It’s so easy to dismiss an overly colorful game as being simple or intended for younger players, but don’t make that assumption about The Wonderful 101. Finally coming to Wii U in the US on September 15, the superpower-infused game brings together 100 colorful heroes in the hopes that the small army can stop an alien invasion of Earth. And to our surprise, the team has a shocking variety of attacks--as long as you’re curious enough to find tactics the game doesn’t outright tell you about.
Wonderful 101 is from the same game director as Bayonetta, but the similarities aren’t obvious in screenshots. After playing a 30-minute chunk of the final game, we noted that Wonderful 101 is similarly dedicated to pushing (and punishing) players with deep, combo-heavy gameplay. We faced a small chunk of the massive robot army the game’s masked vigilantes are tasked with stopping, and the largest of the group was giving us some trouble. We took tons of damage as we adapted to its attack patterns and broke through its defenses. After the harrowing battle, the Nintendo rep was quick to clarify that wasn’t a mid-boss, but a normal encounter.
Wonderful 101’s average encounters feel like potential boss battles because your diverse moveset is continually called upon to beat enemies in inventive ways. Team leaders like Wonder Red, Wonder Blue, and Wonder Pink each have specific attacks that can be summoned with a quick stencil on the GamePad’s screen. While you’re cleanly swapping between those attacks during the tense levels, the game throws out a surprisingly varied collection of enemies at you that demand new tactics, particularly if you want your performance to earn the coveted Platinum rating. And as director Hideki Kamiya showed in his recent Nintendo Direct, if hardcore players are willing to look, intricate combos are waiting for them to uncover.
If you were worried Platinum was going soft from its new partnership with Nintendo, what we’ve played of Wonderful 101 would prove otherwise. It isn’t going to hold your hand, but once you’ve finally destroyed, say, a giant cyborg turtle, you know you earned it.
Keep reading to see all the new screens for the fast-approaching game...