Games to buy on the Wii U eShop while you still can
Nintendo’s ending support for buying new things from the Wii U eShop from “late March 2023” and that means a whole load of games will be going to go up in value physically because there’s nowhere else to buy them from anymore.
Closing the eShop doesn’t mean these games are gone forever, but as they get older they will get harder to find and for a decent price. A lot of the games on this list are Virtual Console games, already out of print by decades and are hundreds of dollars on eBay compared to $10 or so on the eShop.
For all its faults the Wii U had a wide range of input options that makes it versatile to play games from a long span of Nintendo history. These games aren’t gone forever, but they’re going to get a lot harder to find and possibly impossible to play in their original forms.
Unfortunately, we never got a web-based eShop in Australia for the Wii U, so I can’t link you directly to these.
The Virtual Console
While Nintendo boasts to have 130 games on the Nintendo Switch Online service, there are in fact at least 300 games on the Virtual Console (here in Australia) at least. This includes games from systems that aren’t available at all on the Switch as well.
Duck Hunt and Wild Gunman
It took 8 years in the lifetime of the Wii for Nintendo to bring these two the Wii and who knows when they’ll be available again. These games needed the Wii Remote to use the pointer, and while the Joy-Con acts as a pointer, it’s not the same.
Super Mario Advance 4: Super Mario Bros. 3
I know what you’re thinking, Super Mario Bros. 3 is playable on the Switch – but the Advance version is not. While some might not like the Advance version due to the extra voices added there is one thing the GBA version has that the NES does not. Well, there are a few things but the big one is the eReader levels. These levels were added to the Virtual Console release as a bonus and feature some really inventive courses.
Game Boy Advance
The Wii U is the only place to still buy some of the best Game Boy Advance games without trawling through fake cartridges on eBay.
While some games from this era are now being re-released like Advance Wars and the Castlevania games there’s a lot being left behind.
The likes of Drill Dozer, the F-Zero games, Golden Sun series, Kuru Kuru Kururin, 11 different Mega Man Battle Network games, the Mario Advance titles, and perhaps most painfully The Legends of Zelda: Minish Cap and the Metroid titles.
- Drill Dozer
- This was actually the first time the game was released with French, German, Spanish and Italian and in Australia as well!
- F-Zero Maximum Velocity and GP Legend
- Fire Emblem titles
- Golden Sun and Golden Sun: The Lost Age
- Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, Nightmare in Dreamland
- Kuru Kuru Kururin
- Metroid Fusion
- Metroid: Zero Misison
- Pokemon Mystery Dungeon
- Super Mario Advance ports
- The Legend of Zelda: Minish Cap
- Wario Land 4
There’s one Nintendo system with dual screens that you can still buy Nintendo DS games on – and that’s the Wii U. Not the 3DS, which never made sense… but if you missed out on the Nintendo DS there was a limited selection of titles on the Wii U. You could play them with on-screen on the TV, both on the GamePad and in whatever orientation you wanted as well.
While a lot of DS games got better 3DS sequels or installments the following are still worth a look at.
- Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
- Kirby Canvas Curse
- Pokémon Ranger series
- Star Fox Command
- Super Mario 64 DS
- The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks
- WarioWare: Touch!
I’ll be honest, I know about as much about the TurboGrafx-16 so we’ve asked, and here’s what came back.
- Bonk’s Adventure
- Bonk 3: Bonk’s Big Adventure
- Bomberman ’94
Luckily the TurboGrafx-16 featured a lot of arcade games that have been ported to many places.
Look I don’t know why Nintendo called Pushmo in one part of the world and Pullbox in the other. It was just this phase they were going through when everything had a different name for each region. They seemingly liked to make their jobs harder.
But Pullblox World is an awesome puzzler from Intelligent Systems and while its online features are as dead as Miiverse there are 250 puzzles in the game to play through.
Affordable Space Adventures
The number of indie games on the Wii U that were exclusively released on the system was quite small. Now years later most of the good ones have been ported to other systems – but not Affordable Space Adventures.
It’s one of those games that can be played with the GamePad, or it can be played with multiple people using other controls to help you along. The Wii U GamePad worked as a HUD and allowing you to control and fix all the parts of your affordable spaceship. The development team has only worked on two games since and nothing since 2018 – maybe they’re working on bringing it to Switch?
And here’s a list of Wii U games you could buy off the eShop before they get too hard to find and if they get ported, aren’t going to be the same.
Wii and Wii U Releases
Metroid Prime Trilogy (Wii)
Go try and find a copy of Metroid Prime Trilogy anywhere and you’re met with dollar signs. It’s cheaper to still go track down a GameCube version of the first two games and the standalone Wii version of the third can be found in the nearest pawnshop with a yellow-stained case for $20. But to get the first two games with the Wii Remote controls – it’s either a couple of hundred on eBay.
At least until they release it on the Switch.
Xenoblade Chronicles X
Look the people just want this on another console, one with a little bit more power as well. I don’t have to explain it. Plus, Xenoblade Chronicles X also runs better on the Wii U when it’s downloaded.
Excitebots: Trick Racing
This one is for our American friends, as Nintendo decided never to release the game in the west anywhere else. With Monster Games now swallowed by iRacing and their relationship with Nintendo nonexistent after 2015’s Xenoblade Chronicles 3D, we can assume this one that won’t be re-released anytime soon. Damn fun game too.
While this has been ported to other consoles, they of course didn’t have the GamePad support. An interesting experiment of a game that won’t be able to be reproduced elsewhere. Luckily you can find it for $20, and it probably doesn’t warrant inclusion in this article but I’m going to do it. Who’s going to stop me?
Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
For a while in the 2000s, Nintendo really didn’t know what to do with Kirby. So every game was something different, and Kirby and the Rainbow Curse was one of those games. Rainbow Curse is one of those Kirby games where you don’t actually control Kirby, instead, you control a magical paintbrush that guides Kirby through the world. You draw the way through the game.
Not inconceivable that this couldn’t appear anywhere else, but Kirby seems to be going in a bigger direction these days.
Wind Waker HD / Twilight Princess HD
These will probably be announced to be coming to the Nintendo Switch before I publish this article, but even if they do they won’t be the same.
Sure if they ever get ported to the Switch they might run a bit better, and of course, you can play them on the road but that ugly GamePad was actually useable for a lot of things and inventory management and maps were one of them. The GamePad enhanced Wind Waker HD a lot, it made items easy to fling in and out of your hands and the sailing map helped a lot too. Twilight Princess HD had much the same as well, perhaps its map was less necessary than in Wind Wakers.
These will come to the Switch, but they won’t have that GamePad menu.
Is there anything exclusive to the Wii U or now hard to find from the system that will just simply disappear when the eShop closes? Let us know in the comments if we missed your favorite.