The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD

It'll be another year before we're playing the brand new Legend of Zelda for Wii U, but this is a damn fine consolation prize: GameCube classic The Wind Waker has been bumped into high-definition for a sterling port well worth experiencing again.

Granted, The Wind Waker is a divisive entry, with some fans grumbling at the cartoonish take on Link and his adventures – but it's a stunning game and a fantastic adventure, plus the Wii U version has some subtle tweaks to overcome frustrations from the 2003 original.

Deus Ex: Human Revolution: Director’s Cut

Yes, you saw this on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in 2011, but the Wii U has the definitive version of this slick, clever and stylish cyberpunk creep ‘em up. The disappointing boss fights have undergone extensive and successful surgery, and the trademark brains-over-brawn action still thrills.

And since we now live in an age of passport-carrying cyborgs, it is essential prep for when we inevitably all become bionic people living in a corrupt urban dystopia. Shame the Wii U won't enjoy the upcoming sequel, however.

Shovel Knight

The Virtual Console offers various great retro games to download and enjoy, but one of the best old-school experiences on Wii U was just released last year. Indeed, Shovel Knight is a modern game, but this throwback side-scroller does an incredible job of mimicking the best of the past.

In fact, it feels like a cross between Mega Man, DuckTales, and Super Mario Bros, sending you into challenging 2D stages as a warrior armed with a garden tool. You'll bash enemies, bounce on your shovel, and dig up treasure, all while soaking in the impeccable 8-bit-esque graphics and music.

Rayman Legends

Mario’s not got a monopoly on Wii U platforming thanks to Rayman. Forget some of the so-so Rayman games of old: Legends’ wacky action is a barrel full of fun, wrapped in gorgeous visuals and backed with a fab two-player mode where one player uses the GamePad to move platforms and tickle enemies.

Just try the demo’s joyous Castle Rocks level, where you sprint around to the sound of a totally bonkers version of Black Betty, and you’ll be hooked. Super Mario 3D World might have 3D platforming locked down on Wii U, but Rayman Legends takes the cake for side-scrollers.

Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze

Nintendo's brought a couple of its own side-scrolling franchises into HD, and while New Super Mario Bros. U is solid, it's Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze that really stands out. It maintains the look and feel of the great DKC Returns from Wii, all while implementing new game elements and a fresh setting.

As the title implies, Tropical Freeze sees the islands doused in ice, which creates fresh gameplay challenges while maintaining the spirit of the SNES classics. It's extremely difficult in spots – probably more than you'd expect, given the cartoonish exterior – but it's a platformer you can really dig into and savor.

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