Thursday, December 9, 2010

Team Stimey's Top Ten Wii Games

My family is made up of gamers. My friends know this and will frequently ask me for recommendations for Wii games for their kids. I've decided to share my advice with all of you in the form of a Top Ten list. Without further ado...

Team Stimey's Top 10 Wii Games:

1. and 2. Super Mario Bros. Wii and Donkey Kong Country Returns: Both of these side scrolling action games are super fun, have minimal cartoon violence, and are simple enough for kids to play. That said, they are challenging enough to be fun. (Sometimes my kids have to help me pass a level.) I like that even if you complete the levels, you can still go back to collect all the extras (coins in Super Mario and puzzles pieces in Donkey Kong) to make the game last longer and to unlock other features.

3. (and 3b.) Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Galaxy 2: I've never played these games, but my kids love them. They didn't look as fun to me as Super Mario Bros. Wii, but my kids (ages 5, 7, and then 8) were obsessed with them for a long time. My five-year-old even spent his birthday money on the second one.

4. Wii Party: LOVE this one. Think family games on the computer. There are board-style games, bingo games, cooperative games, competing games, and dozens of mini-games to choose from. It's a little hard to explain this one, but I think it's really fun (my husband and I play it at night sometimes—our favorite is Balance Boat) and my kids adore it. My seven-year-old particularly loves Board Game Island, which is basically a video game version of a board game with lots of interactivity and a set of mini-games each round to keep it exciting. Because you get to compete in many mini-games, hopefully the kids who don't win the whole game will be less upset if they've had small victories along the way.

5. Wii Fit Plus: This one is an oldie (from last year), but a goodie. I use it to exercise because it lets me choose what parts of my body I want to work on, and it will vary my workout every time so I don't get bored, not to mention that some of the silly exercises (skateboarding, hula hooping, flapping your "wings") really are quite a workout. Plus, I often do the Free Step or Free Run option, which cues me with audio from my remote while I watch TV on another channel. You don't just have to use Wii Fit Plus to exercise, however. There are many fun games for you and your kids to play that get you up off of your couch and moving without making you realize that you're exercising. My kids have a lot of fun with this game. (You will need the Wii Balance Board.)

6. Animal Crossing: City Folk: This game is a ton of fun. It is not as fast-paced as some of the others here, but it is extremely fun. You get an avatar, a house, a mortgage, and have to set about picking fruit, fishing, collecting, and otherwise futzing around town in order to make money and keep your town humming along. And, yes, you do have to pay your mortgage if you want a bigger house. It doesn't sound like something that would be great fun, but it is. I especially recommend this for kids who are a little older, maybe seven and above. I like this game too. You can while away many a lazy hour fishing in the streams of your town. Use your internet connection and Wii Speak to visit a friend's town and steal some of their fruit. Trust me, if your town only has apple trees, your buddy's peaches are going to sell at your store for a lot more!

7. Endless Ocean: Blue World: This is a lovely calming game for older kids and adults wherein you scuba dive in various locations around the world, identifying sea creatures, salvaging treasure, and solving a mystery. I really like this game because it is not violent at all, it is soothing, and my kids learn about sea life. Endless Ocean is proof that you don't need a game to be action packed to be exciting.

8. EA Sports Active: I love to work out with my Wii, and of all the games I've used, my favorite is EA Sports Active. The workout is varied enough that you don't get bored, but tough enough that you work hard. Occasionally the Wii struggles to follow your motions with the remote, but for the most part it does a really good job. New this year is EA Sports Active 2, which I haven't tried yet.

9. Epic Mickey: I was going to put Mario Kart or Wii Play here, because those are both good, solid games that kids love, but I have heard nothing but good things about this Epic Mickey game. Even though I've not played it, seen it played, or know the contents of it, I heard a story about it on NPR and was intrigued enough to list it here. If I had to guess, this will be the new hot Wii game this year, especially if your family is into Disney.

10. Bonus DSi Section! There are several games that we play on our DSi that are a lot of fun, most of which are also available for the Wii, which is why I am calling this number 10. My kids have really enjoyed Drawn to Life, Lego Harry Potter (or any of the Lego games—Batman, Star Wars, Indiana Jones), and the Zelda games. As an adult who enjoys puzzles, I like the Professor Layton games.

Disclosure: I am a Nintendo Brand Enthusiast. I received copies of the following games at no charge: Donkey Kong Country Returns, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Wii Party, Endless Ocean: Blue World.