The Wii U is probably not considered retro by the purists out there, but because of its Wii-based roots, and the fact it passed many people by, Wii U emulation is the way that most people experience this quirky, yet excellent console, so it is worth including our recommendations for the best Wii U emulators.
Whilst not comparable to the success of the Wii, the Wii U certainly had its fair share of wonderful first-party titles, but third-party titles were often inferior to their Xbox One or PS4 counterparts.
But who cares eh, everybody knows people bought the Wii U to be able to play the latest Nintendo franchises such as Mario Kart 8, Splatoon & Breath of the Wild!
The Best Wii U Emulator – Cemu
So, what is the easiest way to emulate Wii U games these days? If you are in the know, then you will already probably using Cemu.
Cemu is the best Wii U emulator for PC (there are currently no Mac & Android versions available). There is even a Linux build available following the Cemu 2.0 announcement on reddit, as well as a Linux build optimised for the Steam Deck, but these are still in their infancy and you will have to compile Cemu yourself on many of the Linux distros.
So, if you are already sold on Cemu, get a head start and follow our Cemu setup guide.
Cemu compatibility with Wii U games is something that is constantly improving, but the good news is that over 50% of the Wii U games listed on the Cemu compatibility page are already either in a playable or perfect state.
Games that are in a ‘perfect’ compatibility state include:
- Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
- Mario Kart 8
- New Super Mario Bros. U + New Super Luigi U
- Super Mario Maker
- The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess HD
- Yoshi’s Woolly World
At the time of writing, games in a ‘playable’ compatibility state include:
- Kirby and the Rainbow Curse
- Mario Party 10
- Super Smash Bros. for Wii U
- The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
So, there are some absolute classic games that can be played with Cemu.
Cemu 2.0 & Open Source
With the announcement of Cemu 2.0, came the news that Cemu will transition to an open-source model.
This is fantastic news for the development of this already excellent emulator. Opening development up to the community will allow a more rapid rate of development of Cemu, as well as the refinement of existing code – Basically a win for you, a user of Cemu!
You can download Cemu from the official Cemu website.
At the time of writing, there are 3 versions available:
- The latest stable version (Recommended if you are looking for the most reliable and optimised experience)
- A pre-2.0 experimental version (Recommended if you want to check out the latest experimental features pre-2.0 build)
- The latest experimental version (Experience Cemu 2.0 with experimental features)
A lifelong avid gamer and computing enthusiast, Matt has decades of Retro Gaming experience. Now over 40 years old, Matt now even considers himself retro, but fortunately, nobody has developed a Matt emulator (not yet at least!).