The Nintendo Wii U is without question, the underdog of the console market, even if it is the best console on store shelves right now. For gamers like myself, the most important difference between the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U is the amount of exclusive games they offer. Sure, they have differences in CPU and graphical power, but at the end of the day, it all boils down to the games we can play. While most big third-party developers have written off the Wii U, for gamers like me who frequently use Steam and have powerful enough computers to play most A-list titles featured on both the Xbox One and PS4, Nintendo wins, if only for it’s exclusive titles. Wii U owners don’t need third party games because Nintendo still produces a high percentage of the best games each and every year for both the WiiU and there portable system, the 3DS. Don’t believe me? In 2013 Nintendo released some of the very best games including Pikmin 3, Pokémon X and Y, Fire Emblem: Awakening, The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Super Mario 3D World – and in 2014 Nintendo did even better, releasing Mario Kart 8, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Bayonetta 2, Bravely Default, Super Smash Bros. and Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth (game of the year). The Wii U might just be their worst-named console but with their exclusive franchises and growing list of virtual titles, it’s the best new-gen gaming machine on the market today. The Wii U is also the cheapest console and you don’t have to pay a monthly subscription to access bonus content. It’s fantastic for couch co-op and competitive play and it’s fully backwards compatible with Wii games. In fact, not only can you play Wii games, you can also switch to the Wii menu and purchase an additional 395 titles available on the Virtual Console including the very best from the original NES system, Super NES, Nintendo 64, Neo Geo, Sega Master System, Genesis and TurboGrafx-16. So what does Nintendo have in store for the Wii U in 2015? Here are my most anticipated games exclusive to Wii U and set for release in 2015:
7. Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars
Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars was displayed as a demo at the GDC 2014. Like the other entries in the series, the goal of each level is to guide the Mini Marios to the exit, creating paths through the positioning of platforms and other interactions with the setting made through the Wii U GamePad. As the sixth Mario vs. Donkey Kong game, it will be the first to be released on a home console and boasts great new features such as sharing custom stages through Miiverse. It will also allow players to tip the creators of the user-generated puzzles with stars, which can be used to buy new parts in the robust creator. If you love puzzle games, this should interest you.
6. Mario Party 10
Mario Party 10 continues the tradition of the Mario Party series, in which four players, controlled by either human or CPU, compete against each other by participating in various mini-games. This time around, you can play as Bowser and face off against up to four others playing as Mario and friends. Players can control characters using various buttons, motion controls and the touch screen of the Wii U GamePad controller in different ways. Along with the standard competitive modes, it was announced that Mario Party 10 would be getting its own amiibo line. Furthermore, the existing amiibo characters (Peach, Yoshi, Bowser, Luigi, and Mario) would be interchangeable.
Splatoon is the upcoming third-person shooter which is playable by up to eight players in online four-versus-four matches. Splatoon is beginning to shape up rather nicely, and with a May release confirmed, we have just a few months before it arrives. If you like shooters, this game is right up your alley. I recommend checking out the official Tumblr page which is always busy with recent updates.
4. Xenoblade Chronicles X
Part of the Xeno series of video games; serving as a spiritual successor to the beloved Xenoblade Chronicles, Xenoblade Chronicles X is scheduled for release on April 29, 2015 in Japan, and later in the year for North America, Europe and Australia. The game has many similar gameplay mechanics to its predecessor, such as the freedom to explore the world and run to virtually anywhere you can see in the distance. In addition, rather than following a preset group of characters such as in Xenoblade Chronicles, this successor introduces the ability to customize your own. If you’re unfamiliar with the franchise, the trailer below should give you further insight as to why this title is so hotly anticipated.
3. Star Fox U
Nintendo’s top game designer has created an unusual way to play Star Fox on the Wii U, and while I’m worried it might not work very well, I’m hoping for the best. The game uses the Wii U GamePad controller screen for a first-person cockpit view while displaying a third-person behind-the-Arwing-fighter view on the TV. Miyamoto revealed the new Star Fox game during a showcase held in Nintendo’s E3 booth for a handful of reporters and explained that the idea behind the concept is to enable players to have independent control of where they fly and where they shoot. The GamePad’s control sticks steer Fox’s fighter jet, but the GamePad’s gyro controls act more like a fighter pilot’s targeting visor and lets players tilt the pad to look in any direction to shoot. Honestly, the concept doesn’t really excite me, but this is Miyamoto and this is a new Star Fox game!
2. Mario Maker
30 years after the release of the original Nintendo Entertainment System, gamers will be given the chance to create their own Super Mario levels using the Wii U GamePad controller. Mario Maker is an upcoming side-scroller game creation application that acts as a level editor, in which users can create and play their own Mario levels. Players can easily switch between different visual styles including the original Super Mario Bros. 8-bit NES graphics, and the New Super Mario Bros. U style of HD graphics (with rumors that they plan to include more visual styles, even from non-Mario games). Just imagine creating your own Super Mario game and sharing it with your friends to play.
1. The Legend of Zelda
Nintendo’s next entry in The Legend of Zelda franchise will allow players to explore a completely new world of Zelda – a vast land with few boundaries and tons of side quests. Nintendo states the game will take place in a fully connected overworld, similar to the original Legend of Zelda, with less emphasis on defined entrances and exits to dungeons. Designer Eiji Aonuma says players have more freedom to decide where they want to go and how to get there. The game, which has yet to have its full title revealed, has such a large, sprawling world to explore, that apparently some of the maps are bigger than some of the previous Zelda games combined. And did I mention side quests? Just knowing there is an open world Zelda game set for release this year has me excited but also terrified it will eat away at all my free time. That said, Miyamoto also makes it clear that you won’t need to dedicate your life to the game in order to enjoy it.