Mario is smiling even more than usual these days. Lately, he and Link have likely been kicking back with Samus, enjoying a few Shroom Shakes and for the first time in more than a decade, sitting on top of their industry. Wii has become a cultural phenomenon, outselling what the Xbox 360 has sold worldwide in less than half the time and leaving 2007 to be remembered as the beginning of a new era of dominance for Nintendo. The reason for the resurgence is simple: Wii has played host to some groundbreaking, spectacular and absurdly fun games this year. Infendo presents the ten best Wii games of 2007.
10. Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn
In a word: Homeric
Yes, Homeric. As in, Radiant Dawn is an adventure with a scope and grandeur akin to the works of Homer himself. Like past Fire Emblem games, Radiant Dawn offers an engrossing experience longer than that of any other Nintendo franchise. Gamers yearning for an expansive, devoutly traditional 40-50 hour strategy game that will infect even the deepest corners of the psyche should look no further than Fire Emblem. While the game makes no use of Wii from a hardware standpoint, there is something to be said for a well-built, conventional masterpiece. And in that regard, Radiant Dawn is strikingly pristine.
9. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock
In a word: Overdue
The third entry in the popular rhythm series, Guitar Hero III marks the franchise’s first appearance on a Nintendo console, and if early sales are any indication, the Mario Nation has given it a warm welcome. Aesthetically, not much has been changed for Guitar Hero III; aside from minor improvements, the game looks and plays essentially the same as the first two versions. There are plenty of unlockable songs, guitars and characters, but the main selling point this time is the inclusion of online play, which works flawlessly on Wii. Like Smooth Moves, this game absolutely shines where friends have gathered.
8. WarioWare: Smooth Moves
In a word: Bizarre
There’s not much criticism to be levied against a game in which players go from picking someone’s nose to pushing a child to the ground. As an early 2007 release, Smooth Moves appeared at just the right time for new Wii owners curious to look beyond Wii Sports. Easily the best mini-game collection on a system rife with them, Smooth Moves makes hilarious use of just about every motion-sensing function of the Wii remote. Sure, it looks awful, lacks online functionality and is about as deep as a puddle. But few games are capable of the slapstick fun provided by Smooth Moves, particularly with several players.
7. Mario Strikers Charged
In a word: Chaotic
Super Mario Strikers wasn’t exactly a realistic game of soccer, but compared to this, it looks like FIFA. For the Wii sequel Mario Strikers Charged, Next Level Games has thrown caution to the wind and sacrificed what brief moments of sanity were afforded in the original for more of the opposite. Explosions are inescapable, wind bursts carry players off (and cows across) the pitch, Koopa shells shatter potential scores and lightning strikes amidst spontaneously appearing lava pits. With more characters, more hazard-laden levels and an online mode, Charged is one of the finest multiplayer experiences on Wii.
6. Trauma Center: New Blood
In a word: Innovative
It’s almost as if Atlus took all the great things about Trauma Center, improved upon them and then granted its fans’ wildest wishes. Because New Blood improves upon the classic Trauma Center formula in every conceivable way. The series again exemplifies the precision and speed afforded by the Wii remote, as players can tear through operations with incredible accuracy. But in addition to the single-player experience players expect from Trauma Center, New Blood offers an enjoyable multiplayer mode and online leaderboards for individual operation scores. Atlus has again created an innovative gem on Wii.
5. Geometry Wars: Galaxies
In a word: Addictive
Controlling a claw-like ship through vast “grids” of space, players blast their way through a relentless onslaught of enemy fighters, each composed entirely of geometric shapes. Like past versions, Galaxies is visually intoxicating; enemies have a translucent glow amidst massive clouds of shimmering particle explosions. Nearly every aspect of the series has been perfected on Wii, and new additions are very well-implemented. Galaxies also offers the complete Xbox Live Arcade game, Retro Evolved, which can also be sent to a DS from Wii via download. Deceptively simple and dangerously addictive, all-nighters ensue.
4. Super Paper Mario
In a word: Charming
Intelligent Systems took the Paper Mario series down a surprisingly different route on Wii. Trading turn-based combat for real-time enemy stomping, Super Paper Mario is more a tasty platformer with a slight RPG aftertaste than a full-fledged serving of role-playing goodness. Players are welcomed to the game with classic 2D Mario platforming, similar to the heralded Super Mario NES trilogy, before learning they can actually flip the stage into a 3D view, making for some very clever level design. Add a satisfying combo system and tons of collectables, and the result is one of the most entertaining games of 2007.
3. Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure
In a word: Genuine
We were promised a “revolution” with Wii. Obviously, some developers missed the memo. But finally, shining like a golden shilling on the ocean floor, is Capcom’s brilliant Zack & Wiki. A revival of the classic “point-and-click” adventure, it tells the story of Zack, a spunky young pirate who dreams of mastering his craft, as he searches for a legendary pirate ship. The game is composed of singular stages in which players are openly shown the treasure, but must figure out how to reach it. Therein lies the inexplicable fun of Zack & Wiki, the best third-party game on Wii and one of the best on the system, period.
2. Metroid Prime 3: Corruption
In a word: Atmospheric
Corruption follows interstellar bounty hunter Samus Aran as she hunts the malevolent Dark Samus for a final fatal encounter, this time at the heart of the Phazon plague spreading across the universe. Metroid has a strong 20-year legacy of deep immersion, vast exploration and powerful weapon-building, and for the final chapter of its Metroid Prime trilogy, Retro Studios not only perfected each of those classic elements, but added groundbreaking control to the Metroid formula. Improving on past Wii disappointments, Corruption offers more precise, responsive controls than any console shooter. Ever.
1. Super Mario Galaxy
In a word: Spectacular
Or stunning. Or remarkable. Go ahead, pick any flattering adjective you’d like. It still understates how truly special Super Mario Galaxy is. From its dramatically cinematic opening sequences to its epic final moments, Galaxy absolutely shines. You’ve read it all before; immaculate controls, masterful level design, gorgeous visuals, nostalgic quirks-a-plenty and an incredibly enjoyable overall experience. Super Mario Galaxy sets the bar for creativity and excellence in game design not only for Wii software, but for the industry as a whole, and proves Wii is more than just a mini-game spawning novelty act.