Top 10 Best Wii Games

As I packed my collection for our recent move, I realized I have the fewest games for the Wii of any Nintendo console! I need show this little “revolution” from Mr. Iwata some more love. It’s unique controls and gimmicks were a breath of fresh air at release (and provided a great distraction for me my first year of teaching!) but truthfully haven’t aged as gracefully as the SNES or GameCube. Wii graphics were charming but not revolutionary, the motion controls brilliant in some games and a hindrance in others. And despite a few boundary pushing games here and there, after a while Nintendo seemed generally content to watch console sales speak for themselves. But despite this there are still excellent titles on the Nintendo Wii! Here are my personal top 10 best Wii games that I think hold up well today.

10. Wii Sports

Is there anyone on the Earth who hasn’t played Wii sports? It was a brilliant choice of pack-in title, as this game was the definition of “easy to pick up and play”. Wii sports holds the honor of the only videogame I’ve been able to get my grandparents to play. Not every sport included is a winner due to some dodgy controls, but tennis in particular holds up very well! I’ll always have fond memories of getting ludicrously sweating in living rooms playing this with friends and family around the Wii release, especially with four players at once.

Wii sports case, disc, and three Wii remotes
Remember how hard it was to find extra Wii remotes at console launch?

9. The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword

Of all the Zelda games (my all time favorite series) this is the one I have the biggest “love/hate” relationship with. I absolutely adore some aspects of the game. The graphics are beautiful watercolor paintings come to life. Some of the dungeon design is the best in the series. Being the first game chronologically, the lore is fascinating. And this is my favorite incarnation of Princess Zelda to date! But the motion controls are way overdone-they’re used for nearly everything! You are required to read endless amounts of unnecessary dialogue, especially from Fi with constant and unnecessary reminders. And it’s very padded out-several quests are repetitive and tedious in the back half!

Yet it still averages out to a great Zelda title because of that Zelda magic, and just barely makes my top 10 best Wii games. Hopefully the upcoming Switch remaster corrects a few of the flaws like Wind Waker HD did!

Zelda Skyward Sword for Wii with 25th Anniversary Symphony CD and Skyward Sword Joy Cons

8. Super Paper Mario

Many Paper Mario fans will tell you this is where the series started to go awry. I certainly wish for a return to the RPG roots (like in the excellent Thousand Year Door) but very much enjoyed this entry! The characters and story might be the best of all the games, and the gameplay mechanics were innovative and made clever use of the Wii remote. I had a blast shifting between the 2D sidescrolling and 3D planes! And the action was a lot of silly fun, especially when controlling Bowser and Peach. Moving forward, I’d prefer if Nintendo and Intelligent Systems made Paper Mario games that were either 100% action, or 100% RPG, as opposed to the awkward but still loveable hybrids we have now!

Super Paper Mario case, disc, manual
It’s not quite as stellar as the original game, but you have to at least admire how lovely the art on the cover is!

7. New Super Mario Bros. Wii

I didn’t play this one until long after the Wii’s heyday, after I had already played New Super Mario Bros. U! It’s one of my little sister and brother-in-law’s favorites to play together, so they introduced me to it. Needless to say, I picked up my own copy soon after! It takes what was already great about the first New Super Mario Bros. entry and amplifies it several times, even adding multiplayer! Although playing with three other people is absolute chaos, it’s also insanely fun. A great mix of what the Wii was all about plus classic Mario goodness, it’s a must-play for any fan of the system.

New Super Mario Bros Wii case, disc, and manual
Gotta love that red case! Also I miss Club Nintendo…

6. Mario Kart Wii

First off, can we all agree that the box art for this ludicrously top selling game is just kind of lame? Second, how fun was the little steering wheel that was included? (answer: more fun that it ever had a right to be). I generally found the motion controls to be pretty intuitive here, whether using the wheel or tilted Wii remote. Being Mario Kart, this entry is of course packed full of enchanting and thrilling courses, both new and retro, even if it never quite reaches the heights of the best Mario Kart games. Nearly everyone owned several Wii remotes by the time the game released, so it was a great party game to play with friends! Definitely still worth playing today, or at least the remixed courses in Mario Kart 8!

Mario Kart Wii case, disc, manual, and blue Wii remote

5. Donkey Kong Country Returns

I have such fond memories of picking this game up and playing late into summer nights. Donkey Kong Country is one of my favorite series, and Retro Studios proved they could handle Nintendo’s best IPs with Metroid Prime (see below!). This game definitely has a different feel from the original trilogy on Super Nintendo, but once you’re over that it’s a delightful, atmospheric, and challenging wonder. Level design is always clever and the remixed soundtrack is stellar. It never quite reaches the euphoric heights of Donkey Kong Country 2, but it’s a lovely game that made me smile from start to finish (in between shouting fits of rage, because it’s hard!)

Donkey Kong Country Returns Wii box, disc, manual, Wii remote, and 3DS version of game
If the motion controls bother you, check out the also excellent 3DS edition of the game!

4. Metroid Prime Trilogy

Okay, I’m cheating a bit here. Metroid Prime 3 is the only game in the series unique to the Wii. But the improvements this collection makes to the original games are tremendous, and the packaging/extras this edition came with a dream for collectors! I’ve said this before, but how Retro Studios managed to so brilliantly translate Metroid’s 2D atmosphere into 3D so perfectly is still beyond me. Each of the games just feels like Metroid to me, and although 2D Metroid is still my *slight* preference, these games are spectacular experiences. I’m also a huge fan of lore in game series, and having the option to scan and learn about each of the worlds was a welcome and clever design element. Here’s hoping we’ll actually see Metroid Prime 4 (or at least another remastered trilogy) release in the Switch’s lifespan!

Metroid Prime Trilogy for Wii, Metroid Prime 1 disc, 2 case, and 3 disc, with Metroid amiibo, Samus and Dark Samus amiibo
I own way too much Metroid memorabilia, but want more. Maybe for the 35th anniversary?

3. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess

I always associate this game with my first year of teaching. It was the boost I needed to get to Christmas break! I got in line at my local Best Buy at 5am to pick up both a Wii console and this Zelda game I had been looking forward to for years since it was announced for GameCube. And it largely delivered! The world was beautiful, the gameplay was tight and satisfying, and the soundtrack super atmospheric. This is some of the best dungeon design in the series (Arbiter’s Grounds and Snowpeak Ruins being personal highlights), and Midna is easily my favorite “sidekick” in any game so far. I definitely have some issues with slow pacing and the general “emptiness” of the world compared to Ocarina of Time, but I still loved my time with this entry. Plus this the last Zelda guide from Nintendo Power, making it extra nostalgic!

Zelda Twilight Princess for Wii case, disc, manual, and Wii remote
I feel like Wolf Link was a bit underutilized in the game. At least we got a sweet amiibo with the Wii U re-release!

2. Super Mario Galaxy

I didn’t even realize how amazingly nostalgic and comforting this game was until I replayed it with my girls in the 3D All-Stars Collection. They were just as wowed as I was when the game released! Packed full of throwbacks to Mario’s history while also pushing the gameplay forward in revolutionary ways, it was perfect for fans of Nintendo and the Wii console in general. The gravity-based puzzles and exploration dazzled and delighted, and star missions were just the right length as not to overstay their welcome. The fully orchestrated soundtrack was a revelation, and “Gusty Garden Galaxy” continues to be one of my all time favorite themes! A true masterpiece all around. It would only be topped by it’s stellar sequel…

Super Mario Galaxy box, manual, disc. and blue wii remote
The whimsy in this game is out of control!

1. Super Mario Galaxy 2

The great “Mario Galaxy 1 vs. 2” debate will echo throughout the rest of history! Okay maybe not, but most fans have a strong opinion on it. I absolutely adore both Galaxy games, so much so they beat out my favorite series for the two top spots on this list. Mario Galaxy 2 simply did everything the first game did so much better (save for the story!). Seeing that the first Mario Galaxy is brilliant in every capacity, that’s no easy feat. But Galaxy 2 rose to the challenge!

The controls feel even better. There’s more variety in missions and less “fluff”. There are more throwbacks to the older games, plus an epic, very challenging, final galaxy. And Yoshi makes his triumphant and glorious return! (it’d been awhile since Sunshine) I have quite a few friends who skipped this title since it came toward the end of the Wii’s lifespan. It’s absolutely still worth playing today! Super Mario Galaxy 2 easily tops my list of top 10 best Wii games.

Super Mario Galaxy 2 box art, manual, disc, and blue wii remote
The Wii was also the last hurrah for proper manuals and inserts in Nintendo game boxes!

How do you feel about the Nintendo Wii? Did I miss any of your personal top 10 best Wii games? Let me know in the comments below!

11 thoughts on “Top 10 Best Wii Games”

  1. Indeed is Wii sports a very well made console. Probably no other console could rival its motion controls technology, besides it’s predecessors. I just got a Wii u, and I only have 2 actual Wii u games. The rest are Wii! I think you have very good taste, thinking of Mario Kart and Galaxy, which almost defined the wii. But my favorite would be wii sports. I kinda hoped you would put in sonic and Mario at the Olympics. Speaking of Sonic? Do you know what happened to Sonic 4 Episode I? I’ve only found it on play store, no way I have enough storage, and PC, which I don’t have.

    1. Zach Lindemann

      Thanks! I agree Wii Sports is awesome and has ludicrous replay value-I’ll still pop it in and play a few minutes for fun every now and then (tennis is my favorite!). I actually haven’t played the older Mario & Sonic at the Olympics games-I only picked up the most recent Tokyo edition during quarantine to play with my kids. We really enjoyed it for all the fun characters and mini games, and the historical facts about the Olympic games and Tokyo were very interesting! I’ll have to check out some older titles at some point.

      As for Sonic 4, since the original Wii Virtual Console is unfortunately shut down, I think you can currently only download it on XBox 360, PS3, or for PC/Mac iOS. I don’t have a PC either but we do watch all of our TV on an Apple TV, which is where I downloaded Sonic CD, so I may do the same for Sonic 4! (looks like it’s only $3)

  2. I am hoping that metroid, skyward sword, and twilight get the remake treatment that Mario galaxy did. I was never able to get into them as I quickly grew sick of tirelessly waving my arm around. I really wished that were able to make the controls on the wii switch back and forth between traditional and motion control as I did very much enjoy the motion control in party games. It was just not how I consumed games individually.

    1. Zach Lindemann

      I hear you! I really appreciated that the Mario Galaxy release on 3D All-Stars had better control options; it’s easily my favorite way to play that game now. Skyward Sword is looking like it’ll be much more comfortable to control with the upcoming HD release-I just hope they add a few other quality of life updates like they did with Wind Waker HD too!

  3. Good point on the Wii being the last time we’d get manuals from Nintendo.

    The Wii is an important and funny console to me (Mii?). Without its success, who knows where Nintendo would be today. Maybe a second party for Microsoft? Who knows. It had some daring new control schemes and peripherals (Wii Fitness) and so much shovel ware. And yet it also got tons of 3rd party support FINALLY after basically two generations without. And the virtual console was also important to share the strongest back catalog gaming has to offer with the younger, up and coming gamers. AND it was the most accessible console in recent memory. Everyone knew about Wii Sports as you said.

    Aside from the Mario Galaxy games it’s hard for me to have pure “Wii only releases” in my “best of” list. The Resident Evil 4 port is perfect and is one I’ve been itching to play lately (for the millionth time).

    I missed out on buying Sin and Punishment 2 before it got pricey… maybe one day. Same with Punchout.

    Nintendo tried something different and it worked out wonderfully. I’ll never forget reading about the secret new wiimote and nunchuck with my coworker as rumors were trickling out maybe a year from the Wii’s release. The controllers were so strikingly different and bold – we knew Nintendo “had won” as soon as we saw photos of it. It looked like an Apple product. I’ll never forget getting lucky scouring message boards for console preorder info and snagging (effectively) a Golden preorder ticket from Toys R Us. And then hanging out with friends around town leading up to the midnight launch as they waited for their chance to buy a Wii at local Walmarts and GameStops.

    The Wii feels like great all around console even though the “stellar games” might be hard to rattle off the top of my head. Give me five years and maybe the nostalgia will be free flowing?

    1. Very insightful commentary as usual! There were so much 3rd party support on the Wii that got very creative! (Zach & Wiki is an underrated title that just barely misses my top 10). I actually picked up Sin and Punishment recently but have yet to try it out with all the craziness of moving-I hear great things!

      I completely forgot to mention the Virtual Console here…that probably deserves its own post at some point! Between the Wii, 3DS, and Wii U Virtual Consoles, there was a plethora of amazing classic Nintendo titles for purchase. And who knows if we’ll see it again?

      I feel like the hype and rabid anticipation around the Wii release hasn’t been duplicated since. For that reason alone the Wii is really nostalgic!

          1. Also can’t overstate how important it was to have a more “mature” art direction in Zelda. Even fans of Wind Waker felt a little more “cool” that Nintendo was making the game darker and more geared towards an adult audience.

            Even more impressive was the Wii being backwards compatible with the GameCube. Now you had some decent games at launch in addition to the fairly strong initial Wii only titles.

            I hope Nintendo includes backwards compatibility in Switch 2 🙏🏽

          2. Also can’t overstate how important it was to have a more “mature” art direction in Zelda. Even fans of Wind Waker felt a little more “cool” that Nintendo was making the game darker and more geared towards an adult audience.

            Even more impressive was the Wii being backwards compatible with the GameCube. Now you had some decent games at launch in addition to the fairly strong initial Wii only titles.

            I hope Nintendo includes backwards compatibility in Switch 2. Backwards compatibility is something Microsoft does extremely well and, for me, is a selling point. It’s less stressful to grab a digital purchase if you know it’ll (likely) carry over to successive hardware generations.

          3. My backwards compatible Wii is still how I play all my GameCube games! It’s not as good an optimized GameCube (which I’ll forever be on the hunt for…) but it works just fine.

            I’m also hoping the “Switch 2” does the same since I’ve amassed a pretty ridiculous game library in just a few years :).

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