The 5 Best Wii U Games Ported to Switch
By Tobin Carlberg I July 6, 2022
Released in 2012, the Wii U was one of Nintendo’s least commercially successful game consoles. While it introduced a new type of GamePad with a built-in screen, its battery life was lackluster and many features were more gimmicky than game-changing. But the innovation of the GamePad paved the way for the Nintendo Switch’s convertible handheld experience. And like most Nintendo consoles, the Wii U played host to some great games in its short lifespan that you might have missed.
Fortunately, Nintendo has done a favor for those of us who skipped the Wii U by porting many of its best games to its successor. With that in mind, here are five exceptional games originally released on the Wii U that are worth picking up on the Nintendo Switch.
1. Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury
Image Credit: Nintendo
Taking inspiration from the fast-paced platforming of Super Mario Bros with a blend of that three-dimensional free-roaming we see in Super Mario Galaxy and Odyssey, Super Mario 3D World is a blast from beginning to end. You and three other players can join in locally or online for some good old-fashioned cooperative fun. Explore 12 different worlds with a ton of unique power-ups, like the famous catsuit that will let you climb walls and pounce on enemies.
While it’s very close to the Wii U version, the Switch port of Super Mario 3D World includes plenty of improvements in graphics, gameplay, and sound design. On top of that, Nintendo added a new mode called Bowser’s Fury, which has you fighting against a Godzilla-sized Bowser on a remote island. To take down Bowser, you’ll need to collect all the Cat Shines to help Mario reach his ultimate feline form.
2. Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
Image Credit: Nintendo
With its vibrant courses, elaborate kart selection, and smooth drifting mechanics, Mario Kart 8 is one of the most fully realized racing games of the past 10 years. If you missed the opportunity to play it on Wii U, don’t worry — the Nintendo Switch’s Deluxe version is the same game with a little more.
This port includes all 48 courses and DLC characters available from the start, and it even adds some newcomers like Bowser Jr., the Inklings from Splatoon, King Boo, and even Dry Bones. Above all, having the ability to play a race or two in handheld mode is a game-changer. If you have some extra time while you’re on the go, it’s the perfect casual game to jump into since most races only last a few minutes each.
3. Lego City: Undercover
Image Credit: TT Games
If you ever wanted to explore a wholesome version of Grand Theft Auto, Lego City: Undercover combines a gritty cop drama and James Bond-esque suaveness into a family-friendly package. Go undercover with Chase McCain as he works to capture the criminal mastermind Rex Fury and put an end to the crime wave corrupting Lego City. Complete stealth missions in a multitude of disguises or drive around and explore the sprawling open world.
While this title flew under the radar for many during the Wii U era, you can now experience it in a fresh way on the Nintendo Switch. If you have an extra controller on hand, the Switch version includes split-screen co-op, so you and a friend can play through the campaign together. Load times, which were a downfall of the Wii U version, have been vastly improved in the Switch port.
4. Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze
Image Credit: Retro Studios, Monster Games
Nintendo’s favorite gorilla has returned for a fantastic side-scrolling adventure. Drawing from the classic Donkey Kong Country games of consoles past, Donkey Kong: Tropical Freeze builds on its predecessors with smooth visuals, clever platforming, and intense boss fights. The biggest highlight, however, is the ability to play this game with a friend. As Player One is running around with Donkey Kong, Player 2 can join in as either Diddy, Dixie, or Cranky — each of whom has their own unique abilities that make each level’s challenges more fun to take on.
Since this game doesn’t pull its punches on difficulty, the Switch port has introduced Funky Mode, which is a great feature if you want a breezier ride through the jungle. You can now play as Donkey Kong’s crazy pal Funky Kong, who has a few abilities that make for a smoother platforming experience. For example, his surfboard lets you glide throughout the level, helping you avoid relentless enemies and spike traps. Overall, this game is great fun and one of the best 2D platformers on the Switch!
5. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker
Image Credit: Nintendo
Captain Toad was a good game on Wii U, but it’s even better on the Switch thanks to the newer console’s portability. Each of Captain Toad’s 79 main stages takes just a few minutes to complete, so it’s ideal for playing on a lunch break or on the bus when you have limited time but want to squeeze in a fun bit of gaming — plus the charmingly simple visuals look great on the Switch’s small screen.
The game is centered around navigating floating stages that generally fit on a single screen in search of treasure while avoiding (or taking out) enemies, with the twist that Captain Toad is so weighed down by his backpack full of loot that he can’t jump. The concept is simple, but it’s explored so thoroughly that it stays interesting throughout. The chief changes from the Wii U to the Switch version are the replacement of a few Super Mario 3D World-themed courses with Super Mario Odyssey ones, plus the option for local co-op and 1080p resolution when the Switch is docked. With a lighthearted story and gameplay that’s perfect for jumping in and out, Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker is a great addition to your Switch library.
Enjoy all the classics in a new way!
If you missed any of these titles from the Wii U days, you can now experience them on the more powerful and portable Switch console. Let’s hope that Nintendo continues adding some additional classics from the Wii U — I’m still waiting on remasters of Sonic Lost World, Nintendo Land, and Star Fox Zero. One can only hope.
For more about Switch games, accessories, and other tech tips, the NexiGo blog has you covered with a new article every Monday!