The Wii Shop is going away for good soon! Let's discuss the best WiiWare/Virtual Console games?

Avatar image for steevl
#1 Edited by steevl (523 posts) -

A few months back, Nintendo announced that the Wii Shop was going to close down. The ability to buy games goes away on January 30th, 2019. That seems like a lot of time, but they're disabling the ability to add Wii points to your account on March 26, 2018, which is in a month and a half now in the past! Sorry that you missed out on adding points.

I'm guessing there aren't a lot of people who still have their old Wii systems set up. It was actually the last Nintendo system I bought (not counting the SNES Classic), so I still had the system hooked up to a TV until a cross-country move back in August. Since we're getting nearer the end of the Wii Shop, though, I decided to finally open the box it was in and make sure I could connect it to the internet today. That went without a hitch, and I saw I still have 300 Wii points left. Not enough for a full game, but if I add 1000 points it's enough for a Genesis/SNES game + an NES game. There are also a few WiiWare games I want to grab before I can't anymore. I haven't thought much about which Virtual Console games I want (although Faxanadu for the NES is a contender), but I can easily think of two WiiWare games not available anywhere else that I want to download and experience before they're gone:

Contra ReBirth - 1000 Wii points

This looks like a good throwback to the classic Contra games. It's been fun watching Dan and Vinny work on the original NES Contra, as well as Contra Hard Corps for the Genesis in their This Is the Run feature. I will definitely be picking this one up when I finally add more points to my account.

Gradius ReBirth - 1000 Wii points

I was never as big of a fan of the Gradius series as I was of the other big Konami franchises like Contra and Castlevania, but I still have fond memories of the original on NES as well as Life Force. This looks like it references both of those games.

That's all I can think of that I personally need to buy, but I can throw out two (cautious) recommendations:

Castlevania: The Adventure ReBirth - 1000 Wii points

Why they put this music into the trailer, I do not know. It's not in the full game as far as I remember. I bought it at release in 2009, but I didn't finally play through it until 2014. It's supposed to be a remake of the first Gameboy game Castlevania: The Adventure (and until this remake came out, I always thought it was called The Castlevania Adventure). It bears little resemblance to the GB game, fortunately, except for the main character (Christopher Belmont), your whip power up that shoots fireballs, and those eyeball enemies. For some reason, they have the GB game's first level music in the sound test, but it never actually appears in the game, which is too bad because it's one of the best Castlevania tunes. Anyway, this is a solid classic Castlevania. I wish @vinny would have given it a try for VinnyVania, but it feels like that series has reached its logical end.

Blaster Master: Overdrive

OK, so I also bought this when it came out, played it for a little bit, and it seemed OK. I was a huge fan of the original Blaster Master on the NES. I hated the one on the Sega Genesis. I was...confused? by the one I played on the PS1. And I haven't had the opportunity to play the new one on the Switch. This one is probably not as good as the Switch game, but definitely better than the Genesis game.

Another thing to note about the Wii Shop closing down: eventually you won't be able to download the patch channel for The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. I still haven't played that one, but I do own it, so today I made sure to download the patch. I'd rather have it now rather than not be able to download it later.

On the off chance that someone else reads this post, are there any Wii Shop games you might recommend before this service goes away forever? Any that you remember fondly?

Avatar image for csl316
#2 Posted by csl316 (14632 posts) -

Wait, what the hell, what are these games??

Avatar image for lestephan
#3 Edited by LeStephan (1134 posts) -

Damn looks like I'll finally have to get lost winds 2 before its gone for good huh.

Those rebirth games are definitely awesome. Love all 3 of them. They're especially awesome to play if you have one of those snes controllers for the wii (or from the snes mini), its the best.

And Faxanadu just so happens to have been my last purchase from the eshop haha.

The precursor to fast racing rmx, fast racing neo is pretty interesting technically (graphics, filesize etc) though faaar from as good as its sequel.

I also still have all the episodes of that strongbad game from telltale installed, Its been a while since I last looked at it. I remember really liking it back then coming off of sam & maxs first (2?) season(s?) but I wonder it was their first step towards removing gameplay from their adventure games which I really dislike nowadays. I dont remember there being much puzzles anyways.

Theres also that weird remake of aliens crush(that turbografx pinball game) on the eshop that I bought but never ended up playing, not sure if its any good but its mere existence is already pretty interesting imo.

On the one hand Im sad to see the original eshop go away, on the other hand, not a lot of people want to buy 10+ year old games for 'full' price with 0 chance for a sale so I bet they barely sold anything anymore.

Avatar image for steevl
#4 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

@csl316 said:

Wait, what the hell, what are these games??

For a while, Nintendo was getting developers to support its WiiWare service on the original Wii. Some of these games haven't seen release outside of WiiWare, so when this service dies, these games won't be obtainable anymore. Beyond these, there were also some Final Fantasy-related games on there. This is also where the Bit.Trip games got their start. Thankfully, those are available elsewhere now, including Steam.

Damn looks like I'll finally have to get lost winds 2 before its gone for good huh.

Those rebirth games are definitely awesome. Love all 3 of them. They're especially awesome to play if you have one of those snes controllers for the wii (or from the snes mini), its the best.

And Faxanadu just so happens to have been my last purchase from the eshop haha.

The precursor to fast racing rmx, fast racing neo is pretty interesting though faaar from as good as its sequel.

I also still have all the episodes of that strongbad game from telltale installed, Its been a while since I last looked at it. I remember really liking it back then coming off of sam & maxs first (2?) season(s?) but I wonder it was their first step towards removing gameplay from their adventure games which I really dislike nowadays. I dont remember there being much puzzles anyways.

On the one hand Im sad to see the original eshop go away, on the other hand, not a lot of people want to buy 10+ year old games for full price with 0 chance for a sale so I bet they barely sold anything anymore.

I never played the Lost Winds games, but I do know they're both available on Steam now, for what it's worth.

But yeah, it totally makes sense that Nintendo would end the service. It's hard to believe it's been just over 11 years since I woke up at 4 AM and drove to a Toys R Us on a Sunday morning to be the first in line for a Wii at 10 AM. I never picked up any systems from them again, not because I didn't want them, but because after getting it (and a few years later, the PS3 and Xbox 360), my games backlog got so out of control I couldn't justify it.

(My backlog is still way out of control, because I sure as hell haven't stopped buying PC games)

Avatar image for iam16bit
#5 Edited by iam16bit (33 posts) -

Oh great of all the days to disable getting Wii Points and they choose my birthday.

Well before time runs out, here's some more good WiiWare games to check out:

Fast Racing League - 1000 Wii Points

Loading Video...

It's essentially the precursor to Shin'en's Fast Racing Neo (Wii U) and Fast Racing RMX (Switch). Much like its predecessors, Fast Racing League mixes F-Zero, Wipeout and Ikaruga into one fantastic racing game.

Lit - 800 Wii Points

Loading Video...

A Horror/Puzzle game from WayForward. Lit is, to my knowledge, the only actual horror WiiWare title. You have to navigate dark, paranormal creature infested rooms with light via breaking windows with your slingshot or turning on TVs and computers though you have to be careful not to have too many on or you'll break a fuse and be dragged into the dark.

Now this is also available on mobile but it just doesn't have the moody and dark atmosphere of the original.

ExciteBike: World Rally - 1000 Wii Points

Loading Video...

After ExciteTrucks and ExciteBots, Nintendo decided the series should go back to it's roots with ExciteBike: World Rally. It borrows heavily from the NES classic though it adds some features from Trucks and Bots.

Avatar image for lestephan
#6 Posted by LeStephan (1134 posts) -

@steevl: oooh thats right! i forgot! I bet they still play the best on the wii though ;)

Avatar image for steevl
#7 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

@iam16bit: Thanks for adding some suggestions!

Here's another one I want to check out:

Space Invaders Get Even

Loading Video...

This is another game that's not available anywhere else. You play as the Space Invaders as they "get even" on the humans. Apparently it's split into four purchasable parts, though, and it ends up costing $20 total.

Avatar image for bisonhero
#8 Edited by BisonHero (11345 posts) -

@iam16bit: I was that guy who wanted to squeeze every bit of value out of their Wii and actually try out a bunch of WiiWare games. I finished Lit, and I can't recommend it. It's sort of an interesting puzzler, but the graphics and art design are just SOOO bad (probably because the WiiWare file size limitations were really restrictive so most 3D games look like ass, but frankly whatever lighting/shader system Lit is using seems especially awful). Also the puzzle elements get repetitive quickly and the environments don't change up much and there isn't much of an interesting horror story going on. It's kinda just an OK puzzler with a school horror theme. There are better puzzlers you could buy for $5-$15.

Anyway, people have mentioned most of the games I could think to mention. The real WiiWare standouts have largely made it Steam and other platforms: World of Goo, the Bit.Trip series, the Lost Winds series (spoiler: the story is left unresolved because they only made 2 games). I think some of those feel more at home on the Wii controls, and I think the prices are comparable with other platforms, so by all means, if you really want, maybe buy the Wii versions.

Games I haven't seen mentioned that also fit this description are Cave Story (I think WiiWare was the first release of the officially localized Cave Story) and Swords & Soldiers. I especially recommend Swords & Soldiers on the Wii, it's a fun tug of war-style RTS where you're literally just fighting along a one-dimensional line, and it's more about the micomanagement of when you spawn troops, in what combination, and when you activate spells to push your advantage. You can play it on PC but it pales in comparison to actual PC RTSs that use keyboard, and you can play it on other consoles but I think it controls kinda awkwardly on a normal controller. The game seems like it was very much designed around the "you only have a cursor and basically one button" Wii control limitations, and it thrives under those restrictions. It has a really solid local multiplayer mode as well that I played with some roommates and friends for hours and hours. Highly recommended. Only knock against it is that I think they never changed the WiiWare version of Swords & Soldiers, but the PC release got a balance patch that adjusted some unit/mana costs and the tech tree layout, so the WiiWare version is maybe a little off in terms of balance and if you really put hours and hours into it, you might notice that one faction or build seems kinda OP. I don't know if the trailer conveys its qualities very well, but it a surprisingly competent console RTS, on a digital service that went largely ignored.

Loading Video...

The Art Style series was kinda rad, I think they were remakes of some kind of Japan-only GBA series. I didn't play all of them, and some I did play were kinda meh, but Art Style: Orbient and Art Style: light trax were both very cool.

Loading Video...

Orbient is a chill game about being a moon or planet or something, and going in and out of the orbits of other celestial bodies as you absorb matter, and IIRC the main two buttons in the game are "increase gravitational pull" and "inverse gravitational pull." There's something really compelling about having to judge second to second how much gravitational attraction to apply to slingshot around obstacles and get into the right orbit. The graphics are very simple, but it is fun as fuck to play and there's a ton of levels. It's great.

Loading Video...

light trax is more of a Tron lightcycle race looking thing, except you're literally just beams of light racing around a track, but it has a cool atmosphere to it despite the super simple visuals. It switches perspective on different parts of the track between overhead and 3rd person. It's definitely more of a twitch reaction sorta game, as if you're good at dodging the rough patches and taking good paths/shortcuts/hit speed boosts, your speed just gets higher and higher. I remember it being a pretty challenging racing game, and it's pretty rad.

Loading Video...

Fluidity is a Metroidvania game where you're a pool of water, and the game world is you moving around the pages of some kind of illustrated science text book about the water cycle or something? It's a cool idea, and I was always kinda sad that Giant Bomb never gave it a Quick Look. Fair warning for those that hate motion controls: basically all movement is motion controls; buttons/d-pad just activate certain abilities. It's sort of like Monkey Ball, where you're not technically moving your character, but are instead tilting the entire world (with the Wii remote tilt sensor), and your pool of water flows whichever way you are tilting. It takes some getting used to, it's a pity there isn't something on the options for an alternate control scheme, but even if there was, your control of the main "character" is still very indirect since you're tilting the world and not physically moving your "character". I was able to finish it without undue frustration with the controls, but I remember some reviews cursing them. Also I will say the music and sound design is a little on the bland side, but the world and exploration and novelty of how they use water is all really well done. There's a 3DS sequel to Fluidity that I think kind of sucks because it isn't a Metroid-style open world and is broken down into way too small discrete levels, and I think the character design in the sequel is real derpy looking.

Avatar image for steevl
#9 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

Huh, I never realized Swords & Soldiers originated on WiiWare. I have it on Steam, but only played it for a few minutes. It seemed OK.

Not long after Nintendo made their announcement about the Wii Shop closing, Retronauts put out two articles about some of the good/interesting games out there.

Here's the one on Virtual Console games. It's not completely relevant to me since I have a number of these games elsewhere, but there's still some games I might be interested in like Ogre Battle.

And here's the one on WiiWare games.

Avatar image for nicksmi56
#10 Edited by nicksmi56 (692 posts) -

I'm still debating whether I wanna grab Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, even though it's only in Japanese, or if I'll just skip to Symphony of the Night. I'm trying to buy as few new games as possible, but if this isn't re-released later on, it's gone for good. And that would suck considering how much everyone raves about it.

Avatar image for steevl
#11 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

I'm still debating whether I wanna grab Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, even though it's only in Japanese, or if I'll just skip to Rondo of Blood. I'm trying to buy as few new games as possible, but if this isn't re-released later on, it's gone for good. And that would suck considering how much everyone raves about it.

There's also the PSP version which contains the original PC-Engine CD version of Rondo of Blood as an unlockable, along with Symphony of the Night.

Knowledge of Japanese isn't very necessary in Dracula X: Rondo of Blood, though. You'll miss out on story, but eh. All the menus are in English. It's definitely one of the best Castlevanias. I think Vinny came away pretty impressed with it when he played through them in VinnyVania.

Avatar image for steevl
#12 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

All right. I loaded up Blaster Master Overdrive for the first time in like 8 years. Within half an hour, I retired it from my backlog. It's just too frustrating of a game for me to enjoy. It's the kind of game that should use a Classic controller, and yet you can only use the standard Wii controller held sideways. This would be fine if it only used the 1 and 2 buttons, but it also makes use of A, B, +, and -. You have to hold B in order to strafe/hold your gun position in one direction, and if you want to play effectively you simply have to do this. Watch the GB quick look of the game to see what happens when you don't, since Ryan clearly didn't realize you could strafe:

Loading Video...

Combine that with the lack of save points and having only one life, and it's just not fun for me. I probably wouldn't have minded when I was a kid, but I'm 40 years old now. I don't have the patience for this stuff anymore.

The rotten cherry on top is the music. At first I was happy they used music from the original NES game, but I quickly found it annoying because of their choice of synthesized instruments. They just don't sound any good!

Perhaps one day I'll check out Blaster Master Zero on Switch, although I'd need to get a Switch first!

I still intend to buy and play the other two Konami ReBirth games eventually, though.

Avatar image for boringk
#13 Posted by BoringK (388 posts) -

Can these be transferred to Wii U? I never bothered to do a transfer between the two systems because I never bought anything digitally on Wii and didn't care enough about any of my save data, but I'm tempted to dust off the Wii, get a few of these and move them over if I can.

Avatar image for boozak
#14 Posted by BoOzak (2282 posts) -

@boringk: I think the transfer between the two systems was just for saves since the console is backwards compatible.

I'm guessing this doesnt effect the Wii U store? Theres still a few games i've been waiting to go on sale there.

Avatar image for alistercat
#15 Posted by AlisterCat (7954 posts) -

Phoenix Wright 1, 2 and 3 are decent on Wii. Ryan and Vinny did a quick look. I was going to buy them on there but now I don't think I will.

Avatar image for steevl
#16 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

Yeah, I think the Wii U stuff isn't going away; just the original Wii stuff.

@boringk said:

Can these be transferred to Wii U? I never bothered to do a transfer between the two systems because I never bought anything digitally on Wii and didn't care enough about any of my save data, but I'm tempted to dust off the Wii, get a few of these and move them over if I can.

I don't have a Wii U, but can't you access the original Wii Shop when in Wii emulation mode? That seems like it would make more sense to do than to go through the transfer process, which I remember hearing some less than positive things about.

Avatar image for boringk
#17 Posted by BoringK (388 posts) -

@steevl: yeah, actually, according to this you can just get to it that way. If I'd realized that I would've bought some of these games awhile ago. That's awesome because yes, that transfer process looks like a nightmare.

Avatar image for steevl
#18 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

Glad that worked out for you!

I'm kind of worried about the health of my launch-era Wii. Whenever I turn on, it makes the standard rev up noise, but there's also a rapid clicky noise accompanying it. It sounds sort of like if you held some paper in the spokes of a bicycle wheel. It goes away as soon as the rev up noise stops. It's been doing it for years at this point, but to me it's a reminder that my Wii is not going to last forever.

Avatar image for nicksmi56
#19 Edited by nicksmi56 (692 posts) -

@steevl: Do you think there's a good chance Rondo of Blood will make it to Switch's eShop or do you think it'll be gone for good after this? From what I'm seeing, it doesn't look good since Dracula X has been the only one on Wii U and 3DS's eShops.

Avatar image for steevl
#20 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

@steevl: Do you think there's a good chance Rondo of Blood will make it to Switch's eShop or do you think it'll be gone for good after this? From what I'm seeing, it doesn't look good since Dracula X has been the only one on Wii U and 3DS's eShops.

It'd be great if it did, but Konami isn't what it used to be. The only game they've put on Switch so far is Super Bomberman R, and that's according to this list on their site. I was so happy when it got a release on the Wii Virtual Console; I had played it years ago thanks to the wonderful world of emulation, which was a little trickier back in 2002, but I immediately snapped it up when I could buy and play it on a system I owned.

Avatar image for steevl
#21 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

Well, I did it. I bought a whole slew of WiiWare and (mostly) Virtual Console games. Here's what I ultimately went with...thus far, at least:

  • Contra ReBirth (WiiWare)
  • Gradius ReBirth (WiiWare)
  • Space Invaders Get Even (WiiWare)
  • Ghosts 'n Goblins (Arcade version)
  • Ghouls 'n Ghosts (Genesis)
  • NAM-1975 (Neo-Geo)
  • Ogre Battle: The March of the Black Queen (SNES)
  • Donkey Kong 3 (NES)
  • Faxanadu (NES)
  • DoReMi Fantasy (SNES)
  • Ufouria (NES)

I still have 500 points left to spend. I had miscalculated with my original list and had to cut something when I realized Ghosts n Goblins was actually 800 points instead of 500 points. I'm sure I'll spend that remaining 500 points on something else; perhaps Star Tropics 2.

Anyway, I played Contra ReBirth and I could easily see myself completing it in an afternoon, especially since it's got unlimited continues.

Ghosts 'n Goblins is still as hard as I remember. I didn't even make it to the first red devil. Got a little further with Ghouls 'n Ghosts, but didn't even make it to the first boss.

Faxanadu is still pretty neat, albeit frustrating.

I always found Donkey Kong 3 to be an interesting game. There's not much to it, though.

I have yet to try out the rest.

Avatar image for nicksmi56
#22 Edited by nicksmi56 (692 posts) -

@steevl: I wound up getting Rondo of Blood. Haven't tried it out yet, but glad I went for it in the end. Nice little going away present for the Wii :)

Avatar image for steevl
#23 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

@steevl: I wound up getting Rondo of Blood. Haven't tried it out yet, but glad I went for it in the end. Nice little going away present for the Wii :)

Awesome! It's definitely one of the best pre-SotN Castlevanias out there. Almost every level has a secret exit leading to an alternate boss and level. I think it's the only classic Castlevania that gives you a level select, so it's not an utter pain to find all the secrets in the game. The game is still pretty challenging, of course.

One tip I'll give is that the moneybags you collect in the game actually have a purpose: they're used as currency to purchase "technics" in one of the menus, which are basically just pro demonstrations of how to beat a boss without getting hit. They're kind of neat, but not really necessary. I think you don't actually get to keep the money if you choose to continue at the game over screen, which is weird to me. I could be wrong on that.

Avatar image for jetlag
#24 Posted by Jetlag (413 posts) -

So for some reason I have 16,000 points. I have a Wii somewhere that I think has one or two Shop games on it, and a WiiU but I never did the Wii stuff on there. Maybe I'll see if I can dig up the Wii and transfer anything that's on there to the WiiU and then load the points on there. I'll probably spend the points and then put everything in a box and never look at it again but I'll feel more like a chump if I don't do it.

Avatar image for steevl
#25 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

@jetlag said:

So for some reason I have 16,000 points. I have a Wii somewhere that I think has one or two Shop games on it, and a WiiU but I never did the Wii stuff on there. Maybe I'll see if I can dig up the Wii and transfer anything that's on there to the WiiU and then load the points on there. I'll probably spend the points and then put everything in a box and never look at it again but I'll feel more like a chump if I don't do it.

16000 points is quite a bit, but you do have about 10 months to spend them, at least.

Avatar image for def
#26 Posted by DeF (5421 posts) -

@jetlag:

@steevl said:
@jetlag said:

So for some reason I have 16,000 points. I have a Wii somewhere that I think has one or two Shop games on it, and a WiiU but I never did the Wii stuff on there. Maybe I'll see if I can dig up the Wii and transfer anything that's on there to the WiiU and then load the points on there. I'll probably spend the points and then put everything in a box and never look at it again but I'll feel more like a chump if I don't do it.

16000 points is quite a bit, but you do have about 10 months to spend them, at least.

jetlag probably has 1,600 points, not 16k as that would be $160 worth of random points they never used.

Avatar image for xanxus
#27 Posted by xanxus (321 posts) -

Never really used the Wii Shop before but I felt obligated to buy the two Crystal Chronicles games before it's too late, so I did that last night. Not sure I care about the rest though.

Avatar image for jetlag
#28 Posted by Jetlag (413 posts) -

Man, I forgot how expensive these games are. 1000 pts for SNES games; I'll have to be a little pickier than I expected.

Anyway, there's about 8 hrs left to buy some points.

Avatar image for steevl
#29 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

@jetlag said:

Man, I forgot how expensive these games are. 1000 pts for SNES games; I'll have to be a little pickier than I expected.

Anyway, there's about 8 hrs left to buy some points.

It's usually only 800 points for SNES games, although there are a few 900-pointers in there. It's the N64 games that are usually 1000 points each.

I think I'm done buying any more games off WiiWare/VC, although I am still looking at the two Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles games as possibilities. And of course one of them costs 1500 points, meaning I'd be left with 500 points after I bought both games. Just a few hours to decide if I want to blow $30 more on this service, I guess. I just don't want to regret not buying a good game, you know? On the other hand, I hadn't been thinking much about the Wii's shop until they announced they'd be closing it down last year, and I have a huge backlog already.

Avatar image for nighthawked
#30 Posted by nighthawked (1 posts) -

I can't see chick chick BOOM in the list. Best couch co-op game on WiiWare :)

Loading Video...

Avatar image for napstar
#31 Posted by Napstar (176 posts) -

Fuck, why did this post not show up for me under recent forum activity until today.

Avatar image for steevl
#32 Posted by steevl (523 posts) -

Sorry that you missed out. :(

Avatar image for lordandrew
#33 Posted by LordAndrew (14603 posts) -

I loaded my account with Wii Points and bought ActRaiser, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, DoReMi Fantasy, Final Fantasy VI, Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen, Pulseman, and the WiiWare title Jett Rocket.

I have 7100 points remaining, which unfortunately is not enough to buy everything I want. The Rebirth games will eat into 3000 of my points, and Fluidity another 1200. I guess I'll just have to wait it out and hope some of the games I want will be ported to other platforms before the end of January.

Avatar image for lordandrew
#34 Posted by LordAndrew (14603 posts) -

Don't forget to check out the available WiiWare demos if you still have Points to spend and haven't decided what to spend them on.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.