The Wonderful 101: Remastered (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Shane Jury 30.03.2021

Review for The Wonderful 101: Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Following on from the runaway success of Nintendo Wii would be an uphill battle for any console - that is the sheer quality of its games catalogue. With top exclusives like Mario Kart 8, Bayonetta 2, and Super Mario Maker, the system held its ground until the arrival of the Switch, and the reversal of Nintendo's fortunes. Long considered a highlight of said Library, The Wonderful 101 faced the likely prospect of staying put, and not joining its brethren on Switch; until an unlikely, multi-format kickstarter campaign allowed fans to show their love for it. Now with the game out digitally and soon to be at retail as well, how United is The Wonderful 101 on Switch?

Like many of its predecessors and future releases, The Wonderful 101 embodies the insane scope and ambition seen in many an original Platinum Games project. It uses a popular template - that of the transforming superhero seeking to defend the innocent and defeat the baddie, but goes completely mental with it. Instead of the One, there is One Hundred; a squad of heroes that utilize combination powers to fight an alien invasion. Beginning as a simple affair, The Wonderful 101 builds in scope and stakes incredibly quickly, moving through varying terrain types and dangerous enemy roadblocks at a breakneck pace. Starting with the devout and valiant Wonder-Red, and meeting other colour-assigned heroes through the course of the game, the voice work and cut-scene direction on offer here is considerably light-hearted, entertaining, and memorable, coupled with a fantastic musical score and imaginative level backdrops.

This being an isometric action title would likely bring into question how combat can work with 100 unique characters on screen. Using the right analogue stick or the touchscreen, lines can be drawn on screen that when done in a specific shape will activate a Unite Morph, be it a giant Fist, a huge Sword, or even a towering Hammer. Using these tools is key to fighting the common grunt enemies and solving puzzles in the levels, and offer a number of strategic uses depending on the situation. Many enemies will resist one Unite Morph and be weak to another, so learning the attack patterns and vulnerabilities of foes is essential for progress; something that is thankfully aided by colour-coding in many scenes.

One common complaint of the original game was that players weren't made aware of all the nuances that the combat and Unite Morph systems offered; Remastered addresses this to a degree, but still leaves plenty of room for interpretation and experimentation. Completion of the opening Prologue now guides players to the shop where the essential Evade and Block skills are, instead of being easily miss-able before. Ideally these abilities would be available from the outset, but this is still no doubt an improvement.

Screenshot for The Wonderful 101: Remastered on Nintendo Switch

This Remaster brings with it many hints of its origin, including the dual screened nature of the Wii U GamePad support, thankfully streamlined for minimal fuss. Although the game had always allowed for regular controller support by assigning the second screen toggle to the Select button on Wii U, in Remastered this will automatically swap to the other view when needed as well. The Minus button will still allow for a great deal of flexibility in how the second screen is used and its overlay positioning; even going so far as to allow a side-by-side display view. This mechanic isn't used too often besides a radar-like feature and statistic grid for all discovered heroes so far, so its obstruction is kept to a minimum.

Those times when the main screen does swap however, highlights one of The Wonderful 101's bigger shortcomings: the visuals and frame-rate. This employs a vibrant and striking use of colour and imaginative design in general like the original, but since the second screen was primarily meant to only be seen on a low-resolution Wii U GamePad, seeing the same unaltered picture blown up to an HD TV is less than flattering. Feeding on from that is the isometric viewpoint of the game as a whole, in that it is made very difficult to see smaller individual enemies in a pack when zoomed out, leading to many unexpected hits. Though the Switch screen itself is fairly sizeable for a portable display, this viewing issue can be even more prevalent there. Given enough time and practice with how The Wonderful 101 systems and level layout works will help mitigate the smaller foe factor significantly.

Though The Wonderful 101 is not a short game by any means; offering a rollercoaster ride of action, twists and gameplay variety for many hours, it'll be the collectables and harder difficulties that will keep fans coming back for more, as will locating each Wonderful One scattered around the levels (including special Platinum Games-themed guests). The Unite Morph drawing function opens up considerably, with certain shop purchases and equipment alterations, making repeat play of the levels feel fresh upon each restart. With a successful fundraising campaign came the return of a flawed classic; a love letter to the Henshin Japanese Superheroes of old, and an essential addition to any accommodating Action Fan's gaming library.

Screenshot for The Wonderful 101: Remastered on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

With a new platform host comes a Wonderful One renaissance, and a second chance to experience one of the most unique action games of the generation. The improvements found in this remaster are minimal, and previous visibility concerns are all the more prevalent due to Switch's portable functionality, but those willing to work through said issues, will discover an incredibly enjoyable, and endearing experience.

Developer

PlatinumGames

Publisher

PlatinumGames

Genre

Action

Players

5

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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