Nintendo's Wii U started out slowly, but over the last year or two has begun to build some momentum thanks to its small, but growing library of high-quality games. To help sort out the best from the rest, the USG team has looked at the entire roster of Wii U titles and chosen the ones they think are the most worth the money. We've linked directly to games we've already reviewed, and provided mini-reviews of those we haven't.
We've sorted the games by rating, and below that are the personal picks from each member of the USG team, who also explain exactly why those games are their favorites.
Directly below are games we've rated 5 and 4.5 stars
- If you want to see which games are rated 4 stars, click here.
- If you want to see which games the USgamer team personally recommend, click here.
The Very Best - Rated 5 Stars
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse: Don't let Rainbow Curse's relatively small length put you off; it's a sublime experience that completely washes its hands of the padding most games employ to justify a retail release. If you're used to finishing games out of a sense of weary obligation, expect to be pleasantly surprised when this latest Kirby spin-off leaves you fully satisfied by the end of its final level.
Super Mario Maker: What better way to commemorate three decades of Super Mario Bros. than to put the tools for creating Mario games in the hands of fans? The series has long since become a part of the medium's vocabulary, and Super Mario Maker turns the act of creating new Mario adventures into a process as intuitive as the play mechanics it reproduces. Whether you're a serious student of game design, looking to kill a few minutes with your friends' creations, or an avid enthusiast of sadism through game design, you'll find something to love in Super Mario Maker.
Highly Recommended - Rated 4.5 Stars
Bayonetta 2: Bayonetta 2 is the high-flying return of everyone's favorite Umbra Witch. Platinum Games pushes to the Wii U to its limit with fast action, magnificent vistas, and huge bosses. The addition of the original Bayonetta just pushes the entire package over the top. If you're a Devil May Cry fan, this is a must-buy.
Donkey Kong Country: Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze isn't the most ambitious game, but it throws its characters into unique and clever challenges with each new level. Nintendo would be pushing it if they went for another Donkey Kong game in this style, but for now, Tropical Freeze can sit alongside Super Mario 3D World as one of the finest platformers of this generation.
Super Mario 3D World: A spot-on exploration of what Nintendo really does best: Create varied and surprising twists on concepts and ingredients you thought you knew inside-out. The fact that 3D World remains lively and interesting despite calling back to so many well-loved classics serves as a succinct reminder as to why Mario remains successful after so many years and so many games: At its heart, the series is ultimately just about having simple, unpretentious fun.
Mario Kart 8: Nintendo needed another great game to make the Wii U look as enticing as possible and Mario Kart 8 fits the bill. The anti-gravity gameplay slots in alongside classic kart racing, hang-gliding, and underwater action. All the tracks look amazing and Nintendo has a lot of fun making each track twist, turn, and soar into the sky. Robust online multiplayer, downloadable player ghosts, and Mario Kart TV add a bit of extra muscle. Mario Kart 8 is not the best in the series, but it does stand near the top.
Pushmo World: The 'Mo series has been one of Nintendo's best new properties in recent years, so it's great to see it take a leap to the Wii U. And even if you don't consider yourself a master of puzzles, the game does an excellent job of slowly breaking you into its increasing complexity. If you're willing to toss some money in Nintendo's direction, Pushmo World offers enough cerebral challenges to keep you busy throughout the summer — or whenever you need some time away from Mario Kart 8.
Lego Marvel Superheroes: For families or individuals who love Marvel comics, movies, or cartoons, Lego Marvel Superheroes is the perfect pick-up. Its just packed with fun things to do, and has a great sense of humor. (Link is to PS4 review, but the Wii U version is the same).
Wii Fit U: While the majority of Wii Fit U isn't as "hardcore" as some fitness buffs may like, it does provide an enormously friendly, approachable entry point into the world of exercise for those who may have struggled with motivation in the past. Featuring a swathe of enjoyable games and a wealth of helpful advice, it's a great starting point on a journey towards a leaner, meaner you.
Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker: In many ways, Wind Waker represents a high point for the Zelda series. Its tremendous world, lovely art, amazing combat, and welcome new features have yet to be surpassed by its sequels. For my money, Wind Waker is Zelda at its best. But this time, it's even better than before.
Pikmin 3: This is one of the best pieces of software on Wii U. It's a light strategy game about controlling chirpy carrot-men, which doesn't exactly sound thrilling, but it's one of those games in which everything comes together just right.
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker: Treasure Tracker may be relatively budget-priced, but it doesn't feel like a cheap, throwaway creation. Every inch of its nearly 100 stages and bonus levels has been buffed to a spit-shine finish, and the Nintendo content factory has produced dozens of one-of-a-kind stage concepts to explore here. Alternately a test of observation, reflex, planning, and deduction, Captain Toad's first standalone title (of assuredly many) demonstrates that spinoffs don't have to feel phoned in... and that there's room in gaming to give top-class love and attention to family-friendly creations, too.
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (Director's Cut): A terrific cinematic first-person sci-fi adventure set in a dystopian future. One of the best adult games for Wii U.
Up next are the games we've rated 4 stars. Click here to go to that page.