Top Japan Only Wii U Titles - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Friday, March 6, 2020

Top Japan Only Wii U Titles

by Danny Bivens

The best of the best in Japan of one of Nintendo’s most maligned systems. 
The Wii U was definitely one of the biggest flops in Nintendo’s long and storied history in video games. For a multitude of reasons, people just didn’t flock to the system like they did with the Wii before it, leaving system sales and general interest in the device in the trash. But, that doesn’t mean that the Wii U was without some awesome games. Nintendoland, Pikmin 3, Super Mario 3D World, Splatoon, Mario Maker, the HD Zelda remakes, Captain Toad, The Wonderful 101, Xenoblade Chronicles X…the list goes on. While there are quite a few games that are seeing new life on the Switch, there are some games on the Wii U that never even saw life outside of Japan. It’s definitely a smaller list than what you would find on previous platforms like the Wii or GameCube, but there still were some titles that the West certainly missed out on, for better or worse. This is The Famicast’s list of the Top Wii U Japan Only Titles

5 - Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure
Release: July 12, 2013
Developer: Toys For Bob
Publisher: Square Enix
Sales: 5,000 (more or less)*
Coming to Japanese shores nearly two years (July 2013) after releasing in the West, the first entry in the Skylanders series finally made its way over to Japan. Similarly, the game saw release on the Wii, Nintendo 3DS, Playstation 3 and was scheduled to come out on the Xbox 360 (that was nixed likely due to poor performance of the platform in Japan). Interestingly enough, Japan saw a release of the game on the Wii U with some enhanced features. Gamers that picked up this version could not only play the game via Off-TV Play but could also use the Gamepad to access a variety of menus, view statistics and play the lock puzzle mini-games.

Sales for the game were poor - it didn’t even chart during its first week at retail on any platform. There’s probably a good, yet somewhat complicated reason for that. Publishing duties in Japan went to Square Enix, who, in their infinite wisdom, decided to sell the game only at Toys “R” Us locations throughout the country. Although gamers who played the Wii U version seemed to enjoy it (some even saying it’s the definitive version of the game), the series completely and utterly bombed. No other Skylanders titles made it to Japan afterward.

*sold less than the lowest tracked game on the list, Resistance: Burning Skies, which came in at 5,138 copies according to Media Create (via Gematsu)

4 - Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version
Release Date: December 5, 2015
Developer: Level 5
Publisher: Level 5
Sales: Under 26,677 (the last time the game charted)
Yo-kai Watch peaked in Japan in 2014 and went on a downward commercial trajectory ever since. Still within the window of the popularity of the series, Level 5 teamed up with Ubisoft to release Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version in December 2015. The game is exactly what it sounds like - a special version of Just Dance aimed at Yo-kai Watch fans. While that might sound fine for some, gaming press and gamers alike didn’t seem to care for the title. Famitsu scored it a 28/40 and the sales of the game were paltry. Two versions were available at launch - one bundled with an extra Wii remote, and another with just the game. For collector’s the game can also be found for relatively cheap these days. I managed to find a copy at a book store for about ¥250 (a couple bucks USD). As interesting as it is that this title exists, it’s probably for the best that this game didn’t make it outside of Japan.

3 - Taiko no Tatsujin: Wii U Version
Release Date: November 21, 2013
Developer: Bandai Namco Games
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Sales: 187,958
It seems that the Taiko no Tatsujin series, better known in the West as Taiko Drum Master, finds its way to pretty much every platform in Japan. The Wii U was no different. Unveiled in September 2013 and released later that November, this entry into the series offered four player support and a variety of control options - touch screen, button on the GamePad, Wii remote and drum stick support. The game fared well enough in Famitsu, getting a respectable 32/40. The sales of the Wii U version were successful enough (selling nearly 190,000 copies) to prompt Bandai Namco to put out two more games on the system in 2014 and 2015. Unfortunately, they never made it to the West on Nintendo’s hybrid platform.

2 - Yakuza 1&2 HD for Wii U
Release Date: August 8, 2013
Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Sales: less than 10,000 units
Ryū ga Gotoku (Yakuza) 1&2 HD for Wii U was unveiled to gamers in Japan in May 2013. Up until that point, the Yakuza series had been a staple of the Playstation lineup ever since the PS2. While there was already an HD port of both titles on the Playstation 3 at the time, Sega and game producer Toshihiro Nagoshi decided to move on with the project regardless. There was even a lengthy Nintendo Direct (which turned into a Sega Direct) where Nagoshi joined Iwata in discussing the Wii U version of the game. Some Wii U specific features made appearances i n this version, including the ability to utilize the Gamepad with a map or simply play the game away from the TV.

While the final product was a decent port of both titles (you can actually check out my review of the game over on Nintendo World Report), Wii U owners in Japan had almost zero interest. After launch week, Yakuza 1&2 HD didn’t even make the top 50 sales chart in Dengeki. The lowest game on the list that week - the PS3 version of Battlefield 3 coming in with 1,878 units. Yakuza on the Wii U never charted after that as far as I know.

Fun fact - I actually met Nagoshi at TGS 2013 shortly after the release of the game. After saying “Hi” and telling him that enjoyed the remake no the Wii U, that was that. His blinding white teeth and the beautiful girl on his arm gave me the hint that he wanted to be elsewhere. Kind of like the Yakuza series on Nintendo platforms.

1 - Dragon Quest X - Online
Release Date: March 30, 2013
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Sales: Over 1 millions units (all platforms)
One of the more popular online titles over the years in Japan has been Dragon Quest X Online. With the release of the Wii U, Dragon Quest X Online appeared on Nintendo’s system a few months after the initial launch in March 2013. It also marked the first time the game would be available in HD on a home console. DQX requires a monthly subscription to play however, Square Enix does offer free periods from time to time. Upon release, gamers had a few options when it came to picking up the Wii U version of the game. They could buy the game by itself or purchase a special Wii U bundle which contained the game, a black Wii U Premium Set (32 GB), a black Wii U Pro Controller, a ¥1,000 Nintendo Prepaid card and a special in game item.

One of the most notable features of the Wii U version of DQX is the ability to play the entirety of the game on the Gamepad. A soft-keyboard is also available to enable easy communication between players. Not only that, but player who were coming from the Wii version of the game were easily able to transfer their characters over to this version of the game. Several versions of DQX are/were available to Wii U owners. These include the base/original game, version two, three and four, and the most recent version which was released in October 2019. As of the spring 2020, DQX is still active and available to play on the Wii U. Square Enix has hinted at the possibility of bringing the series to the West in the past (all the way back in 2014!), but has been quiet about it since. Gamers looking to play the game will have to find a way around the region locking.

These are some of the most notable Japan exclusive titles to release on the Wii U. What do you think? What was a title that you would have had on the list? Sure, there are definitely better games out there, but these were definitely the most interesting to me. For a complete look at ALL of the Japan exclusive games that released on the platform in Japan, be sure to check out the full list below.

Full List
Romance of the Three Kingdoms 12 - December 13, 2012 (Koei, Strategy RPG)

Dragon Quest X: Mezameshi Itsutsu no Shuzoku Online - March 30, 2013 (Square Enix, MMO)
Othello - April 17, 2013 (Arc System Works, Board Game)
Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure - July 12, 2013 (Square Enix/Toys for Bob, Action)
Ryū ga Gotoku 1&2: HD Edition for Wii U - August 8, 2013 (Sega, Action-Adventure)
Arc Style: Baseball! SP - September 18, 2013 (Arc System Works, Action)
Togabito no Senritsu - October 2, 2013 (Kemco, Adventure)
Taiko no Tatsujin: Wii U Version - November 21, 2013 (Bandai Namco, Rhythm)
Dragon Quest X: Nemureru Yūsha to Michibiki o Meiyū Online - December 5, 2013 (SE, MMO)
Monster Hunter Frontier G - December 11, 2013 (Capcom, MMO)

Puyo Puyo Tetris - February 6, 2014 (Sega, Puzzle)
Okiraku Tennis SP - March 12, 2014 (Arc System Works, Sports)
Just Dance Wii U - April 3, 2014 (Ubisoft/Nintendo, Party)
D.M.L.C. Death Match Love Comedy - April 9, 2014 (Kemco, Adventure)
The Misshitsukara no Dasshutsu: Subete no Hajimari 16 no Nazo - April 9, 2014 (D3, Adventure)
Monster Hunter Frontier G Genuine - April 23, 2014 (Capcom, MMO)
Kamen Rider: Battride War II - June 26, 2014 (Bandai Namco, Action RPG)
Monster Hunter Frontier G5 - July 23, 2014 (Capcom, MMO)
Sensha SP - July 30, 2014 (Arc System Works, Action)
Touch Battle Sensha SP - July 30, 2014 (Agetec/Silver Star, Action)
The Misshitsukara no Dasshutsu 2: Kesareta 19 no Kioku - August 6, 2014 (D3, Adventure)
Monster Hunter Frontier G6 - November 19, 2014 (Capcom, MMO)
Taiko no Tatsujin: Tokumori! - November 20, 2014 (Bandai Namco, Rhythm)
Fujiko F. Fujio Characters: Daishūgō! SF Dotabata Party! (Bandai Namco) - November 20, 2014 (Party)
Gotouchi Tetsudō: Gotouchi Kyara to Nihon Zenkoku no Tabi - November 27, 2014 (Bandai Namco, Party)
Kamen Rider: SummonRide - December 4, 2014 (Bandai Namco, Action RPG)
Kemono Dash - December 17, 2014 (Rocket Studio, Racing)

Monster Hunter Frontier G7 - April 15, 2015 (Capcom, MMO)
Manabi Getto! - April 28, 2015 (Gakken/Toppan, Education)
Dragon Quest X: Inishie no Ryū o Densho Online - April 30, 2015 (Square Enix, MMO)
Monster Hunter Frontier G8 - July 22, 2015 (Capcom, MMO)
Minna de Uchū Tour: ChariSou DX 2 - October 14, 2015 (Spicy Soft, Action)
TorqueL - November 9, 2016 (Full Power Side Attack, Action)
Tiny Thief - November 23, 2015 (Nintendo/Rovio, PCAdv)
Taiko no Tatsujin: Atsumete ☆ Tomodachi Daisakusen! - November 26, 2015 (Bandai Namco, Rhythm)
Yo-kai Watch Dance: Just Dance Special Version - December 5, 2015 (Ubisoft/Level 5, Rhythm)

Monster Hunter Frontier Z - November 9, 2016 (Capcom, MMO)
Ace of Seafood - November 30, 2016 (Nussoft, Action)
PuchiCon Big - December 14, 2016 (SmileBoom, Action)

Dragon Quest X: 5000-nen  Harukanaru Kokyō e Online - November 16, 2017 (Square Enix)

Dragon Quest X: Ibara no Miko to Horobi no Kami no Ohana - October 24, 2019 (Square Enix)

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