While Skyward Sword’s most notable achievement is its use of gesture controls, the wonderful controls would be meaningless without the equally wonderful adventuring. Combat and puzzle elements are intertwined so tightly that every small monster is a puzzle that must be solved. The only Wii game I’ve ever given 5 stars to.
While Twilight Princess pales in comparison with Skyward Sword, it was still the best Wii action-adventure on the Wii for five years. They say that nothing in life is certain but death and taxes, but games with Zelda in the title are a sure bet for fun.
A grand adventure centered on a dystopian version of Disney World, Epic Mickey’s imaginative paint/thinner concept and colorful gameplay make up for its camera issues and a emergent design complacency. The game is flawed, but so ambitious and ingenious that you can’t help but admire it.
This charming, colorful kid’s game doesn’t add anything to the action-adventure genre, but its mix of easy battles and easy puzzles is surprisingly satisfying. The game is pricey, because it requires a peripheral and little toy figurines (which I thought were overpriced nonsense, but which my colleague at about.com’s Xbox channel preferred to the game), but if you don’t mind the expense, this is a first-rate game and a great one for parents and kids to play in co-op mode.
This brilliant PS2 game’s Wii port wasn’t entirely successful; the game control issues display the reasons Nintendo had to create the MotionPlus technology. But even if the version is slightly less satisfactory than the original, it is still utterly game, combining “Legend of Zelda”-style gameplay with a unique, beautiful visual design that few games can match. If you haven’t played this game, you have missed something very special.
While only the third game in the Metroid Prime series was made specifically for the Wii, Nintendo retrofitted the first two games with Wii controls and put the whole series out in one package. Ironically, the game created for the Wii is the weakest of the set, but the first two are so good that the trilogy as a whole is terrific.
While this game has the worst storytelling in the entire POP series, it actually has some of the best gameplay. A Wii exclusive that has the same title - but the same gameplay or story - as the PC/Xbox 360/PS3 version, Sands offers the great platformer-on-steroids derring do, some of the least annoying combat in the series and some ingenious, Wii-specific touches.
Traveler’s Tales’ Lego movie adaptations are all pretty similar, but Clone Wars stands out as something a little more challenging and varied, even including some easy real-time strategy missions. The result is the most entertaining game in a very entertaining series, and my number recommendation to anyone who wants to learn why the series is so successful. The downside of this game? Every other Lego game now falls in the category of “good, but not as good as ....”
Lost in Shadow is a game I probably shouldn’t be as fond of as I am. A 2D platformer with a unique visual style in which your avatar is a shadow who walks on the shadows of surrounding objects, the game suffers from terrible combat and conventional level design. And yet, I just ... kinda like it.
There are not many stealth games for the Nintendo Wii, which may be why I have a certain fondness for this very flawed but clever ninja title. One can argue whether a game primarily focused on stealth really counts as an action-adventure game, but it’s close enough for me, and it is my list.