The Wonderful 101 Review
In today’s world, it costs a lot of money to make video games. Because of this fact, publishers and developers seem to be playing it increasingly safe in regards to what types of games they invest in. Needless to say, innovation is lacking on many fronts, and the gamers are the ones who suffer by being force-fed the same game repackaged over and over again. But luckily, The Wonderful 100 are here to save us. Check out the video below for my full review.
The Wonderful 101 follows a group of super heroes as they serve as Earth’s last line of defense against an invading alien army known as the GEATHJERK, or JERK for short.
The team is led by seven veterans who I can’t help but describe as a dysfunctional version of my childhood heroes, The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Each of the main characters is referred to by the color of their outfit. So there’s Wonder Red, Blue, Green, Pink, Yellow, White, and Black.
I have to start off by saying The W101 is unlike any game I’ve ever played before. If I had to compare it to something, I’d have to say it’s a cross between Pikmin and Bayonetta. It has fast paced action elements that often require amazing timing, but also forces you to simultaneously manage a large group of followers.
Each of the game’s heroes wields a different weapon, and each one is best suited for different situations; such as Pink’s whip which is best against spiked foes and obstacles. In combat engagements, the player must use an ability called Unite Morph to bring the Wonderful 100 together to form one of these weapons.
A Unite Morph is done by drawing the shape of the weapon you want either on the GamePad screen or by using the right stick; making a the drawing larger will actually bring more of the heroes together to form a bigger, more powerful version of that weapon.
This is why the game’s learning curve is so steep, as the player must figure out which weapons are best in different situations, and how to judge the spacing and timing when deciding how big of a weapon to use, all while keeping the group together; as any members who get hit will be knocked out and unable to participate in any unite morph until they are revived. And, on top of all these new mechanics, the game features the unyielding level of difficulty action game players will come to expect.
The game breaks up the combat by way of puzzles, flying and shooting sequences, and even some Punch-Out style boss fights; most of which, have their own control schemes.
So yeah, the game has a lot to take in, and it requires a great deal of time to get acquainted with the various gameplay elements, but once you do you’ll be hard pressed to find anything more rewarding than owning your foes with a series of well-timed Unite Morphs.
The campaign is fairly long, clocking in around 15-18 hours, and it’s divided into 20-30 minute digestible missions, making it easy for players to replay missions for a higher ranking. I, for one, get goose bumps whenever I earn the Pure Platinum medals. It just makes me feel like a bad-ass.
The game also has multiplayer, but it’s a little chaotic for my taste. Luckily, mulipalyer missions can be played solo if you don’t want to deal with that craziness. With this style of gameplay though, multiplayer couldn’t have been handled much better.
Once you see the game’s characters interact with each other, you’ll quickly realize that The W101 doesn’t take itself too seriously. From cheap one-liners, to slap-stick physical comedy, The W101 delivers all the cheese you’d expect from your favorite Saturday morning cartoons.
For the most part, The W101’s story will make the kid in you chuckle, as all the characters have little quirks that make them memorable. But, towards the end of the campaign, the game starts to take a much more serious tone. I thought this detracted from what made the story entertaining, and made things rather convoluted. In my opinion, the game would have benefited from keeping things on the lighter side throughout.
The game’s cartoony art style gives it a vibe I haven’t felt in an action game since Viewtiful Joe. Most games in this genre are going for a darker look nowadays, so it’s nice to see one trying to brighten things up. You’ll also explore a variety of environments throughout the adventure, but the industrial locations are a bit over used. Since the combat is so chaotic, the camera can sometimes work against you, especially in tighter spaces.
All of the sounds in this game go right along with its kid’s super hero cartoon theme; a fast paced soundtrack with ridiculous lyrics; over the top voice acting; and futuristic weapon sound effects. Some of the dialogue sequences are a bit lengthy, but I wouldn’t trade Wonder Red’s long windedness for anything. How does he memorize all that stuff?
Wii U GamePad Features
The W101 uses the Wii U GamePad in a lot of cool ways. Obviously, you can use it for Off-TV play and drawing your Unite Morphs, but it also plays a pivotal role in solving some of the game’s puzzles. For instance, there was one puzzle in which my TV displayed flashing light rotating around a ring of squares outside of a building I was in, while my group inside the building was displayed on my GamePad, and I had to shoot a target in the building at the same time the light stopped on specific squares outside.
Puzzles like these require players to divide their attention between the two screens in order to solve them. The only problem, as I mentioned previously, is the small spaces these puzzles put you in can force the camera into some awkward spots.
The Unite Morph ability is a little touchy at times, since some of the weapon drawings are very similar, such as whip and claw which are a zigzag and Z shape respectively. I recommend using the right stick for Unite Morphs.
While the game is complex, it’s also extremely fun and rewarding. Most notably, it’s unique. Platinum could have easy rested on their laurels, and made something similar to Bayonetta or Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, but instead they’ve created a brand new gameplay style.
If you’re an action game fan, or someone just looking for something a little different, I highly recommend you check out The Wonderful 101.
+Lovable cast of characters
+Bright environments please the eyes
+Saturday morning cartoon style comedy
-Unite Morph controls are a bit touchy
-Story grows weaker towards the end
Final Score 8/10
Have you guys been playing The Wonderful 101? What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments.