Nintendo’s doing pretty well at the moment, with its Switch console selling like hotcakes and games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons creating a whole new generation of fans. You might assume, then, that the sheer notion of investing your hard-earned money in the company’s last-gen system – and one which sold in utterly pitiful numbers – might be a foolhardy endeavour, but, as it turns out, there’s more than one good reason to buy a Wii U in 2021.
Sure, most of the console’s best games are available on Switch now. Mario Kart 8, Super Mario 3D World, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, Hyrule Warriors, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze… it’s a pretty long list these days, and to be honest, it takes less time to list which of the console’s best games haven’t made the leap to the Switch.
Still, there’s Xenoblade Chronicles X, which, at the time of writing, remains exclusive to the Wii U. It’s a stunning open-world RPG that still looks and sounds amazing even by modern standards, and we’d even go as far as to say that it’s worth picking up a Wii U for alone. There’s also stuff like Project Zero / Fatal Frame, which is another system exclusive that’s worthy of your time (assuming you can pick up a physical copy at a reasonable price – it’s worth quite a bit these days).
And who could forget Nintendo Land, which is one of the most effective uses of the Wii U’s unique hardware setup? Sure, Nintendo may have fumbled the messaging with Wii U and failed to make convincing use of the asymmetrical gameplay angle, but we’ve lost count of the number of hours we’ve sunk into Nintendo Land and its infectiously playable mini-games (‘Mario Chase’ has been a multiplayer staple for years). Likewise, Game & Wario, while being something of a rough gem, makes amazing use of the Wii U GamePad to produce experiences that simply cannot be found on any other system.
The same goes for ZombiU; while Ubisoft’s title did eventually see a multiformat release, the Wii U original should be considered to be the definitive version – who could forget those tense moments when you’re forced to look at the GamePad’s screen while the action continues on-screen in real-time? Even games like Call of Duty: Ghosts and Black Ops II are worth playing on Wii U, mainly due to the unique control system they employ on Nintendo’s console.
It’s also important to remember that the Wii U offers backwards compatibility with the original Wii’s massive library of titles, too, and offers a means of playing them via HDMI. Admittedly, the upscaling isn’t brilliant, but it’s arguably one of the most convenient ways to gain access to titles such Super Mario Galaxy, Mario Kart Wii and many more besides. Oh, and how could we forget the Virtual Console – Nintendo’s groundbreaking retro-gaming service, which offers a wide range of cheap classics for download? With Nintendo now opting to drip-feed a small selection of retro games via its Switch Online service, if you want to pick and choose which games to play, then your best option right now is a Wii U.
While the Wii U might have been a failure in commercial terms and the highlights of its library are slowly but surely being cherry-picked for release on Switch, there’s still some merit in picking one up cheap in the year 2021 – at least, if you ask us. But what do you think? Vote in the poll and leave a comment to tell us.