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Hands On: The Wonderful 101

Posted by Lee Meyer

You know you're playing a Platinum game when...

Way back in June 2012, we had the chance to play Project P-100, an exuberant new IP from PlatinumGames being published by Nintendo. It's had a name change, and its arrival has been delayed to such an extent that it's done the rounds to appear at this year's preview events; we've gone hands on with what's surely a near-final form ahead of its arrival in August / September, depending on your region.

About a minute into the latest 10-minute demo of The Wonderful 101, it becomes abundantly clear that despite the lack of over-the-top violence and suggestively dressed witches, Nintendo's upcoming action title is very much a PlatinumGames creation. This pop-superhero confection is truly a sight to behold, with action bursting from all edges of the screen and creator Hideki Kamiya's unique, slightly bizarre style constantly shining through. It's a little too soon to say if the substance matches the style in this manic game, but it absolutely needs to be on your radar when it arrives.

A quick primer for those who aren't familiar with The Wonderful 101 (and at this point, you should be!): players control a group of little superheroes, collectively known as The Wonderful 101, and take on giant alien robots and monsters while saving citizens and collecting new heroes along the way. When fighting massive enemies, the heroes can morph into several giant weapons and tools (known as Unite Morphs) with a swipe of the GamePad. At first glance the game may resemble Pikmin, but the core gameplay and tone are completely different.

The demo began with the heroes on a rooftop in the game's colourful city, with them making their way down a large water slide to confront their first enemy and rescue some citizens. As enemies were defeated, several items were dropped, including batteries to sustain powers and "O" parts to spend on power upgrades and items in the in-game shop. Drawing a circle on the GamePad and moving the heroes towards citizens expanded the heroic team, most of them nameless; however, every so often "new data" would appear on screen and a new, permanent heroes would be recruited among the citizens.

Different powers are unlocked based on the heroes collected throughout the game. Drawing a squiggly line on the GamePad morphed them into a purple whip that could latch onto objects and pull them, including enemy armor. A straight line on the GamePad produced a massive blue sword that was not only helpful in battle but useful for picking locks and activating environmental changes, like the running water for the water slide or starting up a ferris wheel.

Each level is divided into multiple bite-sized missions, with a comic book-like newspaper headline showing the player's score and performance following the completion of each smaller section. Most missions are combat-based, but there are several environmental puzzles along the way that require the use of the GamePad, such as opening locked passages and finding a way across various buildings.

The demo's boss fight was fun and challenging. After several slashes of the sword proved ineffective, the whip proved to do the trick as it weakened the giant alien robot and pulled its armor off. The boss operated on a pattern, which made it easier to fight, but the pattern did deviate from time to time so as not to make the player comfortable. At one point the heroes were defeated, but thanks to the arcade-like nature of the game the heroes were dropped right back into the action to finish their task.

We also briefly saw co-op in action, which will apparently allow up to five players to join in locally at once. In our case we took on a mission with two players, one on the GamePad and one on a Wii U Pro Controller. Thankfully gestures can be replicated with the right analogue stick (which needs practice) and each player had a separate team running around on screen. The chaos of the gameplay suited co-op in our brief session, as it's the kind of game that seems well suited to playing with friends.

With aliens and robots crashing into buildings, citizens turning into flashy heroes and assorted chaos occurring all around, The Wonderful 101 retains the signature PlatinumGames sheen present in games like MadWorld and the upcoming Bayonetta 2, just without the blood, guts and bosoms. The action title launches in Europe on 23rd August and North America on 15th September, beginning a season of high-profile Wii U titles. Put this one at the top of your list and get ready for a treat, because The Wonderful 101 is unlike anything you've played on your Wii U yet.

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User Comments (84)



StyledFawn476 said:

The massive amount of waiting time for this to hit the shelves has me literally salivating. I was going to buy this the second it came out in the launch window, and was devastated to find it won't be out until September. I just hope it lives up to my expectations.



letsplay said:

Rarely do I get goosebumps watching a video trailer; but this game has. I can't wait.



Emblem said:

Can't wait for this game, i hope the co-op is online as well as local.



onex said:

@Dreamcaster-X Exactly, and it couldn't be more awesome!

5p co-op on this game is sure to be INSANE, and I can't wait to boot this one up!



Steveovig said:

This game looks fantastic and very bright! I'll be buying it day one and I hope others will too to show support.



GamerJunkie said:

co-op LOCALLY sucks. When will Nintendo start to actually use the internet?

Only kids have 4 friends over to play a game like this.

Game looks interesting, I'll have to try the demo and see if its a must buy game or not though.

If its just another family/party game I'll skip it.



PopeReal said:

@GamerJunkie this is Platinum Games, not Nintendo. If you are going to level criticism, make sure to point it in the right direction

And if you think this is just another party game, you haven't been paying attention.



GearsOfWarU said:

I can't wait to play this Amazing Game.... Looks so different & colorful can't wait to see it on my brand new '70 240hrtz Sharp Aquos Quatron 3D TV ... Shall be Awesome!!!! <3 my Wii U



onex said:

@GamerJunkie Local co-op, while not especially convenient, most definitely does not suck. There's nothing more fun - when it comes to videogames - than getting some buds over to have at it in some MarioKart, Sonic Racing, NSMBU and Nintendoland! Sweet Day is the best time we've had in quite a while, when it comes to lauging and giggling like a kid again!

Sure, online games can be fun, but it'll never compare to physical interactions, and I'm confident that 5player W-101 is going to be an absolute blast.



gazamataz said:

I'm going to buy this. It looks proper mental. I love the old sega like colours and it looks like they have really catered it for the hardware. I just hope it's really pushed with lots of advertising because I would love to see it do well.



FineLerv said:

@GamerJunkie Not true. I'm 34 and married and I still have people over to play games. I play online on my PS3 and I bust out my Wii U for local multiplayer. And, I'll always prefer the latter.



AVahne said:

Is Wiimote and nunchuck supported? I would imagine the controls for Wiimote would be easier than the Pro controller.



Sir_JBizzle said:

Can't wait! Mario and Co. aside, this was THE game that was on top of my list when I pulled the trigger on getting a Wii U this past November.



Buzzthebatgirl said:

@GamerJunkie clearly you've not played Rayman Legends with four/five players. Best fun on Wii U.

Seriously there is nothing "family/party" about W101, this is hardcore gaming madness at it's best. Having lucky enough to experience the demos of this game first hand I can recommend this over ever other upcoming game on Wii U - it's a must buy!



Sir_JBizzle said:

@GamerJunkie while I enjoy online multiplayer, to me nothing will replace the joy of local co-op. There's nothing more fun than having a few friends over and having a blast playing together and trash talking in person. Ahhh the memories. My all night sessions of Goldeneye, Mario Kart and Smash Bros. comes to mind



rmeyer said:

This should at least should get a goty nomination. It's one of the few games this year that steps out of the box



hYdeks said:

It's hard to describe what genre this game really is, but all the gameplay makes me want this game, very unique kind of game from Platinum Can't wait for September 15th, it's a week or two after Europe gets it, but the wait should be worth it.



Rafie said:

@GearsOfWarU I just got mine last week (70' Sharp Quattron 3D TV) Isn't it lovely? LOL This game is going to be crazy! Reminds me of what DreamcasterX said. It really does. More so Pikmin and Viewtiful Joe. Heck the first hero they announced sounded just like him.



Daggo said:

Local co-op? Great!
And that's how you take advantage of the Gamepad! (One of the many ways at least)



ScorpionMG said:

i see lots of people liking this game, im not saying it doesnt look good, it actually looks awesome, but i'll need to give it a try before purchasing it because it doesnt look my cup of tea. I would gladly buy Pikmin 3 over this! but still a great game



B3ND3R said:

I notice a yellow character on the cover-art... I guess that would be Wonder Eyes Yellow? Looks like he has a hammer... Unite Hammer? Unite HAMMAHTIME!



bahooney said:

@GamerJunkie I don't know if you know this, but a lot of adults have friends, too. I'm 23 and most of my friends have moved off to college. What do I do? Make new friends. I am constantly playing local multiplayer with my friends. Nintendo Land is a blast.

tldr; you're wrong.



SetupDisk said:

I like both online and local mutilplayer but I will never forget the awesome times my buds and I had playing Goldeneye and rocking out to some Metallica, etc.



GearsOfWarU said:

@Rafie ... I love my TV .... just got it last Weekend my 2006 Mitsubishi 65' DLP blew up .... Sharp Aquos Quatron Is Awesome!!!!! 70' + 240 hrtz .... Simply Amazing ... now i need a 3D Blu Ray player haha.... The Wii U looks so Beautiful on this TV !!!!! Colors Just Pop... RGB & Y : ) Best TV Out



KamenRiderClive said:

I'm always pleased to see toku-style heroes make their way westward. The main problem is suffering through people calling any hero wearing a mask a freaking power ranger.



yesung1234 said:

this is absolutly amazing. I have a wii u, and once this game comes out, my social life will be over. I also cannot wait for legend of zelda, pikmin, super smash bros, and x.



Rafie said:

@GearsOfWarU I still have my 55 inch HDTV Hitachi from 2006. It hasn't died yet (praise him!), but it may be on it's last legs. I still have 4 other LCD's in the house anyway. My kids play their Wii on their 37 in. My wife and I have a 55' Vizio in our bedroom. The spare bedroom has a 47 in Vizio and now the big BODY 70 in the front room for Mario Kart, Zelda, and Smash! OH YEAH!!! Sorry if it seems that I'm bragging. That's not my intentions and I trust me it took me a long time to acquire these things.



BlackStar9000 said:

NINTENDO, you have realized your mistakes now fix two of them, that means START MARKETING AGAIN, HARD!! Also, I look forward to playing multiplayer ONLINE not just locally, seriously dammit, get with the program. My Gampad is ready...for this title.



BATRA said:




rjejr said:

So, has anybody played this demo yet who has played "When Vikings Attack"? Ever since this game was announced in June 2012 I've thought it looked like a more colorful version of WVA but I haven't seen a single other person mention that game in comparison. My kids and I have spent a number of hour splaying that both single and offline multiplayer and had a blast. It's only $15 so it doesn't look nearly as good as this but gameplay wise it looks very similar.



GamerJunkie said:

@BATRA Me too. I don't invite people over my house to play videogames anymore(maybe a handful of time only a year). My girl and I play together, but party games like this need to have online multiplayer, its 2013, not 2003 Nintendo.



Zaphod_Beeblebrox said:

This is a test to see whether or not double quotes work. Here goes: 55" and 70". This concludes the test.

Edit: Yup, double quotes work fine. I was wondering if they were being eaten or transmogrified by the post parser.



GamerJunkie said:

@onex That's true its fun co-op, but it sucks we can't play online then you can play with your friends everyday and family anywhere in the world.

Nintendo thinks we all invite friends over everyday or what? Only kids that are in school can do that, normal people have lives so they play online with each other at night.



GraveLordXD said:

Why are people blaming Nintendo for this game not having online multiplayer? Did they not allow platinum games to add this feature? What am I missing here?



MAB said:

Looks even better as a single player game too... I don't like others teaming up with me because they constantly die or ruin my gaming chakra



MitchVogel said:

Suddenly, I'm EXTREMELY excited for this one! By the way, was that Sonic the hedgehog's voice actor I heard?



BATRA said:




WaveGhoul said:


Minus the inherent Motion blur. the main reason why i'll never bother with LCD or LED again. I wish OLED's were available... but for now I'll just have to settle for my new upcomming 55" Panasonic S60 Plasma which beats the pants out of LED/LCD in terms of motion handeling and blacks levels, plus viewing angles which is far more important to me than having a boost in brightness and whiter whites and the other great perks of LCD/LED technology. i wish i could have the best of both worlds(cough OLED Cough) but i'd rather make due with a picture that ressembles that of a CRT.

To each their own i guess! I've owned quite a few LCD's, Plasma's and an LED and while i absolutely love the brightness, glare free, less heat, zero auto dimming, whiiter whites and overall slightly cleaner look of an LED/LCD, i just can't stand that nasty motion blur(VA panels are an absolute nightmare, while the ISP panels are an improvement,which i've both owned...Yet ISP panels still have noticable blur and i just cant bare it)
And to get an LED with fantastic blacks you basically have to spend an arm and a leg, at least to get black levels that are close to a mid range 2013 panasonic plasma.

Anyways! 70" must be pretty insane though! You're going to have thee' greatest Smash Bros. U parties! For 1080p material i think 55" is the sweet spot personally, but it's all about viewing distance. As long as you love your HDTV, that's all that matters.



BestBuck15 said:

I hadn't done any research on this game, I actually thought Nintendo were overseeing the production apparently they're not. Why are people so excited? Nintendo did not make this game. It's an exclusive, is that why people are excited?



Mahemoth said:

It's because the game looks like a lot of fun thats probably why...

Nintendolife, was the one with the gamepad able to use its own screen? Or were they both playing on the main screen?



erv said:

@Longforgotten same question here.

If you hold the gamepad and have a separate screen, one or two extra players would be a dream to play with. This is one game that will help nintendo in bleeding my wallet dry, soon I'll be all over it.

And does it have wii mote controller support or just a pro controller one? Also quite important to me looking at possible extra controllers in the future



DarkNinja9 said:

yeah i hate the fact that they still use local multiplayer it can be annoying -__- they dont seem to get it but oh well when you have those rare moments when buddies do come over its fun



Epicnessofme99 said:

I hope this does well because I believe it has the opportunity to actually become a continued IP and it's a brand new Nintendo IP. I'll be picking it up day one, never had the chance to play it but just by looking at the gameplay and knowing Mr. Kamiya's previous works I know it will not disappoint.



GearsOfWarU said:

@Rafie ... I now have a 2010 52' Sharp Aquos Quatron (120) in my Bedroon , The Brand New 2013 & 70' 3D Sharp Aquos Quatron ( 240 ) in the Family Room and The Good Old 2003 Polaroid 20' TV/DVD/VCR Combo in the Guest Room : )



GearsOfWarU said:

@WaveBoy ... yes to each his own... I've been TV Shoping for a while and I just think the High End Sharp Aquos Quatron TV's are the Best !!!!! Colors Just Pop ... I looked at Panasonic Plasma's very similar to JVC & Pioneer from Back in the Day ... Black's are great but you need to have those Plasmas in a Basement with little light... My Family Room Has tons of Windows so I think Panasonic Plasma would have lots of glare issues... But Panasonic Are a Nice TV My Father owns ... one : ) .... But for My $Money Sharp is where its At : )



WaveGhoul said:

Yeah, if you plan on watching movies, tv or gaming in a bright room then you're basically screwed with a plasma, you're much better off with an LED. I'm not even sure the higher end panasonic plasma models that contain a louvre anti glare filtre will completely ressolve the issue. In a bright room, plasma's without the AGF are like mirrors.... the light basically makes plasma PQ look dull, washed out(the blacks turn to crap) and the colors look de-saturated. Get one in a dim or dark room and the picture can look absolutely amazing. It kind of operates like those old school CRT SDTV tubes.

At 0:30 - 0:45 this shows how the Panny S60(without an anti glare filtre) fares in bright light(it looks awful!lol) but then when the lights are out it's like a completely different set.

But yup, it just sucks that LED's blur, i would so make the switch if this wasn't an issue at all! but everytime i game on one with a game that doesn't move at a snails pace(hence, less noticable blur) the blur gets me

Anyways, What size was your previous TV before you made the leap to 70"? I've owned quite a few HDTV's, and the last prior to my 60" Pansonic S30 was a 42" Panasonic, the 60" difference was mind blowing at first, but then you adjust and that large size wow factor kind of diminishes hehe. My current set is great for gaming due to it's low input lag, but it's severely flawed with color innacuracies and it's effed up gamma, i'm making the switch at the end of july with a 2013 panasonic S60 which is an amazing plasma, one of the best there is, then i'm set!



Samus06 said:

The more I see of this game, the more excited I get. I have to say that I wasn't very interested in it when it was first announced, but I am now definitely buying this game. It looks awesome!



ParSnake said:

For some reason, this isn't exciting me much. I think it reminds me of Soace Invaders Get Even, which I didn't like. Hopefully I will like it if I get to play it!



GearsOfWarU said:

@WaveBoy ... I had a 2006 65' Mitsubishi DLP ... My New Sharp Aquos Quatron ... kills it in every way... I really havent noticed a lag issue with this TV .... it is a 240hrtz so that might be why there is no lag .... Enjoy your panasonic : ) because I'm Loving My Sharp

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