Sunday, February 15, 2015

Press Start: Top 5 Wii U Platformers

The Wii U is a great console, but it has a pretty iffy library. In terms of variety, you don’t have much to work with. If you like RPGs or strategy games, you’re pretty much out of luck. But what is does have is very solid. One area the Wii U definitely has covered is platformers. The U has a tremendous selection of platformers, both old (via the Virtual Console) and new. The library features an all star cast of platforming legends: Mario, Sonic, Rayman, Donkey Kong, even Megaman. Today, I’ll be talking about my favorites.

There are a few things I should say before we begin. First, this list only includes platformers I’ve played, since it would be pretty dishonest to praise games I haven’t even touched. Second, this is my opinion, and by no means an official, end-all-be-all list. If you don’t see your favorite Wii U platformer on this list, chances are I haven't played or didn’t like it as much as you did. With that out of the way, let’s get started.

5. Sonic Lost World

...oh, don’t give me that look. Critics may not have loved Lost World, but I certainly did. Does it have its flaws? Of course; the boss fights are pretty bad, and some levels certainly do get on nerves. But despite what many say, I find this game to be quite the gem. Its platforming is very solid, and most of the levels are well designed and fun to traverse. The music is the usually great Sonic norm, and the voice acting doesn’t suck for once. Many consider this a step down from Colors and Generations, but I consider this a step sideways.

4. Ducktales Remastered

Ducktales on the NES stands as one of the most iconic games of the 8-bit era, and with the remake, I can finally enjoy it. This isn’t just a fresh coat of paint though. Sprites are redone to look like they’ve been lifted from the cartoon, and each of the levels now have cutscenes, making this feel like a lost season of the show. On top of that, the level design is excellent and challenging, and it even features new levels. The entire game is a love letter to the source material, and while it is very short, there’s tons of unlockables to keep you engaged.

3. Super Mario 3D World

Mario certainly has seen grander adventures, but few were as pure fun as Super Mario 3D World. The level may be more like 2D levels with a 3D layer, but that doesn’t mean they’re well designed. The levels are a blast to play through, either in single or multiplayer, and they all look crisp in HD. With four whole world available after you beat the game and tons of collectables, this game will take you a while to finish, but you’ll be having fun the whole time. While not the most creative or well put together, it is one of the most fun experiences on any 8th generation console.

2. Shovel Knight

Now here’s a throwback game that’s actually worth buying. This game tries its best to be like the retrohard 8-bit platformers of yesteryear (like Megaman, Super Mario Bros, and Ducktales), and it passes with flying colors. The game has steller level design that’s challenging without being cheap, and it does a great job of introducing the players to each level’s gimmick. The soundtrack is amazing, and game really runs with the whole retro aesthetic. My only complaint is the game’s length; its too short. Still, Shovel Knight is one of the best platformers out there

1. Rayman Legends

Rayman Legends includes everything I praised the previous entries for. It features creative level design that’s tough but fair. Its soundtrack is spectacular, using instruments like didgeridoos and kazoos. It has an absurd amount of content, with tons of Teensies to rescue and dozens of levels and skins to unlock. And on top of all that, it makes great use of the Wii U gamepad. Rayman Legends is everything a great platformer should be, and its definitely earned the title of the best platformer on the Wii U.

And that’s my Top 5 Wii U platformers! If you agree, disagree, or have any suggestions, leave a comment. Constructive criticism is appreciated.

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