The Wii U had a pretty rough time. At its lowest moments, people mocked it, laughing at the lack of games and third party support. Even when the system was in a good run of form, people still looked down on it. Like the toaster, from the film The Brave Little Toaster (yeah, i’m going there), the Wii U was still appealing. A number of us cheered it on, trying to motivate it. You can do it, we believe in you! All while those around us lost faith.
Now the Wii U’s production is ending. The Nintendo Switch has been revealed, the Wii U is fading into a memory… but it’s a good one. Oh yes, it may not have set the market on fire, but it had its moments. For a system widely mocked, it had a fair amount of noteworthy games.
Flesh & Touch Pads
Wii U launch day, Nintendo is seen as childish by most of the media. Blood, guts and plenty of naughty words, this isn’t very childish?. Zombi U, the best modern survival horror game that barely anyone played. For all the criticisms Ubisoft get sent their way, Zombi U was full of risk and experimentation.
In what may have come off as a huge gimmick, the Wii U pad was used perfectly. Opening doors and locked boxes suddenly became a major threat. Zombi U would never stop, relentlessly going for the jugular. When players went to pick lock a door or tap in a code, the zombies would keep coming. Slowly lurching towards you, all while your eyes were set down as you frantically tapped the Wii U pad. Every mistake key swipe ushered doom ever closer.
Death Is Not The End
Even checking your bag required a risk assessment. What starts off as a rummage around for water, could soon turn into a struggle with the undead. Zombi U refused to allow the player to feel safe. Death was permanent, essentially resetting the player’s progress. Each time a player died, they would be placed in control of a new character. All of your items would be left on the body of your last character…who had just joined the undead hordes.
Zombi U was smart, creative and unrelenting. It worked well, becoming something of a cult hit. As the years went on, the game would earn more praise in retrospect. For a launch day game, Zombi U gave the Wii U something to be proud of.
Fly Me To The Moon
Bayonetta 2 left me dazzled and besotted with how straight up fun the gameplay was. Mario Maker indulged the creative side of me, all while growing its own little community. Heck, Splatoon had its time in the sun, shocking a large number of people with just how good it was.
Fan service was key to how much I enjoyed the Wii U. Hyrule Warriors was unashamedly made to wink and nudge at the Zelda faithful. A whole new way to experience Hyrule, complete with a melting soundtrack, was welcomed with open arms.
In 10 or 15 years time, we’ll probably look back at the Wii U like we do on the Dreamcast. A console that tried to do some cool things, but never quite cracked it. Not every system can be a success, but not every system has to do similar things. In a market where Sony and Microsoft produce similar system, creative adventures aren’t just encouraged, they’re needed. You may not have been the success many had hoped for, but sleep well my sweet prince…U.