The Wonderful 101 is a like a childhood dream of being a superhero brought to life. While it isn't the most tightly designed title from action game experts Platinum Games, it is one of the most fun they've made, and without a shadow of a doubt the most impressive and ambitious.
The Wonderful 101 takes Hideki Kamiya's trademarked style of character-action gameplay displayed in impressive past titles like Devil May Cry and Bayonetta. It simplifies it slightly, lightens the tone a bit -- It makes up for it's lessened depth by cramming the game with more color and organic variety than a farmer's market.
You play as The Wonderful 100, a group of colorful masked heroes all armed with super-powered suits. Their task is to defend the Earth in the wake of it's third invasion by the evil alien organization, Geathjerk. You must control them all at once in an isometric environment as you hack, slash, punch and more through the alien menace.
The gameplay of The Wonderul 101 is what truly sets it apart, as it is consistently fun and extremely creative.
It's unlike any other game out there, and that starts with it's very controls. Using either control scheme, you must draw specific shapes in order to have large numbers of Wonderful 100 members join up to form giant objects. Ranging from fists, whips, bombs, and more each object has its own unique property.
Fists can be set on fire and be used to throw fireballs, swords can conduct electricity and deflect laser attacks, and whips can rip spiked armor off of enemies, these are a few of many dynamic options within the title.
These objects are also used for intense combat against savage alien forces that only get bigger and more impressive as the game goes on. Alongside battle, there's also creative puzzles which involve the use of several different powers, which keeps the pace constant.
In addition, the game also manages to include many different 2D shooter segments, all of high quality, and even a boss fight modeled after an NES classic, which I dare not spoil -- There is creativity and variety at every single turn.
With all that said, however, the game is far from flawless. The fixed camera and perspective can make combat and platforming frustrating and confusing at times, which is unfortunate in a game so heavy in both.
The combat and spectacle of the game also doesn't get truly interesting until after a few hours. This is after you've gotten used to the unorthodox controls and have purchased a few key upgrades.
Most of all, the sections where the main focus is on the game pad screen, while creative and mostly functional, can be pretty finicky. Here, the camera is at it's absolute worst but it can be adjusted.
But despite all the negatives, do not let that stop you from trying this game out if you can, because the positives far outweigh the negatives. The game is worth it for it's uniqueness and constant jaw-dropping high-points alone.
There just isn't any other game quite like The Wonderful 101. It has its flaws like all games, and if they stop some people from giving it a shot, that's totally understandable, if unfortunate.
There is no game that makes you feel more like a proper, tight-wearing, crime-fighting, and good-natured superhero. If you own a Wii U, you owe it to yourself to buy this game or, at the very least, try the free demo on the Wii U eShop.
Without the player, there is only a Wonderful 100, and the last one, is you. If the director's cut trailer below doesn't convince you, then nothing will: