The 25 best Wii U games

This is a Living List. What does that mean? Click here to find out more about GamesRadar's Best Lists!

Current Living Lists:

Best Xbox One games | Best PS4 games
Best PC games | Best Wii U games
Best 3DS games | Best Vita games
Best games ever

What to buy?

The Wii U isn't known for its vastly extensive games library but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of gems you should be playing. In order to keep you in the know, we've ranked the best 25 games to own for the system, taking into account quality, use of the system's unique features, and other intangibles. This is a living list, but as of right now here are the best Wii U games. 

It's worth noting too that it's fairly quiet on the Wii U front at the moment, which means now is the time to hoover up some bargains.

25. Wii Party U

Wii Party U is yet another mini-game collection on a Wii system, but its a well-made one. Like the first Wii Party, its Mario Party-like in structure, but a bit more free-form. You can choose to play the included mini-games in the familiar board game format, but its not really the focus here. Basically, Wii Party U is about getting in and watching your Miis do crazy stuff like ride bikes on really narrow paths.

The fact that Wii Party U is actually made by Nintendo really does show, and it makes the game worth a look on its own. But if you dont believe me, take a look at some of Wii Party Us innovative and exciting mini-games, many of which make unique use of the Wii U Gamepad. One, for example, has you using the Gamepad like a cocktail arcade cabinet, with two players each using half of the controller to play a top-down soccer game. Pretty cool.

View on Amazon

24. Wii Fit U

You can look at Wii Fit U as nothing more than a cheap cash-in on the success of the original Wii Fit. But if you take the time to see Wii Fit U for its better aspects, youll discover its a charming game that carries Nintendos trademark polish. Yes, it is absolutely a fitness program first (a good one, at that), but it has considerable gameplay merit as well, and Nintendo is probably the only company that could be reasonably expected to pull that feat off.

As this Wii U update goes, it doesnt bring all that much new content to the table, but it does allow you to import data from the original game, if you have any. And, if youre a newcomer, youll find plenty here to keep you entertained as you work towards your fitness goals. With Wii Fit U, Nintendo has yet again succeeded at an admirable goal.

View on Amazon

23. Lego City: Undercover

We've heard you joking, saying, "someone should make Lego Grand Theft Auto!" whenever a new Lego game was announced. You never expected anyone to do it, did you? But then, all of a sudden, Traveller's Tales actually did it--and it was super good. Lego City: Undercover includes a massive city to explore and all the charm Lego games are known for, all without the M rating open-world crime games usually get. Instead, it's a fun trip through a blocky city that anyone can enjoy, filled with things to build and people to save.

Exploring the world as Chase McCain is a ton of fun, and being able to change into eight different outfits to take on new jobs adds plenty of gameplay variety. Donning an astronaut costume will let you zoom around in a jetpack (because apparently astronauts have jetpacks), and dressing as a firefighter allows you to put out fires you find in the open world. Though you'll likely miss co-op, which was oddly omitted from Lego City, there's a good chance you'll be distracted enough by the dozens of hours of content that you'll barely notice it's missing.

View on Amazon

22. The Wonderful 101

Don't mistake The Wonderful 101 for some sort of group-management game like Pikmin--this is a full-on action game wrapped in a Viewtiful Joe disguise. You control a superhero in a wonderfully realized world full of sass and puns (no surprise considering The Wonderful 101 comes from Platinum Games, the team behind Bayonetta). With dozens of followers under your command, you must save the world one GamePad stroke at a time.

See, your superhero can command his followers to form giant weapons--whips, swords, etc--which is done by drawing the corresponding shape of said weapon on the GamePad's touchscreen. While this is a great use of the Wii U's unique controller, in practice it can be rather difficult to draw certain shapes on the fly while simultaneously dodging attacks onscreen. Still, The Wonderful 101 is packed with charm and humor in equal measure, and even though its gameplay doesn't always translate into fun, it's a mostly enjoyable adventure all the same.

View on Amazon

21. ZombiU

Ubi’s surprise launch day hit is still as terrifying as it was back in 2012. London has been hit by the zombie virus and you’re one of the few survivors out there who hasn’t turned into a brain hungry staggering fiend. It’s not like zombies haven’t been done to, well, death but ZombiU manages to crank up the tension in a number of ways. It’s permadeath for one thing. Send your intrepid survivor out into London town and die and you’ll restart as another person entirely, complete with backstory. All that’s left of your previous character is a shambling corpse and one that you’ll probably have to kill if you want your precious rucksack of stuff back.  

ZombiU is brutal and nasty. Survival is difficult, weapons are scarce, but a lot of the fear stems from some terrifyingly inventive uses of the gamepad. While you’re rummaging around in your rucksack for loot, you’re prime zombie munching fodder so every gaze into your inventory is a serious risk. Looting enemies and sniping is all done through the gamepad too so it all genuinely feels designed for the console instead of shoe horned in. Officially the scariest game on Wii U. 

20. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze,

If you've ever played the Donkey Kong Country series on Super Nintendo, you know that those games are hard. Yet despite the fact that you will die again, and again, and again, it never seems so bad because the challenge is fair, and even the trickiest platforming section feels conquerable with enough effort. That same spirit of sublime difficulty is alive and well in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, the Wii U sequel to Retro Studios' excellent 2.5D reboot of DK's jungle-stomping franchise.

Besides the tough-but-gratifying running and jumping, Tropical Freeze has great presentation and polish. It's packed with subtle detail and vibrant visuals, and a great soundtrack makes the whole experience all the more enjoyable. Plus, the three different Kongs you can partner up with--Diddy, Daisy, and Cranky--each have a unique ability, providing some variety in the way you approach each challenging obstacle. Sure, Tropical Freeze is tough, but it's difficult in all the right ways and is a must-own title for any Wii U owner.

View on Amazon

19. Axiom Verge

Axiom Verge came to Wii U about a year later than every other console, but this means Nintendo got the definitive version of this gorgeous, old-school Metroidvania game. The Wii U version added a leaderboard function for speedrunners - on other consoles, you have to record this info yourself - and you can always see the map on the Wii U GamePad. For a game about exploration, this a revolutionary addition. There are no hints in Axiom Verge - not arrows pointing you where to go - so the incorporation of the Wii U’s second screen is a masterstroke.

This may be a form of heresy, but it’s safe to say Axiom Verge is better than many of the classics that inspired it, and if you’re going to play any version of it, this is the one to pick up.

18. Duck Tales Remastered

DuckTales Remastered takes a beloved classic and updates it with beautiful, modern visuals. Sure, there are plenty of retro revivals of this sort, but DuckTales Remastered gets the porridge just right, finding the perfect balance between new and old. Its controls and overall feel are largely the same, not in need of a major overhaul. But some minor improvements have been made to the level layouts, and just enough new content has been added to make it an entirely worthwhile package.

It's made possible by developer WayForwards care and attention to detail. WayForward, no stranger to artful 2D games, showed a clear love for the original, implementing changes that die-hard fans would want. For example, the originals notoriously lackluster final level, which was actually a recycled stage from earlier in the game, has been removed and replaced with an entirely new level. So grab DuckTales Remastered and have an excellent experience with it today, regardless of your familiarity with the NES original.

View on Amazon

17. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Imagine a host of your favourite JRPG characters clocking off, unbuckling their swords and kicking back at the weirdest nightclub on the planet, and you’re somewhere close to Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE. It’s a concept so absurd it's almost alienating, combining elements from relatively niche games such as Shin Megami Tensei and Fire Emblem, and an aspirational teen J-Pop storyline. But this is precisely what makes it so special. 

Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE is a fun, incredibly player-friendly romp that doesn’t take itself too seriously - yes, bad things are happening, but everything is bright, cheerful, and tongue is firmly in bubblegum-flavoured cheek. If you want a game that’s happy to throw in mid-dungeon song-and-dance routines to fake anime theme songs, this is the only place to come. It's magnificently weird and proud of it, using a ridiculous concept to craft a solid, surprisingly engrossing JRPG that's impossible to resist.

We recommend