The Wonderful 101 (Hands-On) (Wii U) Preview

By Shane Jury 16.08.2013 4

Review for The Wonderful 101 (Hands-On) on Wii U

Initially stowed away as a smaller-scale game not yet fit for an E3 conference showing, Platinum's The Wonderful 101 has emerged in recent months to become one of the Wii U's most high-profile prospects. Thanks to a Nintendo Direct exclusively devoted to showing the game off and an epic seven minute trailer that reportedly only skimmed the surface of the game's surface, a sizable portion of the Wii U userbase is now counting down the days until release. As a tide-me-over to that date though, Platinum Games has released a downloadable demo. Is this taster a Unite-d front for starved Wii U owners or the unmasking of a flawed product?

The demo's first mode selection takes what looks to be the first level in the final game and lets the player essentially go crazy with their available abilities. Starting off in the grounds of a school and ending in the middle of a warzone, the group of heroes can be guided with the left analogue stick and shapes created on the screen with the right stick of the GamePad/Pro Controller or the touch screen. It's strictly player preference as to which is chosen, but either way both control schemes work brilliantly (the Pro Controller has the option to bring up a smaller shot of the touch screen display on the main screen), and the action slows down on-screen so as to trace without fear of being overwhelmed by the action.

Also, 'action' is the buzzword here, with waves of foes charging at the team in sealed-off segments of the levels, and vehicles and debris litter the landscape and change the exploration path on what seems like a mere whim of the game engine. Circling enemies and objects via this drawing method allows for either picking up and throw them, or - if any smaller foes are dazed enough - recruit them to the current already bustling ranks. Circling bystanders to recruit them is also the basis for the game, as power density and flexibility depend on higher team numbers, but there are plentiful opportunities to do so.

Screenshot for The Wonderful 101 (Hands-On) on Wii U

The Wonderful 101's fighting system is basic to explain but difficult to master, and in that same breath is very satisfying to do so. The aforementioned drawing system brings out the group's strength and lets players switch powers on the fly, as seen in the demo in the form of the Unite Hand - a Red fist attack that also allows for switches to be gripped; Unite Sword - a Blue swiping blade technique that can reflect bullets and cut through chains; and the Unite Gun - a Green pistol that uses team members as ammunition. None of these shapes are much more than a straight line or a circle, so are simple to do in the midst of play.

Drawing the shape and pressing A switches the team setup to any one of these abilities, but pressing X instead opens up the potential of the game's combat system and allows for sending off part of the team to attack with that specific Unite power while the main part of the squad uses another one. With four powers usable at once through this method, the sheer amount of potential lunacy on screen can rival the craziest of Platinum's legacy.

The second selectable mode in this pre-launch demo is a lesser one, but a useful tune-up for the full release; a mission mode. This pits the group against other groups of foes and lets players basically practice combination formations and shape drawing to their heart's content.

Screenshot for The Wonderful 101 (Hands-On) on Wii U

Final Thoughts

The Wonderful 101 demo is one where Nintendo's limited use policy makes itself very apparent, but thankfully 23rd August is not far away for lucky Europeans. Going from the outside bet when first revealed, through to moniker of Manic Pikmin, Platinum Games has now quickly seen its impending release garner a lot of positive attention, and rightly so going off this new version. Unite, Buy!









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


Really looking forward to it. Exploring the demo was so fun.

Sucking the bosses into a bazooka is tres fun, and the focus on countering attacks really reminded me of viewtiful Joe.

I've watched a video of someone getting a Pure Platinum award in the Story Mode on Normal difficulty. I can only get a regular Platinum award without going insane. Theoretically I'm good enough because I have gotten Pure Platinum's on every mission before but I always mess up on at least one or two missions each time. Maybe I can do it with the Dodge Mine, in the video it seems a lot more useful than I initially thought.



Spent quite a bit of time on the demo and I gotta say, it's just not for me. Wasn't able to get into and with my gaming time (and expendable income) very limited as it is, I'll pass on this.

Am happy to FINALLY see a creative, well made WiiU exclusive for a change. I hope it does well for Platinum. Smilie

I'm torn on this game.  I played the demo and enjoyed it some, but also was frustrated.  It seemed that I couldn't find the groove of the gameplay.  However, I know that demos can be misleading (man the MH3U demo kicked my tail, but I have over 350 hours into the game, it took playing through from the start to get back into it).  But with a growing backlog and a shrinking budget, I'm unsure if this game will make it into my purchases for fall.  I want to like it and I want to support more games like this being made, but I can't really afford to just support stuff without playing it anymore.

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