The 12 Best Downloadable Wii Games You Need To Play

Our favourites from the Wii Shop Channel

The 12 Best Downloadable Wii Games You Need To Play  Everybody Plays
18th March, 2014

The Wii's time may have come and gone, but that doesn't mean you need to stop playing. Whether you're keeping your Wii under your TV, or taking advantage of the Wii U's backwards compatibility, beyond the Mario Karts, Wii Fits and Wii Sports, a whole world of downloadable games are up for grabs - and they're games that you may have missed. With a surprisingly small portion of consoles ever connected to the internet, and a definite lack of visibility, the Wii Shop Channel is home to some truly unappreciated gems - so whether you're playing on your Wii or Wii U, why not check out our favourite Wii Shop downloads (in no particular order) below:

Bonsai Barber

1000 Wii Points (about £7)

Ever wondered what it's like to cut hair for a load of anthropomorphic vegetables? No, we haven't either - but thankfully, the guys who made N64 shooter Goldeneye did, and so Bonsai Barber was born. Adorably random and odd-ball, you set up shop in a small town of talking plants, and before long the inhabitants are queuing up for a pruning - from a shallot starlet (don't call her an onion!) to a cowboy cactus and a suave banana who thinks he's James Bond. Using your Wii Remote as a pair of scissors, trimmer and comb, you need to shape, chop and lop their branches into their desired styles, whether it be a stripy jumper, an ice cream cone or a replica of the pyramids, before painting it the right colours. The better you do, the happier your customers will be, and the greater chance you'll have of receiving a gift or post card from their next holiday destination.

The oddball boffin Professor Strawbinski is a particular highlight with his unusual requests.

My Life As A King

1500 Wii Points (about £10.50)

Set in the cutesy world of role-playing spin-off Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles, My Life as a King tells the tale of a young prince and his advisors, who've fled from a poisonous miasma, and are hoping to find both a safe place to rebuild their kingdom, and their lost king, who they believe was taken by the nefarious Darklord. With a magical power to build fuelled by a mysterious crystal, you take control of the prince, wandering round the fledgeling city, choosing where and what to build, from houses, to temples, bakeries, weapon shops and more. The more you build, the more citizens you get, giving you people to chat to, quests to complete, and the ability to round up some of your loyal subjects and send them out to explore nearby dungeons. As time goes on, your village goes from hamlet to bustling city - and you begin to uncover the truth behind your father's disappearance...

We've spent over 40 hours perfecting our kingdom so far - and we haven't even finished all the quests...

A sequel, My Life As A Darklord, was released sometime later, which told the same tale but from the perspective of the bad guy. Less of a city building game and more of a tower defense one, it was up to you to place traps and monsters in your dungeons to stop the king's advancing forces, in another awesome Wii Ware game that's well worth a download.


1200 Wii Points (about £8.40)

A physics-based puzzle game where the star is a small puddle of water, Hydroventure is easily one of the Wii Shop Channel's best offerings. Set inside a colourful picture-book, which has been ravaged by an evil ink invasion, it's up to you to round up the magical rainbow drops and save the day by doing your fair share of exploring, experimenting and puzzle solving. Using the Wii Remote to tilt your pool of dihydrogen oxide through the world, you'll spend your time putting out fires, transporting lost ducks and turning cogs, as you collect as many rainbow drops as you can. Over time, you'll learn how to turn into a cloud of water vapour or shift into a solid block of ice - each with their own unique abilities that you'll need to use in combination if you plan on saving the little book world from inky destruction.

You can even shoot a few hoops too.

Pokemon Puzzle League

1000 Wii Points (about £7)

Originally on the N64, Pokemon Puzzle League is a must for anyone in love with the collectable critters and with a penchant for puzzle games. Much like Nintendo's other Puzzle League titles, the game is essentially an inverse Tetris - rather than dropping down from the top of the screen, a never-ending stream of coloured blocks slowly work their way up the screen from the bottom, and its up to you to swap them horizontally to create matches of 3 or more. Make a match, and not only will you halt the blocks never-ending march towards the top of the screen, but you'll also send some over to your opponent, making their life that much harder. While the puzzle game itself is fun enough, it's the game's Pokemon theming that makes it special. Following Ash and Pikachu's journey through the Puzzle League championships, you play against such familiar faces as Misty, Team Rocket and Brock, as you race to make enough matches that your opponent can't keep up, filling their screen with blocks and forcing them to admit defeat. There's even specially put together animated cut-scenes done in the style of the TV series for bonus Poke nerd points - amaze.

"When you're hot, you're hot!"

Muscle March

500 Wii Points (about £3.50)

Probably one of the strangest games on the entire downloadable store (or even any downloadable store), Muscle March is colourful, crazy and more than a little bit camp - as well as being pretty hilarious in multiplayer. Putting you in the role of a number of muscle-bound men (plus a token woman and polar bear), it's up to you to chase after your beloved body building supplement, through levels akin to the Hole In The Wall game show. Wii Remote in one hand and nunchuck in the other, you'll repeatedly come across inexplicably body-builder shaped obstacles, where you'll need to flex, and match the pose to pass through safely, while your character runs full speed after the pinched protein powder. Not the longest game in existence, with just three increasingly hard levels to play through, an endless mode and a multiplayer versus stage - but well worth the 500 points for randomness alone. This one's probably best explained by its insane trailer:

Tomena Sanner

500 Wii Points (about £3.50)

Following on from the craziness of Muscle March is the tale of one Japanese businessman's journey to work. Using only a single button, you need to help him dance with school girls, skate down the backs of dinosaurs and punch pandas as he rushes to the goal at the end of each stage. Endlessly running from one side to the other, the key to success here is in your timing - when the businessman comes across an obstacle, you need to press A at the right time to help him clear it in the way only he can. Press it too slow, and something will go terribly wrong, which can mean the difference between getting to the office on time or collapsing in an exhausted (and likely jobless) heap - time it well and you'll get some extra time added to the clock. With a number courses, from fiery volcanoes to lush jungles to the surface of the moon, as well as the option for four player races, Tomena Sanner is a crazy way to fill in a few minutes here and there - and for just 500 Wii Points, it's a bargain too.

Just your average day in Japan...

Pokemon Rumble

1500 Wii Points (about £10.50)

In Pokemon Rumble, you play a lowly Rattata with a big dream - a dream to become the most powerful Pokemon in the land and win the ultimate Battle Royale. Unperturbed by his small stature and general weedy-ness, he enters anyway, only to fail abysmally - but he isn't beaten yet. Determined to succeed where he failed before, he sets off on a journey to recruit as many other 'mons as he can, which is where you (and up to three friends) come in. Each of you controls a little wind-up toy version of a popular Pokemon, as you bash and brawl your way through bite-sized forests, volcanoes and creepy castles, working your way towards the Battle Royale. As you bash, smash and generally take on the wild Pokemon in each of the stages, many will offer to join your ranks and you'll gradually amass an increasingly powerful stash of critters to play as. With dozens of levels to play through, bite-sized appeal and that addictive "gotta catch 'em all" charm that's been a feature of every Pokemon game since day one, this is a must have - especially if you have a group of Pokefans.

Lets get ready to rumble!

Paper Mario

1000 Wii Points (about £7)

Another N64 gem, Paper Mario is a more story-driven adventure that puts a new spin on the traditional Mario tale of rescuing Princess Peach from the evil Bowser. With the Koopa King having once again nicked Mazza's missus, it's up to Mario to travel the world and free the trapped Star Spirits, using their powers to save the world, free Peach and restore peace to the Mushroom Kingdom - but rather than bouncing on baddies heads in a platformer, this one's a role playing game. With more of a focus on adventuring, you'll explore forests, castles and caves, battle enemies in a fun take on turn-based battles, and chat to the townsfolk in a game that has a killer sense of humour. Well written, and with an interesting battle system, where the timing of specific button presses can help you deal extra damage, or negate enemy attacks, you'll team up with a wide range of partners, each with their own special abilities, for an adventure where the characters are anything but 2D. Even if technically, they kind of are. Paper Mario may be an oldie, but it's still a goodie.

Peach, jinxing everything all over again...

Art Of Balance

800 Wii Points (about £5.60)

The premise of Art Of Balance is simple - all you have to do is stack a selection of shapes so they form a stable tower. It might not sound like the most exciting WiiWare game on paper, but perilously piling each set of blocks becomes strangely addictive, as you work out how best to arrange the differently shaped blocks without them falling into the drink, kind of like an inverse Jenga. Requiring a steady hand with the Wii Remote, things soon get trickier still, as glass bricks get added to the usual selection of cross-shaped, round and triangular bricks, which break if too much weight is on top of them, whilst others count down to their demise, meaning you'll need to plan your towers carefully if you hope to tackle the game's hundred levels. Some levels mix things up further still, giving you a see-saw like platform to build off or giving you a target height to reach instead - and as if that isn't enough to make you utter a few swear words under your breath, you can also bring in a friend to help with the building, although whether they help or hinder remains to be seen...

Carefully does it...

World Of Goo

1500 Wii Points (about £10.50)

Carrying on the tower-building theme somewhat, World Of Goo is another WiiWare gem in which you need to connect balls of goo together to create a bridge from one side of the level to the other, and lead the goo balls to the exit pipe. Working against gravity, gaping chasms, and spiky pits, it's up to you to work what sort of structure you'll need to build, making use of the various goo types you come across in each level. While normal black ones have no special powers, there are goo balls that look like balloons, which can be used to lift your structure, explosive balls, which do what they say on the tin, and balls in the shape of a skull that are resistant to spikes. With surprisingly realistic physics, balancing out your tower also becomes rather important if you plan on rescuing as many of the goo balls as you can in each of the fifty or so levels. World of Goo also has the option for four player co-operative - a mode which can come in handy for some of the later levels, as it means you can place large amounts of goo balls in a shorter space of time to help balance out your more precarious towers.


Jett Rocket

1000 Wii Points (about £7)

A rather fancy looking 3D platformer, Jett Rocket may be a touch on the short side, but it's certainly fun while it lasts. Playing as the titular Jett, it's your job to travel the planet, from lush jungles to arctic tundras to murky swaps, to prevent the evil Power Plant Posse from destroying the peace in the only way you know how - by collecting up scattered solar cells to unlock new areas, and, of course, by beating up the robotic bad guys that have taken over. Jett has more than just a jump at his disposal though, able to hover briefly in the air with his jetpack, paraglide from rooftops and blitz across the sea in a speedboat too. Despite it's brevity, there's a fair amount of variety here, with a number of unlockable achievements and craftily hidden solar cells that may well see 100% hunters going back for more.

Getting all the solar cells in each level can be quite a challenge.

Flowerworks: Foliie's Adventure

500 Wii Points (about £3.50)

Generally speaking, flower gardens and fireworks don't mix - unless horticultural destruction is what you're looking for. Fortunately games aren't bound by the same rules, and so the surprisingly addictive Flowerworks was born - a time-sink of a title that follows the confused, gnome-fearing alien Follie as she sets about prettifying the drab world she crash-landed in. Each level begins with a number of differently coloured seeds spread along the bottom of the screen, with coloured pollen particles floating around them. Taking control of Follie with the Wii Remote, it's up to you to fly her around the screen, and pick up the pollen, before firing it at the like coloured seeds at the bottom, feeding them enough to make them explode in a shower of colour (and points). If you can line up your shots so that they pick up more of the airborne pollen particles along the way, you can net yourself even more points from chain reactions too - but you'll need to make sure you feed them evenly, or else the neglected plants will start to wither. Later levels ramp up the challenge a bit more by making you mix pollen colours, avoid annoying mosquitoes, and tackle different climates where your plants dry up faster.

Seemingly, alien flowers can also talk.


And there you have it - the Wii downloadable games we've had the most fun on over the years. While it's by no means a comprehensive list (the stellar StrongBad series of point and click games narrowly missed out on a mention for one), they're certainly a good place to start when it comes to the vastly under-appreciated Wii Shop Channel. So stock up on those Wii Points, grab yourself a 2GB SD Card and dust off your Wii Remotes and get downloading! Now if you don't mind, we've got some kingdom-building to get on with...
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