The Nintendo Wii is, without a doubt, one of the most important gaming consoles in the history of the medium, its shift away from hardcore gaming toward a more casual audience proved to be wildly successful. As a consequence however, Nintendo drastically lowered the quality standards of games that were allowed onto their consoles leading to the machine being flooded with shovelware. While Nintendo themselves and a few third parties still managed to maintain a relatively consistent level of quality with their titles, much of the rest of the system’s library was a cesspit of poorly made games. That being said, those who are willing to plumb the depths of the Wii’s library are likely to find a few diamonds in the rough.


Related: Forgotten PS1 Simulation GamesOne genre that the Wii was not particularly known for is arcade racing games. This is not to say that there aren’t any, but aside from Mario Kart Wii and possibly Excitetruck and Excitebots, arcade racing games for the Wii simply aren’t talked about all that much. This is quite a shame as there are actually more than one might expect and many of them are excellent and deserve to be remembered. Here are a few of the arcade racers on Wii that are often overlooked.

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6/6 Need for Speed: Nitro

The 7th console generation was an awkward time for many franchises and this was certainly true of the Need for Speed series. While the 6th generation saw the series produce many fan favorites such as Need for Speed: Underground and Most Wanted, during the 7th generation the series struggled to maintain relevance. EA primarily produced entries in the series for Xbox 360 and PS3, as a result the Wii Exclusive Need for Speed: Nitro ended up flying under most players’ radars.

While most of the series has headed in a more simulation direction, Need for Speed: Nitro is pure arcade speed. Its gameplay placed heavy emphasis on the titular nitro, with courses built for high-speed boosting similar to that of the Burnout franchise. Admittedly the game is somewhat basic and handling isn’t always on-point, but the overall package is well worth recommending for those who enjoy high-speed thrills.

5/6 Fast Racing League

The fact that this gem is forgotten can largely be attributed to the shutdown of the Wii’s online store which was the only place where it could be purchased. Thankfully this game spawned several successors, one of which is available on the Switch. Fast Racing League can best be described as a cross between F-Zero and Ikaruga. The game’s central mechanic is being able to shift between light and dark which allows access to speed boosters and jump pads of that color.

As players race, they generate energy which allows them to shift, however this energy can also be spent on boosting at will, making for an interesting risk-reward dynamic that forces players to manage their energy as effectively as possible to win. Overall it’s a great game that puts a great twist on the hovercraft racing of games like F-Zero and Wipeout.

4/6 Excitebike: World Rally

Another great racing game that is sadly unavailable due to being exclusive to the now-defunct Wii Shop Channel. Excitebike: World Rally was a charming 3D remake of the original Excitebike released on the NES in 1984.

This new version maintains the same classic gameplay of the original but also includes plenty of new tracks, online multiplayer, and a track editor that let players save and share their creations over the internet (sadly all online features are no longer functional). Overall an excellent update to the NES classic that any fans of the 8-bit title should check out.

3/6 Trackmania: Build To Race

Though unknown at the time, the Trackmania series has finally managed to gain some notoriety in recent years. Most people forget that there was an entry in the series for Wii. As with any entry in the series the game is based on time trial races around short courses.

This game embodies the principle of being easy to learn, but difficult to master, getting through each course is easy, but truly mastering them to get the best time is very difficult. This is the sort of game that encourages players to try again and again until they get the best time possible on each track. The game also comes with a highly robust level editor that allows players to share their creations online. A great game that was sadly overlooked in its day.

1/6 Motoheroz

Motoheroz was easily one of the best games available for Nintendo’s now-defunct WiiWare service. The game was created by the same developers behind the Trials series, and much like that series Motoheroz can best be described as a 2D physics-based racing game that has players navigate through a series of complex obstacle courses within a set time limit.

The game in many ways feels almost like a hybrid between a 2D platformer and a racing game, including the fact that your car can make use of various power-ups to help get through each level. The game also has a more colorful and cartoony vibe than the Trials series, making it feel right at home on Nintendo’s platform.

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