Thank Wii U, Next

With the recent announcement of a The Wonderful 101 Kickstarter campaign to get it ported to more systems, and rumors that Super Mario 3D World will be the next first-party Nintendo game to be rescued from the Wii U exclusivity curse, I figured I'd put together a list of notable Wii U exclusives both current and former to see what, if anything, has happened to them since their debut.

List items

  • A side-scrolling spaceship exploration Indie game similar to Insane Twisted Shadow Planet where you had to constantly tweak your ship's systems in order to survive environmental hazards and other mishaps.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. The separate ship controls display and "in-game" display makes it a game ideally suited to the Wii U, or possibly the 3DS, so I'm not sure how likely a port will be.

  • A board game variant of Animal Crossing that played like the Game of Life, where you'd weather good and bad fortune alike as you tried to conceal your 5.9 inch pale chub.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. Even with everyone thirsting for new Animal Crossing content, I don't think anyone was writing letters via their local pelican delivery service asking Nintendo to port this over.

  • The Umbran witch sports a trendy new bob in her latest battle against the Lumen Sages and their angelic hordes.

    Status: Ported to the Nintendo Switch in 2018. The sequel is still Nintendo-only for the time being, as will be the next one.

  • Mario's diminutive friend takes off on his first solo adventure across some delightfully dainty diorama-style puzzle levels.

    Status: An enhanced remaster was released for Switch and 3DS in 2018. It eventually saw some free and paid DLC.

  • The first sequel to the Donkey Kong Country resurrection combines ice and fire for its platforming and boss fights, and features Cranky Kong as a playable character for the first time.

    Status: Ported to the Nintendo Switch in 2018.

  • Wario and "friends" attempt another money-making scheme with the tools available on the Wii U, including touchpad controls and Miiverse integration.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. Considered a lesser entry in the WarioWare franchise, its greatest strength - an online Pictionary game - is no longer accessible.

  • The fifth and currently final Fatal Frame continues to put photogenic spooks to celluloid in another tense survival horror experience.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. Marrying the camera-based franchise to a system with a gyro-enhanced touchscreen controller was a flash of brilliance, but purportedly that was about as imaginative as the game ever got. If there's ever a Switch Fatal Frame, it'll probably be a whole new entry.

  • The Musou formula meets Hyrule as Link and co. slash through throngs of familiar Zelda monsters as they run around defending gates and forts.

    Status: Rereleased on 3DS in 2016 and again on Switch in 2018. Might be the last time Omega Force is allowed near a Nintendo property, or it might not.

  • Kirby's magic paintbrush is back as players chart a colorful course for the courageous cotton candy character.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. Kirby's gonna Kirby, with Nintendo and HAL Lab usually dragging the little guy out a half-dozen times per generation to put each new console through its paces. A remaster of Rainbow Curse might be possible, given the Switch's own touchscreen tools, but it's more likely they'll move onto something else. (I'm hoping for a Dream Course sequel. That's the golf one.)

  • Traveller's Tales goes off-script with one of the first original Lego adventures to come along in a while, following dashing cop Chase McCain and his struggles to catch criminal mastermind Rex Fury.

    Status: A remaster was brought to every current-gen console (PS4, XB1, PC, and Switch) in 2017. Despite being made with the Wii U pad in mind, it works just as well without it.

  • The next Mario-themed racer introduces anti-gravity sections as the karts adapt to driving on ceilings and walls on the fly.

    Status: Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was one of the first of these Wii U to Switch port jobs, dropping a month after the new console launched in 2017.

  • MP10 persists with the "everyone moves at once" mechanic, despite it being unpopular even to the extremely patient folks who keep buying Mario Party games.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. Likely to stay that way, as the Switch already has the better Super Mario Party.

  • NES Remix (and its sequel) not only provided crash courses on every notable first-party NES game, but mixed and matched their assets for unpredictable challenges as well.

    Status: The two games were combined together for a "Ultimate" 3DS port in late 2014. Sadly, no SNES Remix has transpired as of writing.

  • The "New" series of Mario Bros. games revisits the franchise's 2D era, with Bros. U retaining the madcap multiplayer mode of the Wii game.

    Status: Remastered as New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe for the Switch in 2019. That includes the separate Super Luigi U mode, which was previously paid DLC.

  • A launch title and frequent pack-in, Nintendo Land is a mini-game collection designed to demonstrate the new capabilities of the Wii U.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. As a tech demo expressly built for the Wii U's features, it's unlikely to make a return. However, a Switch-focused sequel might still happen.

  • Mario's wafer-thin doppelganger finds himself embroiled in a chromatic quest to restore the world's hues.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. Color Splash was the penultimate first-party Nintendo game to be released on Wii U (Breath of the Wild being the last, which debuted on both Wii U and Switch) and didn't review well, so there's no guarantee it'll come over.

  • The curious and business savvy aliens of Hocotate once again visit the familiar blue and green planet for more lucrative opportunities, dragooning the local colorful pikmin creatures to collect fruit for them.

    Status: Pikmin 3 Deluxe for Switch is out October 30th 2020.

  • Nintendo joined the bandwagon of online FPS games on their own terms: very little violence, and a whole lot of family-friendly splotchy mayhem.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive, but only technically. Splatoon 2 for Switch is as much a reboot as it is a sequel.

  • Along with the tower defense game Star Fox Guard, Star Fox Zero is a new entry in Nintendo's anthro shoot 'em up franchise and both were late-comers to the Wii U.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. The lukewarm reaction to this game probably buried Star Fox for another decade at least. If Fox McCloud and pals show up on Switch, I suspect it'll be in a brand new game.

  • Mario dons a cat suit and gets in on a whole new fetish in this HD sequel to the Nintendo DS 3D platformer.

    Status: A Super Mario 3D World Switch port is due out February 2021, and will include additional content.

  • Miyamoto shrugs his shoulders and decides to let the unwashed masses take a shot at building some Mario levels, with mixed results.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive, though again only technically. Super Mario Maker 2 is more or less the same game with more features, more modes, and a new level tileset.

  • Nintendo's champions congregate for yet another all-out battle for supremacy, now with even more Fire Emblem characters.

    Status: Tricky to say this was ever a Wii U exclusive, given that Super Smash Bros. for 3DS is functionally identical in every way that matters. Both versions have since been supplanted by the Switch's Super Smash Bros. Ultimate regardless.

  • Shin Megami Tensei meets Fire Emblem in downtown Tokyo with this hybrid dungeon-crawler oozing with showbiz personality.

    Status: Remastered for the Switch in 2020.

  • Get into shape with this suggestively-named app/game thing, with or without the Wii Fit Balance Board peripheral included.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. It's been fully surpassed by Ring Fit Adventure at this point.

  • Hide Wii U controllers in your house and never find them again in this selection of Wii U-specific party games.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. Another mini-game collection specific to the system, and not one popular enough to see a redo.

  • As well as Bayonetta 2, Platinum Games gave Nintendo another exclusive gift with this superhero story about a massive team of do-gooders.

    Status: Remastered for Switch and other systems in May 2020 after a successful Kickstarter.

  • Hewing closer to the Xeno- franchise's roots of -gears and -saga, XCX (not that one) finds a way to mix alien conspiracies, exploration, PSO-style missions, and mech-riding in this enormous sci-fi RPG.

    Status: Wii U Exclusive. Xenoblade Chronicles is getting a Switch remake and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 did well as an early Switch game, but it sounds like X won't be joining them anytime soon according to Monolith Soft's director Tetsuya Takahashi in a Forbes interview. Sounds like it'd be prohibitively expensive - the game really is gigantic. Too bad, I was hoping to listen to the New LA day/night themes a few hundred more times.

  • Yoshi embraces arts and crafts in this cosy-looking platformer built from the Yoshi's Island blueprint.

    Status: Remastered on the 3DS in 2017 as Poochy & Yoshi's Woolly World. I guess everyone really was asking "Where's Poochy?" when he wasn't around.

  • UbiSoft lent its support to Nintendo's fledgling console with this chilling run-based zombie action game, caring not a jot for Nintendo's usual family-friendly persona.

    Status: Ported to PC, Xbox One, and PS4 in 2015, dropping its "U" in the process. It's not U, it's Zomb-me.