With Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One roaring onto the scene late last year, the task of growing the Wii U’s audience has become significantly more challenging for Nintendo. If there’s one thing that the company has proven since the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System, it is the ability to iterate its core franchises into tremendously successful, console-selling games. Nintendo certainly has its work cut out for it, but the following four Nintendo Wii U games should be compelling enough to elevate the console from its niche doldrums.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
(Release: 21 February 2014)
Nintendo returns to its roots with another barrel-jumping platforming adventure starring Donkey, Diddy, and the rest of the Kong clan. With six sprawling islands to explore and a huge cache of new moves to master, Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze is a great way to start the year on the Wii U.
Mario Kart 8
(Release: Spring 2014)
Mario Kart 8 was officially announced at E3 2013 and we’ve been excited about it ever since. Combining the best of Mario Kart Wii and the 3DS’s Mario Kart 7 with all new gravity-defying 12-player gameplay, Mario Kart 8 is just what the Wii U needs to regain the attention of gamers. The game’s 60 frames-per-second HD visuals should help also.
Super Smash Brothers
(Release: Spring 2014)
There have been plenty of imitators, but none have come close to capturing the magic of Super Smash Brothers. Boasting competitive four-player gameplay and a roster stacked with characters from some of Nintendo’s most beloved first and third-party franchises, get ready to sink countless hours into this one.
Hyrule Warriors (Working Title)
Both the name and actual release date are in flux, but this Legend of Zelda-Dynasty Warriors hybrid is one to watch. At the current stage of development, Hyrule Warriors appears to feature more hack and slash action than traditional role-playing elements, but given Nintendo’s proven track record with Zelda games, it’s hard to not be excited about this one.
Whether Nintendo returns to prominence within the current console ecosystem remains to be determined. Regardless, for gamers itching to enjoy HD updates of some of the industry’s most beloved franchises, 2014 appears set to be the most exciting year yet on the Wii U.