranquil experience.

Definitely a good game to unwind with.

This list is also available in it's original form, over at Listal.


  1. This probably seems like an obvious suggestion, but if you haven't tried No More Heroes (or its sequel), I'd HIGHLY recommend you do so, as I think you'll find it a splendid Wii exclusive that is fun to play, has a quirky sense of humor (Suda51), and is just a fun ride, especially for someone such as yourself who is into retro gaming (since this game has a lot of retro gaming references and even a bonus shmup mini game). Definitely worth your time and money, especially now considering how inexpensive it has become used.

    1. Hey man, thanks for the comment and suggestion, much appreciated! I didn't have No More Heroes at the time of doing the list but I do now and couldn't agree's marvellous!

      The humour is top class and its such a radical departure for the Wii. I don't have the sequel yet but it is something I really need to track down.