I've decided that I can't live without Zelda: Breath of the Wild any longer, but I don't have any of the recent Nintendo consoles. Given that the game performance and graphics seem comparable on Wii U vs. Switch, I'm thinking of getting a Wii U and playing BOTW there, skipping the Switch altogether. However I live a very minimalist lifestyle and don't have a TV, so I want to ensure that I can play BOTW on Wii U without ever needing to connect to a TV.

If I want to play BOTW on Wii U, will I need to use Wii U's "TV mode" at any point -- either to play the game itself (ie. docked), or to set up my newly opened Wii U in the first place?

  • If you don't have a Switch OR a WiiU, and you don't have a TV, why not just get a Switch, so you never have to worry about not having a TV? WiiU requires the use of a TV for a lot of things and most games, so even if BotW works fine in gamepad mode (I don't actually know if it does), you'd still be risking running into things that do require you to have a TV. Switch is completely portable with no TV required for absolutely anything.
    – Elise
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 18:50
  • I don't know much about the how the Wii U version is but on Switch, you can fully play portably. So as long as the Wii U version doesn't make the controller a dedicated map or inventory screen, it'll probably be fine and can be played on the tablet only. Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 19:12
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    Related: gaming.stackexchange.com/questions/203002/…
    – Angzuril
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 19:15
  • @Angzuril: according to the linked wiki page, BotW can be played "Off-TV." Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 19:19
  • It does say you need a "monitor" for the initial setup of the console itself... Not sure if that means a computer monitor would work or only a TV.
    – Kareen
    Commented Apr 16, 2017 at 21:48

2 Answers 2


Having a Wii U, TV, and BotW, I can say that one can play BotW on the Wii U without ever needing to connect to a TV.

During the first cutscene, it will assume it is connected to a TV, but there will be a textbox on the gamepad screen that says, "touch here to play on the gamepad," or something like that, and it will pull the video down onto the gamepad for your playing pleasure (something that allows me many a long night of gaming without waking the entire household).

However, keep in mind that if you touch the gamepad screen, it will revert the video back to the "TV" and you will need to tap inside the box again to bring it back.

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    Perfect! And @Cyberson can you speak to the initial Wii U setup process? Will I be able to make it all the way to "starting to play BotW" without needing to connect to a TV? Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 17:40
  • @TopherHunt Based on other things I read that may be your real issue.
    – JMac
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 17:45
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    @TopherHunt As I commented under the question, the initial setup does require a monitor of some kind. But, the console isn't too cumbersome to carry around if you could bring it to a TV/monitor somewhere else (friend/family/work?). If you purchase a used Wii U however you may not need to run this step.
    – Gwellin
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 22:01
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    @TopherHunt As Gwelin said, the intial Wii U setup does need a TV to get up and running at it's best, but the startup and playing of BotW does not need the TV.
    – Cyberson
    Commented Apr 17, 2017 at 22:23

I am actually in the same predicament as you and actually took my Wii U to a friends house who had a TV, the initial start up is fairly easy and once you have finished that, the Wii U can be used for most things without a TV. You won't be able to play regular Wii games though, which I was disappointed about because they are not made to be ran on the GamePad.

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