Best Wii U exclusive games to download before the eShop closes
It’s no secret that Nintendo’s Wii U was a commercial failure shortly after its launch in November 2012, putting the company in a tough spot in the console market. However, that doesn’t mean the system doesn’t have a full library full of great exclusives that could be gone forever in March 2023 when the eShop closes.
The Wii U has already been on life support. Nintendo halted production in January 2017, two months before the Switch even hit store shelves. Nintendo plans to shut down the system’s eShop entirely in March 2023, along with the 3DS, meaning players will no longer have access to the digital storefront or the hundreds of games that have been released for the single system.
March 2023 is the date set for the complete shutdown of the eShop, but gamers have an even smaller window to make their final purchases on the 3DS and Wii U, although games can still be redownloaded and DLC, receive software updates, and play online on Wii U and 3DS for the “foreseeable future” thereafter.
On May 23 this year, both storefronts will stop allowing users to add funds from external payment options like debit cards. Nintendo eShop cards can still be used to add funds until August 29, but this could leave you with funds left over and come with more steps than just buying the games.
Just like with the 3DS, once the eShop closes, you won’t easily get many of these games, and many will disappear for good. And while developers, including Nintendo, have consistently ported many of the best Wii U games to the Switch over the past few years, many hidden gems that are exclusive to the console or that work better with the GamePad will be lost over time.
So if you want to give this quirk of a console another chance to try out some of those great experiences, here’s a selection of games you might not play anywhere else (until they’re ported somewhere else).
The Wii U games you need to grab before the eShop closes
Affordable space adventures
If you must try a game on Wii U that isn’t a big name, Affordable space adventures is the one. NapNok Games has created an amazing little puzzle adventure game that makes the most of the system’s GamePad to control different elements of the ship as you explore their surroundings to call for an evacuation while piecing together a mystery surrounding UExplore.
Speed racing neo
You can play the sequel for Speed racing neo, fast RMX, on your Switch, but if you want to experience the second entry into the Quick series and one of the best spiritual successors to Nintendo’s dormant series F-zero futuristic racing franchise, it’s a must-have.
Devil’s Third is one of those games you’ve probably heard of or seen, but never played if you weren’t incredibly attached to your Wii U. It went through a very long period of development, starting as a Xbox 360 exclusive before finally releasing for the Wii U as an exclusive in 2015.
It was criticized when it launched in the West compared to the mostly positive responses in Japan, although it is now considered a challenging, intense, and entertaining game with an over-the-top action story. Multiplayer was a big draw for the game, but unfortunately for players, that part has already been shut down.
Pushmo World is a puzzle game developed by Intelligent Systems that follows the Pushmo series mostly found on 3DS. Players will spend time pulling and pushing blocks to solve surprisingly intricate puzzles through 250 different levels, while enjoying the cute and colorful aesthetic.
chasing the dawn
Broken Rules has developed some great games over the years, and chasing the dawn was one of the studio’s earliest projects. Released as a launch title for the Wii U, the 2D aerial action game has players competing in challenges. It’s a great multiplayer title to play with friends as you compete in different modes, or as a single-player experience when trying to set high scores.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
With Xenoblade Chronicles 3 slated for release in July and the series is only gaining popularity, it’s likely Xenoblade Chronicles X will eventually make its way to the Switch or a future Nintendo console at some point. However, it’s one of the last big Nintendo titles that isn’t just featured on Virtual Console or a remake that gamers should check out, especially if they’re a fan of it. Xenolame or good open-world action role-playing games.
The real loss, once the Wii U Online Store closes, will be the Virtual Console, which includes Game Boy Advance, DS, NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, and a number of other systems. There are even Wii games that can now only be obtained from the Wii U eShop, despite technically not being part of Virtual Console.
The N64, GBA and DS selection is where the real value comes in, as many NES and SNES games are now available on Switch through the Nintendo Switch Online service. And, while N64 games are slowly being added and Game Boy support rumored, these DS titles could be digitally locked to the Wii U because they use the GamePad to simulate the lower screen of the Wii U. DS with touch controls.
In total, there are around 74 GBA games and 31 DS games available, including popular titles like Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Sky Explorersthe Pokemon Ranger Games, Metroid: Mission Zero, fire emblemand Mega Man Battle Network.
It’s a little harder to find Wii U-exclusive gems. Many developers have released their games for PC or other consoles alongside Nintendo’s lackluster hardware. However, some of these games use proprietary hardware features or aren’t big enough to get a second life on new consoles, so picking them up here is your best bet to enjoy them until something changes.
Here are some other games worth grabbing. Keep in mind that these are mostly Nintendo’s biggest games, which could possibly come to Switch at some point.
- NES Remix 1 and 2
- Star Fox Guard and Star Fox Zero
- Dr Luigi
- Mario vs. Donkey Kong: Tipping Stars
- DuckTales: Remastered
- Game & Wario
- Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
- pokemon rumble u