You have a house full of people and you want to put some games on for entertainment. In a world of gaming that has become very impersonal from the internet connecting us all with headsets, trying to find some good old-fashioned couch co-op games can be tough. With a few exceptions, your Playstation 4 and Xbox One are not going to be the center of a party when your guests range from those who hardly ever play all the way up to the hardcore fans. Nintendo has always been the king of this and the Wii U has been no exception. Based on our own experiences with gatherings, the difficulty of the games, and number of players, we have compiled what we believe are the top ten Wii U party games. These are all guaranteed to get your friends that “don’t play games” pumped up and keep the energy of your home going all night.
10. Sonic Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed
- 1-5 players
While Sonic’s main adventure games might not be as good as they use to, his racing series is actually a solid karting outing. There are plenty of racers to choose from, the more easily recognizable Sega characters down to the more obscure. It even has Wreck It Ralph for Disney fans. Best of all, one feature it has that actually tops Mario Kart is the fact that this is 5 players! That’s right, four racers can split your television while one player can play completely from the gamepad. When you have a lot of people over, one extra player is really nice to have. The downside comes from the boating and flying segments. The game features a nice mix for experienced players, but for those who are not used to it, they will be cursing every time their kart transforms. While it is pretty amusing watching one or two of your friends perpetually stuck in a wall while flying, it can be a quick mood killer.
9. Wii U Party
- 1-5 Players
At first look you could accuse Wii U Party of being a poor man’s Mario Party, just lacking the colorful cast plumbers and associates. While in many ways that is true, one big difference is being able to use your mii characters for play. Whether you have your guests create an avatar for themselves before playing or have them choose from what you already have loaded up, it makes things much more fun. We especially recommend having some celebrity and pop culture miis already loaded on your system, because who wouldn’t want to play as Alf or Admiral Ackbar? The mini games that accompany any of the modes you choose from are all entertaining and simple enough to get the hang of. We suggest trying the Highway Rollers as it is a simple board game that anyone can handle with its at time overly generous boosts to last place. The Balldozer adds a little casino flair to the proceedings that mixes things up nicely as well.
8. Game & Wario
- 1-5 Players
There were many fans of the WarioWare series who originally picked this up and were disappointed to find that it isn’t quite the same. That’s alright. The single player section is still plenty of fun, but the Multi mode is where you will find hours of entertainment. Specifically with Islands and Sketch. Islands is a fairly easy game that gives each person to launch little fronks on the gamepad onto platforms that have different point values depending on where you land. You can knock off other players fronks with yours, so it adds in a little backstabbing for laughs. However, Sketch is the game that has never failed our parties. It is more or less Pictionary. Each player gets a chance to take their own picture, adds some special effects to it, and then draw. Each person is given two minutes to draw as many pictures that can from the words they’re given. If someone gets it right, both the artist and the correct guesser get a point. After everyone goes through, points are tallied. Anyone can do it, but there is nothing like getting your room full of guests laughing about the terrible drawings and shouting out guesses.
7. Rayman Legends
- 1-5 Players
While not as recognizable as Mario, Rayman Lehends is a fantastic 2D platformer that everyone can get into. The game oozes charm from the hand painted worlds to the infectious music levels that everyone will want to play again and again. It has drop in/drop out co-op so everyone can play for as long as they please. If the lack of Mario has anyone down, the inclusion of Mario and Luigi costumes are a great fix.
6. Super Smash Bros. Wii U
- 1-8 Players
Super Smash Bros. Wii U doesn’t even make the top 5? Before you cry foul, which you still may ever after, here is why. Super Smash Bros. is a fantastic game, there is no denying that. It is a fighting game that has plenty of intricacies for experienced gamers to learn while still being fairly accessible to casual fans. The problem is the balance on it as it leans more towards normal gamers. If you hand a controller to a very casual gamer, they are not going to pick it up quickly. In fact they’re probably going to die constantly against you and any other people who play games for consistently. Unless your party is full of gamers, the learning curve is still steep enough that it hurts it from being the pick up and play game you want.
5. Super Mario 3D World
- 1-4 Players
Super Mario 3D World is not as pick up and play friendly as its 2D cousin. However, for a 3D game it is really easy to get the hang of, much in thanks to some great camera angles that are no hassle and user-friendly. Add in some adorable costumes and powers such as the cat suit, and you’re guaranteed to have a blast.
4. Mario Party 10
- 1-4 Players
To get it out-of-the-way, Mario Party 10 is not the best in the series. Several of the games modes are dumbed down with simplified boards and minigames. Yet this might be what makes it one of the better games in the series for a party. It’s easier than ever to jump in and have a blast for anyone. The Bowser Party mode is a nice change of pace and the amiibo Party mode is a great chance to pull out your figures to wow your guests as well as access some entertaining character themed boards.
3. New Super Mario Bros. U
- 1-4 Players
What is easier to play than a 2D Super Mario Bros. game? Even those who don’t play many games probably have played a game in the series before. It is so easy to pick up and play. Once you get 4 players in, let the mayhem begin. Sone may get left behind, some may get picked up and thrown off a cliff. Either way they’ll float back in a convenient bubble to join the fray again. The only disappointment is the gamepad use of placing blocks for multiplayer, a role no one will enjoy much.
2. Nintendo Land
- 1-5 Players
One of the most underrated games on the Wii U has to be the packed in gem, Nintendo Land. If you are sitting around by yourself, it has several strong single player games for you to enjoy. As a party game, this is one of the best out there for any system. For the Team Attractions, Pikmin Adventure and Metroid Blast are entertaining themselves and worth checking out, but The Legend of Zelda: Battle Quest is the easiest and most memorable. In the end, the Competetive Attractions will be the real stars. Mario Chase is a glorified video game version of tag. It is the simplest games on the package which makes it perfect for everyone, especially when everyone starts shouting where they last saw Mario. Luigi’s Ghost Mansion has one of the best uses of the gamepad and will have everyone wanting to try their hand as the ghost. Finally, Animal Crossing: Sweet Day is probably the most unassuming game with its super cute look, but no game is more fun as the group tries to collect candy and escape capture from the gamepad player who chases them. The gamepad portion does take some getting use to, navigating a person with each stick, but for the candy gatherers, it is immensely fun and satisfying filling your head with as much candy as possible.
1. Mario Kart 8
- 1-4 Players
Mario Kart, king of parties since 1992. The beauty of the franchise is the simplicity. As a basic racing game it is as simple as holding down the gas and steering. Throwing in the weapons adds plenty of chaos and shouting, but best of all it can level the playing field to make even the best player smacked around by a lightning bolt or blue shell. Add in a ton of characters to choose from, ability to play as your miis, plenty of tracks to choose from, and now 4 speeds to adjust for who is playing. There is a reason everyone loves this game.