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The Wonderful 101 Review


Starting a new game and being greeted with controls which don’t work never gives a very good first impression and unfortunately this is what I experienced with Platinum Games The Wonderful 101, the latest and probably greatest hope so far for the ailing Nintendo Wii U. Platinum Games have never let me down before, however initial impressions of this title was that it was completely broken. Things got worse before they got better, not only couldn’t I draw the circles and lines required of me to complete the initial tasks, but later on my characters all fell into a black hole, causing me to reset the level.

All of these issues had me thinking that this game was The not so Wonderful 101, however after the reset the issues not longer appeared, therefore allowing me to see just why this game is being billed as Nintendo Wii U’s latest big hope.

Let’s take a back step for a minute and discuss what The Wonderful 101 is. Basically the world is being invaded by an Alien force and it’s up to your group of superheroes to sort it out. The game starts with Wonder Red, who can summon a giant red fist and crush the enemy, although there is so much more to him and the other heroes who’ll soon join you on your journey, be it Wonder Green, Wonder Blue or the many others who all add their own unique ability to the fold.

Based on stages which then comprise of individual levels, your characters will wander through the land, fighting increasingly difficult enemies, while rescuing the general public who’ll then join as part of your team.

Combat is fun enough as you draw the relevant symbol on the screen using your finger or the right thumbstick to help take these enemies down. Doing so will see you summon a gun, fist, sword, claws and more, although as you get more choice, drawing the right symbol can be quite awkward. There was many a time that I wanted a gun only for the fist to appear; perhaps it depends how stead your hand is during the heat of battle? 


Problems aside, what’s most interesting about your special attacks is that they can become more powerful depending on the number of citizens you have rescued. In other words, the bigger your crowd, the bigger your weapon. Combining these weapon with the various attack types will see you create big chain attacks, which in turn will allow you to score high - essential if you’re aiming for the Platinum medal at the end of the level.

Combat is certainly unique, which is no doubt helped by the various attacks and abilities, as well as the colorful and powerful enemies which vary quite widely in appearance and strength. If it wasn’t for the flaws it would be even better, but perhaps some of these are more down to the hardware than the game itself.

The Wonderful 101 isn’t all about combat. There are puzzles too, such as using your giant fist to turn dials in order to pass through to different areas, or using your gun to absorb giant batteries before shooting at buttons with precision timing. You’ll also have to use your drawing skills to get past various obstacles, be it drawing a glider to glide through the skies or using your citizens to bridge gaps or build ladders. These parts of the game are pretty clever, certainly unique and a whole load of fun to figure out.

One of the most Wonderful things about this title is the presentation. The Wonderful 101 is bright, colourful and fantastically designed. It honestly feels like a superhero comic come to life thanks to the bright and bold colours and the thumping soundtrack. The levels are also pretty well designed, giving you plenty of room to fit your ever growing army into as well as giving plenty of areas for your to explore. As usual, when it comes to presentation Platinum Games cannot be faulted.

Unfortunately, for all the action and wonderful design there are certainly plenty of disappointments. leaving aside the game breaking bugs which I personally encountered, often there also lulls in the action and even though The Wonderful 101 is not a particularly long game, often it feels like the levels have been stretched out just for the sake of it. The screens can also get too confusing during battles, making it difficult to find your chosen hero.

Moving on from the single player, to mix things up a little, The Wonderful 101 also includes 5-player local multiplayer with one person on the Pad, and everyone else using Wii Motes. The Wonderful Missions are free-play in nature, providing players with objectives to complete. These missions can also be played against an enemy, which due to the nature of the design is often better than playing with friends.

The fact is, The Wonderful 101 will not be for everyone. Those who enjoy Japanese-style action mixed with a frantic arcade pace will no doubt be in their element. But this is not a mainstream title; it’s not going to be Nintendo Wii U’s great big hope. That may be disappointing to hear, but for all the fun that you can have with Wonderful 101, there are other’s who’ll take one look and never turn back. To me this is because upon first look the action can be so confusing, often there is just too much going on in front of your eyes that it can be hard to make sense of. Play Wonderful 101 long enough and you’ll start to understand just what’s going on, however my worry is that not enough people will give it that much time.

Flaws aside, I have a soft spot for Platinum Games latest. I quite like it, although I’m still struggling to see why people think this game will turn the fortunes of the Wii U around - it won’t. That task is for the Mario Kart’s and Zelda’s of this world. Those buying The Wonderful 101 won’t regret their purchase, equally those passing it by probably won’t regret much either.

(Version Tested: Wii U)

Pros

+ Colourful
+ A Little Different
+ Action packed
+ Great presentation

Cons

- Game breaking bugs
- Feels drawn out in places
- Lulls in combat
- Won't be for everyone

Edited On 19 Aug, 2013

Comments
( 24 )
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
"I’m still struggling to see why people think this game will turn the fortunes of the Wii U around - it won’t. That task is for the Mario Kart’s and Zelda’s of this world." - Correct. Anyone seriously expecting this to mark any kind of turnaround in the Wii U's ever deepening misfortunes (And I have come across quite a few who believe it will) is delusional. Also, I would question how much of a boost Mario Kart is going to give the Wii U also... not having that game ready for Christmas is a move that is going to hurt big time with the Wii U's holiday sales this year. Zelda is also a bit of a non-factor seeing as it's years away at this point.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Bit of a harsh review, having a glitch is one thing, describing it as game breaking when the game was fine after resetting it is another. I didn't have any real problems with the drawing shapes on the pad in the demo either, it takes a little getting used to, but works fine once you're used to it. Reviews for it have been mostly favourable and one more good game for the Wii U cannot be a bad thing, I've seen enough people saying that it's the game that has tipped the balance, making there enough good games now for them to buy a Wii U, so I think it will make a difference to the Wii U's fortunes.
lbs's avatar
lbs 3 years ago
It's out this week and the reviews are in for The Wonderful 101! • Telegraph – 5/5 • ONM – 93% • Nintendo Life – 9/10 • Eurogamer – 8/10 • GameSpot – 8/10 • Videogamer.com – 8/10 • Digital Spy – 4/5 From Shopto Facebook page :)
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
I'm in two minds about this, I want to support it but I don't fancy spending £250 for a Wii U right now.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Do it Nox, you won't regret it.
PrometheusFan's avatar
PrometheusFan 3 years ago
Not including the IGN review in that list lbs? :)
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Why would anyone care what IGN think?
lbs's avatar
lbs 3 years ago
As mentioned at the end of my comment, I took from the Shopto facebook feed.... They did not include IGNs score, Mr. Kevin...... For those who care IGN gave it a 7.4...
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
After I finish Vesperia (30 Hours in little over a week? I'm losing my touch) I'll start clearing the now JRPGs out of my backlog and then i'll see about a Wii U
lbs's avatar
lbs 3 years ago
And..... again for those that care, IGN Italy gave it a 9.5...
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
For anyone who has played it how far in would you say is the Krityan city?
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Really bad typo. Meant to say "I'll start clearing the *non* JRPGs out of my backlog"
shiny miller's avatar
shiny miller 3 years ago
Game looks really interesting to me - but will no doubt be a 'cult' hit. As has been said, it will be Mario, Zelda (and lego) that will be the big sellers.
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 3 years ago
Nox, it's not out till Friday, so very few people will be able to tell you that lol. But looking forward to this, it's getting decent reviews almost everywhere too. I'm just worried about the length. But the people complaining about the length are the same ones who claimed Pikmin 3's was really short so :/
Shoozle's avatar
Shoozle 3 years ago
There was that one site that gave it 3/10. The reviewer labeled it offensive, racist, sexist and very stereotypical. Glad to see the reviewer here did not go to such extreme lengths to dampen a game. I got used to the controls by the end of my first playthrough of the demo so I expect no issues here when it arrives. I wouldn't really all it a game breaking bug unless it corrupts your save file or something like a few, well majority, of Bethesda's game.
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
Tell me what?
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 3 years ago
You asked how far Krityan City was
Loli-Nox-Tan's avatar
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 years ago
I was talking about Vesperia
shiny miller's avatar
shiny miller 3 years ago
Shoozle - the Eurogamer review also mentioned some odd sexist moments that made a game that should be perfect for kids slightly innappropriate (references to penis size, cougars, focusing on backsides of female characters).
Shoozle's avatar
Shoozle 3 years ago
That makes me happy, reminds me of all the innuendo's in Rares games back in the day. I did not see it when I was young, but when I grew up and talked about it online with people, it was a nice touch. Hope the same happens with Wonderful 101.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Fantastic game, has kept me away from AC for 4 days now, no small feat.
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 3 years ago
Yeah it's pretty amazing. Not really had any issue with the controls save from one or two minor issues with drawing at times. Game is very tough and honestly think that people blame the controls instead of their own skills tbh.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Yep, some of the unite builds can be trick at first, but you soon get the hang of them, the handglider is one that troubled me to start with, but now it's easy. It is well tough too, I've died so many times, but had so much fun I don't care. Managed to score several platinum medals though, love how you can combine forms too, the whip/sword combo is my favourite.
Bindiana's avatar
Bindiana 3 years ago
Actually switched on my Wii U and got about 3 or 4 hours in on it. I must admit the start of the game is confusing it doesnt really explain its controls very well. I agree that it is quite tough as well. But overall it is very fun and has a good humor to the game cant wait for Bayonetta 2 now.

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