It’s the final countdown — the Wii U eShop is closing for new purchases today, Monday 27th March, so we’re republishing this guide to highlight some gems you might want to consider snapping up...
While many are rightly lamenting the upcoming death of the 3DS eShop, we feel like fewer gamers are pouring one out for the Wii U digital store. Maybe it's just us, but we can't let that stand, as the console actually had some darn good games — some of which are still exclusives to this day. Nintendo's GamePad concept may not have paid off with the public, but it did give developers some fun ideas.
- 39 Best 3DS eShop Games You Should Get Before They're Gone Forever
- 31 Best DSiWare Games You Should Get Before They're Gone Forever
So, in case you've forgotten about the cool Wii U eShop games that really need to be on your system, we've picked out some gems to pique your interest. Keep in mind we've focused on games that don't have a Switch port here.
Just be aware that since 29th August 2022 you haven't been able to add funds to your eShop account via your Wii U. However, if you have your Nintendo Network ID linked to your Nintendo Account, the pooled funds will still be accessible on the closing stores until the stores close. So, you may want to load up on gift cards while you can — and get a nifty 5% off with our eShop gift card discount code!
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Once you're ready to go be sure to check out this list of 23 Wii U games, all certified bangers, and still enjoyable to play...
We've been plugging this game with a passion since the news came of the Wii U eShop closing, and for good reason. Affordable Space Adventures will be one of the biggest losses when the store closes, as it is still completely exclusive to the system. Developed by Nifflas, it's arguably the finest example of the gameplay benefits of the GamePad outside Nintendo Land.
The GamePad is essential, with the touchscreen essentially serving as a control panel for your ship; playing solo you manage engines and ship functions, fly and direct your flashlight. That's hugely enjoyable, but you can also play in co-op with two others to share responsibilities and work together. However you play, the management of the ship and indeed manipulating it to clear puzzles is top-tier game design.
Probably the Wii U eShop game to preserve in your library before it's gone forever.
For those with a love for ominous Sci-Fi, The Swapper is pretty much a perfect option. This is a puzzle platformer in which you try to reason your way through an assortment of intriguing environments while unravelling a mystery.
It's not the longest experience, and it is available on other non-Nintendo platforms, but its clever clone-based puzzles and aesthetic make it well worth a look.
Shin'en Multimedia has produced masterful Nintendo titles for multiple generations, seemingly making the most of the hardware's capabilities as other companies struggle. Nano Assault Neo was a follow-up to DS and 3DS titles in which you're a microscopic ship fighting all sorts of nasty bugs and things. It was a real looker when it launched on Wii U, but more importantly its orb-like battlefields and stages are still terrific fun.
Well worth a look, especially if you've never encountered this particular Shin'en series.
Runner 2 represented a major shift for the BIT.TRIP series after its excellent retro-styled releases on Wii / 3DS and now Switch. The visuals have a stylish 3D look and while the gameplay retains the core fun of the original runner, it also adds new ideas and twists.
Strangely this is the only game in the series not to have a presence on Switch (its successor Runner3 made its debut on Nintendo's current system), so we highly recommend grabbing it on Wii U while you still can.
Year Walk was a fascinating collaboration between DakkoDakko (Scram Kitty) and Simogo (Sayonara Wild Hearts), with a focus on Swedish folklore. It's essentially a tale about a long journey on foot (it's in the name) but the experience is full of surprises, subversive ideas and immersive gameplay. Even better, this is a game that went all in on utilising the GamePad as a second screen, making this arguably the 'definitive' version of the game.
An experience that we highly recommend on Wii U, although it was delisted from the US eShop some time ago, sadly. The ‘PAL’ territories can still grab it, though.
In the Wii U era Nintendo experimented with ways to attract new gamers to retro content, and NES Remix was the classic example. It had a compilation physical release with its sequel at retail in North America and Japan but not in Europe, so we've included it as this is our list and we can do what we want. Bwahaha!
NES Remix doesn't have complete games — you'd have to buy them from the Virtual Console — but clever little snapshots and challenges from 16 different 8-bit titles. In addition, the 'Remix' levels would fundamentally play around with these games and their mechanics, such as an Excitebike race in the dark.
If a game can make Urban Champion seem fun, like this one does, then it must be good.
The first one must have done reasonably well, as here we had a sequel. NES Remix 2 actually had less featured games (12) and less challenges, but upped the ante in terms of its features. It had rather enjoyable Miiverse support (we miss you, Miiverse) and arguably the range of games was stronger, and if you have both games you get an added 'Championship' mode.
If you only get one NES Remix... well, you might as well get both.
This is actually a compilation of two rather classic arcade beat 'em ups from Capcom - Dungeons & Dragons: Tower of Doom (1994) and Dungeons & Dragons: Shadow over Mystara (1996). They give you chunky, handsome visuals and familiar mechanics as you scroll the screen and beat the snot out of a variety of fantastical monsters. We have fond memories of playing through these campaigns in co-op.
Intriguingly, this release (also on PS3 / Xbox 360 / Steam) is the only semi-modern official way to play these titles, as they were notable in their absence from Capcom Beat 'Em Up Bundle on Switch.