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The Best Family-Friendly Wii Games of 2009
A round-up of the hottest Wii games for families in 2009.

The hottest Wii games of 2009.

This has been a bit of a strange year for Wii games, says Jeff Gerstmann, editor-in-chief of game review site GiantBomb.com. Though there are some big hits, like The Beatles: Rock band and the New Super Mario Bros., he warns that a lot of smaller game companies are now trying to cash in on the ongoing Wii craze without producing quality games. Thankfully, people are quickly catching on that not all Wii games are created equal, and Gerstmann has helped us sift through the growing number of titles to find this year’s best picks that the whole family can enjoy.

New Super Mario Bros.
A classic family favorite, Nintendo’s most beloved game series gets an exciting new addition this year. The New Super Mario Bros. game allows up to four people to play at once, meaning no more waiting your turn as in past versions, but it also means you can choose to help or hinder other players by picking them up to save them from danger—or tossing them right into it. The game also has a new feature called Super Guide: If you’re stuck on a level, you can still see it played through and either try it for yourself or just move on without getting credit.

Wii Sports Resort
An update to just about everyone’s first Wii game, Wii Sports Resort brings much more variety and subtlety to the Wii Sports world with new sports, like skydiving, basketball, frisbee, canoeing, swordplay and archery. Packaged with a Motion Plus sensor, which picks up more delicate Wiimote movements (you may need to buy extra to play some games in multiplayer mode), it requires an extra level of skill and finesse to really master the various sports.

The Beatles: Rock Band
Any of the Rock Band or Guitar Hero games would make a great gift this holiday season, but this year’s standout is The Beatles: Rock Band because of its cohesive song list, three-part harmonies, beautiful animation and cross-generational appeal. If you’re looking at other music games, make sure to check the song lists first to make sure some of your favorites on there.

Boom Blox Bash Party
This multiplayer sequel to Boom Blox is a fast-paced and fun game that makes great use of the Wiimote. You use a combination of the pointer and motion control to smash stacks of blocks with things like balls and slingshots to solve different puzzles. You can also create your own levels to share with friends online and download new puzzles to get even more variety in your challenges.

ExciteBots: Trick Racing
Taking racing games to a completely wacky place, ExciteBots: Trick Racing has you controlling animal-shaped cars that can drive, walk and fly, as well as do jumps and tricks. The 2-player game has a great sensation of speed, and ups the fast-paced competition by including quick mini-games like poker and darts that you actually play while you’re racing. Also, it’s not always the first car to cross the finish line that wins—you can get lots of points for style.

A Boy and His Blob
Inspired by an old Nintendo game, this charming single-player adventure would be great to play with your children. The story focuses on a young boy and his blob friend who have to save the blob’s world, Blobolonia, from an evil emperor. The two have to work in tandem relying on each other’s strengths and forging a friendship through 80 levels of solving puzzles and getting past bad guys.

Hasbro Family Game Night 2
For families that love classic board games, Hasbro Family Game Night 2 will be a hit—and you won’t have to deal with bulky boxes or missing pieces. Up to four players can compete at Operation, Jenga, BopIt, Connect 4 and Pictureka. You can also customize a Mr. Potato Head for additional themes and trophies.

Rabbids Go Home
The wildly funny Rabbids series takes a departure from mini-games and takes you on more than 40 frenetic missions to try and gather enough trash to help them climb to the moon. The levels are creative with a great stylized look, and you can expect lots of off-the-wall antics as the Rabbids have to collect everything from livestock to pants that they scare off of people.

NERF N-Strike Elite
$59.99 (includes one blaster)
NERF N-Strike Elite offers something fun and different, melding the digital and physical worlds with its unique controller. You put your Wiimote into a NERF blaster to tackle the arcade-style shooting challenges. When you’re done, the blaster can actually be used apart from the game, shooting 3 soft projectiles. There’s also a red sight on the blaster that you look through during the game to see things like enemy weaknesses that would otherwise be hidden, adding an additional element of on-screen and in-hand crossover.

Need for Speed: Nitro
This classic-style street racing game lets up to four players compete at once. It also gives you options when it comes to controlling your car: You can use the motion controls, the arrows and buttons on the controller or other combinations of controls based on what you’re comfortable with. The graphics are slick and they provide great feedback about who’s winning—when you’re in the lead, your theme takes over the track.

For those who missed Pimkim on GameCube, this is a great game filled with strategy, adventure and puzzle elements. You’re tasked with controlling small plant creatures, known as Pimkin, to rebuild your spaceship so you can get home. The creatures are cute, and you can work together with your family to figure out how to gather the pieces you need while avoiding trouble.

Go Play Lumberjacks
Test your lumberjacking abilities with this fun party game for up to four people. Using the Wiimote and balance board, you saw logs, climb poles, throw axes and compete in water events. Though not as advanced as Wii Sports Resort, Go Play Lumberjacks provides good, casual gaming entertainment that may even make you sweat a little.

Scene It? Bright Lights! Big Screen!
This game is terrific for families that enjoy their movie nights together. One to four players or teams can test their movie trivia knowledge with this Wii update of the popular Scene It? DVD games. It has all the fun of the traditional game along with some Wii-specific features and controls, not to mention a rather funny host.

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