Thanks to its surprisingly great pack-in, the Wii became something of the go-to party game system. Like previous games, Smooth Moves is full of five-second "microgames," which test your dexterity and reflexes -- but since this a Wii party game, you also look like kind of a dingus while playing. But that's okay, because everyone gets their turn. Smooth Moves is one of the best examples of how to use the Wii for a fun multiplayer experience, while still recognizing the limitations of the controller. Plus I mean come on, it's Wario.
Is this a kid's game? Yes. But hidden underneath the sugar-coated veneer of Disney lies a pretty ingenious multiplayer game. It's more or less Mario Party meets Clue, minus the grisly murder inherent in the premise of the latter. Playing minigames helps you suss out descriptors for the game's culprit, who is different every time. It's in no way a hardcore experience, but it's still a delight to play with a good group. And unlike Mario Party, there aren't any stars to steal, so there's none of that pesky "cleaning up your friend's blood off the floor" in the post-game.
There are plenty of party games on the Wii, which is why it's so nice to find a single-player experience to sink your teeth into. Maybe one of the most unique examples is MadWorld, an ultra-violent actioner from the makers of Okami and Viewtiful Joe. Though the premise -- which throws you into a sadistic game show that's part Escape From New York and part Battle Royale -- is pretty wacky, the real draw here is the visuals. Almost everything in the game is rendered in stark, comic booky black and white, with one exception: the blood. Oh god, the blood. The result is like playing Sin City: The Video Game. With chainsaws.
After skipping a few generations, Punch-Out finally came back in a big way. Thanks to the versatility of the Wii controller, you can either play it with motion controls or just turn it sideways and duke it out with Bald Bull the old fashioned way. When it comes down to it, isn't a whole lot that's different in the Wii version compared to the Mike Tyson days -- you know, besides featuring a convicted felon as the final boss. Probably the most noticeable change is the visuals, which are wonderfully cartoony and endlessly expressive. The beefy career mode was a nice addition too, leading up to a surprising (and tough as hell) final boss.
This game made people cry. When it was finally unveiled, Zelda fans around the globe rejoiced at the "realistic" version of Zelda they'd been waiting for ever since Wind Waker's art style proved to be so divisive. After a few weirder entries like WW and Majora's Mask, many saw Twilight Princess as the first true sequel to Ocarina of Time. It lived up to that expectation in a lot of ways, with a few twists like the Twilight World and Link's wolf transformation. Wind Waker may have held up better in the long run, but Twilight Princess is still a great Zelda game.