What are the 12 best Wii games to own forever?

May 14, 2012

The Best to Own Forever series isn’t about what’s great right now. It’s about what will be great in 10 years, even though there will be better-looking games and later sequels, and what will keep you pulling that dusty old console out of the closet every once in a while. We start the series with the Wii.


The fact that we even got a sequel to the original Boom Blox is strange, considering how poorly the first game sold, but the sequel improves upon everything while maintaining what made the original so much fun in the first place. The addition of new multiplayer modes makes this the best Wii game to play with kids while still remaining as addictive as ever in during the single-player content. The simplistic motions play to the strengths of the Wii’s controls without ever running into any of the typical motion gaming problems you might be accustomed to. This is one of the few family-friendly Wii titles that belongs in every gaming library. – Andrew Passafiume


The things that have made Wii games successful in today’s game climate are exactly the things that will make them successful in ten years. At least in this context, the technical disadvantages the Wii has had give it an advantage. There’s nothing here with the system’s features that make it great, but that’s okay: the aesthetic is possibly the most fully-realized one in the history of games. Oh, and it’s really just so charming to play. It may look like a game for kids, and it is. But it’s also for everyone else. – Graham Russell


One of the worst crimes repeatedly committed by gamers is judging a game by its cover. Because of its discounted price point, cartoony box art (with cel-shaded graphics to match) and “mascot and sidekick: subtitle” title scheme, Capcom’s Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure was generally unfairly dismissed as being just another third-party platformer. In reality, Z&W is a brilliant point-and-click adventure-puzzler with tons of charm and just enough challenge to make things really fun, and I logged at least 30 hours on it before I’d solved all of the main puzzles. There are even additional challenges and discoveries to be found, including alternate solutions to some of the more complex puzzles. Z&W belongs in the same discussion as the great LucasArts PC adventure games of yesteryear, and it more than deserves a permanent place in your Wii library.  – Chris Ingersoll


The original Super Mario Galaxy was a great game, but there are certainly elements of it designed (at least in part) to show off the system’s features. With the second game, EAD Tokyo just had to focus on making the game great without demonstrating the system, and guess what? The result was phenomenal. It could’ve been like The Lost Levels, a straightforward sequel that no one is particularly bothered when it’s swept under the rug for the most part. Instead, with Yoshi, iterations on the first game’s puzzles and a stripped-down world that focuses on getting you to the good stuff, this one’s a keeper. – Graham Russell


The first LostWinds was a launch title for Nintendo’s WiiWare service and it did a nice job of demonstrating the potential of the service, but was a bit on the easy side. The sequel, Winter of the Melodias, brings a lot of innovative puzzles and some cool new mechanics to the table, adding a lot of extra depth that the original was missing. This game is short, but I found it has a lot of replay value and is the one WiiWare title that is worth revisiting countless times. You can download both this and the original on your iOS device, but I think the WiiWare version is the one to go with. – Andrew Passafiume


If/when we decide to cover the Best GameCube Games to Own Forever (ed.: soon), Metroid Prime could easily make the list. But if it doesn’t survive the cut, that’s because putting Metroid Prime Trilogy on this list was essentially a no-brainer. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption put the Wii’s control scheme to one of its best uses in the system’s lifetime, and the Trilogy collection applied that scheme (and some other upgrades, like widescreen support) to the two already-superior GameCube titles, and then crammed them all onto one (dual-layer) disc packaged in a neat metallic case for no extra cost. The only problem with Trilogy? The fact that it was a Collector’s Edition, and as such is now expensive to pick up new (current Amazon price: $170); even used editions will run at least $10 more than the $50 MSRP these days. If you already own it, hang on to it. If you don’t, we won’t fault you for opting to only pick up Corruption – Chris Ingersoll


Guys, we probably won’t get another Rhythm Heaven anytime soon. That’s sad to type, but the games haven’t seen much success in the U.S., so it’s time to accept our fate. It’s good, then, that we went out on top, as Rhythm Heaven Fever is better than the GBA original and certainly more solid than the DS installment. High-fiving monkeys! Racquets and planes! Seriously, go play this game and try not to have a big grin on your face. – Graham Russell


Not everyone will agree with this, but I think Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition is the best version of RE4 you can buy. Sure, it doesn’t have the sharper, HD look of the recent re-release, but it has an incredible and easy-to-use motion-control scheme that is perfect for this game. You can play with a regular controller if you prefer it, but the Wii controls are some of the best on the system and add a ton to an already fantastic game. That, plus all of the great additional content, equals an affordable way to be play one of the best action-horror games of the last decade. – Andrew Passafiume


Just like Metroid Prime 3: Corruption justified the Wii Remote’s pointer, Skyward Sword justified the MotionPlus technology that is now basically standard on all newly-purchased Remotes. We never really got the epic Star Wars lightsaber game that everyone immediately dreamed of when the Remote was first revealed, but Skyward Sword delivered on the sword-swinging promise in Nintendo’s own way. Being able to control your swings directly allowed for better combat and a new variety of puzzles that the Zelda series could never offer before, and the creators have pretty much gone on record as stating that future Zelda console releases will use motion-controlled swordplay as often as possible. Of course, the motion controls were used for more than just stabbing and slashing, making Skyward Sword one of the most unique Zelda experiences ever made.  – Chris Ingersoll


Despite being a five-year-old game by the time we saw it, Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love impressed and charmed us enough to warrant Game of the Year consideration. It’s the only game in the series to get an English translation, and its standalone story makes that okay. Yeah, it’s a bit of a visual novel in between the cool mech strategy-RPG battles, but how’s that not better than grinding for XP? – Graham Russell


Some gameplay is just timeless. The utter simplicity of the Punch-Out!! series stands the test of time, while the great characters and puzzle-based boxing make each game in the franchise memorable. The Wii version even upped the ante by trading basic button presses for actual fist-swinging — although the optional Balance Board support for ducking and dodging was probably overdoing it a little. Still, it was great to see this nearly-forgotten franchise resurrected after taking two generations off, and it couldn’t have come back at a better time. Is this the best iteration of the franchise? That depends on who you ask, and possibly on which day. Does it matter? Not really… they’re all awesome in their own ways. And you can actually play all three on the same system thanks to the Virtual Console, so throwing this one out of the ring would just be wrong. – Chris Ingersoll


In the future, I think people will look back at Xenoblade Chronicles fondly and see it as the beacon of hope that inspired a new wave of great JRPGs. This is me being optimistic, but it’s hard not to be when this game has received such high praise from so many people, including those who are not big JRPG fans (or at least haven’t been for years). Xenoblade deserves all of that praise and then some. It adds a bunch of new improvements to a stagnant genre without ruining what made JRPGs great in the first place. – Andrew Passafiume