The Nintendo Wii is mainly known for its giant library of family-friendly games that used motion controls to deliver innovative and unique experiences. It became one of the most successful consoles of all time by having a plethora of titles like Wii Sports and Super Smash Bros. that appealed to both casual and longtime gamers.
Despite the Wii’s wholesome reputation, it also had a handful of grim survival horror games for more mature audiences. Each one effectively used the console’s motion controls to create immersive and haunting adventures unlike anything else at the time. If you’re feeling brave, these Wii games will give you goosebumps before you have time to fasten the wrist strap on your Wiimote.
8/8 Ju-On: The Grudge
Ju-On – commonly known as The Grudge in the West – is an immensely popular horror saga that peaked during the early 2000s. To celebrate the series’ 10th anniversary, development began on a Wii-exclusive video game with the original creator of the series on board to direct.
Ju-On: The Grudge is less of a survival-horror game and more of a walking simulator. You won’t have to worry about fighting any monsters, but the true fear comes from navigating a series of haunted locations with jump scares waiting for you behind every corner. The game even uses the Wiimote’s motion controls to detect whether you flinch or not, which affects your success rate of making it through an area alive.
7/8 Manhunt 2
While the Wii had plenty of original and exclusive games, it also received a decent amount of ports from unexpected publishers such as Rockstar. After essentially ignoring the GameCube during its lifecycle, Rockstar noticed the popularity of the Wii and made sure most of their games were available on the platform, including the controversial Manhunt 2.
Manhunt 2 feels like the antithesis of the Wii’s legacy, but many consider the version on Nintendo’s console to be one of the best ways to play the game. It may be one of the more toned-down and censored ways to experience this title, but the inclusion of motion controls in the Wii version somehow makes it even more horrific and spine-tingling to play.
An underrated feature of the Wiimote was the built-in speaker that would subtly play different noises or sounds to enhance your immersion in a game. One of the best uses of the speaker is in the Wii-exclusive Calling, which requires you to hold it up to your ear like a phone to hear creepy calls from ghosts.
Few modern horror games can emulate the awful feeling of having a ghost whisper in your ear as something terrifying is simultaneously happening on the screen. Calling will keep you on the edge of your seat as you navigate abandoned hospitals and doll-filled houses, though some of its quick-time events feel a bit gimmicky and repetitive.
5/8 The House Of The Dead: Overkill
The House of the Dead is one of the most popular rail shooter franchises ever, but it wouldn’t appear on a home console until this prequel launched on the Wii in 2009. Either alone or with a friend, you will follow Special Agent G and detective Isaac Washington as they venture into Louisiana to defeat zombies and save the world from a chemical known as Formula X.
If you’re a fan of exploitation films like Planet Terror or Machete, The House of the Dead: Overkill is the perfect choice for a hilariously spooky adventure. It’s an extremely short game – it takes roughly four hours to finish the campaign – but each chapter is full of shocking moments, cheesy dialogue, and over-the-top action to help make it as memorable and fun as possible.
4/8 Cursed Mountain
Many horror games are set in similar locations like run-down hospitals or abandoned towns, but Cursed Mountain elevates the tension by placing you on the Himalayas for a harrowing journey. After his brother goes missing during an expedition, it’s up to Eric Simmons to scale a treacherous mountain and find a way to break the curse tormenting the area.
The developers of Cursed Mountain spent a lot of time during pre-production researching Tibetan mythology and stories from the Himalayas to help them create a new breed of survival horror, and it mostly worked out spectacularly. The location and story still feel fresh to this day, though the inclusion of motion controls to defeat enemies often removes the tension from most situations.
3/8 Silent Hill: Shattered Memories
The Silent Hill series is often associated with Sony, but when the developers at Climax Studios first saw the Nintendo Wii, they knew it had the potential to make a new game in the series that would subvert all prior expectations of the series. While Silent Hill: Shattered Memories was eventually ported to the PSP and PS2, the original Wii version is still viewed as the quintessential way to experience it.
Lead designer and writer Sam Barlow – who would eventually create the phenomenal Her Story and Immortality – uses the Wii’s motion controls in one of the most fascinating and effective ways. Everything you do, from looking at certain objects to answering questions, is recorded in a Psych Profile that affects the story and even the appearance of enemies. Each playthrough should be slightly different from the last, making Shattered Memories one of the most replayable games in the series.
Like Silent Hill, you might not connect the tense and gore-filled world of Dead Space with a Nintendo console. The Wii ultimately became one of the best consoles for rail shooters though, and Dead Space: Extraction is a fun spin-off of the main series that still embodies the horror and stressful gameplay of its predecessors.
Dead Space: Extraction takes place before the events of the original game and follows a group of survivors as they attempt to escape a ship infested with Necromorphs. You’ll play as multiple characters across ten chapters and will need to point and shoot at anything that approaches you. If you’re a fan of Dead Space’s lore and world-building, Extraction is definitely worth checking out.
1/8 Resident Evil 4
It’s often hard to remember that Resident Evil 4 began as a GameCube exclusive before it become one of the most popular games of all time. Now, it’s been ported to nearly every other console imaginable and has even been remade as a VR title. While you can play Resident Evil 4 on nearly any platform, the Nintendo Wii version remains one of the best ways to play it.
Resident Evil 4 takes full advantage of the Wii’s motion controls and allows you to point your controller at the screen directly to take down Ganados and other threats. This point-and-shoot feature helps make the game feel fresh for anyone who has played it before, and if you happen to have a Wii Zapper lying around, you can truly feel like Leon Kennedy on his way to save the President’s daughter.