The Wonderful 101 is the newest in a protracted line of Wii U video games to get a second probability at life on the Nintendo Switch. Platinum’s wacky Sentai superhero story was a real-blue made-for-Wii U expertise: Using a mixture of conventional buttons and hand-drawn symbols, you corral and management a mob of as much as 100 characters who struggle via beat-’em-up arenas, navigating response-based mostly puzzle-platforming challenges and a litany of setpiece minigames. But one thing feels off about The Wonderful 101 Remastered. The seeds of Platinum’s finest video games are there–the snappy dodging and parrying, the intelligent writing and design, the demand that you just hone the craft of controlling your characters–but it’s onerous to understand them in a sport that calls for mastery over its complicated mechanics with out taking the time to correctly clarify how they work. Combined with new technical points, The Wonderful 101 Remastered doesn’t simply fail to make the generational leap, it forces us to query whether or not it warranted a re-assessment.
The Wonderful 101 tells the story of Earth’s costumed world protection power, the Wonderful 100, who struggle off an alien invasion. It’s a light-weight, peppy romp throughout secret labs and cities beneath siege by aliens. Though there are 100 members, the narrative focuses on a couple of core, coloration-coded characters–trope-borne personas who trade quips via their adventures.
Though the deeply campy storytelling creates some amusing moments, the story indulges somewhat an excessive amount of in Sentai’s penchant for stretching out dramatic moments with sudden however in the end inconsequential plot twists. Many a boss struggle ends with you defeating your opponent and declaring victory, just for them to stand up so you may beat them two or three extra occasions. The jokes, good and unhealthy, at all times overstay their welcome.
Thankfully, each the story and gameplay transfer at a really speedy tempo. Levels leap from motion to cutscene to puzzle to recurring setpiece minigames, together with spaceship shoot-em-up sequences and Punch Out-style mech boxing. This is a sport that’s supposed to maneuver rapidly and overload your mind with its large scale, punchy wit, and nice gameplay selection.
In idea, the mix of conventional motion management and touchscreen gestures helps keep that frenetic tempo. You management a single member of the Wonderful 100 crew, who leads the complete group round in a mini mob of Pikmin-like pixel-individuals.
The staff strikes via every degree, bouncing throughout platforms and combating off waves of gigantic-trying aliens utilizing the Wonderful 101’s curious, touchpad-managed superpower, “uniting” the mob into large weapons and instruments for the chief. To construct up your energy, you may rescue and deputize civilians into the Wonderful 100, rising the utmost cost of your assaults. Like so many facets of this sport, the idea works effectively while you perceive its mechanics, however it’s solely defined within the broadest phrases. It’s additionally utilized in puzzles, typically with out rationalization, which creates pointless confusion.
Each of the core story heroes has a distinct weapon, which you summon by drawing a fast image, both utilizing the best analog stick or the touchscreen in handheld mode. (Technically, you can even swap among the many heroes utilizing the second display screen menu, which you’ll be able to deliver up image-in-image-type within the decrease-proper nook of the display screen while you need it.) Each of the weapons has various makes use of out and in of fight. Wonder-Red, for instance, summons a large hand that may punch, but additionally turns large gears and sometimes grabs ledges and issues in fast-time occasions. You additionally draw a lot of utilitarian talents, like a cling glider, and contextual symbols for particular moments. Suddenly switching from interested by pushing buttons to drawing shapes at all times manages to incite a small jolt of panicked pleasure, whether or not you’re requested to do it mid-cutscene or to change up your ways throughout a struggle.
The mechanic nonetheless feels very intelligent, particularly in fight. Once you get previous the early-sport grunts, every enemy has particular weaknesses to take advantage of: Learning how you can hit enemies hardest and how you can counter their assaults makes for quick, however very tactical fight. Though there are a restricted variety of enemies, every degree brings new mixtures and environments to make conditions more difficult and maintain the depth up, even when you’ve the tactic down for a particular opponent.
Unfortunately, although, the drawing mechanic turns into a legal responsibility within the Remaster. If you play in your TV, you must use the best analog stick to attract, which isn’t exact. Even with loads of time, it might take two or three tries to get the sport to detect the criss-cross “claw” image as an alternative of the same wavy “whip” signal. Drawing is way simpler in handheld mode, since you should utilize the touchscreen, however the small display screen makes it tougher to inform what’s happening, particularly when the digital camera pulls means out to accommodate a really giant enemy. It may be robust both means, although, as the scale of your drawing is set by what number of characters you’ve in your staff. It’s fairly simple to get carried away and run out of runway.
That mentioned, it’s onerous to inform what’s happening it doesn’t matter what. The digital camera always feels misplaced. It will get too shut throughout platforming sequences, making it onerous to see the place you’re going, and pull again too far throughout fight, making it onerous to maintain observe of the character you management among the many mass of tiny heroes operating round.
Unfortunately, the drawing mechanic turns into a legal responsibility within the Remaster.
And typically, the sport is just too intelligent for its personal good. Outside of fight, lots of the guidelines and visible cues for how you can handle its puzzles, that are virtually at all times timed, are unclear. Wonder-Green, who carries a gun, destroys a water tank in an early section to place out a fireplace. From that time on, you’re anticipated to know that, while you see something scorching, you employ the gun to destroy a tank to place it out. Many hours later, when confronted with an oncoming lava stream throughout a chase sequence, I didn’t assume to shoot an unmarked tank to chill it earlier than I used to be killed. While there’s a logic that connects these puzzles, it’s a stretch to imagine that I’d see hearth and assume “shoot tank to put out the fire,” particularly with none indication that the tank would cool off the lava. Wonderful 101 is affected by these sorts of logical leaps, typically in puzzles that should be solved beneath stress. There’s nothing extra irritating than charging right into a scenario full-pace and dying with none thought of what you probably did improper.
Many of The Wonderful 101’s issues–unexplained mechanics, finicky drawing controls, and so on–are exacerbated by the much less-than-polished state of the Switch port. Technical points with the save system, hit detection, digital camera controls, and drawing all created sufficient doubt in my thoughts that, after I skilled an issue or bought caught, I puzzled whether or not I used to be misunderstanding the sport or if one thing wasn’t working.
Even if the technical hiccups get fastened in a patch, although, the Wonderful 101 doesn’t stand the take a look at of time. Remastered or not, I always felt like there have been lacking steps or if I used to be figuring issues out too slowly to maintain up with the hyperactive story and its multifaceted gameplay. What’s extra, the transition to the Switch, even with its touchscreen capabilities has solely exacerbated the sport’s core issues. There’s an excellent idea and the great fight mechanics we all know Platinum can obtain in there, however you’ll want a whole lot of endurance to search out them.