Hard to Find. Hard to Play. –
Now that Nintendo’s Wii can be viewed in a rearview mirror, it is interesting to look back at the entire library to see some games that might have been overlooked for one reason or another. With the Wii WiFi service now completely shut off, the Wii Mini console’s lacking hardware features, and Nintendo focusing solely on the Wii U, playing the follow games will be rather difficult due to limited print runs, rarity, and just overall lack of attention with better things to play. However, if you manage to find some of these titles out in the wild, you might want to take advantage of the Wii U’s backwards compatibility with Wii games. In no particular order:
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast (2007)
Donkey Kong Barrel Blast was basically the Mario Kart game before Mario Kart Wii launched six months later. This harder to find simian racer has players flicking the Wii Remote and Nunchuk as if beating a drum to gain speed. Once top speed was reach, the player no longer needed to drum the air but then could instead concentrate on using power-ups and speed boosts. If you played this before Mario Kart Wii then you probably had some fun with it. Today, unfortunately, doesn’t hold up quite as well but provides an interesting look back on how far Wii games have evolved. Why won’t you be playing this game? Besides being a little more difficult to find, there really is no reason to play this arcadey racer with Mario Kart Wii, Mario Kart 7 (3DS) and Mario Kart 8 (Wii U) readily available.
Rygar The Battle of Argus (2009)
A port of the 2002 PS2 reboot, Rygar is basically the same game as the PS2 version sans a new main character and some updated motion control. This is a rather strange and surprising gameplay change as the main character went from a noble looking shield bearing soldier to a sort of Californian surfer dude. Image playing as some kind of hippie instead of a spikey hair blonde dude who wields a big sword in Final Fantasy VII; wouldn’t have the same effect, you know? Anyway, if you can find it, Rygar is an inexpensive title that is still worth your time today and actually acts as the grandfather to the God of War series. That’s right, Rygar came out well before the first God of War and the similarities are uncanny.
Contra Rebirth (2009)
In comparison to Microsoft’s Xbox Live Arcade or Sony’s Playstation Network, Nintendo’s WiiWare service came in a strong third place. Never achieving the same level of quality and recognition as its competitors, many of these downloadable games went unnoticed. Konami was one of the few big third party companies to test out Nintendo’s digital service by rebooting a few of their franchises: Gradius, Castlevania, and Contra. The Rebirth series took these classic games and reimagined them as a Wii digital download. While the Gradius and Castlevania Rebirth titles are essentially remakes of previous games, Contra Rebirth is an original adventure that isn’t as memorable as the original NES or SNES version but still holds up today especially in 2-player (local only) co-op mode. The odds of players plunking down $10 today for this forgotten and neglected reboot are highly unlikely even though it is accessible through the Wii channel of your Wii U system.
Final Fantasy Echoes of Time (2009)
There were actually a few original Final Fantasy titles released on Nintendo’s motion controlled system but Echoes of Time stands as the most unique. If you’re lucky, you might be able to snag a copy at your local Gamestop but because the WiFi services are completely shut down, there really is no point in playing this game currently. You see, the highlighting feature of Echoes of Time was cross platform play with the DS version. This means Wii players can play through a wireless connection with DS players. Definitely a unique concept but unfortunately the gameplay wasn’t that great and the Wii version made the user interface awkward thanks to resizing of what was normally dedicated to the top and bottom screen of the DS. It is worth checking out for a short time just for the novelty alone but players will probably have more luck finding a copy of Final Fantasy Crystal Bearers or downloading The After Years or My Life As A Dark Lord from the WiiWare service.
Kirby’s Return To Dreamland (2011)
Before New Super Mario Bros and Super Mario 3D World on Wii U introduced four-player same sofa co-op platforming, Nintendo tinkered around with this idea with the very valuable and hard-to-find Kirby’s Return to Dream Land. A solid follow-up to Kirby’s Epic Yarn, this 2D platformer is actually a pretty fun game if you can manage to find a copy and let’s players play as Kirby, King Dedede, a Waddle Dee and even Meta Knight. Due to a limited print run and a late release, Return To Dreamland has a high price of admission.
Metroid Prime Trilogy (2009)
After the Prime series wrapped up with Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, Retro went back and retooled the two previous Metroid Prime titles (which were originally released on Gamecube) with Wii Remote motion control and bundled everything on one extreme valuable and rare disc. With used copies selling for well over $60 on internet retailers, Metroid Prime Trilogy is one disc that you wish you owned but probably never will. Now that many years have passed since the last true Metroid game (no one really counts Other M), it is time fans got a new game in this series anyway.
Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn (2007)
One of the most valuable Wii games also launched shortly after the console’s birth. The first great strategy game is extremely difficult to find today and used copies sell for Metroid Prime Trilogy prices. Radiant Dawn built off of Path of Radiance’s quality and paved the way for Awakening. If you can find a copy, know that Radiant Dawn is a very difficult game and some players might even die during the opening tutorial. But Fire Emblem and strategy fans wouldn’t really have it any other way.
Xenoblade Chronicles (2012)
While The Last Story and Pandora’s Tower are also exclusive Wii games, Xenoblade Chronicles takes the cake for being the hardest to find with highest quality gameplay. There is a chance your local Gamestop might have a copy sitting on the used game shelf but not without a high price tag. With Xenoblade Chronicles X (Wii U) supposedly coming out sometime next year, only hardcore fans will be willing to track down a copy of this Wii original let alone spend the several dozens of hours to complete it. Luckily, Nintendo just announced a port of Xenoblade Chronicles for the redesigned New 3DS system with an extra analog stick and shoulder buttons.
Castlevania Judgment (2008)
Did you know there was a fighting game on Wii? And did you know this fighting game pitted Castlevania characters against each other in a 3D one-on-one arena? I know what you are thinking and for the most part you are right but Castlevania Judgment isn’t as terrible as you would assume. Once you get over the control learning curve and figure out the rest of the game mechanics, Judgment is a sort-of sleeper hit. Don’t get me wrong, this is no Soul Calibur, Tekken, Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat but for a unique Wii game, this game no one ask for can provide a short lived burst of curious entertainment. There should probably be a copy sitting on a shelf at your local Gamestop for a low price point but the chances of you playing this fighter in any serious fashion is probably slim to none especially with the Wii WiFi shut off.
Endless Ocean (2008) + Endless Ocean Blue World (2010)
Although these are two different games, the form is the same. Fans of other non-violent sim games like Animal Crossing, Nintendogs, and Tomadachi Life will probably get the biggest kick out of this underwater exploratory exclusive Wii title. With no really end goal, the point of these casual Wii games are to just simply sit back, relax, and explore. While there might be a very cheap copy sitting on a used game shelf at a local Gamestop, it is doubtful anyone will really want to go back and play these simple games especially since the multiplayer WiFi and Wii Speak options will no longer work.
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By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com