The Best Nintendo WiiWare Games You Completely Forgot About

Tea Nintendo Wii is most likely remembered for its personality and eccentric games that set it apart from the rest of the console generation. Titles like Super Mario Galaxy and The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess were surrounded by strange games that tried to take advantage of motion controls like Elebits and Boomblox. Every exclusively downloadable game made for the Wii was called WiiWare and was sold on the Wii Shop Channel. While there were many titles that were made inexpensively and didn’t have much content, there were also a few stand-out titles for the service that were absolutely worth downloading.

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The Wii Shop Channel may be offline forever, and it was still early in Nintendo’s history with online storefronts, but it was a great place to shop for interesting games. The store still used a points system and the games were priced anywhere from two dollars to 15, meaning many developers put smaller projects on the service that weren’t worth full price. It’s easy to forget that there were independent and third-party developers that used the service to drop strange and exciting gaming experiments.

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While the Wii Shop Channel may have been shut down and unavailable for years now, there’s still ways to experience many of the games for the system. Preservation of Nintendo games is important, so the best games have been ported to other consoles and have small but devoted followings. With the retro craze moving forward towards the Wii era of gaming, here’s some of the WiiWare that is worth revisiting.


The Bit.Trip Series Is A Classic Independent Franchise On Wii


Bit.Trip BEAT for the Wii, PS4, Steam, and Switch

While Choice Provisions, formerly Gaijin Games, is most well known for the RUNNER series, it got its start on WiiWare with Bit.Trip BEAT. The first entry in the Bit Trip series was a rhythm game adaptation of pong that was known for being tough. Each game in the series had its own gameplay style centered around rhythm, but BEAT, CORE, VOID, RUNNER, FATEand FLOW all share a story and an easy-to-learn, tough-to-master arcade feel similar to puzzle games like Tetris.

While the story is simple and abstract, the series does a great job of representing emotions and moods through introducing creatively-themed gameplay mechanics and wonderful backdrops. Dots will fly towards the screen in pairs, bounce off the paddle, and create light trails that the player might react to with excitement and frustration. Mastery may take a while, but the feeling of hitting every note in these games is satisfying. Players who want to pick this game up could consider the various PC ports, but all six games are available as The Bit.Trip on PS4.


Fast Racing League Is An Arcade Racer With Great Motion Controls


FAST Racing League for the Wii

Tea FAST series of games started as a WiiWare title developed by Shin’en Media. The crux of the game is simple, much like other futuristic racers like F-Zero, which has been dormant for 20 years, the goal is to maintain a breakneck pace throughout the entire course. However, FAST‘s main gimmick of players switching which pads boost and brake is fun and challenging to master.

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The original game hasn’t been ported to any other consoles, but players that are looking for the series can download FAST RMX for Nintendo Switch. Of all the FAST-Racing games, the WiiWare title most resembles the old arcade cabinets that one would find like H2Overdrive and Star Wars: Racer Arcade. FAST for Wii is quite a bit slower than RMX but the motion controls make the game interesting to control and much more nostalgic.


Art Style: Light Trax Is The Best Budget Tron Game


Art Style Light Trax for Nintendo Wii

Tea Art Style games were developed by the defunct studio Skip, best known for Chibi-Roboand were a series of ports and original games for both the Wii and DS, and are still worth playing in 2022. These mini-games ranged from puzzle games to action platformers, but the best one is far and away Art Style: LightTrax. The game is a minimalist take on arcade racing, with the player controlling a line that races others through a circuit filled with obstacles and powerups.

The minimalist style is reminiscent of very early video games and also feels similar to a tron racing game. However, Light Trax has its own unique gameplay with the Freeway mode, allowing players to race against the clock trying to pass as many opposing lines as possible. The soundtrack is great, featuring a handful of great electronic songs in the vein of Aphex Twin. Since Skip has stopped developing video games, Light Trax isn’t available outside of archives online but is still worth a download.


Toribash Is A Wii Port Of A PC Turn-Based Fighting Game


Toribash for Wii

Toribash is a one of a kind game that was released officially for PC (unlike Ocarina of Time‘s PC port) and ported to Wii that puts players in control of a character with polygonal limbs that can only be controlled in small increments. Each turn players can move their character towards their opponent to try and punch, kick, and knock them out. Players don’t need to make split-second decisions in order to string together a combo of punches that feels satisfying during a replay.

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Toribash is still available as a downloadable game on Steam that is completely free-to-play and moddable. The Wii port obviously didn’t have cross-platform play and modding support, but the game still sees a fair amount of play today given that the original launched in 2006. For fans of Super hot, QWOP, and competitive fighting games like Smash Bros. and Multiverse, Toribash might be worth checking out even without the addition of motion controls.

The best games for Nintendo WiiWare were often thought-out and well-executed ideas, but what makes these games special today is their quirkiness. Whether or not the Wii’s motion controls hold up, there were some genuine game design successes that shouldn’t be left behind because they were downloadable-only. Each of the games here is worth preserving as part of an experimental era for Nintendo. While many games like Wii Music, Little King’s Story, and Donkey Kong Barrel Blast were failed attempts to use motion controls, Mario Kart Wii, Wario Ware: Smooth Moves, and No More Heroes wouldn’t have been as fun without the Wii Remote providing a new experience. Toribash, Art Style: Light Trax, FAST Racing League, and The Bit.Trip are all testaments to the Nintendo Wii and its possibilities for new game designs.


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