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The 7 Absolute Best Wii U RPGs of All Time

The Wii U may not have sold well, but it boasts an impressive library of high-quality RPGs. From fresh takes on iconic Nintendo franchises to massive open-world adventures, the Wii U gave developers a unique canvas thanks to the GamePad controller.

In this guide, we‘ll countdown the definitive best RPG experiences you can have on the Wii U, along with where to get your hands on them today.

What Makes a Great RPG?

Role-playing games immerse you in fictional worlds where you craft unique characters, explore rich narratives told through quests, and develop abilities and gear.

The best RPGs feature:

  • Deep character customization for unique builds and playstyles
  • Freedom to make impactful narrative choices that shape the experience
  • Vast worlds filled with surprises to discover
  • Strategic, challenging combat systems to master
  • Lots of quests and side activities beyond the critical path

Wii U RPGs employ the GamePad controller in clever ways, like managing inventory or maps. The Wii U may not have realistic graphics of modern consoles, but its cartoony visuals have their own nostalgic charm.

Now, let‘s dive into the most magical, heart-pounding adventures available from the Wii U catalog!

#7. Paper Mario: Color Splash

The Paper Mario franchise puts a unique spin on the Mario universe with its papercraft visual style. Color Splash is a return to form after the experimental Sticker Star, bringing back Partner characters and adding strategic battle elements.

You‘ll strike enemies with your paint hammer to splash them with color. Managing and combining paints plays a key role in defeating foes creatively.

With goofy humor, vibrant worlds, and satisfying progression, Color Splash recaptures the magic of Thousand-Year Door while innovating the paper battle system.

Developer: Intelligent Systems
Release Date: October 2016
Genre: Adventure, RPG

#6. Tokyo Mirage Sessions #FE

Atlus brings their trademark flair for urban fantasy in this irresistably charming RPG steeped in J-pop style. Aspiring pop stars team up with friendly Mirages (creatures from another dimension) to take on evil forces invading Tokyo.

With deep demon fusion systems, flashy combat, relationship building mechanics, and over 20 hours of original J-pop songs, it‘s a one-of-a-kind experience brimming with heart.

Developer: Atlus/Intelligent Systems

Release Date: June 2016
Genre: RPG

#5. Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate

Monster Hunter‘s addictive loop of challenging boss battles and loot progression comes alive on the Wii U. You‘ll forge an arsenal of ever more powerful weapons and armor from monster parts as you cooperate with others online to tackle these walking natural disasters.

With swimming and climbing mechanics expanding the hunting grounds, the most dynamic and varied roster of behemoths yet, and the ability to transfer saves between Wii U and 3DS, Monster Hunter reaches new heights. It‘s an endless source of tense confrontations, triumphant victories, and meaningful upgrades.

Developer: Capcom
Release Date: March 2013

Genre: Action RPG

#4. Xenoblade Chronicles X

Xenoblade Chronicles X brings Monolith Soft‘s expert world building to the Wii U along with one of the most impressive RPG sandboxes ever made.

Stranded survivors colonize the alien planet Mira, making a home among 5 distinct biomes, towering infrastructure, and dangerous mechlike beasts. You‘ll take to the skies in your personalized mech to liberate zones from tyranny. With deep customization for your character, mech and party members there is no shortage of meaningful upgrades to strengthen the colony.

This is a world overflowing with mystery and adventure around every corner thanks to Monolith‘s knack for making locations feel alive with hidden nooks to discover. Xenoblade Chronicles X‘s abundant choice and careful attention to detail in its systems and environments produce an unparalleled sense of wonder.

Developer: Monolith Soft
Release Date: December 2015

Genre: Action RPG

#3. Child of Light

Child of Light teleports players to the fairy tale realm of Lemuria for a poignant coming-of-age story stained by a dark curse.

You‘ll guide Aurora on a mystical journey home, overcoming obstacles with a unique band of companions. Exploration unearths treasures, backtracking unlocks new paths, and the strategic turn-based combat demands managing weaknesses and buffs.

Ubisoft paints this watercolored fantasyscape with incredible depth, warmth and intimacy through its art direction, score and writing. At 10 hours long, Child of Light shines brightly as a compact, self-contained gem brimming with atmosphere and heartache.

Developer: Ubisoft
Release Date: August 2014

Genre: RPG, Platformer

#2. Mass Effect 3 Special Edition

BioWare‘s hallmark sci-fi trilogy culminates with the remastered definitive edition of Mass Effect 3, containing improved visuals and all DLC. Import your customized Shepard to continue forging alliances, romances and forces to try defeating the unstoppable Reapers invasion.

With so many variables from past decisions synthesizing into one epic finale, no two journeys save Earth the same way. The enhanced endings, action-packed set pieces and emotionally charged moments bring this unforgettable space opera to an ambitious conclusion.

Developer: BioWare
Release Date: November 2012
Genre: Action RPG, Shooter

#1. The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Boasting nearly universal acclaim, Breath of the Wild redefined expectations of open world design in action RPGs. Hyrule comes alive like never before with interweaving physics, A.I. ecosystems and unpredictable weather systems to exploit.

Equipped with runes that manipulate nature‘s elements and over 100 shrines of logic puzzles, Breath of the Wild maximizes player agency. Discovering inventive ways to take down dynamic enemy mobs or manipulate the environment makes every encounter a new test.

Analmost overwhelming amount of freedom awaits as you chart your own course across Hyrule however you desire in one of gaming‘s crowning achievements. Breath of the Wild offers an unparalleled magical journey of self-expression by design.

Developer: Nintendo

Release Date: March 2017
Genre: Action RPG, Open World

Where to Buy Wii U RPGs

The Wii U eShop still allows purchases of digital titles, though Nintendo is discontinuing this in March 2023. So download key Wii U games now before it‘s too late.

Physical copies can be found reliably on Amazon and eBay among top sellers who indicate condition. Local game stores may carry some hard to find Wii U gems as well.

One thing to watch for when buying used is make sure for disc-based games that the disc and case are in good shape and original. Redeem any Club Nintendo download codes right away too.

Get the Most Out of Your Wii U

The Wii U only shipped with 32GB of onboard storage in some bundles, so grab an external hard drive for downloading titles without needing to juggle space limitations.

For the optimal experience, be sure to connect your Wii U to a TV or monitor that can display content in 1080p resolution. Using HDMI cables instead of the packed-in AV cables greatly improves video and audio fidelity.

Keep your GamePad charged with the official charging stand accessory so it‘s ready whenever inspiration to turn on your Wii U strikes!

Continue Your RPG Adventures

Hopefully this guide has illuminated some of the Wii U‘s best gems in the RPG space. Each offers deep gameplay and enchanting worlds to lose countless hours enjoying.

Here are some other great articles if your quest for amazing roleplaying journeys continues:

Farewell adventurer, may fortune favor you until we meet again!