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What Platinum didn't get right in Wonderful 101, they perfected in Bayonetta 2
on 7 January 2015
If you know and play Platinum's popular games like Bayonetta 1 & 2, then you know what to expect with Wonderful 101, also by Platinum: it will be frantic, it will have crazy big-ass bosses, it will rate you with pure platinum, platinum, gold, silver, bronze or er... consolation medal (means you sucked at that particular segment of the game - which I did for quite a few parts of the game). However, it's different from Bayonetta though.
The premise of Wonderful 101 is all about rather quick drawing reflexes. The whole game is based on having a group of tiny heroes that "form" (called unite morph!) the weapon you use against the alien invaders. And to "form" the weapon, you have to draw it out e.g. for a sword, it's a straight line up then press A; for claws, it's a reverse Z then press A; etc. So mostly the learning curve really revolves around drawing the weapon. (here's a hint: use the right thumb pad, I found it more responsive than drawing on the touchpad).
My first 2-3 missions was a chore as I struggled to find my balance in how to draw the darned shapes. So I really hated it at first. But once I got the hang of it, I started enjoying it more as the game became much smoother and I became more proficient at getting at enemies. In fact, I found Wonderful 101 much easier to pickup than the 3DS' Kid Icarus Uprising which I gave up on as I hated its controls - I would say Wonderful 101's gameplay is saved by the responsiveness of the right thumb pad. Like Bayonetta, what kept me going at the game is that there is generally some freshness in every mission, and the bosses are really fun to deal with.
Plus the game's storyline can offer a chuckle or two. Generally the game doesn't take itself too seriously so it has a lot of slapstick comedy, which is actually quite funny. Even bosses add to the comedy.
However, there are some things that irk me in the game. Firstly, the camera angle. Sometimes it's hard to tell which way you're supposed to go because it's very limited in it's panning. It gets worse when you're inside a building and you have to use the game pad to move around - it's a pain. Sometimes it's because of the horrible camera angle means I fall to my death because I can't see where I'm going. Secondly, quick time events. Those frantic button presses at some points in the game is stupid and gives me repetitive strain injury. I think it could've done without it. Thirdly, sometimes the wrong unite morphs get registered and you end up using the wrong weapon and you have to frantically redraw. Fortunately, Platinum was smart enough stop time when you draw, so you don't get hammered. Fourthly, there are some cheap deaths. Sometimes, it's because I'm landed in a totally foreign situation where there is no hint on what I'm supposed to do and some moving contraption just killed me off.
Overall, I felt the game overall was actually quite difficult. I played it on Very Easy and even then I died quite a few times. But the storyline and the variations in gameplay did keep me going to the end. I think this game could be much much better if they sorted out the camera angles and ease the controls a little. If you're looking for a perfect Platinum game, play Bayonetta 2. The Wonderful 101 feels more like a prelude to the greatness contained in Bayonetta 2. What Platinum didn't get right in Wonderful 101, they perfected in Bayonetta 2.