Under The Radar Wii Games
The Wii has a huge library, 1262 different games hit retail shelves. There are definitely some classic games on the Wii, and there are of course a bunch of junk shovelware titles that hit this hot-selling console. There is also a group of games that just seem to be unrecognized, or forgotten, that don’t quite get the proper respect as other good – great games.
It seems like whenever I’m talking to friends about older games, the Wii gets laughed at or shrugged off, it can’t “shake” (sorry) the stigma of wiggle controls and elderly Wii Bowlers. Whenever I try to mention the Wii has some great exclusives, people kinda nod thinking I’m just talking about Mario, Smash, Zelda and are ready to move onto talking about other systems. I want to list here and talk about some of the Wii games I often recommend that a lot of gamers don’t know about, and deserve a playthrough.
I plan on doing this in multiple parts, I’m sure the hardcore Wii aficionado’s will not be surprised by some of what is on this list, but maybe as we get further in the series, you’ll find some surprises too.
The black and white comic book art style is so unique and enticing to me, blood red is the only color you see in this game and it is part of what makes it stand out on the Wii. Your right arm is a chainsaw and the violence is over the top, interacting with items in the environment you can impale enemies with street signs and other objects. The game uses some motion controls and actually does it very well, it has never been released outside of the Wii.
Mad World is developed by Platinum Games (Bayonetta, Vanquish, Nier Automata etc) and is one of my favorite games from the developer. It’s current metacritic score is a 81, but it was given 9’s by publishers like IGN and Game Informer.
I always recommend this to anyone who thinks the Wii doesn’t have any good Mature games or action games.
ExciteBots Trick Racing
How can a game published by Nintendo be on an “Under The Radar” list? Because you likely never heard of this game, or ignored it when you did hear about it.
I’m sure most are familiar with the Excite-series because of Excitebike and probably even the Wii launch title Excite Trucks, but ExciteBots is the weirdest and most unfamiliar.
The vehicles are designed to look like insects, animals and different creatures, as you do tricks they flap their wings, kick out their legs, whip their tail and come to life. The game is all about getting stars from tricks and other tasks in the race, the winner isn’t determined by finishing first.
The goofiness of this game is what makes it so entertaining, while racing you will shake tambourines, kick soccer goals, throw pies in a clowns face, and so many other crazy things I can’t list. This is the most insane racing game I can recall playing. It’s oddly Nintendo-esque, and reminds me of the “Play It Loud” era of the Super Nintendo.
Demand for a racing game likely wasn’t high when this released because it was only 1 year after Mario Kart, and this was came out during a crowded Spring release season. It took me about 2 years after to release to get around to playing this and I’m so glad I did, I highly recommend it.
Muramasa The Demon Blade
VanillaWare has one of my favorite art styles in gaming, it is used throughout all of their games (Dragon’s Crown, Odin Sphere, GrimGrimoire, etc)
Muramasa is a 2D side-scrolling action RPG, the combat is similar to old-school platforming sword-combat (like Ninja Gaiden) but with a little more complexity in your sword selection and the ability to gain experience and level up. There is no motion control use in the game at all. The map-system is reminiscent of Super Metroid, but it is not the same genre of game.
If you’re familiar with VanillaWare, this is a must-have, if you’re a fan of 2D action games, again a must. The art looks gorgeous even without HD graphics, but the upgrade would be appreciated in a remaster. You can also find Muramasa on the PS Vita.
The current metacritic score for the Wii version is a 81, IGN gave it one of the higher scores at a 8.9. The niche appeal of this game is likely why it’s often unknown by many gamers, also Muramasa, Mad World and Excitebots all released in 2009.
Boom Blox: Bash Party
This is a perfect game for showing off the fun that can come with motion controls outside of Wii Sports. Boom Blox is Angry Birds, before Angry Birds existed, and oddly enough, is created by Steven Spielberg
The game essentially is the player using motion controls to throw balls/objects at structures made out of blocks to topple them, anyone who knows Angry Birds will be familiar with this. There are different gameplay modes too that are similar to Jenga, and multiplayer modes that allow 4 player battles trying to destroy each other’s castles.
This game is at it’s best when played in multiplayer, and this game is so “casual”, anybody can play it. Bash Party is an expansion of the original Boom Blox, it’s mostly the same game but with more content.
This isn’t much an unknown game, but it didn’t sell as high as expected, it was another one of the Spring 2009 games. The original sold about half a million, and that was considered profitable but disappointing for EA, I’m unable to find the sales numbers for the sequel. Both Bash Party and the original Boom Blox can be purchased for under $10 complete, so there’s a lot of extra copies floating around.
Zack & Wiki
Maybe I’m wrong, but I consider this to be the poster-child for “Under the Radar”, “Hidden Gem” Wii games. I feel like anybody that is making these kind of lists is going to have Zack & Wiki on it.
This released a little less than a year into the Wii’s life, but it was one of those exclusives that excited people about the potential of the Wii’s unique controls. It gave us all something new to play that you couldn’t experience on the XBox, Playstation or GameCube even if it released on those consoles.
Zack & Wiki is a point and click adventure, usually reserved for a computer and never appealing with a D-Pad or Joystick, but the Wii controller really made true to the genres name, you could point and click.
The characters and art style are very obviously from Capcom and the puzzles were very challenging despite the games’ cartoon simplistic look.
IGN Editors were so fond of Zack & Wiki, they pushed a big campaign trying to get people to purchase it on release. Unfortunately the game only sold about 300,000 copies worldwide (126,000 in the United States), I don’t know what the expectations are for a point and click adventure, but apparently Capcom senior director of communications Chris Kramer called it “abysmal”.
The metacritic on Zack & Wiki is 87 and is available on eBay and Retro Game Stores for about $15. It’s definitely worth picking up.
Posted on July 4, 2021, in Under The Radar, Write-Ups and tagged Boom Blox, Excitebots, Mad World, MadWorld, Muramasa, Nintendo, Platinum Games, Wii, Zack & Wiki. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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