Short Answer: Kinda Yes.
Longer Answer: The WiiU requires the Gamepad for all of it's games. (Even if the pad is unused, it'll still be on and displaying something.) If a game support multiplayer, it's up to the developers of the game to determine what controllers work for that game.
For Mario Party (for example) only works with the GamePad and Wii Remotes. Super Smash Bros works with the Gamepad, Pro Controller, Classic Controller, Remote, Remote with Chuck, and GameCube Controller.
For the most part, most WiiU games have options to use the Wii Remote as well. Not all games will support the remote, but most of the popular ones (Smash/Kart/Bros) will work just fine. If you have the option though, do look into getting a Pro Controller instead. (It's the same layout like the Gamepad but without the screen.) The Pro Controller is not as compatible like the Remote, but Wii Remotes can be bought and found very easily (since they where packaged with the original Wii as well) where-as the Pro Controller isn't resold as often.