Rediscover Brilliant Real-Time Strategy Gems for Wii U‘s 10th Anniversary

Believe it or not, Nintendo‘s overlooked Wii U console turns 10 years old in 2022. While it couldn‘t match predecessors like the Wii or GameCube in sales or classics, the Wii U pioneered brilliant new gameplay concepts. Specifically for real-time strategy fans, the system‘s innovative second-screen GamePad controller enabled engrossing experiences no other platform has matched.

As we celebrate the Wii U‘s underappreciated legacy, let‘s highlight the platform‘s best RTS titles that still hold up wonderfully today. Whether you missed these gems originally or just feel nostalgic revisiting Nintendo‘s risk-taking heyday, rediscover what made these games special. Who knows – these creative designs could inspire both new franchises and fresh niche console strategies for the future!

Why Wii U Transformed Real-Time Strategy Games

Before diving into specific games, it helps to recall just what made the Wii U so uniquely well-suited for the RTS genre compared to other systems. While 2006‘s wildly popular Wii attracted mass audiences with accessible motion controls, its 2012 successor Wii U doubled down on catering to loyal Nintendo fans hungrier for hardcore experiences.

The Wii U‘s main innovation was its 6.2-inch touchscreen GamePad controller. Acting as an auxiliary display, the GamePad untethered gameplay visibility from just the television. Suddenly second-screen functionality offered radical new RTS potential:

  • Players could view battlefield action on the TV while managing resources, building bases and directing troops privately on the GamePad. Removing clutter made everything easier to process.

  • The second screen provided permanent access to fog-of-war-free mini-maps for improved tactics and unit coordination. Other data like tech trees remained easily accessible without blocking combat visuals.

  • Some titles continued leveraging signature Nintendo asymmetric gameplay, with opponents wielding hidden capabilities to strategically surprise friends during multiplayer.

While the Wii U ultimately met an abbreviated lifespan, developers targeting its defining two-screen flexibility spawned engrossing RTS experiments truly pushing the genre forward on consoles. Let‘s revisit some underappreciated masterpieces where game design brilliance matched the hardware‘s risky vision.

Cubemen 2

Minimalist base building and battles between colorful cube armies immediately draw you into Cubemen 2‘s world of bright, blocky strategy. Situational unit types with varying attack modes, deploy costs and terrain specialties grant access to diverse tactical approaches against enemies. Three enjoyable multiplayer modes including Cooperative, Rocket Race and Skirmish multiply the replayability.

But Cubemen 2‘s hidden strength lies in its canny Wii U optimization. The GamePad displays broader overhead battlefield maps, resources, deploy menus and leaderboards without obscuring explosive on-screen cube warfare. You can quickly purchase reinforcements or activate damaging area of effect powers without losing concentration on holding strategic positions.

It‘s a prime example of intelligent second screen usage – hands stay focused battling on the TV while your eyes occasionally glance down to summon support or navigate the terrain. Critics praised developer 3 Sprocket‘s smooth technical performance along with fun competitive and cooperative experiences for families and friends. Approachable with surprising depth, Cubemen 2 deserves appreciation as one of Wii U‘s most appealing console RTS packages.

Swords & Soldiers 1 & 2

This amusing real-time strategy series simplifies mechanics for accessibility while retaining hardcore appeal through tight balance. With only three unit types and two base resources to juggle across linear stages, Ronimo Games concentrates enjoyable depth within a pick-up-and-play framework.

The cartoony campaign finds rival Aztec, Viking and Chinese armies battling mythological gods and demons alongside warring factions. Characters boast special attacks and spells to manage between building swarms of infantry, archers and mages during relentless pushes toward opponent home bases. It nails RTS satisfaction on a fundamental level without overcomplicating things.

Both entries shine on Wii U – the original 2014 port flaunts enhanced visuals, content and multiplayer support. But 2015‘s sequel truly embraces the GamePad‘s advantages for concealed strategy. The asymmetric boards display public battles on your television while privately managing units and activating magic on the GamePad screen. Few things feel more powerfully devious than unleashing screen-clearing attacks without giving away your plans!

Swords & Soldiers proves less can mean more for real-time strategy, blending accessibility with depth for endless high score chasing single-player or five-player mayhem. Streamlined mechanics hide remarkable balance, especially playing with Wii U‘s subversive second screen perfidiously spying on friends.


In stark contrast, Nova-111 from Funktronic Labs heavily revolves around manipulating time and space! After a science experiment gone awry, you‘re plunged into a fractured dimension seeking lost colleagues. Guiding protagonists through this visually stunning world requires clever usage of special abilities beyond just firepower.

Activating temporary time dilation lets you sprint across danger zones while freezing unlucky enemies solid. Spatial teleportation or swapping positions between objects controls progression through some complex 3D puzzle chambers with creative solutions. Combining reactive thinking and tool proficiency while navigating vividly abstract alien geometry generates profound payoffs.

Nova-111 also pioneered an amazing asynchronous co-op mode on Wii U. Partners could spawn deluge of new threats and obstacles for you to overcome on the GamePad screen from an opposing perspective. This escalating endeavour makes both sides feel like active participants in shared continuous gameplay space despite wildly different roles. Even single-player holds up wonderfully, but messing with friends adds incredible replay incentives.

From stylish otherworldly art direction to satisfying time/physics-bending abilities melding with cunning spatial puzzles, Nova-111 absolutely deserves mentioning among the most innovative and offbeat Wii U projects. It feels perfectly suited for showcasing the console‘s risky niche potential.

Pikmin 3

Of course, when discussing ambition within Wii U‘s catalogue, few arguments against Nintendo‘s beloved strategy franchise Pikmin leading the charge ring credible. And the series hit an apex evolving its multi-tasking premise across the GamePad‘s second screen. As franchise veterans know, players direct exploratory spacefarers harvesting local plant creatures called Pikmin to overcome environmental obstacles and creature threats on limited countdowns across lush alien worlds.

With three leaders – each brandishing exclusive movement skills – now playable, splitting squads to efficiently investigate terrain and topple towering monsters becomes increasingly essential. The signature stress balancing risk-reward elements with available Pikmin troops against encroaching mortality time limits cuts deeper than ever. But Wii U additions enhance the delicious pressure immensely.

Thanks to the GamePad‘s frog-eye auxiliary view and touchscreen map indicators, navigating the sumptuous landscapes while independently coordinating all three captains‘ marching orders feels sublimely graceful. With broader situational awareness, formulating plans feels far more intuitive directing squads across gaping environmental sandboxes housing hidden collectibles and colossal lethal critters that feel genuinely imposing through sheer scale alone.

Meanwhile, the console‘s underrated processing muscle delivers Pikmin‘s world and creatures with a palpable sense of tangibility – lighting textures, fur density and weather effects sell the parks and forests as stunningly believable. Subtle elements like juice spraying from downed fruit or ice shards flying as tufts melt showcase stunning attention to detail complementing core druggy dopamine loop satisfaction.

With lavish production values matched by polished mechanics iterated upon across three brilliant entries, Pikmin 3 stands tall as the Wii U‘s crowning technical and creative achievements. There‘s a compelling case it remains the finest game in Nintendo‘s long line of superb real-time strategy titles. Tracking down a copy today, preferably on original hardware, offers tremendous value – this lovingly crafted masterpiece supplies profound engagement through every last detail.

Comparing Wii U RTS Classics by Scope

Hopefully revisiting these real-time classics sparks some nostalgia while showcasing the surprising breadth of excellent Wii U genre options hidden in its back catalog! Comparing RTS titles by criteria like scope and complexity shows how different design choices keep gameplay experiences fresh:

Map Size

  • Pikmin 3: Huge 3D environments promoting exploration and squad delegation
  • Swords & Soldiers: Linear side-scrolling stages with focused frontal assaults
  • Nova-111: Abstract spatial puzzle chambers often revisited from new angles
  • Cubemen 2: Small diorama-like voxel arenas with changing terrain traps

Unit Types

  • Pikmin 3: 100 basic units plus additional rock/winged variants with unique traits
  • Swords & Soldiers: 3 primary troop types to overwhelm opponents through attrition
  • Nova-111: Single hero character wielding various tools and time manipulation abilities
  • Cubemen 2: 10+ voxel soldiers and vehicles with specialized attacks and mobility


  • Swords & Soldiers: Automatically generated resources for building armies based on territory control
  • Pikmin 3/Cubemen 2: No traditional resource gathering – units summoned directly through available reserves
  • Nova-111: Primary character accumulates currency and tools/weapons through exploration rather than direct production

Session Length

  • Cubemen 2/Swords & Soldiers: 5-10 minute skirmish matches ideal for quick play sessions
  • Pikmin 3: 1-2 hour day cycles with distinct outcome scenarios upon finishing levels
  • Nova-111: 10+ hour adventure dependent on puzzle-solving and environmental navigation speed

The Bittersweet Bottled Lightning of Wii U

While each highlighted RTS game shines via tailored mechanics, they collectively reveal greater developmental ambition bubbling beneath Wii U‘s poorly communicated exterior sheen. Nintendo weren‘t content simply smoothing prior models into higher display resolutions. Instead they chased bespoke experiences truly elevated by integrated second screen GamePad implementation. Daring innovation permeated various projects rather than just acquiescence towards me-too entries from major franchises.

If this risky niche sampling represented Nintendo returning towards 1980s experimentalism over 2010s conservatism, history ultimately rendered harsh judgement on Wii U‘s prospects. The parallel launches of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One emphasizing graphical showmanship and multimedia functionality over divergent gameplay doomed the system commercially when combined with its own messaging stumbles. Nintendo abandoned ship just five years later upon their next console Switch delivering a mainstream Wii-esque breakout success.

Yet exploring outstanding gems like those above hint at illuminating the depths of untapped creative potential still lurking within Nintendo‘s vaunted creative minds. Much like the GameCube before it, remembering the Wii U now stokes reflective daydreams upon roads left untraveled across recent times. Perhaps there remains magic yet to be unearthed across the years ahead – Nintendo can yet surprise us all again should they dare to dream a little weirder once more…

Have we convinced you to take a chance on these underplayed Wii U classics? Let us know your memories down in the comments, or which bypassed Nintendo games still seem worth chasing down today! Just don‘t wait too long – even innovative gems often fade faster than expected.

Did you like those interesting facts?

Click on smiley face to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

      Interesting Facts
      Login/Register access is temporary disabled