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10 Essential Games for Wii U to Spend those Extra Club Nintendo Coins on
Well, it’s been a fun ride, but apparently Club Nintendo is going to be coming to an end in the near future – July 30th of this year, to be more specific. If you’re like me, you have a backlog of unused points you’ve earned from your several Wii U and/or 3DS related purchases over the months, and ironically didn’t care about using them until now, right as Nintendo is deciding to pull the plug on its current rewards system. You might find yourself a bit overwhelmed when looking through a suddenly large pool of freebie options from Club Nintendo, especially knowing you’re on a time constraint…
But have no fear! In this post, I will help you plot your destination to quality free gaming bliss on the Wii U, before your hard-earned coins suddenly dry up come August. At the very least, perhaps I will shed light on a couple of titles that may have eluded you.
First thing’s first… Here is a link to where you can currently find the complete finalized list of games that you can shop around for with your earned “coins.”
Now, a couple of quick points; I will not be going over the physical reward items, which are listed above the digital games that you are able to download (although that retro Mario shirt admittedly looks pretty awesome). I will also be focusing on the Wii U virtual console titles, rather than those found on the 3DS. For the record though, Paper Mario Sticker Star, Super Mario 3D Land, and Donkey Kong Country Returns for the 3DS are all great options if you’d prefer to spend those coins on Nintendo’s handheld machine – however, they are also on the pricey side at 600 coins a piece…
But I digress. Let’s get to the list (in no particular order):
#1. Golden Sun (Cost: 200 coins)
Golden Sun was a breakout hit on the GBA back in the day that seemed to come out of nowhere, and the success was well deserved. This fantasy RPG shines above many others of its ilk, even to this day. While its style adheres to the basic turn-based, grinding focused style that we’ve gotten to know for decades now, it brings a unique flavor to the table as well. It incorporates a fun and satisfying magic system, in addition to what I can only describe as “pokemon on steroids” with the system of “djinn”, which are collected throughout the game and can be summoned to wreak havoc. This remains one of my favorite RPGs to date, and this is coming from a gamer who generally prefers the more action-based RPGs rather than their turn-based cousins.
#2. Mario Kart 64 (Cost: 250 coins) (played in Wii mode)
As a Nintendo fan growing up in the 90s, this gem is the definition of nostalgia. Though, even if you don’t have this added bias, it remains a ridiculously enjoyable arcade racing experience, particularly when getting 3 other players in on the action. While the game may look a bit dated when comparing it to the pretty looking and fast-paced Mario Kart 8, it is nonetheless an all around solid multiplayer game, with enjoyable stages and music, tight controls, an extremely fun battle mode, and a charm that will never age.
#3. Super Smash Brothers (Cost: 250 coins) (played in Wii mode)
Yes, you may have long since moved onto the epic current installment in the series for the Wii U, but this game still holds its own when it comes to simple arcade-style beat-em-up fun. Yes there is a noticeable drop in the plethora of characters/levels/customization to chose from compared to its modern Wii U iteration, and the smash attack had yet to be conceptualized, but at the end of the day, this is one of N64’s most enjoyable multiplayer games, and for a measly 250 virtual coins, it’s a steal.
#4. Super Mario 3 (Cost: 200 coins)
What can I say that can possibly do this game justice? This is still the greatest 2D platforming game I’ve played, and the fact that it remains on top only further proves its greatness, after the decades of technological improvements in gaming. If you happen to be one of the rare folk who have missed out on this colorful and imaginative gaming masterpiece (and you have the coins of course), you’d be doing yourself a disservice by missing out on this one. From the memorable powerups (that tanooki suit..) to the brilliant and diverse environments, to the perfect control mechanics, Super Mario Brothers 3 remains the standard of quality, not only for platformers, but for games in general.
#5. NES Remix (Cost: 300 coins)
Think Warioware combined with that nostalgic charm of Nintendo’s old NES classics, and you’ve got NES remix. The name of the game is to complete quick challenges based off tiny portions of certain NES games, ranging from Super Mario Brothers, to Metroid, to Excitebike. The amount of content is actually quite robust, as there are several minigames/challenges, and even once you’ve completed them, chances are you will need to go back and give it another go for that tricky three star rating. This is a nice way to get a sample of several Nintendo classics, while still getting a somewhat new and exclusive gaming experience.
#6. Dr. Luigi (Cost: 300 coins)
For a relatively new (and fun) eshop game that normally sells for $14.99, the 300 coin asking price for Club Nintendo is a pretty good deal, and a large reason as to why this addictive little puzzler makes my list. Though, this isn’t to take away from the gameplay itself, as it actually has a surprisingly decent amount of replay value. There is a classic single player mode based off Dr. Mario, a trickier mode that uses “L” shaped pills, an online mode that holds its own, as well as a gamepad-enabled mode called “virus buster” in which you drag your pills/blocks with using the handy touch screen. Overall it’s a fun little time filler to play in short bursts while lounging in your family room and watching TV. With that said, if you’ve already picked up Dr. Mario RX for the Wii, it might be best to pass on this one, as it has many similarities.
#7. Super Mario 64 (Cost: 250 coins) (played in Wii mode)
Another case of “well it’s dated, but still just as fun.” Super Mario 64 is still one of the best 3D platformers out there, and with the large emphasis on 3D gaming these days, that is certainly saying a lot. This game treads the line quite nicely of having an epic scope, while remaining relatively simplistic and not overwhelming to the more casual gamer, and at only 250 coins, it will provide you with countless hours of platforming bliss as you strive to collect all 120 stars.
#8. Earthbound (Cost: 250 coins)
There is a reason this one has such a passionate cult following and why there remains an uproar over the lack of a sequel in the West, because this game is just pure fun, and completely unique to boot. Earthbound has a certain style and charm that is just unmatched, which you will soon find as you spend hours upon hours roaming through quaint modern day-style towns and simplistic environments (which, for an RPG, is actually quite taboo) and facing off against the trippiest of baddies. Simply put, Earthbound is an RPG that must be experienced, and what better time than now to do so?
#9. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (Cost: 250 coins) (Played in Wii mode)
There’s nothing like a classic Zelda game, and Link to the Past is unquestionably one of the greatest entries in the Zelda series, as it provides a colorful and imaginative world, and the epic new concept of the “dark world” from which Link travels in and out during his adventure. With a great balance of exploration, fast-paced combat, puzzle solving, and a plethora of collectibles and upgrades, it is very difficult not to find some sort of fun or sense of satisfaction in this one, even if you are somewhat of a more casual Zelda fan like myself.
#10. Super Mario World (Cost: 200 coins)
Yes, I know – “another Mario game?” But this game truly deserves to make this list in its own right, just as much as the definitive Mario title, Super Mario Brothers 3, and perhaps even more so than Super Mario 64. Just like its predecessor on the NES, Super Mario World opened up a whole new world (literally) for gamers to explore and brought a unique and charming flavor of its own in dinosaur world. And let’s not forget those enchanting star and special worlds, complete with a cast of colorful Yoshis at your disposal. If for some reason you were busy playing some of the other SNES greats and missed out on this gem back in the day, now is the time to pick it up!
Honorable Mentions: Yoshi’s Island, Star Fox 64, Paper Mario, Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
There you have it… 10 fantastic choices to add to your Wii U collection and enjoy while being hypnotized by the pixelated glow of your big screen, or simply playing on your gamepad screen for short bursts while watching some TV. The great part is that most of these titles don’t require many of your virtual coins to download, and at least a few can be snagged if you’ve bought even a modest number of retail Nintendo titles for your Wii U or 3DS. Free is always good, especially when the free your content is of such quality as the aforementioned games!