What were your favorite Wiiware oddballs?

Do you have a gut-feeling Wiiware’s run its course? Nintendo’s admitted the service didn’t soar as planned and they hope to correct their mistakes with the 3DS eshop. I wouldn’t write the channel off yet; I’m sure good product will arrive for download between now and Project Café, but lately the Virtual Console has re-taken the spotlight with the long-awaited port of Chrono Trigger.

Wiiware has certainly delivered great titles. World of Goo, Cave Story, Max and the Magic Marker, The Bit Trip series, Lost Winds, Swords and Soldiers, Warioware Showcase and Tetris Party represent just a few of the highlights. Then there’s Dr. Mario Rx–one of Wii’s best games in any format.

Many great games, however, were unjustly ignored or just too quirky for most people to wrap their minds around. Those are the games I still like to revisit from time to time.

My two underdog favorites have two things in common: Both provided a lot of fun, shared gametime with family, and both used the Wiimote to fantastic effect–and in completely different ways.

BONSAI BARBER

The director of Goldeneye and Perfect Dark brings us…barbershop action! It’s kind of like Jenga, Kerplunk, Harvest Moon, and…actually, it’s like no other game on the planet. In the most innovative use of the controller ever, you wield the Wiimote like a pair of scissors, pressing B to clip. And it feels perfect…indescribably “just right” and believable.

So, naturally, you open a small town barbershop and in march a parade of goofball plant life, all with unique personalities, and all requesting a particular hair (leaf) style. You do your best to follow a template, but the darn veggies’ greenery is interconnected just like real foliage, and one wrong clip can be hilariously catastrophic, resulting in one pissed-off client.

Trust me on this one: Thanks to its humor and lifelike physics, this game is a thousand times more fun than it sounds.

WILD WEST GUNS

Not quite a true underdog, as it stayed on Wiiware’s best-seller charts for a long spell, but this perfectly-playing shooting gallery is a lot better than it got credit for. And it deserves special mention for one huge reason:

It’s the best shooting gallery-style game on Wii. Think about it: Why didn’t Wii have more quality games in this category? No other console in history was more perfect for shooting gallery play. Where was Point Blank? Virtua Cop? Duck Hunt, Wild Gunman and Hogan’s Alley, for crying out loud?

So, thank goodness for Wild West Guns. Placing you in the role of New-Sheriff-In-Town, this title features solid accuracy, interactive scenery, varied goals, excellent two-player mode, plus impressive Wild West music and narration. It’s as good as the best high-tech shooting gallery at your local theme park. Okay, not as good as Toy Story Mania, but then…nothing is (the ride, not the so-so Wii version).

So, how about you? Of all the titles to arrive on Wiiware so far, do you have any personal favorites—maybe obscure ones—you still return to?

20 Responses to What were your favorite Wiiware oddballs?

  1. Cory says:

    I (possibly sadly) have to say that I never have downloaded any WiiWare games; the VC is way overpriced and I just assumed that they followed the same pattern with WiiWare

  2. ac says:

    maboshi’s arcade, magnetica, and art of balance.

  3. ac says:

    and though not a wiiware title, but a VC arcade title, i have to mention it. space harrier arcade. normally VC titles come without any new features. but this one is the exception. surprisingly, it has motion controls implemented into it. it has the option to use the nunchuk as an arcade flight stick, and its the best use of nunchuk motion i’ve experienced in any game, including retail. it just feels great, and natural. i’m surprised more games didn’t use this control setup. just wow.

  4. ac says:

    @cory,

    i guess you were expecting the games to be priced closer to the app store?

  5. ModestMrGreen says:

    @ac

    I am in LOVE with Space Harrier arcade. I really wish they’d put more VC Arcade games up. Where is our arcade-perfect Donkey Kong? Or the Vs. series? Ah man. 🙁

    As for WiiWare, Bonsai Barber is a favorite of mine, too. Another great game is Art Style: Cubello. I know it’s well-known, but it is just so fun that it’s worth talking about. It’s easily my favorite Art Style game.

  6. Skotski says:

    Groovin’ Blocks. Definitely awesome.

    And though everyone hated them (even if they were well known), I LOVED the FFCC: My Life As a King/Darklord series. I spent countless hours playing them – and while it was true that the DLC were overpriced: one could enjoy the game without them.

    Maboshi’s Arcade gets love from me too. It got addicting despite its simplicity.

    Mix Superstar is a pretty decent music mix software. Learning when to time certain sound fx together would easily rid of the “choppy”-sound effect you’d get. And recording things definitely helped expand the possibilities… and thankfully you could share your music, which is an odd thing that a lot of other music mixers on gaming consoles tend to forget to add.

    Pokemon Rumble – Considered popular but I didn’t see it up there. It’s a step closer to what I want Pokemon battles to really be like: No more turn based battles (I enjoy turn-based battles, but surely we can split the series into different genres, right? Yes there was Snap and the Ranger games but you KNOW what I mean).

    POP – People hated it. Too boring, they’d say. I thought it was creative, made good use of the controls, and soothingly fun. Plus, most people didn’t know the extra rules that were in the game which might’ve lowered their opinion of it (such as popping the same colored bubbles would increase the music, and you could grab a bubble and shake it to increase its size).

    Let’s Catch – Another one people thought was “lame”. But it was REALLY SOOTHING. Playing this game with my gf as we talked about how our days went was a wonderful activity. It gave the same soothing feeling one got when playing catch in real life. And if you ask “Why don’t you just play catch in real life?” I’ll ask “Why don’t you play tennis in real life?”. What’s wrong with just enjoying a quick game in the comfort of your own home, when playing catch outside IN A CITY with cars honking all the time isn’t that soothing?

    Family Table Tennis – Considered also a great game, but didn’t see it up there. Sometimes you wouldn’t want to rummage through your games to find Wii Sports to play Tennis. So you’d just go into your WiiWare games and play this lovely title. Definitely worth the purchase.

  7. Richard says:

    @ac and ModestMr.Green:

    You guys just convinced me to try Space Harrier Arcade.

    @Skotski:

    Thank you for reminding me about Groovin’ Blocks: I still have to get that one.

    I had no idea about shaking the bubbles in POP.

    And…AAUGH! I completely forgot about Let’s Catch! It was/is one of my favorites, too! Not only was it soothing and fun, it was surprisingly emotional! I loved how, as you play, you get to know all the people in the town and uncover their stories and find out about their troubles…and then, because you’re there to lend an ear, you help heal their lives! All just by playing a simple game of catch! And then…

    ….SPOILER ALERT!!! (Y’know, just in case someone still wants to download this game. And they should)….You save Earth from alien destruction simply by being an example of humanity at its most compassionate. What a sweet, cool game.

    I’m going to re-download it and play it all over again!

  8. Sal says:

    The only wiiware games I got were as followed:
    PoP, Defend your Castle, Gyrostarr, Mega Man 9 (the best one), Bit.Boy (the worst one), Bit.Trip.Beat (a classic), Eduardo the Samuri toaster. I hope to get Bit trip runner but overall wiiware wasn’t great

  9. Mohan says:

    The biggest problem with Wiiware was the obsolete file size limit. But that being said, I would have to say there have been a few gems, like Fluidity.

  10. raindog469 says:

    The best games I downloaded through WiiWare were World of Goo (which I also bought, twice, for Linux) and LostWinds.

    The day we bought our new Wii and discovered we’d have to re-buy all our WiiWare and VC games was the day I stopped paying Nintendo to screw me.

  11. Eugene Allen says:

    @Richard
    You got my attention with Let’s Catch! Sounds like I need to run and get a wii points card.

  12. Richard says:

    @ Eugene:

    Definitely recommended! Let’s Catch plays like a relaxing, addictive Wii Sports event, but the emotional side of it sneaks up on you. By the time you complete it, you realize you’ve basically experienced a novella told via a game of catch. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.

    And you get to use your Mii. Plus, it’s by Sega!

  13. ghettoska says:

    I downloaded chick chick boom and I definitely had six dollars of fun.

  14. ModestMrGreen says:

    @Richard: I definitely need to try Let’s Catch now. Looking forward to hearing your impressions of Space Harrier!

    I also second the love for Pokemon Rumble. It’s absolutely fantastic. It’s the first Pokemon game I played where I actually understood and cared about status effects. :B It puts a lot of elements of standard Pokemon battles in the game in a simple and fun arcade-style romp. It feels similar to Gauntlet, if that helps.

  15. ONSLAUGHT…

    The best multiplayer shooter on the Wii ever.. get 4 friends and ONSLAUGHT WiFi up and GO not the prettiest game, it’s boring to look at, the enemy’s zre the same over and over again.. but it’s the closest to Left 4 Dead (gameplay wise) you can come at on the Wii…

    And it’s verry verry cheesy, as a stand alone (single player) product it’s not that good but as a multiplayer co-op shooter is’t great.

    My AQUARIUM i put + 40hours in that sucker… playing for 10 minutes a day and unlocking ALL THE FISH… 1st part is the best 2nd is little less good…

    STAR SOLDIER R. great score challenge game, nothing more depressing than reciving an textmessage on youre phone of a friend that say’s Beat your score on 2 minutes with 20k…

    WiiWare is full of great games it’s a terrible overlooked service 🙁 it could use a more steamlike sale idear though…

  16. RisnDevil says:

    Some that others have mentioned and some they haven’t:

    Pokemon Rumble: This should be it’s own line, with a little more tweaking. Take this game, but include a trainer who has his full accoutrement, and make the pokemon level like normal and learn moves (probably need a full classic controller style control) and it would be perfect: period. Even as it is, though, it is a great and easy-to-get-into game.

    And Yet it Moves: Great use of physics, unique game-play and intuitive controller use makes this game great.

    FFCC: My Life as a Dark Lord: Great game. Second that DLC was WAY OVERPRICED, but I actually felt the game was better and more challenging without it, anyways. This one really shows how much you can cram into the file-size limitation Nintendo put in there. Good visuals and LOTS of game-play.

    Toribash: Had never heard of this game before the Wii and now have it on my computers too. Didn’t like that they took out the swords combat, but like the added twist offered by the Wii-Mote enhanced actions.

    Onslaught: Have to agree: visuals are pretty lack-luster and game-play is simple, BUT, is still just downright fun to play.

    Zombie Panic in Wonderland: Not terribly difficult or anything, but a generally fun and enjoyable tongue-in-cheek distraction of a game.

    Swords and Soldiers: Deserves to be on the list if for no other reason than the tongue-in-cheek story mode(s) and voice-overs. Also, the only game of its kind on the Wii, in any format, period.

    Honorable mentions: World of Goo, Megaman 9 and 10, all the Rebirth games. These games were all worthwhile, but I don’t think meet the actual topic of Wiiware oddballs.

    By the way, thanks for starting this topic. It actually has me waxing “nostalgic” and appreciating the Wii more than I have been recently.

  17. Ac says:

    I’m looking forward to that new burgertime game. It’s probably going to be my last wiiware purchase.

  18. monkat says:

    Tomena Sanner and Muscle March.

    Surprised no one said them before.

    Genre? JAPAN.

  19. BlueRocks says:

    I am replaying Final Fantasy Chrystal Chronicles: My Life as a King right now. Loved it when it first came out and enjoying it all over again now.

    Ditto to the My Life as a Darklord. Totally different gameplay but just as fun.

    My third favourite is TV Game Show King 2 (if I’ve got the title correct). I still play it with my kids.

    My youngest son (just turned 5) really likes the PooYoos titles (there are three now).

  20. InvaderREN says:

    I LOVED swords and soldiers, as much as any retail game.

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