Is it worth getting a Wii U at this point?
November 2, 2016 10:44 AM   Subscribe

Now that the Wii U is nearing end of life I've been thinking of picking one up along with several of its best games. Caveat: I would probably play exclusively on the tablet and not hooked up to a TV. Is this feasible? Would using the controls on the tablet be too uncomfortable? Can I use a pro controller or something while I use the tablet strictly as a display? Anything else I should consider?
posted by mattholomew to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I just inherited a Wii U from a friend for cheap a couple of months ago. FWIW, none of the games that I've played on it [Splatoon, Mario Kart, Skylanders] function the way you describe AFAICT. The screen on the tablet controller is meant to supplement the TV screen primary focus - in practice, this has meant that the kinds of things that display on the tablet screen are maps, menus, minigames, and navigation meta, while the main action is all happening on the TV. There are apparently some games where you can go tablet-controller only [Super Mario Brothers], but they're not games I have.

The tablet controls are reasonably comfortable - it does weigh a little more than standard controllers, so I do more lap-support for it than I've done with other controllers. The layout is fairly intuitive if you've used other controllers before.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 11:03 AM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

you can't effectively use another controller while using the tablet as a screen but I don't find the tablet too bad, ergonomics wise.

many of what I would consider the "best" wii u games are ones that use the tablet in an interesting way, like Affordable Space Adventure. So they can't be played with the TV off.

A lot of even the more standard ports of non-Nintendo games tend to require the TV being on at least at first to navigate menus, but some work perfectly fine in tablet only. You just really have to ask game by game.
posted by French Fry at 11:06 AM on November 2, 2016 [1 favorite]

There are certainly great games that work tablet only e.g. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Yoshi's Woolly World. You should be aware that some games require the tablet because some game mechanics require you to blow into the microphone.
posted by mmascolino at 11:09 AM on November 2, 2016

It sounds like you are exactly describing the Switch. Wait a bit...
posted by jozxyqk at 11:38 AM on November 2, 2016

I've had reasonable luck playing games this way, although I haven't tried a lot of them. Contrary to Pandora Kouti's experience, I've played this way on Mario Kart and it worked great -- you can set up the tablet in it's little stand and use a separate controller to drive. The trick is that you must press the start button on the controller you're going to use to drive, not on the tablet. It's a bit tricky to figure out exactly the right sequence, but once you get it working it's fine. The only other games I've done much with are some of the Classic Console releases and those have all worked great on the tablet only.

You can definitely tell that you're not using it in the way the UI was designed for, but I've found it usable.
posted by duien at 11:53 AM on November 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Of the 4 games I have for my WiiU (Splatoon, Mario Kart, Mario Maker and Pokken Tournament) only Splatoon requires the TV, the others can be played on the remote alone. I haven't tried using a different controller on the remote myself.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:58 AM on November 2, 2016

There are a few games (especially Splatoon) that aren't functional this way, but I've played most of my Wii U games primarily on the tablet, with the tablet controls, and I don't have any complaints. (After you get it, definitely play Pikmin 3. Probably the most fun I've had on the console in single player mode.)
posted by Polycarp at 2:22 PM on November 2, 2016

Bayonetta 2 plays fine with the tablet and pro controller, you just have to find something to prop the tablet up on, knees, book, sweater pile or otherwise. Mario Kart works too. Splatoon requires the tv, but honestly it's worth it.
posted by lucidium at 5:55 PM on November 2, 2016

Check this for off-TV play games, but note that it's incomplete (I believe Paper Mario Color Splash should be on there, too).

Gamepad video will lag very slightly behind the TV, but in most cases that probably won't be too big of an issue. It's not something you can tweak like you can with a TV's game mode, though, because it's due to the delay in data transmission to the gamepad.

And, like other people have noted, the amazing Splatoon will be out of your reach unless you use a TV. So will Lego City Undercover, which IMO is the best Lego game of them all. You'll also need to use a TV for the Wii U's initial setup.
posted by phatkitten at 6:21 PM on November 2, 2016

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