Wii U eShop – What To Buy Before The Service Ends

With Nintendo confirming an end date to eShop purchases for the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, we now have a limited time to load up on some of the titles released throughout its lifespan. With most of these games likely never seeing the light of day anytime soon on a current Nintendo system, and just how many games are available, it could feel a bit overwhelming as to what is offered and what would be best to purchase.

I’m going to go over a list of games that span throughout as many genres as possible, that I feel are the best of the best when it comes to eShop releases on this platform. I highly encourage you all to do the same in the comments below, with what you feel are the “must buy” games available. These are a mix of retro games, as well as system titles released digitally. I won’t be limiting myself to a handful of games, but will go all-out with what I feel are all worth your time. I’ll name my highest recommendations of the bunch as a *GALARIAN PICKS. Many of these have physical copies, although there are plenty out there who rather deal with digital downloads, so this might be more for you, but still informative to anyone with a Wii U (not to mention how inflated some physical copies are in price).

This guide is built under the assumption that the reader owns a Nintendo Switch, so games featured on that console are not featured here for the most part. Also, links to each game in the eShop are provided in the game titles. You could opt to wait for some sales, but I wouldn’t recommend waiting long.

Please check out my 3DS eShop buyers guide as well for some digital gems that I highly recommend for the console.

Virtual Console

Advance Wars, Advance Wars 2: Black Hole Rising & Advance Wars: Dual Strike
Current price: $7.99 (GBA games), $9.99 (DS)

Even with the imminent release of visually inferior Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp on the Switch, it’s still worth picking up these three on the Wii U, especially since the DS game is not a part of the upcoming re-release. An excellent franchise offering enjoyable tactical gameplay that few can match.

Animal Crossing: Wild World
Current Price: $9.99

Another alternative to choose from if you want to get into Animal Crossing, but aren’t sure it’s for you. The 3DS had the 3DS version, the Wii U has a version of the DS game, at a steal of a price point.

Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Current price: $7.99

*GALARIAN PICKS One of the best handheld games I’ve ever played, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is a more light-hearted approach to the Final Fantasy Tactics world. Addicting gameplay, a myriad of classes to play as, a more forgiving difficulty, and dozens of hours of content available (took me 128 hours to get to the end of the game for my first playthrough) and you have more than enough incentive to put down such a low sum for an epic experience. My highest recommendation on the Virtual Console side of things.

Final Fight One
Current price: $7.99

We *may* see a Game Boy Advance Nintendo Switch Online package in the coming years, but there’s no guarantee that we’ll see some of the games on the Wii U VC on there. Final Fight One is something that could be a 50/50 deal. There are neat little bonuses to this version, beyond just having all three characters in one package (such as Street Fighter Alpha themed outfits for Cody and Guy), but above all else, it’s freakin’ Final Fight!

Fire Emblem games
Current price: Ranges from $7.99 to $9.99

Cheaper than the offerings on the 3DS, these Fire Emblem games (two GBA and one DS, which is a remake of the first game) offering dozens of hours of tactical gameplay that really makes you think. It’s also a good starting point if you think Three Houses on the Switch looks like fun, but you’re not sure if you want to invest $60 into something you may not jive with.

Golden Sun & Golden Sun: The Lost Age
Current price: $7.99 each

The often forgotten about GBA RPG, Golden Sun offers an enjoyable portable experience, now tethered to a Wii U and its Gamepad. If you’re wanting to play something involving, but really don’t want to replay a Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest or Shin Megami Tensei game, this is a brilliant alternative.

Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga & Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time
Current price: $7.99 and $9.99 respectively

I recommended the DS and 3DS versions of these games on the 3DS buyers guide, and I’ll recommend this to those with a Wii U. These are well made Mario RPG’s with their own quirk and charm.

Mario Kart DS
Current price: $9.99

While the 3DS and Wii U/Switch sequels are more favorable overall, it’s still a solid alternative for those that want to play Mario Kart, but a few generations from the past.

Mario vs Donkey Kong & Mario vs Donkey Kong 2: March of the Minis
Current price: $6.99 and $9.99 respectively

This franchise followed up the near immaculate Donkey Kong on the original Game Boy, but became a lot more puzzle oriented. These are worthwhile titles for those that enjoy heavy thinking and a lot of charm.

Mega Man & Bass
Current price: $7.99

Not seen in the Mega Man Legacy Collection, Mega Man & Bass offers a Mega Man title often forgotten about. Many aspects to this one can be found within Mega Man 8, but its a whole new adventure. Just be warned – this game can be brutally difficult, even to seasoned Mega Man players.

Mega Man Battle Network games
Current price: Ranges from $6.99 to $7.99

These are more RPG oriented Mega Man games with a lot of depth and strategy found in them, in ways that the side scrolling titles lack. These are definitely an acquired taste, however you can pick one of them up for cheap and judge for yourself if you want to commit to purchasing more of them.

Metroid Zero Mission, Fusion & Prime Hunters
Current price: $7.99 (Zero Mission & Fusion), $9.99 (Prime Hunters)

*GALARIAN PICKS An absolute no-brainer to add these three games to your collection. Zero Mission is a remake/retelling of the NES classic, Fusion is Metroid IV and a stellar title, and Prime Hunters is a DS installment of the Prime franchise, a game that doesn’t get enough praise.

Mighty Final Fight
Current price: $4.99

The NES version of Final Fight was actually quite a bit of fun. More light-hearted and over-the-top, Mighty Final Fight features chibi versions of each character, as well as a leveling system similar to the first Double Dragon.

New Super Mario Bros.
Current price: $9.99

*GALARIAN PICKS Unlike New Super Mario Bros. 2, which felt like a cash grab more than worthwhile 2D Mario game, New Super Mario Bros. is one of the best 2D platformers you can play. Originally a DS game, the level structure are creative and still feel fresh enough today.

Onimusha Tactics
Current price: $6.99

If you enjoy tactical RPG’s like Final Fantasy Tactics Advance, this is another fun game to pick up and lose countless hours to. Again, if a Game Boy Advance Nintendo Switch Online package ever came to be, I could almost guarantee that Onimusha Tactics would not be included, so pick this one up if that kind of game is your jam.

Super Ghouls n Ghosts (GBA)
Current price: $7.99

You might be thinking “can’t I play this on my Switch via Super Nintendo Switch Online package?” No, you can’t play this particular version, which has an Arranged Mode that, while it doesn’t contain a required second playthrough, enables players to choose your next stage (stages are from multiple Ghost n Goblins games) as well as some new bosses and such. The music isn’t as impactful as the SNES version, but there are enough bonuses and additives to make this a viable alternative, and worth checking out.

Super Street Fighter II Turbo Revival
Current price: $7.99

*GALARIAN PICKS Though it might feel a bit clunky to play a fighting game on a Wii U Gamepad, Super Turbo Revival is worth it. Not a completely straight port of Super Turbo, Revival adds in some exclusive stuff, like new character portraits, more backgrounds (including one from 3rd Strike and some brand new ones) some changed endings, and more. It’s a fascinating port of one of the greatest fighting games ever, and highly unlikely you’ll ever see it again.

The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, Phantom Hourglass & Spirit Tracks
Current price: $7.99 (The Minish Cap) and $9.99 (Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks)

*GALARIAN PICKS The Minish Cap is an often forgotten about Zelda game that’s one of the best 2D games in the catalog. Phantom Hourglass (and to a lesser extent, Spirit Tracks) provide innovative and fun ways to play the franchise, in ways we haven’t seen since (maybe for the better, in the opinion of some, due to the touch controls). Hours upon hours of dungeon crawling goodness between these three.

Wii U Digital (retail & eShop)

Batman Arkham Origins
Current price: $19.99

Not talked about very often, Arkham Origins is something you can find on other platforms from the seventh console generation, and hasn’t received any kind of remasters of any kind. If you want to beef up your Wii U collection with a decent title, go for Arkham Origins.

DuckTales: Remastered
Current price: $14.99

Although there is a lot of stop and go with how much voice acting they added into the game, DuckTales: Remastered is still an undeniably good time that I thought was pulled from digital storefronts across all platforms. Pick it up!

Fist of the North Star: Ken’s Rage 2
Current price: $49.99

This Fist of the North Star title is actually a musou, so if you’re not into Dynasty Warrior-type games, you may not care much for this one. Given the scarcity of physical copies on the console (as well as the 360 and PS3 versions), the price comes off as a bit of a steal. Fans of both Hokuto no Ken and musou games will eat this one up.

Injustice: Gods Among Us
Current Price: $19.99

Again, fighting games on the Gamepad might be a bit cumbersome (unless you invested in a standard controller as well) , but Injustice is a fine enough brawler on a console that really lacks diverse fighting games to purchase.

LEGO games
Current price: $19.99 each

The LEGO games are wholesome fun. They might not be super deep, but they present an enjoyable time with any of the games you pick up. The two highlights for me are LEGO Star Wars: The Force Awakens and LEGO Avengers, but you really can’t go wrong with most any one you pick up.

Mario Strikers Charged
Current price: $19.99

Super Mario Strikers was a legendary Mario sports game on the Gamecube, blending the Mario universe with the world of arcade soccer. Mario Strikers Charged is the Wii follow up that, while it wasn’t as fun, definitely has its place in your collection. Wiimote + nunchuk required.

Metroid Prime Trilogy
Current price: $19.99

*GALARIAN PICKS All three Metroid Prime games, all with motion controls. With the added precision to the first two games thanks to said motion controls, it feels like a whole new experience over their Gamecube releases. Add in the third game, and picking this up as a digital release means you won’t have to spend $200 on a physical copy! Wiimote + nunchuk required.

Pandora’s Tower
Current price: $19.99

One of the three “Operation Rainfall” titles (a movement to port over some Japanese Wii RPG’s), Pandora’s Tower is an action RPG that many don’t even remember existing, but seeing how obscure it is, it’ll likely never be ported or featured outside of the Wii U. Wiimote + nunchuk required.

Pikmin 1, Pikmin 2 & Pikmin 3
Current price: $19.99 each

Having all three Pikmin titles housed under one console is pretty sweet, and that’s what the Wii U offers. It’s one of the lesser appreciated Nintendo franchises, but still more than deserves your time and money. The quirky strategy/puzzle game will keep you occupied for a good while, all while charming you in the process.

Punch-Out Wii
Current price: $19.99

I’m hoping one day we’ll see Punch-Out Wii ported to the Switch, but you never know. It’s a well made arcade boxing title that utilizes a few different controller layouts to play (so you’re not forced to use motion controls). Definitely a blast to play, and can get wickedly difficult, especially the second time around.

Sonic & All-Star Racing Transformed
Current price: $19.99

I know Mario Kart 8 was released on the Wii U, but I’m assuming you have a Switch. Sonic Transformed is a seventh generation racer that is still a blast and addicting to play on the console, and I wanted to get at least one racing game on here that was a Wii U retail game.

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
Current price: $14.99

It might not be the most definitive version with every update, but it’s cheaper than what you’ll find in most console storefronts these days. A timeless roguelike classic, and something that will challenge you every time you start a run.

The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD & Twilight Princess HD
Current price: $19.99 and $49.99 respectively

*GALARIAN PICKS Out of everything listed, this is the most likely to be ported to the Switch (not a guarantee, but we already saw an HD remaster of Skyward Sword create for it, so these being ported are a realistic possibility). While I was never a fan of Wind Waker, there’s no doubt a large percentage of fans of the series that are, and hard copies of both games named here are going up in price, so why not get them digitally?

Watch Dogs
Current price: $29.99

You can find this, likely cheaper on other console storefronts, but there aren’t very many open world type games found on the Wii U, and this one is passable, but worth the investment.

Xenoblade Chronicles X
Current price: $59.99

*GALARIAN PICKS With Xenoblade Chronicles 3 being announced, it feels like we may never see a focus on porting over Xenoblade Chronicles X, or maybe just not anytime soon. Featuring a *gigantic* game world and countless hours of gameplay, X is the one game left that has yet to be ported to the Switch, that needs to be. The price may see exuberant, but hard copies are climbing in price. It’s a quality experience, and I’d rather play safe than sorry and buy a digital copy of this before the storefront vanishes. My highest recommendation on the Wii U retail side of things.

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