Best Uses of the Wii U GamePad

Best Uses of the Wii U GamePad

The Wii U GamePad should set its games apart from others by allowing them to use a second screen, but it’s often relegated to simple uses like displaying the map or just allowing off-TV play. Off-TV play is a great feature, and it’s convenient to have a map or inventory close at hand, but it ends up feeling like the game could have been on any system and played the same.

Not every game is like that, however. Let’s talk about a few games that really use the Wii U GamePad well.

Xenoblade Chronicles X

At first glance, this one doesn’t fit, since off-TV play is a viable option for Xenoblade Chronicles X. There’s never a point where you need both screens at the same time, so you can bring up the map whenever you need it. However, because you use the map so often during the game–for fast travel, planting data probes, checking how to survey your current area, etc.–it’s much more helpful to have it close at hand than in most games.





ZombiU is often forgotten, but this survival horror launch title uses the GamePad in a brilliant and devious way. It serves as your map, inventory, and scanner, all features seen in other games… but your character remains vulnerable as you turn your attention to the second screen. By forcing you to look away from possible danger to go through your supplies, ZombiU ramps up the tension in a way few games can achieve.



Affordable Space Adventures

Now let’s move on to one that would be difficult to play any other way: an indie puzzle game called Affordable Space Adventures. While your TV screen displays your ship and its environment, the GamePad’s screen functions like your ship’s dashboard. It displays your engines and their systems, landing gear controls, energy output levels, and everything else you need to manage. In fact, it’s difficult to imagine Affordable Space Adventures without the GamePad.


In Conclusion

These are a few of the games we think made excellent use of the Wii U GamePad’s capabilities. What games do you think used the GamePad the best?

Samantha is a published horror and fantasy writer, a professional freelance writer, and a longtime gamer. As a result, writing about games is one of her favorite activities. She likes a wide range of genres, especially RPGs, survival horror, and visual novels. More information can be found at her website:

1 Comment

  1. Great article once again Samantha. The GamePad gets dissed quite a bit, aside from the great feature of off tv play, I think there are quite a number of games that utilize the gamepad really well including your list.

    NintendoLand, Star Fox Zero / Guard, and others. Even the Call of Duty games worked very well with maps and other touch functions which made gameplay more streamlined. The only NBA game, I think NBA 2k13 to appear on the Wii U also had nice features including one where you simply tilt the gamepad up and it shows a heatmap of the players on the court, players who are heating up scoring wise and those who are off their game.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this!

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