Humor is hilarious
The game allows you to creatively choose what kind of weapon or gear you want to use.
Game lasts quite a while, It's definitely not a one night game.
Individual missions are very long
Boss fights feel like they're about random button mashing and less about strategy.
Controls are incredibly awkward.
With Club Nintendo ending, I decided I wanted some extra coins to spend on the close-out sale, and that led me to the Wonderful 101, and WOW is it…Wonderful…Sometimes…. If I had to assign a genre to the game, I would probably say it’s close to a hack and slash, but it’s so much more then that. The gist of the game, is that you command a team of Power Ranger-like fighters called the Wonderful 100 (and you the player are the 101st), and they can combine together to create various forms of weapons and helpful things. The game has a great sense of humor as you play through the story, and the humor is even reflected in the gameplay by having you do crazy things with your assembled weapons and gear that you would never really think to do.
Graphics and Audio
Graphically this game is quite beautiful to look at. The 3D models are beautifully smooth and even in combat when there are hordes of enemies, it never lowers frame rates or drops in quality. The soundtrack is very dynamic and fits well with the super hero themes, though it does get rather repetitive.
When aliens invaded the earth, a group of 100 Power Ranger like people were assembled, each with their own theme, ranging from colors, to gimmicks like Wonder Red, Wonder Blue, Wonder Magician, Wonder Kung Fu, etc. Now after a long period in hiding, the aliens are invading again and the Wonderful 101 must join again. Story itself isn’t the greatest, but the content is quite rich, the writing is hilarious and it breaks the fourth wall every now and again.
As far as the game goes, it’s a button masher, you fight waves of reused robot designs one after another. But the unique part, are the different weapons and gear you and your team can form to mix up the combat. You start with Wonder Red, who can form a giant red fist, and as you might think, you punch with it, but the game actually offers a lot of unique ways to use the hand, like you can form it to grab a giant shield, or to turn a giant dial in order to open something, they make it clear it’s a fully functional hand in addition to being a fist.
You make the fist by either drawing a circle on the gamepad screen, or using the right joystick. This is the core mechanic for making weapons that the W101 is built around. Other things you can form include a hang glider by drawing a triangle, a sword by making a straight line, a gun by making an L shape, and so on. There are also different forms you can purchase, such as what appears to be a giant pudding cup that deflects attacks, or a spring to dodge attacks. Additionally you can use your team to form bridges, or ladders in order to reach other people. Part of the appeal of the Wonderful 101 is the idea that anyone can be a hero, and in order to gather people to form things, you find civilians in the street and as a way of “rescuing them” you turn them into temporary Wonderful Agents. The people you can find range from kids, to housewives, to businessmen, to very overweight people. It doesn’t really make the social statement it tries to but it’s a nice touch.
The gameplay is probably where I am most conflicted. On one hand, the ability to make different kinds of weapons and gear with your imagination is very creative, and it was one of the first games to really take advantage of the WiiU gamepad. At the same time, the controls are very awkward, and the first time anyone plays this, it’s very difficult to get the hang of. It took me a few different gameplay sessions just to get the hang of it, and early on when you’re being swarmed with enemies one after another, it’s very difficult to practice and get used to it. Furthermore, the game doesn’t do an amazing job explaining what your basic controls are, like disassembling a weapon by pressing Y, and sometimes I had to restart at a checkpoint just because what the game wanted me to do wasn’t working properly.
This game is very ambitious, and it does achieve a lot of what it attempted to do. The humor is solid, I love the creative aspects, but it’s hard to get over the very awkward control scheme. If you’re a WiiU owner looking for a new game to play, I’d say it’s worth checking out, but if you do, give it a solid shot because it’s going to take a while (longer then it should honestly) to get used to the controls and how everything works. Arguably, with such a new concept for a game, it’s natural that the controls would feel awkward because there’s never really been anything like this before, so it’s a tough call to make whether or not it’s a bad thing.