The Wii U is done. There, I said it. The meteoric rise of the Nintendo Switch has proven to be the final nail in the Wii U’s coffin despite statements saying the publisher will continue to make software. Yet while the hardware may have been lacking compared to its peers, the Wii U is arguably one of the most underrated modern systems next to the Dreamcast and GameCube.
The key to the (mild) success of Nintendo’s recent console resided with the excellent library of games. With titles ranging from action-RPG to family sports, the Wii U had something for everyone. Unfortunately, not everyone had the console. With Nintendo now pivoting their support to the Switch, I can’t help but think it’d be good strategy to port some of the more popular software to the new hardware. Just imagine the handheld glory of the Zelda HD remakes, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, or Super Mario 3D World. There’s a vast archive of quality titles, let’s take a look at games that would make a seamless transition from the Wii U to the Switch.
Paper Mario Color Splash (Nintendo, 2016)
Beginning in 2000 with Paper Mario for the Nintendo 64, this youthful RPG series has become a mainstay on nearly every Nintendo console since and has been one of the best sellers on every iteration of the Virtual Console. It wasn’t until 2012’s Paper Mario Sticker Star for the 3DS that series had its first failure. Fans criticized the forced handholding and asinine battle system, quickly sending Sticker Star to the bottom rungs of the 3DS library. Paper Mario Color Splash followed in 2016, the final year of the Wii U life-cycle, and instantly received middling reviews and sales. This has been attributed to the similarities between Color Splash and Sticker Star, primarily the battle system that was devoid of challenge and repetitive collectables that govern said battle system.
Despite the first response from critics, an interesting thing happened as time wore on… the reviews got better. The more time people spent with the game, the more they liked it. With this in mind, I think the Paper Mario Color Splash would greatly benefit from a second life on the Switch. The portable nature of the Nintendo Switch lends itself perfectly to role-playing games so why not capitalize on a series that features the most iconic character in video game history? It seems like an easy choice and could quickly allow the title to become a bridge game to a new entry.
Hyrule Warriors (Nintendo, 2014)
This Zelda adaption of Koei Tecmo’s popular Dynasty Warriors franchise offered Nintendo fans a great version of Hyrule complete with hack and slash fun and a great cast of characters. This pivot towards a combat based game was a breath of fresh air for the Wii U library which, much like its predecessor, featured very few action themed games.
The monumental and much deserved popularity of The Breath of the Wild gives Nintendo the perfect chance to capitalize on The Legend of Zelda hype and bring other styles of gameplay to the iconic universe. Hyrule Warriors also received a fair amount of DLC, something that always adds value to the re-release of the game. If Nintendo could parlay their new line of Breath of the Wild Amiibo into more content for Hyrule Warriors they could be sitting on a gold mine.
Captain Toad Treasure Tracker (Nintendo, 2014)
Similar to the recent Bomberman Switch, Captain Toad Treasure Tracker was a tough sell to fans due to its length combined with a high price point (side note: it’s about time Nintendo learned what constitutes a sixty dollar game… 1-2-3 Switch). After years on the shelves, Nintendo opted to repackage the game with an included Amiibo to better support the title (and to clear out existing stock).
The continued backing of Captain Toad Treasure Tracker on the Switch would be a great idea, maybe not necessarily with a new game but most likely with a digital release. The pick up and play aspect of Treasure Tracker lends itself great to bus rides and waiting rooms, allowing the player to jump in and out of the puzzles as they please. If the developers could somehow combine this with additional levels, much like the deluxe edition of Mario Kart 8, players could get a chance to revisit the Mario universe in a new and exciting way. The game itself was incredibly enjoyable, as most fans learned when Captain Toad made an appearance in Super Mario 3D World for the Wii U. With charming gameplay and adorable graphics, this would be a great series to continue on the Virtual Console with level updates and improved puzzles.
Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE (Atlus, 2016)
This crossover RPG from Atlus is one of the more underappreciated games on the Wii U primarily because of its obscure premise and a cast of characters that had yet to be popularized in the West. Oh what a difference a year makes though, as we now have been treated to new titles from the routes of Tokyo Mirage with the recent release of Persona 5, Shin Megami Tensei IV: Apocalypse and Fire Emblem: Shadows of Valentia. With the rising fame of the two core franchises, now is the time for Nintendo to try and bring an 80+ hour fan-service action-RPG to a console that’s perfect for lengthy games.
The colorful graphics and memorable characters are just minor parts of a great game that exists right outside of the cultural zeitgeist. What made the game so hard for Western fans to dive in to was the J-Pop storyline and soundtrack, a genre that is mainly unbeknownst to US gamers. I’m not going to lie, at first it was difficult to get acclimated to the fast paced story and loud pop music. After some time though, I grew to really appreciate the complex tale and deep character roster. Once I was on-board with the story I was able to immensely enjoy the amazing technicality to the gameplay, a factor I cannot emphasize enough. Between the gorgeous environments, well designed bosses and tight controls, Tokyo Mirage Sessions FE is a prime example of a game that can transcend the Wii U’s poor sales and make a name for itself on the Switch.
The Wonderful 101 (Nintendo, 2013)
The Wonderful 101 was a great hidden gem on the Wii U and could make a seamless transition to the Switch by capitalizing on the co-op games Nintendo so desperately needs. The Wonderful 101 is a sandbox super-hero game that pits your swarm of unique heroes against behemoth bosses that are trampling your city. The multiplayer aspect of the game was highly touted by Nintendo, however the touch screen gamepad limited the depth of multiplayer gaming Wii U across the board. Now with the Switch having detachable controllers and a better online system, The Wonderful 101 can get now life on the Virtual Console.
Just imagine being able to sit down with 2-4 friends, each using a single joy-con, and laying siege to the evils that threaten the virtual city. The frantic visuals and fast paced gameplay would make this game a perfect local or online co-op experience as well as both a portable and home-console highlight. The swarm formation of tiny heroes is a visual feast that would make hipster roof-top parties swoon. If you haven’t played The Wonderful 101 yet, I highly recommend it.
Are you a fan of games being ported to newer consoles? What Wii U games would translate well to the Switch? Comment below and stay tuned to GWW for more video game news.