Nintendo Scene’s Wii U Games of the Year 2015
2015 has been somewhat of a sporadic year for the Big N. Us European folk finally got our digits upon the problematically named for retail yet wonderful New Nintendo 3DS. The company and the fans all tragically lost the iconic fourth President Satoru Iwata. Nintendo also decided to branch out into the in-app purchase realms of smartphone and tablets for better or for worse. Not forgetting it has also been celebrating the 30th Anniversary for a pair of very well known video game plumber brothers! But one things for sure, there has been games.
Just like our Wii U and 3DS Games of the Year 2014 articles we’ve decided to yet again mash our noggins together to spawn another barrage of personal highlights from this year’s Nintendo flavoured gaming. This time prepare your eager rumps for our Wii U, 3DS, (N)indie Games of the Year and also our Big N Moments of the Year. Excited? Nervous? Aggravated you’re reading yet another Game of the Year type article? Hysterical even? We thought you might be.
So without any further ado here’s our Wii U picks in EU release date order (because yes we’re British)…
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
EU release 2nd January 2015 (you can read Reuben & Conor’s Review if you fancy here)
I’m not entirely sure how legal choosing this title is for a Wii U Game of the Year 2015, but sticking to the fact we technically should have received it in the UK this year AND that I spent the entirety of January invested in it I’m saying it counts! Yes, yes it does.
There’s just something so wholly tactile and twee about the experience. Navigating through the puzzle box levels lovingly tapped into my inner marble maze solving whippersnapper. It’s not EPIC, grandiose, it doesn’t even have a jump button, nor is there much more to it than inquisitive exploration. So perhaps I’m just a sucker for games which can be charmingly creative with simple premises? Anyway, lugging Captain Toad around with pursuing Mummy-Mes is up there with some of the more fonder gaming memoirs I will have of 2015. This is a game that all Wii U owners should at the very least give a gander if they haven’t already!
EU release 29th May 2015 (read Conor’s Review here)
There’s been a few big games released on Wii U this year, some of which got a fair share of my attention. The variety of Lego Dimensions, community content of Super Mario Maker, Star Wars action in Disney Infinity (and all those cool new figures!), the platforming fun of Yoshi’s Woolly World, the family fun of Mario Party 10, the puzzle challenges of Captain Toad – all highlights in my year of Nintendo gaming.
But none of these had me addicted, obsessed, and excited to play again as much as Splatoon did. This is by far my Wii U game of the year. Nintendo’s first venture into the shooting genre, with its online multi-player battles, a fun single player campaign and it’s very own set of amiibo, this has had me hooked from the start. With it’s constant drip feed of new weapons and maps, there’s always been a reason for me to load it up to have another go, to get that little bit closer to the next ranking. And I’m not bad at it either!
A big software update bought an increased level cap too, so just when I’d levelled up as high as I could go, there was a new target to reach. New modes and the regular community based ‘Splat Fest’ competitions guarantee I’m regularly online – the fast paced, ink spraying battles are intense as every little bit of coverage counts – and there’s always time for one more go! Yes, the lack of local two player online team ups feels like a real missed opportunity and yes, some of the Splat Fest themes are questionable… but who cares when you’re having this much fun!
If I had to recommend one game for the Wii U it would be Splatoon, for several reasons. Firstly as everyone’s well aware by now, it’s Nintendo’s first new IP for a very long time. It also had the developers exploring new territory in the shooter genre – something they hadn’t looked at much in the past. Secondly, they were able to make an incredibly fun game that accommodates a vast amount of play styles and abilities. You don’t like engaging in combat? You can stay back and focus on covering the ground. You prefer to take on the enemy by rushing in? You can make a line of ink for yourself and swim straight up to them to take them out. What’s great is that all of these strategies are viable and will help your team.
At the time of writing there are four online multiplayer modes and fourteen maps, plenty of weapon sets and hundreds of pieces of gear. Splatfests give the game a fresh makeover every few weeks, and the addictiveness of raising your inkling’s rank and level are all reasons to continue playing. The art direction and character designs in the game show that creative flair that we all expect from Nintendo, and the music is fantastic. For me, Splatoon is a great achievement showing the company’s ability to be different, but forever maintain that element of fun.
Super Mario Maker
EU release 11th September 2015 (read Reuben’s Review also here)
My Game of the Year (Wii U category) goes towards none other than Super Mario Maker. It is essentially what you make of it (no pun intended), there is little consequence for quitting out and never coming back to a level and the same goes with avoiding collectibles such as coins and 1-Ups, so with that dangerous and very prominent algorithm it can deter quite a lot of people. What it does however is showcase and inspire the creativity and talent of millions of people we most likely have never been able to see, in such an accessible way. Having to relearn the style of the level’s creator over and over with each new stage can be daunting but overall it makes for an experience unlike no other. The game itself is beautifully crafted and simple to use. It has excellent music and visuals, which are mostly nothing new or unique to this instalment, but that doesn’t make them any less impressive. Super Mario Maker also throws in a few new tricks and spins, and with the frequent updates it both provides regular new content and learns from its previous mistakes (never make me wait 9 days for items again thanks.) Happy 30th Birthday Mario.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
EU release 4th December 2015 (Reuben’s Review can be found here)
For a long time this choice was squarely falling on the shoulders of surprise hit of the year, Splatoon, but then Monolith Soft unleashed this beast of a game upon me. I’ve already raved about this game in my review, but as a means of a summary, it is incredible. Xenoblade Chronicles X takes everything that people loved about its predecessor and expands upon it to terrifying levels.
Everything is bigger and better. Bigger world, beautiful sweeping vistas, stunning futuristic user interface, bigger creatures to take down, more armour and weapons, God. Damn. Mechs. If the sheer scale of the game isn’t enough for you, then there will more than likely be something for you here. Seriously, if this game isn’t on your Christmas list, it most definitely should be.
Do you undoubtedly agree with our choices? Or firmly disagree? As always let us know via any means necessary. Otherwise keep yo’selves glued for the rising of our other 2015 picks!