Now that the Nintendo Switch is here, the Wii U's best days are over. But Nintendo's previous-generation console left behind a handful of excellent games in its relatively short life, including the spectacular, just-released The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Factor in older hits such as Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2 and Super Mario Maker, and you've got a healthy mix of joyful, family-friendly Nintendo experiences and more mature and demanding games for adults.
If you've yet to make the jump to Switch or just scored a Wii U for cheap, you won't be hurting for fun games to play. Here are our top picks.
The Wii U's final big release is also arguably its best. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild takes Nintendo's iconic adventure series to all new heights, allowing you to freely roam a beautiful, dynamic open world where pretty much nothing is off limits. You'll be scavenging for food, making weapons out of everyday objects and engaging in tight, fluid combat, all while enjoying the charming characters and thrilling sense of adventure that makes the Zelda series so beloved.
Breath of the Wild (which is also available on the Switch) is already one of the best-reviewed games of all time, making it a heck of a swan song for the Wii U.
The latest installment in Nintendo's frenzied fighting game series ups the ante in every way possible, with gorgeous HD arenas, tons of single-player and co-op modes and a massive roster that pits gaming stalwarts such as Mario, Link, Pac-Man and Mega Man against hilariously obscure inclusions like the dog from Duck Hunt and the Wii Fit Trainer. Since launch, the game has gained even more characters in the form of DLC, with Street Fighter's Ryu, Final Fantasy's Cloud and the titular Bayonetta all joining the fray. Plus, with the new 8-Player Smash Mode, there's never been a better way to settle who's best amongst your friends.
If you think the Wii U is nothing more than a kids' console, Bayonetta 2 has a few dirty words for you. This edgy action game's combat system is as stylish and memorable as its titular female protagonist (whose hair is literally a weapon), allowing you to gracefully chain together punches, kicks and gunfire against hordes of demonic, over-the-top enemies. With the original Bayonetta bundled in for free (complete with new Nintendo-themed costumes), Bayonetta 2 is an excellent package for gamers who live for crazy combos and insane boss fights.
If you're looking for a new Mario game, why not just make your own? Super Mario Maker lets you do just that, offering a robust set of tools that let you make the Mario levels of your dreams (or of your friends' nightmares) by simply doodling on the Wii U gamepad. You can share your creations with the world, or play the million-plus courses created by Mario fans around the globe. Just be warned -- the game's 100 Mario Challenge is full of devious community creations that will test your sanity on higher difficulty levels.
Believe it or not, one of the best online shooters out there is a Wii U exclusive. Splatoon flips the multiplayer shooter genre on its head by having two teams of four battle to cover an arena with gobs of colorful ink. Despite its cutesy nature, Splatoon's myriad of unlockable guns and gear give it tons of competitive depth, and Nintendo regularly keeps the game fresh with new maps and features. There's even an engaging single-player mode that has you take down hordes of evil octopi.
The much-awaited next installment in the long-running Xeno franchise, the Japanese role-playing-game Xenoblade Chronicles X puts you on the planet Mira, where a spaceship full of humans fleeing the destruction of Earth has crash-landed. You'll have to battle an invading alien horde bent on exterminating humans, but you can do so as a Skell, a giant weaponized robot that can transform into a tank or motorcycle, and bound across a planet-sized open world. If you're looking for an epic RPG that you can easily sink dozens of hours into, Xenoblade Chronicles X is worth a look.
Yoshi's Woolly World is the kind of game that sells itself in a single screenshot. I mean, how could you not want to guide an adorably stitched-together version of Yoshi through colorful 2D worlds made entirely out of yarn? Woolly World has more than its stunning visuals going for it, though, offering satisfying 2D platforming complete with two-player co-op and troves of secrets to discover. Tapping in your Amiibo toys unlocks a host of cool costumes for Yoshi, allowing the adorable dinosaur to cosplay as Mario, Link, Samus and plenty more.