Say what you will about the Nintendo Wii (and many did), but it was undeniably a rip-roaring success. Many debate whether the PS3 or the Xbox 360 won the seventh console generation, but the simple fact of the matter is that the Wii emerged dominant, although other metrics might crown a different victor.
A large part of the Wii’s success was down to the sheer number of multiplayer games it offered, as well as the large amount of control schemes available. If you had a Wii, then you could easily call friends over and be playing something with them in moments; it was much more accessible for parties than either of its rivals. If you’re still rocking a Wii, here are some of the best 4-player Wii games you can play right now.
Mario Kart Wii
No list of great Wii multiplayer games would be complete without a mention of Mario Kart Wii. This is the game that made and broke a thousand thousand friendships worldwide. Complete with the Wii Wheel, the peripheral into which you could slot your Wii Remote to immerse yourself more in the game, Mario Kart Wii presented the definitive version of everyone’s favourite multiplayer kart racer (at least until Mario Kart 8 Deluxe came along). It’s testament to the skill involved in Mario Kart Wii’s design that it’s still eminently playable today, despite a few graphical crow’s feet.
Super Smash Bros. Brawl
Despite a few controversial choices that made it less of a favourite on the competitive circuit, Super Smash Bros. Brawl is still the fighting game of choice for many gamers. It introduced a host of new playable characters including Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance’s Ike, as well as Kirby’s King Dedede and Meta Knight (the latter of which was banned from competitive play for some time). Nowadays, we would refer to Brawl as a “platform fighter”, but it hails from the days when there were no high-profile competitors to Nintendo’s dominance.
New Super Mario Bros. Wii
New Super Mario Bros. Wii is billed as a co-operative game. This is a lie. Do not let Nintendo trick you. There are few games as fiercely, monstrously competitive as New Super Mario Bros. Wii. The multiplayer mode in this Mario platformer sees up to four players tackling its varied levels, each of which features stalwart elements from the franchise. The big sticking point, though, is that collision physics are very much enabled, so you’ll constantly bump into other players as you attempt to move through the courses. This is not a game for those who want to maintain their relationships.
Mario Party 9
The glacial pace of Mario Party 8 was widely criticised by the gaming press, so Nintendo made some radical changes for Mario Party 9. For the first time in the series, everyone was in the same boat – literally; a single vehicle moved its way around the map, and each player would get to determine what happened along the way, but players did not move independently. This was a controversial choice, but elsewhere, Mario Party 9 was the same mixture of board game shenanigans, random number generation, and great minigames as ever.
Wii Sports (and all Wii properties)
Where would we be without Wii Sports? It’s undeniably one of the most influential games ever released. As a pack-in game for the Wii, Wii Sports showed gamers everywhere what the console could do and what kind of gaming parties it could facilitate. Whether you were playing tennis, golf, or bowling, Wii Sports brought families, households, and everyone together in the pursuit of fun. Sequels and spinoffs, including Wii Party and Wii Sports Resort, further refined the concept and brought even more varied fun to people’s living rooms.
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games
Who thought that Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games would work? It takes the basic button-mashing gameplay of games like Track and Field and refines it, bringing in character classes and lots of different Olympic disciplines for the ‘stached plumber and the Blue Blur to tackle. At its core, Mario & Sonic is an arcadey experience with a similar degree of playing-field levelling to Mario Kart Wii or Wii Sports. Most of the events are easy to pick up and learn, and there’s plenty to do if you find the core gameplay loop as compelling as we did.
Mario Strikers Charged
The Mario sports series really is hugely underrated. Mario Strikers Charged pits players either against one another or on the same team as they tackle CPU opponents in a bid to win several cups. Basic gameplay is enjoyably simple; it’s FIFA stripped down to its absolute basics and featuring lots of Mario-themed hazards and levels. There are extra gameplay gimmicks here and there, but for the most part, Mario Strikers Charged is an extremely accessible soccer game that you can take on with your friends. Grab a few Wii Remotes and get stuck in.
Speaking of underrated, here’s Rayman Origins, a truly excellent Ubisoft platformer from before the company decided it was going to make only repetitive open-world experiences drenched in microtransactions. Rayman Origins has beautiful animations, a gorgeous art style, and a sequence of excellent, deviously-designed levels for you and three friends to take on. The game remains criminally underrated to this day; although it spawned a sequel in the form of Rayman Legends, Ubisoft seems to have shelved the property, which is a crying shame.
These are our favourite Wii 4-player games, but if you look hard enough, you’ll likely find a dozen more that you will love due to your own particular tastes. What’s your favourite Wii 4-player game? Which ones did we miss?