Streaming…

I haven’t been in the mood to blog lately, my apologies.

I do know that the live streaming of games is a popular thing nowadays, and I do avail myself of this in limited ways: Namely Steam, My Steam name is THERetroGamerNY on Steam, and I make my gameplay publicly open. Please note that I have ADD, and my whims on gaming vary from day to day. Like, for example, this very moment I am playing Return to Castle Wolfenstein, because shooting Nazis appeals to me. =)

Wii Games, Part 4 (by Jex the Gamer)

The Best Games on the Wii, Part 4 (by Jex the Gamer)

At last, the final part in this mini-series on the best of Wii games. The Wii had a lot more punch in its library than many people give it credit. This series has already gone through three articles of games worth checking out. That’s more than 60 games so far! With this final article, it is my pleasure to share even more awesome games with you. I hope you will discover new gems to enjoy and gain a better appreciation for what the Wii offered during its lifespan.

This genre is my least favorite video game category. I just don’t normally enjoy playing sports video games—I’d rather just play the real thing outside! However, the more arcade-y the sports game, the more I tend to enjoy it. That’s just my personal bias, but it definitely affects this list.

The must-play games

1. Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort—Other than Super Smash Bros., this series was the system seller for the Wii. Everyone and his grandma wanted to try out the new Wii remote technology, and the Wii Sports series was the perfect way to showcase the new way to play games. These “mini-games” of various sports are still a lot of fun to play in short bursts, in my opinion. I especially find myself going back to Resort for more of Wuhu Island’s offerings.

2. Punch-Out!!—Having the classic gameplay of the original (complete with returning characters and inside jokes) on a new console was a treat. Having it coupled with motion-based controls was the cherry on top. It was incredibly satisfying (and tiring) playing as Little Mac this round.

3. NBA Jam (2010)—No, this is not a Wii-exclusive game, but the Wii version is the one to get! At first, I thought the motion controls were just going to be a slapped-on gimmick that would detract from the fun that I remembered in the original game back in 1993. Fortunately, the motion controls proved incredibly satisfying, especially during those crazy slam dunks. Boomshakalaka!

4. Mario Strikers Charged—This is definitely a step up from its Gamecube predecessor. All of the new features make for some insane gameplay and absolute chaos on the field. If you want to play simulated soccer, look elsewhere, but if you want to play “crazy soccer,” then this is the game for you.

The worth-experiencing games and hidden gems

1. Just Dance series—It was hard for me to decide whether I thought of these games as “must-play” or simply “should try” experiences. I’ve decided to put the series here in the second tier because even though I personally think the Just Dance series is a ton of fun, I can see how others would just say, “Meh,” after trying it. My favorite of the series is definitely Just Dance 3 because of its selection of songs.

The games I haven’t played yet but heard were good

1. Grand Slam Tennis—For those disappointed in how the Wii Sports version of tennis turned out, this is the alternative choice for you.

2. NHL Slapshot—I heard this game actually implements the Wii remote very nicely, and the rest of the gameplay is solid too.

3. Wii Fit/Plus—Friends of mine who have this game love it. I’ve just never really tried it

4. Rage of the Gladiator (WiiWare)—This game has gameplay similar to Punch-Out!!, but it’s in an arena and the player has to battle various gladiators with weapons instead of boxing gloves. Sounds cool.

The must-play games

1. Excite Truck—This was a launch title for the Wii, yet I still enjoy it as my racing game of choice. I even think it’s better than its sequel, Excitebots, which I felt was a dud by comparison. This game just rocks, and it “handles” better than Mario Kart’s motion controls, in my opinion. That’s an amazing accomplishment!

2. Mario Kart Wii—Speaking of Mario Kart, here’s the Wii’s offering for the series. It’s not my favorite in the overall series, but it’s still a solid game and a fan-favorite among Wii

Trackmania Wii3. Trackmania—Definitely a hidden gem that I don’t hear about ever. Part racing, part puzzle, and even part platforming! This is a unique take on the racing genre. The “build-your-own-track” is a nice additional feature too.
(THERetroGamerNY: Jex actually had this originally listed as “Trackmania: Build and Race” – but “Trackmania” and “Build and Race” are two separate games. I own and play both. “Trackmania” is the usual series’ ultra-wild stunt tracks, with editor, and “Build and Race” is more traditional racing with an editor as well.)

The worth-experiencing games and hidden gems

1. Speed Racer—I was surprised to discover that this game actually has some hidden depth to its racing and combat system. It’s nice to have this game around since Nintendo neglected the F-Zero series for the Wii. How could you, Nintendo?

2. Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing—I found this kart game to be just okay. I know many people who swear by it; some people even say it’s better than Mario Kart. I don’t feel that way, though.
(THERetroGamerNY: I actually own the Sonic racing games on both Wii and Steam, and I will agree that they do offer a bit of a different experience than the Mario Kart series. I find the Sonic racers, especially the later Sonic Racing Transformed, to be a more visceral experience for me as a solo player, but the Mario Kart series connects more as a multiplayer experience. I cannot fully explain why either.)

The games I haven’t played yet but heard were good

Nothing comes to mind. Most racing games are multi-platformed, so the better versions are usually on the other consoles.

Poor Wii! Very few fighters made it into the Wii’s library, and half of the ones that did make it weren’t any good. It’s a real shame because a lot of fantastic fighters came out for the seventh generation of consoles…just not for the Wii.

The must-play games

1. Super Smash Bros. Brawl—This is one of the most successful Nintendo franchises of all time, so of course there was an installment for the Wii. More characters, more stages, more modes, more awesomeness! This is a great game that I feel came very close to perfection…if it wasn’t for that stupid “random trip” mechanic.

Tatsunoko vs Capcom2. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars—So the Wii didn’t get Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Major bummer. But all was not lost—Wii owners got this exclusive installment in the Capcom vs. series instead, and it’s really good. Sure, you might not know the characters from the Tatsunoko roster, but so what? Having a genuinely good traditional fighting game in the Wii’s library is all that matters.

The worth-experiencing games and hidden gems

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Smash-Up—There is some fun to be had with this Super Smash Bros. clone. It’s definitely not as polished as the game it’s trying to be, but it’s nice to have another SSB-like game. It begs the question, “Why don’t more developers make SSB clones?” Wouldn’t it be fun to have SSB clones with rosters filled with 80s cartoon characters or cereal mascots or leaders of the world? Just saying.

The games I haven’t played yet but heard were good

Again, nothing comes to mind. The rest of the fighting games on the Wii were pretty terrible, outside of the offerings from the Virtual Console and anthology collections.

PUZZLE/PARTY/MINI-GAMES/ARCADE/MISC. GAMES

This is it—the final category of games on this list. I’ve squeezed a bunch of little genres into this single category because many of the following games are a blend of sub-genres, and others just don’t fit in any of the other categories thus far. This final group, especially the party and mini-games section, is considered to be the bottom of the barrel in the Wii library. Most of the crap on the Wii can be found in this category. Most of the lazy developers that made waggle-fests instead of actual games can be found under this category. However, there are some surprisingly fantastic games here as well; perhaps it was those games’ success that inspired so many horrible attempts afterward. But all of the shovelware on the Wii is worth it when you compare it to the games that got the Wii’s vision right—a new and fun way to play.

The must-play games

1. Boom Blox 1 & 2—These games have physics-based puzzles that add a new twist to older games like Jenga and Pick Up Sticks. Whether you play single-player mode or party mode, the addicting fun never ends with this series.
(THERetroGamerNY: I really love these two games a lot …)

World of Goo2. World of Goo (WiiWare)—The Wii is the only console that was fortunate to receive this physics puzzle masterpiece. The gameplay is incredibly addicting, and it is made even better with the Wii remote.
(THERetroGamerNY: This excellent title is also available on PC and mobile devices!)

3. Tetris Party (WiiWare)—This goes beyond your basic Tetris experience. It’s packed with fantastic extra content and modes for both the single-player and multiplayer

4. Bit. Trip Complete—Each Bit. Trip game in the WiiWare library was pretty awesome. So imagine how fantastic this package is with all six games on one disc. These arcade-like mini-games are a blast!

5. Kororinpa and Marble Saga: Kororinpa—Do any of you remember that old toy Labyrinth that has a steel ball rolling around on a wooden box? If not, how about the Super Monkey Ball games on the Gamecube? Well, Kororinpa is the Wii’s version of that concept. Plenty of modes and sweet gameplay that works just perfectly with the Wii

6. Pinball Hall of Fame: the Williams and Gottlieb Collections—For pinball fans out there, these two games are a dream come true. Not only are the tables perfectly designed, but the choice to immerse the player in two different retro arcades is a nice touch as well.

7. Metal Slug Anthology—The Metal Slug games in this collection are made better than the originals, in my opinion, by one single change—waggling the Wii remote to throw grenades. I swear, just this one tweak makes the game twice as satisfying. I can’t believe it. If you don’t agree, just customize your control scheme any way you want it.

8. Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure—Take the old-school point-and-click formula, give it a fresh coat of paint, and perfectly integrate the Wii remote’s capabilities—and you’ve got this amazing game.

9. Mario Party 8—This is not the best Mario Party game in the series, but it showcase the Wii remote’s abilities very nicely.

The worth-experiencing games and hidden gems

1. Elebits—This unique Nintendo IP has some very interesting ideas, but it’s hard not to notice that this game is definitely a launch title for the system. Nevertheless, its gameplay should convince you of the Wii remote’s greatness.

2. Carnival Games 1 & 2—Out of all the mini-game compilations out there, these are the best experiences. They still can’t be considered “must-play’s,” but there are plenty of fun mini-games to choose from and even a few incentives to come back to it repeatedly.

3. Wii Play—No other “Wii_____” title ever lived up to the greatness of the two Wii Sports games, but this launch title for the system did a nice job showing off the Wii’s potential. And we got to experience a pseudo-spiritual successor to Duck Hunt as well as a two-player game very similar to Namco’s Tank Battalion or Atari’s Tank. Pretty cool.

4. Fortune Street—Take Monopoly and give it the Mario treatment, and you have this game. It’s really fantastic, actually, but when you’re with your friends, and someone suggests, “Let’s play some video games,” no one is intending to play virtual Mario Monopoly. I know this from personal experience; I have tried several times to get someone to play this game with me. It’s destined to be a “try-it-once” experience forever. A real shame.

5. Bomberman Blast—There are plenty of Bomberman games out there, but this 8-player version is a solid entry in the series.

6. WarioWare: Smooth Moves—Some might think this is a “must-play” title due to its humorous gameplay and use of the Wii remote, but honestly, the game feels tedious

7. Dragon’s Lair Trilogy—Like the Metal Slug Anthology, there is only one thing that makes this collection better on the Wii than on other platforms—the ability to make the games easier and thereby winnable.

8. Alien Crush Returns (WiiWare)—It’s nice to see a sequel to the TurboGrafx-16 classic.

9. TRON: Evolution Battle Grids—This might come as a surprise, but this is a different game than the one available on other consoles, and it’s better. In this Wii-exclusive, the player gets to live out his or her fantasy in the TRON universe by playing a series of arcade-like mini-games that are both playable and fun.

The games I haven’t played yet but heard were good

1. Mario Party 9—Apparently, this is a better game than number 8.

Whew, what a list! I hope you enjoyed this four-part series of articles about the Wii’s library. Please put your own personal favorites or games that I missed in the comments section below. And keep appreciating retro games!

THERetroGamerNY: I really want to thank Jex for this excellent series of articles. He covered SUCH an amazing amount of ground in them in a fast and readable way. Most excellent. =)

Wii Games, Part 3 (by Jex the Gamer)

The Best Games on the Wii, Part 3 (by Jex the Gamer)

This is the third part in an ongoing series on the games worth playing on the Nintendo Wii. Parts 1 and 2 covered the best of platformers (both 2D and 3D), FPS, and On-Rails Shooters. As promised, part 3 will be covering more than one genre of games. Because of that, each game’s explanation/review will be shorter than in previous parts of this series. Enjoy.

METROIDVANIA AND ACTION ADVENTURE GAMES
By far, these are my two most favorite genres in video games. Games that fuse exploration with an action-packed plot just make my day. Perhaps that’s why I love Nintendo games so much; from the very beginning during the NES era, they have been masters at creating game worlds filled with discovery and surprises around every dark corner, and they consistently put a little metroidvania/action adventure flavor into other genres of their games. Other companies have caught up to (and have arguably surpassed) Nintendo in these two genres, but the Wii can boast of having some of the best games ever in this category.

The must-play games
1. Metroid Prime Trilogy—These three games define the Metroid experience perfectly. Metroid Prime 1 and 2 were originally released for the Gamecube, but this trilogy pack upgrades those games in graphics, extra content, and most importantly, in the control

Resident Evil 42. Resident Evil 4—This game is on hundreds of “Top 10” lists around the internet. It took the Resident Evil franchise and turned it into a more action adventure-oriented experience. The Wii edition makes this masterpiece even better by giving the player perfect gun control via the Wii remote. Motion controls make some of the quicktime events more suspenseful

(THERetroGamerNY: This was THE game that made me pay attention to the entire Resident Evil series. I was never a fan before, and I cannot honestly say that I am still a huge fan. But THIS game is like utter perfection. After you complete the main storyline, it unlocks smaller episodes for you to play, from the perspectives of several other secondary characters, as well as other content and modes of play. And while it is odd that you cannot fire and move at the same time, it is a mechanic that actually works.)

3. Muramasa: The Demon Blade—This is a gorgeous action adventure experience that throws in a few metroidvania elements for even more awesomeness. For four years, it was an exclusive for the Nintendo Wii.

4. Prince of Persia: Rival Swords (aka The Two Thrones)—The “Sands of Time” trilogy of Prince of Persia games were amazing on the Gamecube. The final entry got an updated port on the Wii that implemented motion controls, which were especially fun to use during the chariot race scene.

5. Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands—When this game came out on other consoles, I feared that the Wii version would be a pathetic spinoff title. Much to my surprise, this game stands on its own as an amazing experience that perfectly uses the Wii remote’s capabilities for the platforming and puzzle solving portions of this exclusive title. I loved combo-ing my collection of powers to get across bottomless pits!

6. Honorable Mentions: La Mulana and Cave Story—Both of these indie games received “enhanced” versions for the Wii (WiiWare). However, they received enhanced ports on other systems as well. I leave it up to you whether the Wii versions are better than the other ports or not, but the games themselves are definitely top-notch adventures.

The worth-experiencing games and the hidden gems
1. Metroid Other M—This is my least favorite game in the Metroid series. Having said that, I still recommend it since it has a lot of creative gameplay ideas; it just doesn’t execute those ideas effectively.

2. Silent Hill: Shattered Memories—If you are looking for the typical Silent Hill experience, look elsewhere, but for those willing to try a new take on the series, this game provides plenty of atmosphere, unique gameplay elements, and fantastic usage of the wii remote (as a flashlight, cellphone, etc.).

The games I haven’t played yet but heard are good
1. Cursed Mountain (horror adventure)
2. Lost Winds 1 & 2 (WiiWare, metroidvaina)
3. A Boy and His Blob (a re-imagining of the NES game)
4. Nights: Journey of Dreams (long-awaited sequel to the Sega Saturn classic)
(THERetroGamerNY: Boy, did this game divide the fanbase. The original NiGHTS was actually a unique game that ultimately was best described as a racing game. It honestly is: You race through pre-defined courses, against a clock, and try and accrue as many points as possible. The HD version available via Steam is certainly worth the time and money – it is such a unique experience. It is also available on XBox and Playstation, I believe. But the remake takes this racing concept and adds a lot more to it – exploration, a lightweight plot, different modes, and more. I liked it – others hated it.)
5. Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth (WiiWare)
6. Zangeki no Reginleiv, aka Dynamic Slash (Japanese-exclusive title)

RPGs AND ACTION/ADVENTURE RPGs
Other than their The Legend of Zelda franchise, Nintendo seriously slacked off in bringing worthy RPG titles to Wii owners. Fortunately, thanks to fan-lead Operation Rainfall, a few more gems were given to those gamers who are passionate for RPGs.

The must-play games
1. The Legend of Zelda series: Twilight Princess and Skyward Sword—Both of these games are masterpieces. Twilight Princess is my favorite in the entire Zelda series, and Skyward Sword did a nice job making the Wii remote feel like a real sword.

2. Xenoblade Chronicles—Out of the three games brought to the West through Operation Rainfall’s efforts, this is the best of the bunch. Not only that, it is also one of the greatest modern JRPGs out there. I can’t wait for the sequel!

3. Monster Hunter Tri—It takes a specific type of person to really get into the Monster Hunter series, but once you do, you’re hooked for life. This is a solid entry in the series.

4. Okami—This is a port from the PS2, but the Wii remote control scheme makes this a better option than the original release. Using the Wii remote as the Celestial Brush is extremely satisfying. This Zelda-like game is beautiful and has masterful gameplay

The worth-experiencing games and the hidden gems

1. Pandora’s Tower—This is the second game brought to the West by Operation Rainfall (and it is the last one mentioned on this list; sorry, The Last Story). This game is not as deep of an experience as The Legend of Zelda series, but it is worth checking out for its gorgeous visuals, gothic atmosphere, and emotional storyline. The combat system is fun

2. Endless Ocean 1 & 2—This series is definitely a hidden gem. These days, many indie developers are creating very engaging, “strictly exploration” games (Dear Esther is a fantastic example). Well, Endless Ocean did it back in 2007-8! These games make it a pleasure to explore the ocean’s mysterious locales and document its wildlife. This series doesn’t get the love it deserves.
(THERetroGamerNY: Yeah, I will admit I was skeptical myself when I purchased Endless Ocean 2 … and then I fell in love with it. It is almost a zen-like experience at times, and if I am in a bad mood, or stressed, I find myself drawn to playing and exploring this game a lot)

The games I haven’t played yet but heard are good

1. Captain Rainbow (Japanese-exclusive with lots of Nintendo cameos and humor)

2. Dragon Quest X: The Five Awakening Races Online—(Japanese-exclusive MMORPG)

3. Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World (exclusive to the Wii for about 6 years)

4. Rune Factory: Frontier (similar to the gameplay of Harvest Moon)
STRATEGY AND TACTICAL GAMES
The games in this genre can be either real-time or turn-based. What separates them from other action adventure games and RPGs is the amount of strategy the player must use to control many different variables all in play simultaneously. Typcially, this comes in the form of leading an army of NPCs. Unfortunately, this is a very short list of games for the Wii library.

The must-play games
1. Pikmin 1 & 2—The functionality gained from using the Wii remote is far superior to the Gamecube control scheme. Leading your pikmin army to victory is now as easy as pointing and clicking.

2. Little King’s Story—This unique game combines town-development simulation with gameplay similar to the Pikmin series. The player must develop his own kingdom and recruit various townspeople into his band of adventurers in order to gather resources and conquer new lands. Very satisfying for gamers into both strategy and simulation.

The worth-experiencing games and the hidden gems
1. Overlord: Dark Legend—This is a spinoff from the main Overlord series that doesn’t take itself as seriously. Combining humor and a Wii remote-controlled command system, the player must use the various minions at their disposal to do evil deeds throughout the land. It has its moments of enjoyable gameplay.

The games I haven’t played yet but heard were good
1. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn—I’m a big fan of this series on the Gameboy and DS systems. I’ve just never played one of these games on a console. I’m sure Radiant Dawn is an excellent addition to the series, though.

And there you have it. Only one more part to go, and that will end this mini-series on the best games for the Wii. Please make sure to share your own favorite games in the comments section below. I hope you are looking forward to Part 4.

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