If you were to ask any Switch non-believer, they would claim that the Nintendo Switch is filled to the brim with Wii U ports and not much else, discounting every new release as a blip in an otherwise unoriginal library. Imagine their shock when you tell them that Nintendo has only scratched the surface of exclusive Wii U games ready to make the jump to their best-selling handheld hybrid. Mario Kart 8 and Hyrule Warriors may only be just the beginning of a long line of Wii U ports coming to rain hell upon all dissenters.
1. Super Mario 3D World
Probably the most likely to be coming this year, Super Mario 3D World was one of Nintendo’s flagship titles for their ill-fated tablet based home console. It was our first “3D” Mario game in HD, and despite falling into the trappings of the “New” Super Mario Bros series’ squeaky clean aesthetic, its jazzy soundtrack, 4-Player Co-op, and all new Cat Suit established the game its place in the hearts and minds of Wii U owners everywhere. Try your best to act surprised when Nintendo announces this obvious port in their next Nintendo Direct, yeah?
2. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
Yet another obvious inclusion, Nintendo’s most infamous transformation of their legendary franchise went from being the most criticized entry in the series to its most beloved. The charming cel shaded art style continues to impress, having not aged a day since the game came out in 2002. The Wii U port was a masterclass in remastering and the task of bringing it to the Switch should be no problem for the Big N. Much like Super Mario 3D World, it only seems like a matter of time before Toon Link’s first adventure makes its way into our hands.
3. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
It can be argued that Twilight Princess’ remaster on the Wii U wasn’t executed as well as its cel-shaded counterpart. The game was significantly darker, textures were changed drastically, usually getting in the way of the game’s heavy tone, and the extra additions were hit-or-miss and locked behind an amiibo with a shameless tie-in to Breath of the Wild. Nevertheless, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess remains a beloved entry in the series, and its remaster deserves a place on your Switch as much as any Tokyo Mirage Sessions. Personally, I’d love to see them reintegrate the original games assets as a toggleable option, while keeping the enhanced draw distances and 1080p resolution boost. Is that too much to ask, Nintendo?
4. Xenoblade Chronicles X
The Xenoblade series is quickly becoming one of Nintendo’s forerunning JRPG franchises alongside Fire Emblem and Square’s Bravely Default… trilogy? Where Bravely provides more classic party based dungeon crawling and Fire Emblem represents the tactical war side of the genre, Xenoblade provides players with a more active battle system set in a sprawling, lively open world that is a cross between nature and tech. Though it’s been criticized for not advancing the story from the critically acclaimed Xenoblade Chronicles (which is getting its own port this year), most fans of the series stand by the game as a fun standalone journey back into the world of Xenoblade. To have the entire series on the Switch would entice more newcomers to try the games for themselves, making this yet another no-brainer.
5. Pikmin 3
The Pikmin series has really had a hard go of it these last few gens. Since the first two games’ initial release, the series has received two Wii ports with forced motion controls, a mediocre 3DS game, and an eternally slept on sequel in the form of Pikmin 3. Despite being one of Shigeru Miyamoto’s last original IPs, Captain Olimar and his plant homies never seem to get the attention they deserve from fans. The few fans the series has are relentless though, chomping at the bit for any news on upcoming entries to the series. With the confirmation of the 4th game’s development, it only makes sense for Nintendo to throw their underrated Pikmin 3 onto the Switch alongside a tidy little remaster of the first two games to build up hype for Pikmin 4’s eventual release.
6. Paper Mario: Color Splash
Slowly but surely, the chances of these games getting Wii U ports are becoming less and less likely with the poorly received Paper Mario: Color Splash, a sequel to a game nobody asked for. The series that Nintendo can’t seem to kill off, Paper Mario has taken a sharp turn in direction since its early turn-based RPG roots on the Nintendo 64 and Gamecube and has been a rollercoaster of emotions ever since.
Despite what many may say about Color Splash, nobody can deny that Nintendo put a lot of work into the game’s presentation, writing, and overall polish. The game even has fans, if you can believe it. If Color Splash was to make the switch, I don’t see it doing well for consumers or Nintendo, especially if it’s touted as a full price remaster. Regardless, it’s a shame to see so much work wasted.
7. The Wonderful 101
PlatinumGames has had a healthy working relationship with Nintendo since the Wii days. That’s why when Platinum finally went back to the world of Viewtiful Joe, they made sure it came back on Nintendo’s struggling Wii U console. Featuring a larger than life concept of 100 playable superheroes on screen at once in the most original character action game they’ve made to date, The Wonderful 101 was set to blow minds everywhere. But nobody played the damn game.
Despite extensive advertisement by Nintendo themselves and its own exclusive launch window, Platinum’s big experiment went on to be the Wii U’s first hidden gem. The final nail in the coffin came when Nintendo published Bayonetta 2 the following year in 2014. Nintendo knew they had an ally in Hideki Kamiya, going on to cooperate on Star Fox Zero and Astral Chain, but completely buried the oft forgotten Wonderful 101. While it would be a dream to see this impressive game on the Switch, the audience simply isn’t there for it.
8. Star Fox Zero
Though I could have asked for a better segue, PlatinumGames’ involvement in the development of this trainwreck gave me the perfect opportunity to bring up Star Fox Zero and its multitude of flaws that has led to it missing its flight onto the Switch and becoming a laughing stock among Wii U critics everywhere.
Star Fox Zero was never a bad idea. The Star Fox series had laid dormant for quite a few years and the announcement of a new game was met with excitement from the gaming community. Even as the release date rolled by, we were all hopeful it would be a game worth fighting for. Then we played it. The weird dual-screen aiming controls, the steep difficulty curve, and the general feeling of “I’ve done this before” associated with Star Fox 64 cemented Zero’s place as the final failure of the Wii U. To bring this to the Switch in a playable form would require too much work, just for consumers to inevitably associate it with the Wii U’s saddening death cry.
9. Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
To those in the know, Fatal Frame is one of the most interesting, creepy, and creative horror games from the PS2 era. Featuring Ju-on styled Japanese ghosts and environments and an atmosphere so thick you could cut it with a knife, one could ask why this series completely disappeared after its short 3 game run on the PS2 and Xbox. The simple answer is: it didn’t. In Japan, the Fatal Frame series continued on the Wii with a well-received sequel that used every feature on the Wiimote.
After complaints from fans, the Fatal Frame series finally returned to the West with its fifth entry on Wii U, Maiden of Black Water, in 2014 as a downloadable only title. The Wii U was not a download friendly console, its base model only toting 8GB of internal memory. So when a 15GB Digital-Only game in a series that hadn’t seen a western release in nearly 10 years made its way onto the Wii U, it should come as no surprise that very few people had heard of the game, and even less bought it. I am among the many that would love the Fatal Frame series to make a return, but with the poor performance of Maiden of Black Water, I don’t see Nintendo going out of their way to bring the series back any time soon, on Switch or otherwise.
10. Yakuza 1+2 HD Collection
I know what you’re thinking. “Yakuza was on Wii U?!” “Isn’t Kiwami the remaster!?” “Why am I only hearing about this now?!” Before the now-beloved series reached rampant popularity, the humble PS2 games had typical upscaled remasters on PS3 and Wii U, exclusively in Japan. While the existence of Yakuza 3 and 4 helped to sell the collection on PlayStation 3, Wii U owners found little to no reason to jump into the series only to be stopped at its second entry.
Performing horribly at launch, the Yakuza HD Collection firmly implanted the idea in series producer Daisuke Sato’s mind that the Japanese gangster beat-em-ups will never be at home on a Nintendo console. That, combined with the Kiwami series providing even better versions of the first two games in the series, decidedly puts Yakuza 1+2 HD Collection on the chopping block for ever getting a second chance at life on the Switch.
For a dead console, the Wii U still contains a staggering amount of games that will be lost to time when we move onto Nintendo’s eventual Switch successor. Remasters are admittedly easy money these days, but to completely ignore the game preservation aspect of porting a game to a contemporary machine is to subjugate yourself exclusively to the trappings of modern gaming. While games like Mario Kart will forever remain on the forefront of preservation and popularity, less popular games like Wonderful 101 and Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water are on the verge of being lost to time. So the next time you see another Wii U port making its way to the Switch, rather than groan and point out the obvious cash grab, remember that the Wii U is now a capsized ship, and we need to save as many passengers as possible.
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