The Wii-U had a big presence at E3 2012, while everyone was excited of the aspect of Pikmin three and wondering what a HD Super Mario Galaxy would look like. I was watching the Gamespot e3 livestream and became infatuated with the idea of Platinum jumping into the Wii-U to develop this weird game called Project P-100, It suited Platinum to a T, colorful, unique and completely bonkers.
Project P-100 has now become what we know now has The Wonderful 101, and it has finally released, it”s another great Platinum Release, but also their biggest blemish.
THE EARTH IS IN DANGER OF AN ALIEN INVASION FROM THE GEATHJERK! But thankfully, earths mightiest heroes, the Power Ranger-esqe force called The Wonderful 100, are more then prepared to take down this alien threat.
I”m going to be honest, the story isn”t anything to write home about, it”s more or less a device to take you from level to level. But hey, the campy nature of the story and the ridiculous turns it makes is a really fun time, and it took me back to my mighty morphen power rangers days, so that was a personal experience for me, but a pleasant one.
The Wonderful 101 is directed by industry legend Mr. Hideki Kamiya, and it”s easy to make comparisons with his previous work, namely Viewtiful Joe. While the two look extremely similar, Platinum does what it does best and gives The Wonderful 101 a style all of it”s own, the art mixes from cellshaded to beautiful 3D models, the character and enemy design is nostalgic yet brilliantly insane. This game crosses so many genre”s in it”s visual design that some of the things it does just feels anarchic. In a good way.
This weird Distant future metropolitan city is beautiful and all these different super powered freaks and heroes really stand out, while being an ode to good old Japanese Tokusatsu.
The Wonderful 101, for me is the game that defines what it means to be a Wii-U exclusive. The unite morphs system, which is a key mechanic you use all through out the game, for attacking and solving puzzles is something that feels like it was specifically developed for the Wii-U gamepad.
The single player is put into a mission by mission structure, with the exception of the boss battle set pieces these levels are mostly the same thing, make your way from Poimt A to B, taking down any GEATHJERK in your way with your hoards of heroes using their unite morph powers. Your resources for the unite morph weapons are the heroes themselves, as you go through the missions you will find citizens and sometimes other Wonderful 100 members which you recruit in to your hoarse by drawing a circle around them, sharing your power with the citizens, effectively giving you more resources to make your unite weapons bigger and more powerful.
To use these weapons you simply draw the specific shape the game teaches you for each weapon, with your stylus or right analogue stick. We recommend using the stylus, the analogue stick cam be handy for the more simple gestures in a pinch.
To begin with, combat is simple and fun, you get a hang of using unite morph mid battle to adapt from situation to situation summoning multiple groups of heroes using unite morphs, and buying new skills or modifiers after each mission is indeed rewarding, but all the charm and cool set pieces don”t hold up well enough once the game starts to get aggravating thanks to a frustratingly buggy camera and cheap deaths.
The camera is usually set to an isometric perspective, with the exception of when you go into the small puzzle sheds where the game zooms way in onto your squd when they enter these buildings. Controlling your horde accurately and just surveying the interior of these areas is more complicated then it should be. You know what the worst part is, these camera issues aren”t limited to these areas, even when the camera is zoomed far our to display the battle area, it sometimes gets stuck in the location where a level event happened or even stuck on buildings and other objects. Mix this with the screen filling chaos of the combat, the whole experience goes from fun to frustrating in a matter of seconds.
Platinum is still really good at making Unique experiences. I do have to give them props for making a game that uses the Wii-U gamepad for a key mechanic, rather the only make the Wii-u gamepad a secondary inventory or map screen. The Wonderful 101 is definitely another good release from the studio, however it is also their biggest blemish. A Buggy camera and combat that at times just seems unfair, brings the whole experience down a few pegs.