No one has stronger legs than platforming heroes, who can leap from rooftop to rooftop or even from cloud to cloud, and can often vanquish enemies by jumping on their heads. There are a tremendous number of platformers for the Wii, many of which offer a unique take on the genre, and here I list the best ten.
1. De Blob
Forgoing the traditional creature-with-legs platformer protagonist, De Blob makes do with a rubbery round creature that cheerfully bounces along cityscapes, using its body as a paint brush to color a monochromatic city. In spite of its unconventional hero, the game follows the platforming tradition of asking players to make impossible leaps to unreachable places. It turns out legs are not necessary after all.
This colorful and imaginative action-adventure game had a hero who could use paint and thinner to add or subtract from the landscape. You might paint in a previously missing box, or remove chunks of a wall with thinner to create footholds. While the game’s camera angles sometimes made it difficult to see where you were jumping to, this was in large part because the game refused to limit where you might jump to. Flaws that come from too much ambition are always the most forgivable.
3. Sonic Colors
The Sonic games have never been much like other platformers. Sonic does not simply wander to a platform and jump up, but instead runs at insane speeds through long, rollercoaster-like trails, reaching platforms by shooting off of ramps or running into spring-powered buttons. Sonic’s heyday was as a 2D hero, but developer Team Sonic finally created a 3D Sonic game that matched the old side scrollers for fun with this one. For me this is not just the best 3D Sonic game, but the best of the entire series.
DKCR is probably the most conventional platformer on this list. It is an old-school, 2D side scroller that doesn’t redefine the genre in the slightest. It is also one of the most perfectly designed 2D side-scrollers ever produced, although you have to be willing to tolerate a high degree of difficulty. For those looking for a lot of straight ahead 2D platforming where every jump must be quick and accurate, this is your game.
While most platformers involve moving an avatar, in this puzzle-platformer you have no control at all over the avatar, which is simply a marble. Instead, the marble moves when you rotate the maze-like structure that contains it. Tilt the maze to start the marble rolling, turn it to get the marble to the next platform. Perhaps the most Wii-centric platformer ever made.
AYIM combines traditional platforming elements with a Kororinpa-style twist; you are continually rotating the protagonist’s world in order to create new platforms out of floors and ceilings. With its unique look and gameplay, this WiiWare title is one of my all-time favorite indie games.
Ubisoft took platformers to new heights with 2003’s Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, a muscular platformer in which the eponymous protagonist made huge jumps, ran across walls and could, when necessary, rewind time. While the Wii version of Forgotten Sands (which is a different game entirely from the PS3/Xbox 360 version) lacks Sands of Times’ magical storytelling, it matches it for the excitement of its acrobatics.
The original Donkey Kong Jungle Beat used a bongo peripheral to control Kong as he ran and jumped. Adapted for the Wii, which replaced the drum with a mix of motion controls and traditional button/stick action, the result is not quite as unique but is still tremendously fun.
Yet another very clever take on the platformer, in Fluidity your avatar is a pool of water that you must move by tilting and bouncing the world it exists in. While the controls are physically exhausting and parts of the game are needlessly frustrating, the game is unique and often tremendously fun.
10. Lost in Shadow
Lost in Shadow had a very clever gimmick; your avatar is a disembodied shadow that can only travel along the shadows of other objects. This allows for puzzles in which you must manipulate real-world objects to change their shadows. Underneath its clever idea and pleasing graphics, Lost in Shadow is still a pretty conventional 2D platformer, but it’s also a lot of fun.