The year is coming to a close. Soon, gamers, developers, publishers and journalistic outlets alike will be looking back at the best titles of 2014 to decide which ones are worthy of game of the year honors. There’s plenty to choose from within a wide variety of genres, from shooters to RPGs to action-adventure games. But which game will reign supreme? Well, that’s up to a lot of different people, including you.
We’ve gathered five of the hottest Wii U games that launched this year. Which is your favorite Wii U game of 2014? Let us know in the poll below!
1. Super Smash Bros.
Nintendo is a company revered for its amazing series. Sure, The Legend of Zelda and Metroid might be bright and cartoony compared to franchises like Gears of War and Halo, but the world needs video games like that! As long as the quality of games is excellent (and with Nintendo, it almost always is), who cares that the Wii U is geared toward younger, casual players, especially when Super Smash Bros., a game that borrows characters and elements from Nintendo’s (and others’) best video game series, is a thing? Smash Bros. has been my favorite fighting game since I was a wee lad, and now what’s possibly the best version yet now available on the Wii U in glorious high definition, which means people like me are stoked. With a huge roster, tons of unlockables, eight-player battles and endless hours of fun, what more could you ask for?
- Dozens and dozens of hours of play
- Tons of unlockables
- Eight-player battles
- Can’t take it on the go like you can with the 3DS version
- Kicked from online if you target an individual player
- No cross-system play
- Cheap Final Smashes
2. Bayonetta 2
Bayonetta 2 has everything you could ask for in an action game: high-octane combat, ridiculous weapons and moves, insane enemies and bosses and a strong and sexy protagonist. The original Bayonetta was challenging, but conquering its difficult encounters and over-the-top bosses was nothing short of satisfying. Witch Time, a slow motion move activated by dodging at exactly the right moment, made you feel amazing. All of that and more is back in a surprisingly robust sequel, but the fact you can only get it for the Wii U is a bit disappointing.
Price: $58.61 (2 percent off MSRP)
- New moves
- Powerful weapons
- Sexy heroine
- Comes with free copy of the original Bayonetta
- Not friendly to newcomers
- Crazy story
- Wii U exclusive
- Undeserved claims of sexism
3. Mario Kart 8
If you like arcade-y kart racers, you’ve played the Mario Karo series. The franchise reigns supreme when it comes to high-octane fun with friends and family alike. For those who aren’t familiar, Mario Kart allows you and up to three others on the same TV to play as your favorite Nintendo characters, customize karts and race around colorful and beautiful tracks that even take you upside-down thanks to the new antigravity feature. The items you can pick up keep the game fair and balanced, which allows even the worst of racers to have a good time. If you have a Wii U, you need Mario Kart 8.
Price: $51.99 (13 percent off MSRP)
- Fantastic presentation
- Interesting tracks
- Upside-down racing
- Items are more fair
- Online features not all there
- Blue shells
- Luigi’s terrifying death stare
4. Child of Light
The first thing you’ll notice while playing Child of Light is undoubtedly its amazing graphics. The game’s watercolor-like visuals look like they were painted right onto your screen. Child of Light features unconventional characters and a unique story that defy genre standards while still paying them tribute, which is no easy feat. All of this aside, Child of Light still features robust and interesting combat mechanics that mix real-time and turn-based strategy into one fluid system that’s nothing short of satisfying. If you can get past the rhyming pentameter characters are forced to speak in, you’ll find an excellent game, even if its RPG elements aren’t as deep as they could be.
- Hand-painted art
- Great combat
- Trope-defying story
- Forced rhyming
- Shallow RPG elements
- Not for every RPG-lover
5. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
Mario may be the king of platformers, but good ol’ Donkey Kong is a close runner-up (and, in several gamers’ opinions, the true ruler). In Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, you and a buddy go through expertly designed levels, jumping off platforms, swinging on vines and shooting through barrels in classic Donkey Kong Country fashion. The game features unique boss encounters, and the four playable characters each have different strengths and weaknesses, making experimenting with each worthwhile. Don’t let its playful aesthetics fool you, though; Tropical Freeze is genuinely challenging.
Price: $48.43 (3 percent off MSRP)
- Challenging yet fair platforming
- Fun levels
- Great boss encounters
- Tons of hidden goodies
- Might be difficult for kids
- No co-op character switching
- Wasted GamePad potential
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