A disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of Nintendo.
While you might be quick to accuse me of being a fanboy, I would argue that this gives me better knowledge of Nintendo’s mistakes. For my love of the company and their games, I’ll be the first person to admit when they slip up. After all, I was a Wii U owner, so I’ve had my fair share of disappointments.
What’s worse about their mistakes is that they’ve been occurring more recently as opposed to past years. For a few years, it seems that the company wasn’t quite sure what they wanted to do or what direction they wanted to go. That said, every big company makes some kind of bad business decisions that affect their long-term revenue. (Remember when the Xbox One wasn’t going to be compatible with used games?)
However, Nintendo still knows how to make quality games, and that’s something they’re establishing with Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. These stellar titles can go down in history along with many other games that have stood the test of time. It’s just unfortunate that such a consistently great developer has had slip ups in the past few years.
If you’re looking into any new Nintendo consoles (or ones previously out), here are 8 games that you should forget about and 7 that easily stand the test of time.
15. Mario Party 9 & 10
Speaking of bad Nintendo party games, we need to move over to the classic plumber himself. The Mario Party series was full of fun times on the N64 and the Gamecube. Once it moved over to the Nintendo Wii, however, people could see that it was starting to go downhill. Mario Party 8 wasn’t the worst thing ever, but it was a sign of things to come. When Nintendo announced Mario Party 9, that’s when things started to get disastrous for the franchise. Instead of having the individual board game action that the series became popular for in the first place, everyone is put in a car, thus removing the element of skill and strategy.
Because of how poorly received that was, many people thought it wouldn’t return for the subsequent Mario Party 10 on the Wii U. However, it did. On top of that, Nintendo tried to shake things up with Bowser Party, but that mode proved to be unbalanced and unentertaining. On top of all of these flaws, the minigames are becoming less fun as time goes on, leaving us to wonder if they’ll ever create a good Mario Party game ever again.
14. Paper Mario: Sticker Star
When getting a Nintendo 3DS, there’s almost no limit to the number of games you can purchase. The Big N has been so faithful with bringing content to their fabled handheld system that almost everyone has one nowadays. That being said, there are bound to be some titles that you should probably be better off skipping.
One such title is Paper Mario: Sticker Star. Much like the case of Mario Party 10, the Paper Mario series started off really well. It even got better the second time around with Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Unfortunately, Nintendo has forgotten a lot of what made those games great and instead went through the motions for this entry on the 3DS.
If you’re a huge fan of Paper Mario on the N64 or The Thousand Year Door, then don’t buy this game. Much of the charm, witty characters, and interesting story are all gone. Everything becomes very watered down, the combat is quite repetitive at best, and it lacks much of the effort and passion that went into games that came before it. To make matters worse, they didn’t improve on these flaws when they developed Paper Mario: Color Splash on the Wii U not long after.
13. Pokemon Dash
Who knew that Pokemon would explode into the massive success that it is today? Nintendo and Game Freak have milked these little creatures for a few decades now, and people still seem to be clamoring for more. Along the way, Game Freak decided that it wouldn’t be beneficial to always release Pokemon games with the same formula. Because of this, many spin-offs for the franchise were born. This is how we got games like Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Stadium, Pokemon XD, and so much more.
As you might expect, not all of these spin-offs were home runs. Quite the opposite in fact. This spot could have gone to games like Pokemon Channel or Pokepark 2, but I felt that Pokemon Dash deserved it instead. This Pokemon racing game takes everything you love about Nintendo racers and shoves it out the window. Pokemon Dash for the Nintendo DS forces you to use nothing but the touchscreen to control your character. You then have to follow boost pads in order to get the best time, but with no clear direction on where to go, that quickly becomes difficult. The game is also very ugly, even by DS standards, and was more of a gimmick than anything else.
12. 1 2 Switch
Yes, I’m familiar that this game has been out for a total of two months, but that’s all the more reason to talk about it. It wasn’t long before people began to figure out that 1 2 Switch is horribly overpriced, exhibits such a small amount of effort, and only holds your interest for about an hour, max. That’s not to say that the concept of the game is horrible — on the contrary, it utilizes the HD Rumble on the Nintendo Switch very well. Apart from that, there isn’t anything to keep you coming back to this game.
1 2 Switch places emphasis on looking your friends in the eye while you play the various minigames. Unfortunately, they used this as an excuse to put as little content on screen as possible. Furthermore, the instructions for each minigame aren’t very clear, and only a handful of them are truly excellent. Many people stated that the game should’ve been included with the Nintendo Switch, and I agree. Nobody in their right mind should pay $50 for this game. You’d be much better off getting a better game, even if it’s on a different console.
11. Metroid: Other M
Ever since the Metroid Prime series ended, Nintendo has seemed like they don’t know what to do with the franchise. They attempted to flesh out Samus’s backstory in Metroid: Other M, but that served more to its detriment. Our favorite bounty hunter suddenly became uncool and more annoying than awesome. Sure, a lot of conventions of the Metroid series were broken in the game, but change doesn’t make a game good. Nintendo was riding off the success of the Prime Trilogy to garner support for this late title for the Nintendo Wii. However, those who played it weren’t impressed.
Think of Other M like the Star Wars prequels. It was bad, but we’re willing to forgive Nintendo and move on if they do a 180 and bring about an excellent Metroid game again. However, the company hasn’t done anything with the franchise since then apart from Metroid Prime: Federation Force, which isn’t even a true Metroid game. The franchise saw no release on Wii U, and nothing has been announced for the Nintendo Switch. Because of this, all we have to remember this series by is Metroid Prime: Other M. Needless to say, save your pennies and just get the Prime Trilogy instead.
10. Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival
When Animal Crossing fans saw a trailer for a new game with the Wii U’s graphics, they immediately got excited. Then that excitement turned to hatred and disappointment as Nintendo announced that it was not a traditional Animal Crossing game. Instead, Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival was a party game. But not just any party game. No, this one requires that you use your amiibo in order to play.
Many of these decisions let people know beforehand that there wasn’t something quite right about this game. Those brave few who were willing to give the game a chance immediately regretted their purchase. Despite being a party game, Animal Crossing: Amiibo Festival has little to no actual interaction. Every time it’s your turn, you have to take your expensive little Nintendoll and scan it on the Gamepad. From there, the game plays itself. Despite being a party game, there are no minigames in this title. It’s almost like they saw the newer Mario Party games and said, “Hey, let’s do that but worse!” The biggest problem is that the game requires that you have amiibo. The figures should only be present to enhance, not create a game.
9. Star Fox Zero
At E3 2014, Nintendo delivered in their presentation. On top of a slew of new information on Super Smash Bros for 3DS/Wii U, we also got announcements for Zelda U (which would become Breath of the Wild) and a tease for the next Star Fox game. Needless to say, the hype was real for a few months afterward. In time, they revealed more about this Star Fox title, which would be called Star Fox Zero.
However, the hype started to die down as more details were dropped. Instead of telling its own story, Star Fox Zero would essentially be a remake of Star Fox 64 (something we already got on the 3DS). The game is fairly short as a result. To make matters worse, Nintendo attempted to make innovative controllers that had you constantly looking from the gamepad to the TV screen, but even that fell flat on its face. Many people had a hard time playing the game because they couldn’t control it properly. Then, as the final nail in the coffin, the game’s graphics were fairly poor, especially considering some of the beautiful games that had already come out on the Wii U.
8. Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash
Nintendo loves their little red plumber. That’s why there are so many different games that star Mario. We get Mario Kart, Mario Party, Mario Strikers, Mario & Sonic, and even Mario Tennis. This series, like many of the others mentioned on this list, started out really well. But for some reason, Nintendo decided to pay less attention to the quality of the games as time went on. Mario Tennis Open came out on the 3DS and while it wasn’t horrible, it wasn’t great either. There were some high hopes when they announced Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash for the Wii U, but there was no deliverance whatsoever.
Once you boot up the game, you’ll realize that there is a shockingly small amount of content here. There aren’t many characters or modes, so there’s little incentive to keep playing. Furthermore, there’s only one court that you can play on. Need I repeat that? One. Single. Court. Nintendo could’ve gotten away with the lack of characters and content if they had multiple stages with different gimmicks. Nope. At the end of the day, previous entries in the Mario Tennis series actually had more content than Ultra Smash. It’s a shame, too, because the game is quite pretty.
7. Donkey Kong Country
The moment you hear the music for Jungle Hijinx, you’re ready to grab an SNES controller and go to town. Donkey Kong Country was one of, if not the greatest platformer of its time. Pushing the hardware of the SNES to its limits, there’s little arguing that the game is one of the best-looking out there as well. Donkey Kong Country was one of the early games that put developer Rare on the map and was the stepping stone for many other great platformers in the future.
The gameplay itself was difficult but very fluid and tight. Donkey Kong himself would have access not only to Diddy Kong as a sidekick, but also various animal partners that he could ride to gain speed or deal some extra damage. The game was so successful that it launched two sequels on the same console and a game on the N64. If you want my advice, all four of them are worth looking into as well as the Donkey Kong Country Returns series on the Wii and Wii U.
6. Super Mario 64
When Nintendo announces a new 3D Mario game, the golden standard that many people look to is Super Mario 64. Many old platformers around that era become stale over time and require a lot of fine-tuning before they’d be accepted in today’s time. That’s not the case with this game. Super Mario 64, graphics aside, is just as good today as it was all those years ago. It brought together many elements and mechanics that platforming games still use today and really made the name “Mario” stand out to casual gamers.
Super Mario 64 was memorable because it took exploration and faithfully integrated it with platforming, something that the series hasn’t done for several years now. Along the way are numerous power-ups that not only enhance your strength but also allow you to reach otherwise inaccessible areas. Since its release, there has been no 3D Mario game that has been able to dethrone it. Even Nintendo has recognized that Super Mario 64 is truly legendary. With the upcoming Super Mario Odyssey, they openly stated that it was taking a lot of inspiration from Super Mario 64. If you’re not excited by that premise alone, I think you need to play the game again.
5. Metroid Prime
If somebody asks what the greatest Metroid game is, you’ll get one of two answers: Super Metroid or Metroid Prime. For this list, we felt that the latter was more deserving. Released for the Gamecube, Metroid Prime took the series and brought it over to a first-person 3D perspective. And, boy, did it transition beautifully. Never before had the planets in the Metroid come to life in this way. The pure moments of awe, like looking over the Phendrana Drifts, are unfathomable. The massive bosses were frightening and tough to take down. The backtracking never felt lazily inserted. There is a lot to love with this game.
What’s most impressive about Metroid Prime is how the game looks. Even with all of the graphical advancements we see today, this game is very playable. You will never be distracted with “Oh, those are clearly early 2000’s graphics.” You’ll be flying from one planet to the next without missing a single beat. The game itself was so popular that many people have been clamoring for another entry in the series on the Nintendo Switch. It’s unclear if we’ll get it, but seeing the direction that the company is going in, there’s still hope.
4. The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
The Legendary Hero. The Great Sea. Dragon Roost Isle. The King of Red Lions. These are all facets of The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. Despite some negative feedback regarding the art style, many people were impressed to find out how amazing the game would turn out. The Wind Waker did something vastly different from any Zelda game before it. It still had many elements of previous games, but it put a new and whimsical spin on everything by setting the game at sea.
Instead of traveling the world on horseback, players were blessed with the opportunity to sail the high seas on the King of Red Lions. Taking an open world strategy, it was then up to you to discover all of the islands that the world had to offer. And I haven’t even got to the story yet. Perhaps the most lore-filled and tense tale in the Zelda series, The Wind Waker pays homage to previous games in the franchise while still taking an identity all its own. Set to a fantastic score and beautiful design, this is one game that you don’t want to miss.
3. Pikmin 1, 2, & 3
When Miyamoto starts developing a new IP, getting hyped is the only reasonable response we can have. During the Gamecube era, there was constant talk about what the new Nintendo franchise would be. Thankfully, the Big N didn’t disappoint us when they released Pikmin. This game stars Captain Olimar in a strange planet where he meets little critters called Pikmin. You’re then tasked with collecting an army of these creatures to solve puzzles in the world and with fending off dangerous monsters.
The game was so well-received that a sequel was quickly worked on. Pikmin 2 was also released for the Gamecube and expanded on what made the original so great. Then after a fairly long hiatus, the franchise returned to glory with Pikmin 3 on the Wii U. If you’re deciding between which entry to get, the third one is your best bet. It adds new Pikmin to the mix, has different challenges to overcome, and is coated with beautiful HD graphics that effectively showed off what the Wii U was capable of. All three games still hold up today, and you’d be doing a disservice to yourself if you never play a single one.
2. Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver
Just about any Pokemon game holds up today; it’s just a matter of deciding which one has the most lasting appeal and holds a candle to the games of today. Without a doubt, that game is Pokemon HeartGold and SoulSilver. These titles were actually remakes of Pokemon Gold and Silver on the GameBoy Color. That said, you’d never be able to tell just by looking at it. The remakes were running off of the engine created in Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, and the games look really good as a result. However, it’s the quality of the gameplay where these two truly shine.
Traveling through one entire region is great and all, but HeartGold and SoulSilver gives you the option of going through two full regions. After you complete the main story, you’re given a smorgasbord of things to do afterward. There are an innumerable amount of legendaries to hunt down and several mythic trainers to overcome (including Red). Pokemon games usually hold people’s attention for a few weeks, but HeartGold and SoulSilver is guaranteed to keep you coming back for months to come. Did I mention it’s the only entry in the series that allows your Pokemon to walk with you in the overworld?
1. Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
Can you believe that when Sakurai originally pitched Super Smash Bros, it was denied? Me neither. This Nintendo all-star fighting/party game is one of the hottest titles that the Big N has in their arsenal. Every time audiences see that classic logo, there’s a massive uproar. In the context of this list, all of the games in this series hold up very well (yes, even Brawl). However, the one that we feel holds up the best is Super Smash Bros for Wii U.
Previous entries in the series dialed up the fan service to an 11, but the Wii U game goes above and beyond what we thought was possible. It’s no longer just a celebration of Nintendo — it’s a celebration of gaming history. Fighting alongside Mario are characters like Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man, Pac-Man, Cloud Strife, and Ryu. Coupling the massive roster is some extremely tight gameplay. Nintendo managed to strike a balance between the casual realm of Brawl and the brutal fighting of Melee. Because the game is on the Wii U, you can also expect some beautiful graphics on display. In our minds, this is the definitive version of Super Smash Bros.
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