Nintendo Wii U Retro Review: Is it Worth the Money This Year?

Wii U

The Xbox One and PlayStation 4 may be making the biggest splashes this holiday season, but for the newest console with the deepest roster of games, you need to look at … the Wii U? Yeah, I think that’s probably true, even though I’m not sure I fully believe it myself.

I’ve had my Wii U for just over a year now, and most of the past year has seen it sit idly by on my shelf. I was the only person at GameStop picking it up when the store opened on its launch day, which should have been an early indication of just how little people cared about it. That sentiment remains true even today, as Bloomberg reports that Nintendo will (most likely) fall significantly shy of its goal to sell 9 million consoles by March (it’s on pace to sell 6 million in its first 16 or so months on the market). Things are so bad for the Wii U that the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 each sold more units in their first 24 hours than the Wii U did in nine months. Ugh. Rest in peace, Wii U.


ZombiU could have — and should have — grabbed my attention, but it didn’t. Sorry, Wii U!

Regardless of public opinion, I was psyched for a new console. When it launched, it was the first new home console in six years. While nothing about the console was really revolutionary – it has average specs, featured an alright-but-not-great launch lineup and a “revolutionary” controller (if you could pretend tablets never existed) – it was still NEW. And that was enough for me!

But after burning through New Super Mario Bros. U and dabbling in NintendoLand, I lost interest. I lost interest even when I should have been playing ZombiU (which I’m sure is a great game that I should play). “It” just wasn’t there, whatever “it” was. Nothing compelled me to (literally) dust off my Wii U GamePad and turn the system back on. It wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t good.

On Monday, however, I fired up my Wii U for the first time in months. I got Super Mario 3D World, and that was enough of a push to get the system back on. Even bracketed by its newer, flashier, stronger brothers, the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4, the little-engine-that-could Wii U took control of my gaming focus, if only for a short time.

I’m sure Super Mario 3D World is going to be great. It’s got great co-op, is beautiful to look at and has tons of new features. And, if Nintendo does one thing right, it’s Mario. It’s enough to get me excited about the Wii U again, which is saying something.

Super Mario 3D World

Just look how awesome it looks! Look at all the things you can do!

Looking back at the past few months, Nintendo’s strung together a decent (albeit short) list of games that you should buy– or at least play – on the Wii U. Between New Super Luigi U (an add-on pack for the launch Mario title that doubles as a standalone title), Rayman Legends, The Wonderful 101 and Pikmin 3, there are actually a decent number of games that I want to check out for the Wii U. It’s a weird feeling!

Don’t get me wrong – I love my PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. But with those consoles $100 and $200, respectively, more than the Wii U, and with a lower number of must-play games found exclusively on those systems, it’s hard to argue that they have more value this holiday season than the Wii U. Even if I just use my Wii U as a Mario box, I know it’ll have my attention for a few hours this year, and that’s enough for me.


Joey Lewandowski

Joey is the Manager of Content and Community at ShellyPalmer. With a journalism degree from Ramapo College of New Jersey, he's a die-hard Minnesota Vikings fan, enjoys watching movies and loves all most things tech. You can follow him on Twitter @soulpopped. He's also the co-host of the award-winning* podcast "Sports 4 Starters." (*Note*: No awards actually won.)

  • GW

    Well, this wasn’t the anti-Nintendo rant I expected at all, so at least you’re using the console and not writing like some people who’ve written if off who haven’t touched it yet.

    May I suggest FINALLY picking up Zombi U, as it’s a great game and a fine example of how the GamePad works better than what Microsoft and Sony have tried to copy since the Wii U launched. Some of the other third-party games are great as well and although “old” in terms of some titles considered “ports”, the additional content in some that doesn’t require paying for DLC and enhanced features in other titles make them the best versions you can get outside the PC.

    That said, Nintendo REALLY needs to step it up in 2014, but I think they’ll have some key releases from first and third parties to get a few more people to take the plunge. It’s not a “weird” feeling at all… unless you were hoping they’d fail completely and are feeling surprised they haven’t.

    • soulpopped

      Hey GW! Glad you liked the article. I actually have Zombi U — and know I need to play it. There are a lot of games that I COULD have (and probably would have) bought for the Wii U, had I not had it on another console already (Arkham City comes to mind).

      I agree that they need to step it up next year, but looking at a launch schedule, aside from Smash Bros. (which I’d own the console for exclusively), Bayonetta 2 and DKC Tropical Freeze, I’m not sure how many games will actually come out. Oh well, we’ll have to wait and see! The console was an investment for future games … now I just want to see a return on that investment.