Recently we did an article covering several games on the 3DS VC you should pick up before the impending closure: Now it’s time for the Wii U’s turn! Just like before, these are in no particular order, from the North American side of things, and you guys should know the routine. Without further ado, let’s get into this quickly!
DEVIL’S CRUSH (TG16)
Essentially all of the Turbografx Wii U VC games that came out in the west had launched in Japan years prior: while it’s great the west got games from this amazing system better late than never, most of the noteworthy ones would later make it to the Turbografx Mini: while it unfortunately has a fatal flaw that may make it tricky to use in the long-term, it still has an outstanding library with pretty much all the bases covered, and many of the best games on the console on it.
…Except this one! While Alien Crush is on the mini, Devil’s Crush is not, but it is available on the Wii U VC, and it’s outstanding. Enhancing the simplistic fun of Alien Crush, Devil Crush adds new layers to the pinball action, with a cooler table design, better bonus games, addictive scoring, and some of the best music to ever grace a Hucard: of all TG16 games on Wii U but not on the mini, this is easily the one that’s the best of them all, and a $6 value you shouldn’t pass up if you like Pinball Games: even if you ignore the score chasing aspects, it’s just plain fun to dive into and get hooked on for a few minutes!
The NES library on Wii U has mostly migrated to Switch, and the few exclusives it does have aren’t really worth noting… Not even taking into account the god awful anti-seizure filter they slapped on the games. But they did do a good job with SNES games, at least to a decent amount, and one of the many exclusives the Wii U has over Switch is this Masaya gem.
The sequel to Assault Suit Leynos, another game I hope gets ported someday, this action game is a super fun, plot-driven action platformer, with really solid level design, great music, fun weapons, and a surprisingly dark story for the time.
Unfortunately, a lot of that cool story stuff got stripped in the original localization back in the day, but this still includes all the levels of the JP version, so as a gameplay piece, this is an absolute fun gem worth the $8. Hopefully Ratalaika bring this and the other Assault Suit games over to the west, especially since they could even go the extra mile and translate the uncut Japanese version in the process!
Uncharted Waters: New Horizons (SNES)
Another SNES game?!? Yes, this console had a lot of obscurities on Wii U VC worth the purchase, and this strategy game from Koei is yet another of them. While a few of the other Koei SRPGS made it to Wii U, this game is the best of the bunch, I feel. With several different scenarios, tasking you with either battling pirate gangs, performing trade, or exploring the entire uncharted world, this historical RPG is definitely a different, more challenging one from the usual norms SNES RPGs provided, but it’s really darn fun!
Even better, the music here is surprisingly good for a SNES game: I don’t know if this game had something special to it, but the soothing tunes in New Horizons are just a delight to listen to, and the ending song for when you finally complete a scenario is easily one of my favorite ending themes of all time. While Genghis or Nobunaga may give you a pounding headache, this Koei RPG is a bit more approachable, and one I’d recommend picking up before the shutdown, and giving a go for yourself! I think one of the sequels came to Switch, but only in Japan, sadly.
Konami Krazy Racers (GBA)
Believe it or not, this game was somehow the childhood kart racer game I grew up with: and one of my few childhood games to survive my chaotic living situation thanks to being in safekeeping. Thank goodness too, since it’s super good, and honestly a whole heck of a lot better than the actual Mario Kart game the GBA got. Even as a non-konami fan back then, the funny character roster, good track designs, and smooth controls led to this being a great racer to keep my attention away from all that was going on around me.
But now, with me as a retro Konami fan? This game is even more blissful. Obscure-ass characters like the Parodius Octopus and the Twinbee pilot are fully playable, alongside mainstays like the Moai Head or Goemon, and all the cool unlockables and nods to Konami history are just a pure delight to experience: even as a solo only experience, you’ll have a good amount of fun to keep you busy, and this Wii U VC version is an excellent place to have a great time, so even if you were burned by Super Circuit, definitely give this one a go, especially if you’re a Konami nut.
Pocky & Rocky with Becky (GBA)
This game is on here, as despite the upcoming release of the Reshrined entry of the series, the PR/Kiki Kaikai franchise doesn’t really see much attention to speak of. You have the original Arcade ported on Arcade Archives, this reissue… And Reshrined. That’s literally it, all thanks to Natsume’s attempt at reissuing 1/2 on Wii U being blocked by Nintendo. This is considered the weakest in the entire franchise, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good merits to this release!
For starters, it’s a touched up remake of the first Arcade game: some new levels and redesigns are here, but in the end, it’s a new take on that original Arcade game, except with three fun playable characters with their own unique skills, and serving as comparison to the Arcade game, it’s a really fun and enjoyable upgrade. Compared to the SNES duo however, this doesn’t even hold a candle. The game also lacks a save feature, forcing you to use passwords, but luckily, the Wii U VC Restore Points help mitigate that pain, making this game a lot more easygoing to play on Wii U than on actual hardware.
…At least, if the actual hardware version wasn’t one of the rarest GBA carts ever. Seriously, this is around if not a bit more than Solatorobo territory at this point, and being able to buy this for under 10 dollars is a must-own just for that reason alone. Considering this is as good as the Becky experience can possibly get, and how it’s an interesting footnote in Kiki Kaikai history, I say this obscure GBA entry should definitely be picked up before it is too late.
And those were five grab bag Wii U Virtual Console games! Definitely a lineup you probably didn’t predict, but I still find these five to be the most noteworthy Wii U VC exclusives worth picking up. Obviously, there are lots of other greats like the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games and Metroid Zero Mission, but when those are super likely to be ported again and again, I felt it was worth looking at the games that weren’t likely to ever see a reissue after this point, or at least, not in NSO form.
What are your favorite Wii U VC picks? Do you expect these to hit NSO after all, or do you think I missed something? As far as the VC recommendations go, this is the end of the line, leaving the next recommendation lists to be the original games that hit the eShops… Some of which started my career as a reviewer to begin with. So stay tuned to that!