The Wonderful 101
|The Wonderful 101|
|Release date(s)||EU August 23, 2013
JP August 24, 2013
AUS August 24, 2013
NA September 15, 2013
|Distribution||Optical disc, download|
The Wonderful 101 (ザ・ワンダフル・ワン・オー・ワン Za Wandafuru Wan Ō Wan?) is an action-adventure video game developed by Platinum Games and published by Nintendo exclusively for the Wii U. The game was directed by Hideki Kamiya and produced by Atsushi Inaba, who worked on the Viewtiful Joe series and Ōkami together. It was initially set to release during the Wii U's launch window (which lasted from the console's launch until the end of March 2013) in North America and Japan, but instead was released at the end of August 2013 in all territories except North America, where it was released on September 15.
In The Wonderful 101, players control a horde of superheroes from an isometric viewpoint and can turn them into various objects called "Unite Morphs". As levels progress, players must explore each stage to find helpless citizens and recruit them to join their army of heroes. The more heroes gathered, the greater the special morph powers can be. Players can use "Unite Morph" forms to battle off enemies, solve puzzles or traverse the environment at the cost of depleting the player's battery meter. The meter can be recharged by performing normal attacks or by picking up batteries dropped by a defeated enemy. Enemies will also drop "O parts", the in-game currency used to buy upgrades, new "Unite Morph" abilities and items. To transform the horde of heroes, shapes are drawn on the Wii U GamePad's touchscreen or right analog stick the corresponding symbol of a form, such as an “L” for a gun or a squiggly line for a whip. The GamePad can also be used to see things from a traditional third person angle and explore tighter environments better, such as indoors.
The single-player campaign is broken between levels. Each level ends with a grade depending on a number of factors, such as how long it takes the player to complete and how much damage the player takes. In addition to a single-player mode, The Wonderful 101 has a cooperative mode that supports up to five players, with one person utilizing the GamePad and the four others using their own Wii U Pro Controller.
|This section requires expansion. (January 2015)|
In The Wonderful 101, Earth comes under attack from an invasion of alien terrorists called the "Geathjerk", and the only thing that can protect the planet is the titular group of superheroes. Unfortunately, the aliens are too powerful to fight individually, so the heroes must work together. These uniquely different heroes can morph together into powerful weapons to crush their invaders or get through the environment.
Development of what would become The Wonderful 101 began during the lifetime of the Wii. The original idea came from Platinum Games' president, Tatsuya Minami, who wanted to bring a group of popular or iconic video game characters together in one game. Because different gamers would prefer certain characters over others, being forced to play as a certain character at a certain point in the game was quickly scrapped. Instead, all of the characters would be on-screen at once so the player could choose between them at any time. Platinum Games initially thought of using Nintendo first-party characters who would work together to get past obstacles, but when the idea was presented to Nintendo, they questioned how the mechanic would fill an entire game. Director Hideki Kamiya also doubted that the "conflicting elements" of the different Nintendo characters could be "put into a consistent formula" successfully like in the Super Smash Bros. series. Further brainstorming was put on hold while he worked on another game, but when that game was put on hiatus a year later, work on The Wonderful 101 resumed. Kamiya decided to use the Japanese henshin theme with a group of five original heroes who could unite and transform into various weapons. Soon the group expanded to one hundred heroes, and the Japanese superhero style changed to "an American comic book vibe." Although the developers had been thinking of making the game for the Wii, when Platinum Games and Nintendo finalized their partnership, it became Wii U-exclusive. The developers wanted to use the console's unique features effectively, so they came up with drawing on the Gamepad as a way to activate the "Unite Morphs".
Much like Hideki Kamiya's Viewtiful Joe, The Wonderful 101 is inspired by tokusatsu—Japanese live-action films or television drama with a heavy emphasis on special effects. The main heroes’ outfits resemble those found in tokusatsu shows like Super Sentai, its American counterpart Power Rangers, and Kamen Rider, while the enemies resemble the giant monsters found in kaiju films, such as Godzilla and Gamera.
The Wonderful 101 was revealed at E3 2012 on the conference floor, codenamed Project P-100. On July 3, 2013, Nintendo introduced their "Wonderful Wednesday" social networking campaign to promote The Wonderful 101, where each Wednesday leading up to the game, they release a new character portrait. However, two days later, Kamiya posted how he worried about the lack of marketing for The Wonderful 101 on Twitter, mostly referring to the lack of information in magazines or websites, and claiming that the game took almost 1.5 times the resources and manpower as Platinum’s biggest game, Bayonetta. During the August 7, 2013 Nintendo Direct, Satoru Iwata announced that on August 9, 2013 a Nintendo Direct presentation would be made exclusively for The Wonderful 101.
The music in this game is done in an orchestrated score. The theme songs are called "The Won-Stoppable Wonderful 100" and "The Won-Stoppable Wonderful 101", which is sung by Foresta in the Japanese version, and by Jimmy Wilcox, Rob McElroy and Bruce Blanchard in the English version. An official soundtrack to the game was released on September 15, 2014 in two volumes.
The music was written by Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Akira Takizawa, Hitomi Kurokawa, Norihiko Hibino, Masato Kouda, and Rei Kondoh.
The Wonderful 101 received generally positive reviews from critics. It has an aggregate score of 78.02% on GameRankings and 78/100 on Metacritic. The game received comments from some game critics concerning its hard learning curve, while others, such as Nintendo Enthusiast's Michael Nelson, praised the game for requiring a certain amount of skill.
Most reviewers enjoyed the ridiculously nonsensical story, characters, and humor, but found the few sexual jokes out-of-place in a perceived kid-friendly game, although it retains a Teen rating. The Wonderful 101 's length and pacing seemed a bit drawn-out to some reviewers due to repetitive enemies and boss fights, while others thought they were alright thanks to the even distribution of new moves and upgrades.
Forming weapons by drawing on the touchscreen garnered mixed reception. Many reviewers found that the GamePad worked fine for straight lines or circles (to make a sword or a fist), but that it sometimes interpreted the wrong weapon for more complex shapes. Others thought that drawing simple shapes on the GamePad while using the right analogue stick for others was more reliable, or that the GamePad worked perfectly and it was simply a matter of practice. The camera was criticized for being too zoomed-out to keep track of all of the characters during battle but also too zoomed-in to see the occasional out-of-view enemy. Reviewers agreed that the game lived up to Platinum Games' trademark high difficulty, with some citing the controls and camera as contributing factors.
Nearly all reviewers were pleased with the creative uses of the GamePad's second screen. However, a few thought that navigating inside of a building using the controller's gyroscope was clunky.
Reviewers praised The Wonderful 101 's cartoony art style and flashy effects in battle, but also thought the character models looked low-polygon if the view zoomed in. The set-pieces and giant bosses were likewise well-received, as were the voice acting and soundtrack.
On May 5, 2014, it was revealed that Wonder Red would be a trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.
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