Love it or hate it, the Wii did offer more exclusive RPGs than the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 combined this year. One could easily argue the quality versus quantity debate, but this year the Wii had a few very solid entries. Though these might not be traditional RPGs, that shouldn't take away from the level of excellence these games offered RPGamers in 2009.
A sort of hybrid between Overlord, Harvest Moon, and Pikmin, Little King's Story is a genre-busting game that plays like something between an action-RPG, a simulation, and an RTS. While this may sound like a recipe for disaster, the developers pulled off an amazing, addicting game that combines the best pieces of many genres and wraps it up with one of the best presentations on the Wii, thanks in no small part to the stellar localization by XSEED.
The gameplay is centered around the strategy staples of exploration, extermination, and expansion. The constant flow of tasks to complete, rounded out by a slew of side quests, keeps you obsessively wanting to stay in the world, building up your town and annihilating your foes. The tongue-in-cheek, kiddy aesthetic mixes cutesy adorableness with adult humor, combining cutscenes that look like a pretty children's book with topics such as a boy-king's right to polygamy. The dialogue is hilarious, and the package as a whole makes you feel warm and comfortable while cracking you up, and you eventually can't tell if you're giggling from the inappropriate jokes or because you feel like a kid again. Hard to put down, beautiful to look at, and wonderful to listen to, Little King's Story stands tall above the competition, and is easily our best Wii RPG of 2009.
Rune Factory: Frontier is a solid addition to the Wii's RPG lineup. Its strength lies in the sheer number of activities it provides and the freedom to perform them however you wish. It may not be the best dungeon crawler, or the best sim, but Rune Factory: Frontier as a whole comes together to make an enjoyable experience. If you care about farming, that is.
A follow up to Princess Crown and Odin Sphere, many expected more of the same. What RPGamers got instead with Muramasa: The Demon Blade was a fast-paced, more action oriented game steeped in Japanese mythology. Muramasa features two unique playable characters, both of which offer lots of hack-and-slash action and some very impressive boss fights. Combine this heavy action game with some of the most beautiful 2D artwork to date, and you have a solid title and one of the Wii's best RPGs of 2009.
by Glenn Wilson, Tom Goldman, Michael Cunningham