5. Super Smash Bros for Wii U. A Smash Bros game on the Switch seems inevitable. It remains to be seen whether that will be an ‘updated’ or ‘complete’ version of the last Smash Bros game, something like Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, or a completely new entry. The Wii U version certainly was not lacking in terms of content or game play so an upgraded port seemed feasible – particularly if it included the 3DS version’s more portable-themed content. Its certainly one of the Wii U’s most appealing releases yet to migrate to the Switch. There has been a trend, however, since the days of the Nintendo 64, for each console to only see one Smash Bros game. If Nintendo are planning on going big with Smash Bros Switch, that may be why we’ve not seen a stop-gap release in the Switch’s first year.
4. Nintendo Land. This might be the most surprising choice on this list, but Nintendo Land was one of the first titles that made early-adopters optimistic about the Wii U’s future. This collection of Nintendo-themed mini games may not be for everyone, and its reliance on the Wii U’s unique hardware is certain to cause some difficulties, but it oozes charm. The fact it references almost every Nintendo title (including some we haven’t heard from in some time) doesn’t hurt either. Although not nearly as popular, Nintendo Land did what Wii Sports did for the original Wii; it justified its hardware through unique, enjoyable experiences. In essence its a party game, and its focus on straightforward games meant it could be picked-up and enjoyed by anyone (Chase Mario is still a regular feature with friends). The next-gen equivalent, 1-2 Switch, seems to divide opinion, particularly its price, so its not hard to imagine a revamped Nintendo Land finding an audience.
3. The Wonderful 101. With Platinum games porting over Bayonetta 1 and Bayonetta 2 to the Switch in advance of the third game in the series there is much speculation as to whether or not this Wii U gem will be heading that way too. The Wonderful 101 is an action-adventure game that saw players morphing their grouping of 100 characters into different shapes by drawing on the touch pad. Really, the above theme song says it all – its a game that stands out because of its unique tone, humour and characters. If you prefer games where you’re being followed by hundreds of characters to be more puzzling than action-packed then there’s still Pikmin 3.
2. Xenoblade Chronicles X. The Wii U had two stand-out role-playing games that have yet to appear on any other console. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE was fantastic, despite its slightly off-putting name, but Xenoblade Chronicles X was so ambitious and immersive it seems a shame it did not get to perform in front of a larger audience. It also has a phenomenal soundtrack, if you’re into that sort of thing. Unlike Xenoblade Chronicles 1 or 2, X let the player create their own character. As a result, its story telling was a little different to most JRPGS, but more be worked really well. The main character may have been a little on the two-dimensional side, but every side character had their own subplots that delved into their backstories and motivations. The plot literally presents you with a ticking clock to the doom of mankind, visible at all times on the main tower of New LA (though only main story missions decreased the time remaining), which kept the stakes high. The main draw here is the expansive open world which is navigated slowly and carefully on foot for a significant portion of the game, before you gain access to the customisable ‘Skells’ (the mechs on the front of the box) that let you zoom around at speed.
1. Super Mario 3D World. Switch owners may have all the Mario they need for now thanks to Odyssey, but Super Mario 3D World excelled at something most Mario games struggle with: multiplayer. As its metacritic scores show Super Mario 3D World (no points here for that title) managed to capture everything that made a great 3D Mario game but also made it 4-player. Is it frantic with 4 characters running around on one screen, jumping to the same places? Difficult even? Yes, absolutely. People will regularly get bumped off ledges or miss jumps and perish spectacularly. But its so fun you won’t mind. There’s even a little crown the highest-scoring player gets that awards bonus points at the end of the next level….providing nobody steals it.