I had heard that The Wonderful 101 was a lot like Pikmin before I ever got a chance to play. That painted my perception of the game for some time, but I went hands-on with it at WonderCon 2013 and I am pleased to say that the comparisons with Pikmin are only valid at the very surface.
In The Wonderful 101, you play as a superhero who can recruit ordinary citizens into his all-superhero crime fighting team. Together, you beat up the bad guys in creative ways. You can draw patterns on the Wii U Gamepad screen, like a circle for a fist, a straight line for a sword, or an angled line for a gun. Likewise, your superhero cadre will line themselves up in the pattern you drew. Press A to activate their power, and you can do much more damage with your special weapon. You can’t use this special weapon forever; there is a meter represented by batteries that will empty. When it does, you’ll need to use standard attacks to build it back up.
Fighting enemies is a matter of attacking with special powers, or regular attacks if you need to build energy. You have to remember to back off with a dodge or block when you see the enemy about to strike. Otherwise, you’ll take damage, and your superhero team might unfortunately lose some members. You can also utilize the right analog stick to move your team and create ladders or bridges to reach areas you could not otherwise get to in order to pick up items and other useful things.
The enemies and heroes alike have a whimsical art style that is a delight. Enemies and bosses tend to be on the gigantic side, which makes it all the more fun to try and take them down.
The build I played at WonderCon was so early that it was going by its original name Project P-100, but even at this early stage The Wonderful 101 looks like another quality title from Platinum Games, and one I am very much looking forward to.