… Yes, it’s finally an actual update! I’ve been meaning to write something here for weeks now, but keep getting distracted by Starcraft Remaster and now also Overwatch… bah. (There are so many games to play right now, it’s a nice “problem” to have…) Well, today I finally finished something. This is the result of quite a bit of work going through the whole Wii digital storefront, so enjoy.
Nintendo announced that the Wii’s digital-download store will be shut down soon. Starting in March 2018 you will not be able to add points (money to buy games with) to your account, so game purchasing will be impossible beyond spending any points you have previously purchased. You will still be able to download games you’ve bought previously, though. Then in January 2019 the store will be completely shut down, and all redownload will be impossible after that. However, as digital Wii games are locked to the system instead of an account, that is only an issue if you have deleted something and want to download it again, a problem you can solve by having more or larger SD cards to put the games on.
So, despite the impending shutdown, I’ve decided to get a bunch of WiiWare games while we still can, because while I bought several dozen WiiWare games and a couple of Wii Virtual Console games over the years, there are a lot of potentially interesting games on the system that I still don’t have, and for as long as you can still buy them I think I should. After that maybe piracy is sadly okay, since if Nintendo doesn’t want to sell the games anymore people who want to play those games should be able to if they want, but while they are available, turn on your Wii, or Wii mode in a Wii U, and buy some WiiWare games! I will be.
So, here is a list of WiiWare games that are of interest. I’m not also going to list many Virtual Console titles because while there are many games of interest there, those are all at least still playable on their original systems, which is where most of them are better.
Most importantly, this is not a list of everything on WiiWare. It is a list of all games that I thought looked interesting enough in some way to list, which is a lot of them but not everything. Sorry if I skipped over anything noteworthy.
This list will be in alphabetical order by publisher, because that is how Nintendo lists them in the store; there is no way to just view everything, only the by-publisher list lists all games once only. There is also a genre-based list, but some games are in multiple genres so I can’t use that one if I only want to see each title once, which I do.
I will also list the price for each game, in Wii points. In the US, Wii points cost 1 cent each, so 500 = $5, 1000 = $10, and such. The prices as stated never change, because WiiWare and Wii VC games never go on sale — Nintendo seems to have never put in a sale function in their store, or something. It’s annoying but true.
Bold game titles are games that I own. They’re all worth a look, though some more so than others.
Italicized titles are Wii-exclusive games; other titles are also available elsewhere. WiiWare exclusives will not be purchasable after the shop goes down, so they deserve primary attention here.
Underlining means two things. In games that I own, it means that I definitely recommend getting this game. In titles that I do not own, it means that I find the title potentially interesting based on their descriptions. These are games I definitely might get before the Wii shop closes down. If a game is also available, often for less, or in an enhanced remade form, on some other format I probably won’t recommend it even if it’s great; the focus here is first on games you can only, or best, play on the Wii.
Finally, first comes the WiiWare section of the list. The Wii Virtual Console section is below it.
The List: WiiWare
Nintendo (because they list themselves first)
ArtStyle Cubello – 600 – Good puzzle game. This is fun stuff.
ArtStyle Light Trax – 600 (a sequel of sorts to bit Generations: Dotstream on GBA) – Okay game but I don’t love it.
ArtStyle Orbient – 600
ArtStyle Rotohex – 600
ArtStyle Rotozoa – 600
Dr. Mario Online RX – 1000 – An okay version of Dr. Mario, though still-online ones for newer systems would be better.
Eco Shooter: Plant 530 – 1000 – A mediocre and very short light-gun shooter. I’m glad I got this as a points reward and didn’t pay money for it.
Excitebike World Rally- 1000
Fluidity – 1200
Grill-Off with Ultra Hand – This game was only available as a Club Nintendo reward, and cannot be legitimately purchased or added to your system anymore. Fortunately (?) it’s a pretty simple and average game which I quickly lost interest in.
Mabioshi’s Arcade – 800
Rock ‘n Roll Climber – 800
Snowpack Park – 800
Wario Ware: D.I.Y. Showcase – 800. This game can connect with the DS game, Wario Ware: D.I.Y. That is the full title, while this just lets you play some minigames. It was mostly useful as a way to play user-made games you downloaded, but since the Wii and DS’s online multiplayer was shut down years ago, so it’s much less useful now. It does allow you to play the games from the DS game on a TV though so it could still have some use.
You, Me, and the Cubes – 1000
World of Goo – 1500
Potpurrrii – 800
Zombie Panic in Wonderland – 1000 (This version of the game is Wii-exclusive, but there is a 3DS eShop DX version with added content that is better overall, though the Wiimote aiming here is nice.)
Family Glide Hockey – 500
Family Go-Kart Racing – 500 (there is also a 3DS game, Family Kart 3D, but I think it might be different?)
Family Mini Golf – 500
Family Slot Car Racing – 500
Family Pirate Party – 500
Family Tennis – 500 (there are also Wii U and 3DS Family Tennis games. I don’t think they are identical to this release but they build on it, the Wii U one particularly.)
Family Table Tennis – 500
Family Card Games – 500
Anima: Ark of Sinners – 1000
Mr. Driller W – 800 – A decent Mr. Driller game.
Muscle March – 500
Big Blue Bubble
Burn the Rope – 1000
Mouse House – 600
Bit Boy!! – 600
Niki: Rock ‘n’ Ball – 500
Plattchen: Twist ‘n’ Paint – 1000
And Yet it Moves – 1000 (not exclusive, but the Wii version has better controls than the ports)
Space Trek – 700
Mega Man 9 – 1000 plus about 1000 in DLC. These games are multiplatform but if you want to have them for Nintendo, this is close to your last chance. It’s great. Hard, but great. This is harder than any of the NES games.
Mega Man 10 – 1000 plus about 1000 in DLC. This one is a bit easier than 9 is, but it’s still tough, and really good. These are both must-plays, at least in my opinion!
Dracula: Undead Awakening – 1000
Inkub – 500
Dive: The Medes Island Secret – 1000
SPOGS Racing – 1000
Shadowplay – 800
Overflow – 1500
Copter Crisis – 500
The Incredible Maze – 500
Jelly Car 2 – 500
Equilibrio – 500
Robox – 1000
TNT Racers – 1000
Groovin Blocks – 800
Bang Attack! – 500
Brain Drain – 500
Chronos Twins DX – 1000 (an expanded version of a Europe-only DS game)
La-Mulana – 1000 (a popular game, but this is not the best version)
ColorZ – 700
Flight Control – 700
Trenches Generals – 500
LostWinds – 1000 (both LostWinds games are not exclusive, but are best here, with better controls than on other platforms. They are fairly higly regarded.)
LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias – 1000
Gene Labs – 1500
Jam City Rollergirls – 1000
Frobot – 1000
Lilt Line – 500
Furry Legends – 1000 (also on DSiWare but this is the better version. I played the demo and liked it.)
Block Breaker Deluxe – 800
Tumblebugs 2 – 800
GhostSlayer – 600
Little Tournament Over Yonder – 800
Rage of the Gladiator – 1000
Diatomic – 800
High Voltage Hot Rod Show – 1000
Gyrostarr – 700 – This is a fun little rail shooter. I like the speed.
Adventure Island: The Beginning – 800
Alien Crush Returns – 800 – While not as great as the original, it’s fun.
Bomberman Blast – 1000
Onslaught – 1000
Pop ‘Em Drop ‘Em Samegame – 500
Star Soldier R – 800 – This score-attack shmup was a lot better when its leaderboards were online, but I still like it.
Snowboard Riot – 1000
Water Warfare – 800
Paper Wars: Cannon Fodder – 500
Stonekeep: Bones of the Ancestors – 500 – This game got terrible reviews but I enjoy it, actually.
Mart Racer – 500
Castlevania ReBirth – 1000 – Very good but short.
Contra ReBirth – 1000
Critter Round-Up – 1000
Driift Mania – 800 – I found this overhead racer disappointing.
Frogger Hyper Arcade – 700
Frogger Returns – 500
Gradius ReBirth – 1000 – It’s not quite on par with the classic Gradius games, but this is still really good!
Sandy Beach – 500
Tomena Sanner – 500
Lead the Meerkats – 1000
Ghost Mania -500
Three Musketeers: One for All! – 900
Gravitronix – 500
3D Pixel Racing – 500
Kyotokei – 500 (there is also an iOS port of the game, but it is single player only while this one has two players, and better controls of course.) This is an okay indie shmup with a color-switching mechanic. It’s kind of fun.
Harvest Moon: My Little Shop – 1200
Moki Moki – 800
Cocoto Platform Jumper – 700
Heracles Chariot Racing – 800
Cave Story – 1200 (This is a true classic, but better versions are on other platforms.)
Viral Survival – 500
escapeVektor Chapter 1 – 500 (it’s good, but the complete game was later released on 3DS eshop only)
Pop – 700
Flowerworks – 1000
Urbanix – 500
Monochrome Racing – 500
Robin Hood: The Return of Richard – 500
Jewel Keepers: Easter Island – 500
Arcade Essentials – 500
Pallurikio – 1000
A Monsteca Corral: Monsters vs. Robots – 500
Over the Top Games
NyxQuest: Kindred Spirits – 1000. This game was later ported to the PC and iOS, but the controls are designed for the Wii and it would not play nearly as well anywhere else. It’s a pretty good puzzle/platformer well worth playing.
Bejeweled 2 – 1000
Max & the Magic Marker – 1000
Gnomz – 1000
2 Fast 4 Gnomz – 500
Newton vs. The Horde – 500 (technically not exclusive, but it is only also on Xbox Live Indie Games, a service which was shut down a few days ago, so this is the only way to buy this apparently-awful game now.)
Boingz – 1000
MotoHeroz – 1500 (this is the version of this game to get, it’s only also on iOS) – From the Trials people! Looks great.
Fenimore Fillmore: “The Westerner” – 1000
MadStone – 800
Bloons – 500
Swords & Soldiers – 1000 (a good game, but you can get it elsewhere.)
Snail Mail – 600 (This is a port of an iOS remake of a browser-based Shockwave PC racing-ish game. It’s not exactly the same as either previous version, though; multiplayer has been added, and perhaps more.)
Save the Furries – 1000
Let’s Catch – 1000 (can connect to Let’s Tap for DS for an added bonus)
Sonic 4: Episode 1 – 1500
Drop Zone: Under Fire – 500 (also on 3DS, but this is the better version) – This obscure falling-shooter is good fun, I thought. Look it up.
Eduardo the Samurai Toaster – 800 – This is an okay-to-good indie run & gun. It’s kind of Contra-like, and has good art. (… Not that I can be entirely objective about this one, as I used to know one of the developers online. But yeah, buy it. )
Magic Destiny – 500
Vampire Crystals – 1000 (there was a later iOS version of this surprisingly good game, but I think it’s altered.) – This is a great twinstick shooter, get it! It was one of the last WiiWare releases so it didn’t get much attention. Yes, despite its title this game IS actually really good.
Art of Balance – 800 – Also available on 3DS, Wii U, and PS4, but this original version is great too. I got it for Wii U.
FAST Racing League – 1000 – A popular classic futuristic racer. The Wii U / Switch sequel is better, but this game is also great.
Fun! Fun! Minigolf – 900 – There is a 3DS eShop followup to this available, but this is good too.
Jett Rocket – 1000 – Yes, you can do a good 3d platformer in WiiWare’s size limitation! See, this game.
Crystal Defenders R1 – 800 (technically “exclusive”, but it’s just the first world of the iOS/PS3/360/etc. Crystal Defenders game sold on its own for way too much.)
Crystal Defenders R2 – 800 (see above, except this is with worlds 2 and 3 of the original game.)
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a King – 1500 (plus lots in semi-required DLC) – I’d play this if not for all that DLC…
Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: My Life as a Darklord – 1500 (plus lots in semi-required DLC) – Expensive DLC aside this is a pretty good take on a tower defense game.
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years – 800 for episode 1, plus 2900 in DLC costs for the remaining episodes. This is not the best or cheapest way to play this game.
The Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Puzzling Pages – 1000, plus 2100 in DLC
The Tales of Bearsworth Manor: Chaotic Conflicts – 1000, plus 2000 in DLC
Doc Clock: The Toasted Sandwich of Time – 1000
Dragon Master Spell Caster – 500
Kung Fu Funk: Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting! – 500
Liight – 800
Overturn – 800
Astro Bugz Revenge – 700 (expanded version of an iOS game)
Blaster Master Overdrive – 1000
Soccer Bashi – 500
Stunt Cars – 800
Arcade Sports – 800
Family Games: Pen & Paper Edition! – 500
Arkanoid Plus! – 600, plus 200 in DLC (different from Arkanoid Live for X360)
Bubble Bobble Plus! – 600, plus 400 in DLC (apparently the same as Bubble Bobble Neo for X360)
Bust-A-Move Plus! – 600, plus 400 in DLC (similar to BAM Live for X360)
Rainbow Islands: Towering Adventure! – 800
Space Invaders Get Even – 500, plus 1500 in DLC – A unique spin on Space Invaders.
3-2-1 Rattle Battle – 500
Eat! Fat! Fight! – 1000
Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People – Episodes 1-5 – 1000 each
Tales of Monkey Island – Episodes 1-5 – 1000 each
Tetris Online (actually by Hudson Soft)
Tetris Party – 1200 (also has an expanded Wii disc / Nintendo DS followup, Tetris Party Deluxe)
Heavy Fire: Black Arms – 500
Heavy Fire: Special Ops – 500
The Learning Company
Carmen Sandiego Adventures in Math – Episodes 1-5 – 600 each
tons of bits
chick chick BOOM – 800
Heron: Steam Machine – 500
Rubik’s Puzzle Galaxy: RUSH – 600 (later ported to PC and Wii U. The other versions of RUSH don’t have the Rubik’s name attached, but are the same game and cost less.)
Toki Tori – 1000 (a great game, but get it for less on another system!)
Protothea – 1000 (a PC port dual-stick-style shooter with Wiimote aiming instead of mouse, or two sticks.)
Voodoo Dice – 1000
Balloon Pop Festival – 800 (I presume that this game is original, though there are many other Balloon Pop games out there for Wii, DS, 3DS, and especially iOS.)
Bittos+ – 800 (also available for PC as Bittos-e, sold on the games’ website only)
Retro City Rampage – 1000 (another good game also available on other platforms for this much or less, and with expanded content in the later DX release, which is not on Wii.)
HoopWorld – 1000
Spaceball: Revolution – 800
Yummy Yummy Cooking Jam – 1000
Robocalypse: Beaver Defense – 600
LIT – 800 (also on iOS, Android, and PC, but all other releases are based on the much simplified phone version, not the better original Wii game here.)
Around the World – 500
Defend Your Castle – 500
Magnetis – 500
Gods vs. Humans – 1200
Racers’ Island: Crazy Arenas – 500
Racers’ Island: Crazy Racers – 1000
Selected Virtual Console Titles
First, you can find a list of all Wii Virtual Console titles here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Virtual_Console_games_for_Wii_%28North_America%29
Again, all Virtual Console games are re-releases of older titles, so none are Wii exclusive. Several hundred are titles only digitally available on Nintendo platforms on the Wii, however, including all of the Genesis, Master System, and Turbografx games as well as some Nintendo titles, so there is reason to look at these. Additionally, Wii emulation is generally quite good particularly for people wanting digital titles that they can display at 240p resolution, since the Wii supports that. However, as I have preferred to buy actual classic games to VC re-releases, I’ve never paid much attention to Virtual Console. I’d like to try to mention some games for the service, however, particularly games you can only digitally buy here.
First, three games deserving of special mention.
Space Harrier (Arcade) – The arcade version of Space Harrier for the Wii has motion controls added, to emulate the arcade’s analog stick by tilting the Wii Nunchuck controller. That’s a pretty awesome feature to include here, and it makes this an exclusive version of the game. As far as I know this is the only Wii VC game with motion added, and it’s not a Nintendo title, it’s Sega! Heh. Nintendo always has been kind of lazy with their emulation…
Monster World IV (Genesis) – This game is also available digitally on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, but it is very noteworthy because Sega commissioned a new translation of this previously Japan-only title for its 2010 digital re-release. Definitely get this great game for one of those platforms, and perhaps the Wii because it looks great on Wii.
Ironclad (Neo-Geo) – This quality shmup actually had its only ever release on WiiWare, as the original Neo-Geo cartridge version of Ironclad was cancelled. A Neo-Geo CD version of the game was released in the late ’90s, but this is the cancelled cartridge version, not the CD one. It has not yet been released anywhere else, and the CD version has not seen a digital re-release anywhere.
And now, selected titles.
First, there are some Wii VC games which, while originally released in other regions on physical media, are still exclusively released in North America as Wii Virtual Console titles. This means that they are import games that only got released in the US on Wii VC and have not been re-released anywhere else. They are all good games, and some are great. Here’s a list: Gley Lancer (Genesis), Pulseman (Genesis), Street Fighter II’: Champion Edition (TurboGrafx), DoReMi Fantasy (SNES), Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Master System) (the awful Game Gear version of this was released on cart and is available in multiple Sega collections here, but not this better SMS release!), and Sonic Chaos (Master System) (as with Sonic 2, the GG version is easily available here, but the SMS version is WiiVC-only.). Puyo Puyo 2 (Genesis) also technically goes here, though there is a US 3DS eShop release of the very similar arcade version of the game.
Additionally some games are still US-exclusive digitally on the Wii, but do have digital re-releases on other formats in Japan: Castlevania Dracula X: Rondo of Blood (TurboGrafx) (This game is also available digitally and physically on PSP (/Vita) in the Castlevania Dracula X Chronicles package, but is only on a Nintendo system here and is fantastic.), Monster World IV (Genesis, as mentioned above), Super Fantasy Zone (Genesis), Cho Aniki (TurboGrafx) (the game has a Japanese Wii U VC release, but not elsewhere), Gradius II (TurboGrafx) (the original arcade version has some US releases, such as on the PSP Gradius collection, and in Japan it was released in the PS3’s PC Engine Classics line, but in the US the Wii has the only ever release of this version.), Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (NES) (also on 3DS and Wii U Virtual Console, both in Japan only; here, Wii-exclusive.).
Of the Virtual Console games of previously US-released games, I should mention some highlights that are currently not available digitally anywhere other than on the Wii Virtual Console. Yes, all games below have their only US digital release on Wii VC. Note this only includes games that are currently available, not the sadly delisted titles that otherwise would be here.
GameXplain made a video listing all titles that are only digitally available on Nintendo platforms on the Wii here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ91uR4KGd8 and it is very useful. It doesn’t mention games that have digital re-releases elsewhere, though, which is true for many Genesis games and some TurboGrafx titles as well. For the NES, SNES, and N64, however, that video almost entirely covers it.
NES: Of the games only for sale digitally on Wii, most aren’t amazing but Bio Miracle Bokutte Upa (mentioned above), Adventures of Lolo 2, Burger Time, Final Fantasy, Faxanadu, Zanac, and Star Soldier are worth a mention for sure. Perhaps also Milon’s Secret Castle and A Boy and his Blob.
SNES: A lot of great SNES games are still only on Wii VC, see the video for the list. I definitely highly recommend Super Turrican, it’s amazing! Gradius III, Chrono Trigger, and Super Bonk are great as well. There are more. Beyond that, I should mention that there is at least one game that does have Wii U / 3DS VC releases in Japan, but in the US is still Wii-exclusive: Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen.
N64: Only four N64 games are being delisted for now, but all four — Bomberman Hero, Cruis’n USA, Super Smash Bros., and Pokemon Puzzle League — are good games, the latter two particularly.
As for those non-Nintendo platforms, though, things are more complex.
TurboGrafx: Excepting the handful of titles also available on the PS3/PSP (listed here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_PlayStation_Store_TurboGrafx-16_games ), all of the other TurboGrafx games on the Wii have their only US releases on Wii Virtual Console. Many more PCE games also have Japanese PS3/PSP releases, but the US saw only a handful of titles there. I should note that Dragon’s Curse is also Wii VC-exclusive, but the game has a multiplatform remake, Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap, that released in 2017 for many platforms. That is based on the arcade and SMS versions and not this one, but they are essentially the same. The TG16 and Turbo CD are fantastic systems, and buy lots of the games here! Some of note that aren’t also on PS3/PSP include Monster Lair, Shockman, Air Zonk, Psychosis, Dead Moon, Legend of Hero Tonma, Battle Lode Runner, The Dynastic Hero, Bomberman ’93, Cratermaze, and Military Madness. There are also some noteworthy games that are on Wii VC in the US, and still are US-exclusive digitally here, but do have Japan-only releases on the PSP and PS3 in the “PC Engine Classics” line: Neutopia II, Devil’s Crush, Bonk’s Revenge (PC Genjin 2), Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure (PC Genjin 3), Gate of Thunder, Lords of Thunder, Galaga ’90 (Galaga ’88), Splatterhouse, and Ys I & II (though this game also has multiple remakes available on various systems).
Sega Genesis: Lots of Sega’s Genesis games have PC releases on Steam, but some Genesis games available on the Wii are still Wii VC-exclusive, including the expensive classic MUSHA, Rolling Thunder 2, Street Fighter II: Special Champion Edition, Super Street Fighter II, Boogerman, and Mega Turrican. The Genesis version of Earthworm Jim is also Wii VC-only, though other versions are available elsewhere. Also see the import exclusives I mentioned earlier.
Sega Master System: SMS games haven’t been re-released like Genesis games, so the 15 on Wii VC will mostly vanish digitally with the Wii’s shop. Of them, I’d particularly note Sonic the Hedgehog, Secret Command (this is actually Rambo: First Blood Part II), Phantasy Star, and Fantasy Zone II. Some may wish to look up the Wonder Boy and Alex Kidd games as well.
Neo-Geo: This system is amazing, but few games here aren’t available elsewhere, and with how Neo-Geo games continue to be re-released on modern systems I expect that few will stay Wii VC-only for digital purchase. Many of the games listed in the GameXplain video do have releases on other modern platforms, including GOG, Steam, and/or Humble Store PC releases, Switch, and such, but a few do not yet (in the US). These include Ninja Masters, Ninja Commando, Ninja Combat, Ironclad (as mentioned above), Ironclad (as mentioned previously), Top Hunter, and Magical Drop III. Sengoku 3 and probably more are still console-only on Wii, as well. Magical Drop III is included on disc on the Wii on the Data East Arcade Classics compilation, however. SNK’s four disc-based Wii collections include many more games, including all of the Metal Slug, Samurai Shodown, and KOF ’94-’98 games, as well as the 16 titles in the SNK Arcade Classics Vol. 1 disc: https://www.gamefaqs.com/wii/945046-snk-arcade-classics-vol-1 , which does include Top Hunter as well as some games not released digitally on the Wii.
Arcade: Space Harrier is the standout here, and most of these games are available elsewhere, but some of these are worth a look regardless, such as arcade Golden Axe.
Overall, despite all the space I have given the Virtual Console here, and that many of these games are better than a lot of WiiWare titles, because they are playable elsewhere, on their original platform,s in emulation, on newer consoles, or what have you, I would strongly recommend focusing much more on WiiWare than Virtual Console. Those are the games that are truly going away after the Wii’s online store is shut down, not the Virtual Console games… Space Harrier and Ironclad kind of excluded. WiiWare may have a lot of mediocre titles released for it, including some above and more I did not list, but there are also some pretty good games here that should not be forgotten, so go play them!