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Top 10 3rd Party Wii U eShop Games [top ten]
 
It's not exactly a secret that, outside of Nintendo published titles, the "AAA" retail scene on the Wii U is basically dead. There are still a few 3rd party titles coming, and hopefully we will get a few gems, but the reality is pretty grim. That's not to say you can't get a lot of great 3rd party titles on the Wii U, because you sure can! You just need to check out the eShop, which has been getting a surprisingly solid amount of great titles, generally from indie developers, during the period retail has floundered. There are many great 3rd party Wii U eShop games to choose from, and here are my top ten.

NOTE: I played some of the games on my list other platforms before they were announced for the Wii U, and in those cases I have not had the chance to play the Wii U versions. I have, however, done some research into the titles, and it appears that all of the games in question are considered great ports on the Wii U, often with additional content added, so I feel perfectly safe in recommending the Wii U versions of these games without having personally played them on this platform.
Posted: 03/09/15, 22:06:41  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/15, 22:07:47
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Thomas Was Alone
Thomas Was Alone is a low-key little 2D puzzle platformer that probably isn't going to blow you away, but is a great experience nonetheless. You shift between a variety of shapes with a variety of powers to solve puzzles and help everyone get to the end of each stage. A touching story and one of the best indie soundtracks to date help complete the package.

Platform I played on: PS3

 
Mutant Mudds Deluxe
Mutant Mudds seems to be a divisive game on Negative World, but I loved it when I played it on the 3DS. Yeah the time limit is a bit annoying, but everything else was great. This 2D mostly platformer but also kind of a shooter feels like a lost SNES classic to me. The Wii U version has additional content not found in the 3DS original, making it a great choice.

Platform I played on: 3DS

 
Trine 2: Director's Cut
You better get used to seeing 2D puzzle platformers on my list, because there sure are a lot of great ones! Trine 2 mixes action, puzzles, and platforming together and presents it with a medieval flair. Oh, and despite being an eShop title, it is still one of the most beautiful Wii U games that I have seen to date.

Platform I played on: Wii U

 
The Swapper
I guess you could call The Swapper another 2D puzzle platformer game, but in reality it is more like a straight up puzzle game that happens to involve a character running around in a 2D world. More accurate would be to say a character and their clones... the puzzles in the game generally revolve around creating clones and swapping positions with them. It's a very unique experience, and the darker sci-fi tone helps make it stand out from most puzzle platformers.

Platform I played on: Wii U

 
Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones
Stealth Inc 2 is what happens when Curve Studios, the developers of the excellent WiiWare game Fluidity, decide to make a fast-paced stealth game in 2D. I really loved this game, which mixes stealth with platforming and yes, you guessed it, solving puzzles, and I'd rank it even higher except for the game-killing bug that caught me twice. I have not yet gone back for a third attempt. With upcoming releases on other platforms, perhaps a patch is on the way?

Platform I played on: Wii U

 
Lone Survivor: The Director's Cut
Hey look, a game that isn't a platformer! In fact, the most accurate way to describe Lone Survivor is a 2D take on the Silent Hill horror formula, complete with the mental mindflips that Silent Hill 2 provided. I wasn't sure if this combination would work, but after playing the game I fell in love. There is a bit too much micromanaging at times, but when you get into a flow it is both creepy and amazing.

Platform I played on: PS3

 
Little Inferno
I already reviewed the excellent eShop launch title Little Inferno here, so I won't rehash everything I already said. Suffice to say Little Inferno is less of a traditional game (although there are some "puzzles" to solve) and more of an experience, one which has you continually burning objects in a fireplace while acting out an interesting commentary on corporations, consumerism, isolation and more. This game really spoke to me, and that is a rare thing.

Platform I played on: Wii U

 
Bit.Trip Presents... Runner2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien
I think most Nintendo fans are familiar with the BIT.TRIP series at this point, with the two runner games being the most popular of the bunch. At its core there is not much to Runner2 other than well... running, and trying to dodge / punch / etc. whatever obstacles arise. But man are the games fun. Runner2 is maybe a tad bit bloated next to the original, but still an excellent experience. Oh, and as is par for the course when it comes to BIT.TRIP games, the soundtrack is pretty awesome!

Platform I played on: Wii U

 
Shovel Knight
I doubt anyone needs an introduction to Shovel Knight, which has become perhaps the biggest multi-platform indie game of 2014. Certainly it is one of the most beloved by its fans. Shovel Knight is a strong mix of classic gameplay inspired by games such as Castlevania, Mega Man, and DuckTales, with a few modern elements thrown into the mix, including a Dark Souls inspired mechanic for recovering treasure. It's a very nice to look at bunch of pixels as well, and the soundtrack is stunning.

Platform I played on: Wii U

 
Guacamelee!: Super Turbo Championship Edition
Guacamelee! is not only one of the best "Metroidvania" games that I have played, but also one of the most unique ones, eschewing the usual weapons-based systems generally found in those types of games and giving you a brawler instead. In Guacamelee! you play as a humble Mexican farmer turned luchador on a quest to save the president's daughter. The game succeeds where many "Metroidvania" games fail by making each power-up not just the key to moving forward, but a joy to use in its own right, both in battle and in platforming. Throw in a bunch of not-so-veiled nods to classic Nintendo franchises and you have a game that any Nintendo / Super Metroid fan should definitely check out.

Platform I played on: PS3

 
You have my list, but it is by no means an authoritative or exhaustive list of 3rd party games worth checking out on the Wii U eShop. SteamWorld Dig, Nano Assault Neo, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, DuckTales Remastered, Child of Light, Teslagrad and more are currently available, with a variety of games on the horizon. If you have some time to spare in between Nintendo's big guns, check out some eShop titles!

What do you think Negative Worlders? What are your favorite 3rd party eShop games?

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Posted: 03/09/15, 22:06:41  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/15, 22:07:47
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That's an excellent Top 5. I couldn't really get into Guacamelee for some reason, but I totally respect it. Lone Survivor and Little Inferno are two of my favorite games ever, and Runner2 and Shovel Knight are both a ton of fun.

Wondering if we'll hit the year anniversary mark of Nicalis promising a 1001 Spikes patch "just a few days after launch" with still no patch. That's such an excellent game...
Posted: 03/09/15, 22:23:27
I'd argue at least three other games that should be in there over Mutant Mudds (Shantae, Mighty Switch Force!, Toki Tori 2+), but I can't disagree with most of your list because I haven't played five of the games on that list (one of which I own but haven't played yet). Your top 4 is strong.
Posted: 03/09/15, 22:24:33  - Edited by 
 on: 03/09/15, 22:29:57
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