2011 was a tough year for Wii. With 3DS stealing the spotlight and Wii sales growing ever slower, it sometimes seemed like Wii had been forgotten in lieu of its newer, shinier, 3D sibling. But even though ten fingers would have been quite sufficient to count last year’s Wii releases, that’s not to say that we didn’t have some of the best games we’ve ever seen. Quality was very much above quantity in 2011, and you could even say that last year’s games foretold the kind of year Wii would have. It was little more than a shadow of its former self back in January, striving to get back to the top of the tower. But its fall only made it stronger, and by the end of the year it had soared higher than anyone had ever expected. So let’s take a look and see who made the biggest impression on Wii in 2011:
BEST WII GAME
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Predictable, perhaps, but most definitely deserved, The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword was by far the most impressive and outstanding Wii game of 2011. The runner-ups on our list are all amazing in their own right, but Skyward Sword embodies every single promise we ever dared to dream possible when Nintendo first introduced us to their strange new console back in 2006. It’s the game Wii MotionPlus, nay, the Wii itself was made for and you won’t find a better example of motion control gaming than this.
But conquering Wii MotionPlus isn’t the only reason why we’ve crowned Skyward Sword as our winner– it’s also one of the finest Zelda titles to date, and 2011 was a year like no other for reminding us just how spectacular Zelda games can be. Any lesser entry in the franchise would have crumbled in the wake left by Ocarina of Time 3D five months earlier, but Skyward Sword both advanced and redefined the Zelda experience we’ve come to know and love over the years with its engaging combat and long, sprawling dungeons that never seemed to end, made all the more beautiful by its stunning, painterly art style. It also provided a hearty challenge for even the most stalwart of Zelda veterans, but we loved every single second of it– humiliating defeats and all– and that’s why it’s our best Wii game of 2011.
It’s not even out in the US yet and it’s already our top runner-up for best Wii game of 2011– that’s one hefty achievement (and may or may not have involved bribes from our European staff)! In all seriousness though, Xenoblade was another superb game last year, even if only a small fraction of the world was actually able to play it. It gave a new lease of life to the JRPG and if one game ever truly deserved the word “epic” then Xenoblade would be it. With dozens of set piece environments that stretched for miles and a story lasting over well 100 hours, it was a game you simply didn’t want to end. Its battle system wasn’t quite as accessible as Skyward Sword‘s Wii Remote-slinging combat, but it was just as satisfying when you felled a huge behemoth five times your size.
Xenoblade may well have given Skyward Sword a run for its money had it been released in North America in 2011, but given its somewhat belated release date it has to settle for number two.
Kirby’s Return to Dreamland
Just when we thought Kirby’s Epic Yarn would be the only outing on Wii for our pink puffball, Nintendo went ahead and took us back to Dreamland for another chapter of co-op madness. Return to Dreamland brought Kirby back to what he does best– inhaling enemies and copying their abilities (and whacking them on the head with giant swords).
It may have been slightly less creative than Epic Yarn, but it certainly wasn’t any less delightful. Another strong entry in Wii’s platforming library, Kirby could either go it alone or team up with three friends (King DeDeDe, Meta Knight or Waddle Dee) on his quest to retrieve the scattered pieces of a crashed alien spaceship, and there were even additional modes and challenges to tackle once the game was over. It was a treat for both young and old players alike, and a wonderful family-friendly platformer.
BEST WII GAME HONORABLE MENTIONS
Fortune Street, Lost in Shadow, and Conduit 2
WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?
Tell us which of the above titles you’d pick as the winner, or if you think another game is more deserving, select “Other” and tell us in the comments!