A wonderful exercise in teamwork
Review: The Wonderful 101: Remastered
Declaration: The author of this review backed the Kickstarter campaign
First releasing on the Nintendo Wii U in 2013, The Wonderful 101 is a textbook example of a cult game, beloved by its adoring fanbase but not broadly known beyond that. A good deal of the reason for this is due to circumstances surrounding the game, released shortly before Platinum Games’ other anticipated title Bayonetta 2, and coming out on a system that suffered relatively poor sales, this superhero title seemed destined to suffer in obscurity. Not content with this fate, Platinum has swooped in to save The Wonderful 101, bringing it to a number of platforms so a wider audience can experience it.
Set in the fictional Blossom City, The Wonderful 101 revolves around a team of some 100 superheroes who are the last line of defence against an invasion of earth by an alien force known as the Geathjerk federation. As this may suggest, the story is wonderfully over-the-top and largely serves as the backdrop for frenetic battles against giant robots and monsters. It does, however, emphasise the importance of teamwork against great obstacles.
The Wonderful 101 often end up fighting giant, Godzilla-sized threats. In order to overcome these, characters combine together for a number of key moves, such as the Unite Morph or the Unite Hand, and need to work together in order to overcome in-game obstacles.
Graphically, the title features a signature cartoony style, with lots taking place on screen at the same time. The action is often at a frenetic pace, which understandably sometimes leads to a drop in the framerate, which usually stays at the 60 frames-per-second mark.
Much like Platinum’s other famous title, Bayonetta, The Wonderful 101 has cutscenes where the player is expected to quickly perform a response. These quick-time events don’t ever become too frustrating, however.
The most significant issue with The Wonderful 101 lies with what also makes it great: namely that it is a niche prospect. While the colourful graphics and superheroes may appeal to children, the game has a steep difficulty curve that may put younger players off.
There are also times when playing with so many characters on screen can become cumbersome, with the action being difficult to follow.
One of the original game’s frustrations was that, while unique in its use of the Wii U stylus, The Wonderful 101’s control style could be difficult at points. This, however, is something that Platinum has worked on improving for the remaster, and the results are generally favourable. Playing the title on the Nintendo Switch, Insights found the controls to be intuitive in both the docked and handheld modes, with the Switch’s touchscreen working well.
Despite some small flaws, The Wonderful 101 is a game full of creativity and well, wonder, that is thankfully getting new life on a number of additional platforms. It is a game that superhero fans should consider.
The Wonderful 101: Remastered releases on Nintendo Switch, PS4, and PC on 19 May.