The lights are on
Strong titles like Super Mario 3D World, Pikmin 3, and Lego City Undercover have been oases of enjoyable gaming in a desert of few exclusive releases for the Wii U this year. With the launch of the PS4 and Xbox One, many gamers are moving on from Wii U to growing software libraries on these other consoles. We were even prompted to ask you earlier today whether it's time for Nintendo to move on to a new console? However, there are still plenty of great opportunities the Wii U could explore. Here are 15 game ideas that would be perfect fits for the Wii U’s capabilities, audience, and technology.
2D Metroid – Overwhelmingly, the game that GI editors most want to see on a Nintendo home console is a new 2D Metroid. Dozens of developers have created homages to the classic Metroid formula, but Nintendo painfully neglects the opportunity to create a new classic entry. Having an interactive map on the touchscreen could do wonders for navigation, and we’d love to see Samus and her Metroid foes depicted in two-dimensional HD. In a similar vein, we also wouldn’t complain about a new Castlevania game in the same style.
Pokémon – Longtime Pokémon fans would rejoice at a full-fledged release in the classic style on Wii U. The GamePad screen could easily stand in for the bottom 3DS screen, and the game would be even more popular if it included cross-compatibility with the recent Pokémon X and Y so that you could catch even more of the titular little beasts.
Dungeons & Dragons-style RPG – The classic tabletop RPG formula has one player as a game master that controls monsters, NPCs, and story flow, and the others controlling characters that experience the adventures that GM creates. With the GamePad, Nintendo has an ideal way to emulate this experience in a video game. The GM player could trigger various actions and events on screen, and the other players have their onscreen characters react.
Star Fox – It’s been too long since we’ve seen a true Star Fox game on a Nintendo home console. The microphone could be used to command your squadmates into combat with a shout, the speakers would carry their voices to you, and the touchscreen could provide navigation to objectives or change ship equipment on the fly.
Mario Maestro – The disastrous Wii Music didn’t succeed because it wasn’t really about, well, music. The Wii U offers Nintendo a chance to make amends with a real game about creating music with the touch of a finger. By selecting preset melodies and harmonies, a player could create their own musical pieces. More expert level play would allow players to use the GamePad to place individual notes and rhythms. The large screen displays the entire piece as you work on smaller sections on the touchscreen. It would be a fun way to introduce music to kids as a music education tool, but Nintendo could also inject some of its trademark charm to create a little narrative about Mario’s quest to become a great composer.
Real Time Strategy – Console games have struggled to find a good solution for RTS, but Nintendo has the answer built into its latest console. The touchscreen interface would allow players to easily create groups, tap to move armies to different areas of the map, and pull up unit statistics. Meanwhile, the action plays out on the big screen.
The Sims – Nintendo could court EA to get a new exclusive Sims game for the Wii U. Unlike on the PC, the main TV screen could show a clear and uncluttered view of your Sims and their happy home. Meanwhile, the various meters, building tools, and buttons required to control their lives could all live comfortably on the GamePad. Bonus points if the game melds the classic Sims aesthetic with Nintendo’s colorful cartoon vibe, so that Mario and his friends could come visit your house.
Okami – This franchise was a hit for Nintendo on the Wii. A new adventure starring Amaterasu and her watercolor aesthetic would look beautiful on the Wii U, and the touchscreen would let players draw symbols with far greater ease than when using a traditional analog stick.
[Next up: A classic Nintendo racer]
Email the author Matt Miller, or follow on Game Informer.