Impressions: Hands-On with The Wonderful 101

It’s complicated…

I was standing in line waiting for my turn at the wonderful The Wonderful 101. This poor kid in front of me was terrible at the game. His mother, after looking at me, told her child to pass the game on to us. The rep said not to worry and that he’d control the situation.

He didn’t really control the situation all that well.

Before I continue on to my impressions of the game, I’d like to talk a bit about the Wii U GamePad, because it was actually the first time I’ve touched the GamePad ever. I played Rayman Legends with the Wii U Pro Controller, which was light but comfortable. The GamePad? Same thing, actually. I didn’t really notice I was holding a ginormous tablet thing; it just felt like a regular controller, so all those complaining about how the thing looks uncomfortable to hold can rest in peace.

But enough of that. On to the impressions!

The Wonderful 101 is, if you didn’t read the subtitle, complicated. Just watching the kid play in front of me was daunting enough, but having to hold the controller in my hand and play the actual game was crazy. The rep was throwing a slew of things at me at once; one second I was drawing circles on the GamePad, the next second I was whacking the scenery with a giant sword. It was overwhelming, to say the list. It was a good thing I already knew much about the game; otherwise, I would have cried.

The game itself seems simple. Your goal is to gather as many citizens as possible and use them to form different weapons in order to attack and defeat this mysterious alien race. Forming weapons is as easy as drawing a shape with either the touch screen or the R-stick. For example, drawing an “L” would form gather your citizens into the shape of a pistol, while drawing a straight line will form them into a sword. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

But how the whole thing implemented is a bit cumbersome. For instance, there are several point in the game in which you have to draw circles around citizens to have them join your army. Drawing circles from an isometric viewpoint turned out to be super stressful, both with the R-stick and the touch screen. Actually figuring out what’s going on over all the visual noise is equally as ridiculous. It’s like trying to maneuver a bunch of LocoRoco’s around a stage while everything around you is shooting rainbows and unicorns.

The platforming sections aren’t really that good either. There was one part of the demo in which the action on the TV screen moved to the bottom screen, and I had to maneuver my character around in this little warehouse to find a switch. This was easily the worst part of the game; the camera was iffy and the controls were stiff. It was really, really uncomfortable to play.

But all that being said, The Wonderful 101 isn’t a bad game; despite my frustrations, I actually did have some fun with the demo. The idea of using a bunch of characters to form weapons and stuff is pretty neat. The graphical style is reminiscent of Viewtiful Joe, another Platinum game. I also love how you can pretty much interact with everything in the game, from destroying trash cans to crushing trees.

So yeah, it’s obvious this game isn’t for me, but I can see why others may enjoy it. Maybe if I had a little more time with it, I may had appreciated it more. But yeah, to me, it’s sort of a niche title, one that will surely warm the little hearts of a tad few of core gamers. If you’re looking for something new, definitely give this one a look.

The Wonderful 101 comes out some time during the Wii U launch window.


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