Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2014: Wii U eShop

We sift through the best of the Wii U eShop for your holiday shopping needs!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 12/18/2014 13:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

Not to be outdone by 3DS, Wii U’s eShop offered its own quality downloadable titles this year, as well. Like its handheld counterpart, Wii U’s digital marketplace was similarly bolstered by quality releases from both Nintendo and its indie partners, amongst others, resulting in a variety of fun and unique games to play. We’ve picked through them all to give you a good starting point when looking for titles to gift to your friends and family!

Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition

Price: $14.99
Previously a PlayStation exclusive, developer DrinkBox Studios expanded its horizons by taking Guacamelee! multiplatform with this definitive release. Guacamelee! Super Turbo Championship Edition is a Metroidvania title with a rewarding combat system that makes the fighting as deep as the exploration. The game’s bold aesthetic draws from Mexican and Latin culture, resulting in a game that is both beautiful and unique amongst other, similar titles. Guacamelee! also has a lot of heart thanks to its narrative, and a compelling hero in its lead, Juan. An immensely enjoyable title on PS3 and PS Vita somehow managed to get even better when it transitioned to Wii U. Platformer and indie enthusiasts should find a lot to love with this one.

Pier Solar and the Great Architects

Price: $14.99
Pier Solar and the Great Architects has an amazing history. A homebrew project developed by WaterMelon, Pier Solar was released on Sega Genesis– in 2010. Yes, years after Sega closed up shop on its rival to SNES, a group of dedicated fans took what started as a collaboration on a website and transformed it into an actual retro love letter to RPGs of old. With an engaging story, deep combat system, and enchanting graphics (that can be switched back and forth from the original Genesis style to upgraded HD imagery), Pier Solar is a throwback that any RPG fan should take the time to play.

Ittle Dew

Price: $9.99
There have been other titles that have tried to play like The Legend of Zelda series, but few are successful, especially to the degree that Ittle Dew is. The game’s hero, the nominative Ittle Dew, is joined by her companion Tippsie as she explores a strange island filled with peculiar inhabitants, and a heaping dose of treasure. The game is more of a lampooning of Zelda than a straight homage, but it’s a heartfelt one, with great puzzles to solve and a wonderful presentation. Zelda and Adventure Time fans will find this downloadable especially alluring.

Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones

Price: $14.99
Developer Curve is known for making some great games, so it was with more than a little excitement that fans awaited the release of Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones for the Wii U eShop. Their anticipation was validated by this clever and challenging 2D platformer. Players guide a rogue clone through the labyrinthine laboratory where he and his fellow doppelgangers were created, in a bid for freedom fraught with danger. Utilizing stealth elements common in series like Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell, players have to think quick in order to overcome the game’s devious puzzles and challenges. Curve went all out with Stealth Inc. 2, and the result is a very polished title that platformer and stealth game fans should keep on their radar.

Zen Pinball 2: Dr. Strange, The Walking Dead, Deadpool, and Guardians of the Galaxy Tables

Price: $2.99 each
Zen Pinball 2 is a fantastic pinball game that continues to grow and evolve with each subsequent set of tables that developer Zen Studios releases. These four tables, based off of Dr. Strange, The Walking Dead, Deadpool, and Guardians of the Galaxy, are all welcome additions to an already abundant lineup. Known for its excellent ball physics, faithfulness to the source material, and beautifully animated and designed pinball tables, Zen Pinball 2 is free to download for those who are curious and want to give it a try, and the DLC tables are all modestly priced. Comic book fans will get a kick out of the authenticity that Zen Studios strives for, and pinball afficianados will be similarly impressed with the quality of the game’s simulation of their favorite arcade staple.

Child of Light

Price: $14.99
Ubisoft’s 2D RPG Child of Light is one of the most beautiful games on Wii U. Utilizing the same graphics engine that powered Rayman Legends, Child of Light is a marvel of visual design work. The game revolves around the exploits of Aurora, who has been stranded in the world of Lemuria. Aurora takes on the evil Dark Queen in order to save the world and discover her true destiny. Utilizing an intuitive and engaging battle system, players will take on enemies with a fantastic array of abilities. An absolute stunner, Child of Light is art in motion, and one heck of a fun game, as well.

SteamWorld Dig

SteamWorld Dig Logo

Price: $9.99
SteamWorld Dig left a powerful impression on us the previous year when the game launched on 3DS, and this HD update for Wii U is equally as endearing now. Players guide steam robot Rusty through a gloomy mine littered with valuable minerals and ore, treasure, and a variety of puzzles and secrets. The combination of wild west and steampunk visual sensibilities make SteamWorld‘s aesthetic one of the most original on Wii U, and now displayed in glorious high definition. Every dig is a challenge to see how far the player can descend, making it irresistible to keep giving it “just one more go.” A Metroidvania title, SteamWorld will scratch the itch of Metroid and platformer fans alike.

Wooden Sen’SeY

Price: $9.99
A 2D platformer, Wooden Sen’SeY is a funny and somewhat irreverent romp where the main goal is to recover the hero’s stolen booze. Stolen by mysterious black aliens, of course! That hero, Goro, is an axe-wielding warrior who fights his way across a variety of environments, including Japan, an alien factory, and even Mario Bros. 3-esque airships! Play control is fun and there are a number of goodies to uncover and collect. The game’s graphics are lush, and the soundtrack is equally impressive. Stuffed with content, platformer fans will want to give Wooden Sen’SeY a peek.

Pushmo World

Price: $9.99
The highly addictive puzzle game Pushmo on 3DS made its way to Wii U as Pushmo World, a bigger, prettier sequel that does a good job of bringing the thrills of its handheld predecessor to the TV screen. Pushing and pulling the titular Pushmo blocks, the game’s hero Mallo must work to rescue children that have been trapped inside of the enormous puzzles. The gameplay is silky smooth and its presentation is absolutely charming. With a ton of content to experience, including a creation tool, Pushmo World is a combination of puzzler and platformer that fans of both will really take a shine to.

Shovel Knight

Price: $14.99
Whether someone is a retro enthusiast or platformer fan in general, Shovel Knight is a must-own. Paying homage to NES titles like Mega ManDuckTales, and Castlevania, Yacht Club Games’ inaugural outing is a polished and quality title that’s as memorable as the classics from which it draws inspiration. Utilizing a creative risk and reward checkpoint system, Shovel Knight‘s bold 8-bit presentation and challenging gameplay are some of the best in the eShop. Though this version lacks the StreetPass functionality available on 3DS, the tradeoff is HD visuals that are a sight to behold.

Stick it to the Man

Price: $9.99
Calling Stick it to the Man strange is an understatement. The game’s hero, Ray, is a hard hat tester who, after getting off of work, is struck on the head by a random falling object and knocked unconscious. When Ray finally awakens, he realizes a purple arm is projecting from his forehead, which gives him the ability to read minds. Ray is on the run from a group run by someone called The Man, and along the way he resolves a variety of problems for people– with stickers. It’s as zany as it sounds, but it’s also very genuine and hilariously written. The game’s paper aesthetic is wonderfully implemented, and compliments the narrative perfectly. Stick it to the Man will stick well with adventure and humor fans.

NES Remix

Price: $14.99
The premise is simple: take classic NES games, break them into chunks, and turn them into tests of skill. Utilizing assets from games like Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong, and more, NES Remix is both a blast to Nintendo’s past and a contemporary re-imagining that provides a fresh spin on these timeless titles. The gameplay is frantic and challenging, and will leave players wanting to endlessly try to trump their high scores. It’s an unusual game, but NES Remix is magical nonetheless. Retro enthusiasts and gamers of all types will love this one. NES Remix 2 is equally entertaining and brings new games and modes to the mix, also for $14.99.

Knytt Underground

Price: $12.99

Developer Nifflas’ Games’ Knytt Underground is a surreal and dynamic platformer. Oozing with atmosphere and personality, Knytt Underground‘s aesthetics are remarkable, and its soundtrack is haunting. The game’s 2D platforming is unique, having players swap between two characters in order to advance through the adventure. The game world is massive and non-linear, meaning expect to spend a good deal of time traversing through its numerous corridors. It’s an M-rated game, so be sure not get this one for a younger player. For those who are old enough to partake, however, Knytt Underground is an excellent experience.

Beyond what’s listed here, there are a number of other great games to download from the Wii U eShop. Scram Kitty and His Buddy on Rails is a fast and fun on-rails puzzle/platformer game. Swords & Soldiers HD brings the beloved WiiWare real-time strategy game to Wii U and in HD. Armillo is a delightful game that mixes in elements of the Super Mario Galaxy series with its rolling, platforming action. The Fall is a gritty sci-fi adventure that point and click fans will really appreciate. KickBeat: Special Edition mixes brawling with Guitar Hero– really, what more is there to say? 1001 Spikes is a brutal platformer that will test fans with its intensely challenging gameplay. Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate-Deluxe Edition is an HD upgrade of the excellent 3DS Metroidvania game. All of this and much, much more await fans on the eShop.

What games would you add to our list? Let us know, below!

3 Responses to “Holiday Buyer’s Guide 2014: Wii U eShop”

  • 9 points
    Lobo says...

    Since they announced the release date as Christmas Day, I gotta throw out my girl, Shantae! Wayforward and Inti-Creates’ Shantae & the Pirate’s Curse for Wii U, on Christmas Day! It’s perfect for the Holidays! Open all your new games and then download a fantastic one, and support Shantae’s first console outing! And enjoy the great sprite art, animation and character portraits on the big screen :D

    That’s all the suggestion I have though. Great list!

  • 819 points
    Toadlord says...

    This was a good idea. There have been tons of great indies that came out this year that it’s hard to keep track if you don’t follow the releases week to week.

    I’m almost ashamed to say I haven’t played Shovel Knight yet, but it is at the top of my wishlist for eshop downloads. The other title I’ll be picking up soon is Tengami. I’m a sucker for anything David Wise is involved in, and the atmosphere for that game looks like something I could relax and enjoy. Luckily I have asked a few people for eshop cards for this holiday.

  • 267 points
    decoupage says...

    I would encourage adventure fans to pick up The Cave if they haven’t already. The controls aren’t quite there (a bit floaty), and you do a fair amount of back tracking; however the concept is good, the story is fun, and the narration is outstanding.

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