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Review: The Wonderful 101

When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of the Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. I watched the show religiously, got a ton of the toys (ESPECIALLY the Megazords), and I even dressed up as the Red Ranger for Halloween a few times. But as I grew up, I started to drift away from the series because I ended up enjoying video games more due to the much greater variety that was available to me. Then a few years ago, I saw the E3 trailer for The Wonderful 101 and as I watched it, a huge wave of nostalgia hit me HARD. For the first time in a long time, I felt like a kid again.

Released on September 15, 2013 exclusively for Nintendo's Wii U console, The Wonderful 101 is a massive action beat-'em-up by Platinum Games, the genius developers behind Bayonetta (and Viewtiful Joe and Okami when they were still called Clover Studios). You play as a team of Power Ranger-like super heroes called the Wonderful Ones as they fight off a massive alien force called GEATHJERK and prevent them from successfully invading and destroying Earth while you yourself are recruiting citizens and more Wonderful Ones to help you fight off the alien menace.

The way you fight is with the characters' Unite Morph abilities which grow in power the more team members you have. The reason behind this is you use temporarily use your teammates to increase the size, range and strength of the ability or weapon being used. To activate these powers, you have to draw the shape that represents it either by tilting the right control stick in the appropriate directions, or by literally drawing the pattern on the Wii U's Gamepad. Each power even has their own unique set of skills.
  • Unite Hand can turn gears and ignite itself to throw fireballs
  • Unite Sword can cut cables, unlock diamond shaped keyholes, repel lasers and act as a lightning rod
  • Unite Gun can hit distant and unreachable targets
  • Unite Hammer can pound switches, break floors and protect against arial fire
  • Unite Whip can be used to swing from certain points and can rip spikes from their mounts
  • Unite Claw can be used to scale walls, pry open doors and can occasionally freeze enemies
  • Unite Bomb can temporarily slow time to a near standstill in a given radius
In addition to the seven powers listed, there are also several defensive and mobility-type Unite Morphs than can be upgraded in the shop. Using these powers in the right places and at the right times can help you get the best score of Pure Platinum at the end of each mission.

The story is also surprisingly deep for a Power Rangers inspired game. The war between the Wonderful Ones and GEATHJERK that is currently happening in the game is actually the third to happen in the story with one happening twenty years prior and another one before that by another twenty years. There is also internal conflict between the main seven Wonderful Ones and with a small boy named Luka who hates the Wonderful Ones claiming that they couldn't save his mother from dying. This hate drives him to find a way to help GEATHJERK so he can get his revenge. Plus there is another group of aliens, a band of space pirates known as the Guyzoch lead by one known as Prince Vorkken who acts by his own personal reasons. It all portrays a sense of distrust toward each other and the anger Luka displays clouds his judgement as he wants nothing more than to see the demise of the Wonderful Ones. It's all quite saddening when you think about it.

Now my favorite part, the Boss Fights. Each of these fights are unique and interesting, sometimes even being dramatically overdone to the point where it keeps trying to top its own wackiness. A couple of these fights even play homage to the Punch-Out!! series of games which amused me to the point of laughing. I just wasn't expecting anything like that at all. All of these fights also start with a cutscene of Wonder Red initiating his suit's Infinity Form which greatly increases his power and endurance for the duration of the fight. Whenever this scene happens, I always find myself mimicking Red's movements. It's just one of those things that made me feel like I was a kid again sitting in front of the TV watching Power Rangers and eating some sugary cereal.

All in all, this game has been an invigorating experience for me. The controls were great, the music was fantastic and each level was extremely well made and had something unique to offer from it. The camera's isometric view might cause some viewing issues during close up shots, but it can be zoomed out in some cases where that happens. Still, I highly recommend you pick up this game because this underrated title has been one of the most fun games I've played in years. But until then, I'll be seeing you.


Edited by Admin on Monday 18th of July 2016 01:57:38 PM : 
Updated thumbnail to higher res


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