By: Lara Murray, staff writer
ESRB Rating: T (for Teens)
Available on the Wii U
The Wonderful 101 is a colorful, action-packed romp that puts the player in control of a team of superheroes working together to fight against an invading swarm of aliens bent on taking over Earth. It’s a typical story with inspiration heavily derived from Japanese super sentai shows, but most families in the US will liken the game to the localized Power Ranger series, or the Pixar movie The Incredibles.
If children already watch action shows where combative violence is prevalent, The Wonderful 101 shouldn’t be an issue. Most of the content is suitable for children to watch, with fully voiced characters that makes the game feel more like an after school cartoon.
The T rating for the game is due to a few mature instances, such as to alcohol by way of a hero called Wonder-Beer. Very mild nudity (comparable to a nude Barbie doll) is displayed during a few transformation sequences, as well as when a player loses—their character is defamed of their costume and cast out into a spotlight in their underwear on the Game Over screen.
There are three setting in single-player mode–Very Easy ,Easy, and Normal–that players can select from before each mission that affects how easy enemies are to defeat. Regardless of setting, the controls are the same: players use the touch screen on the game pad, or the analog stick on a controller or gamepad, to draw shapes that turn into attacks, such as a circle for a fist or a line for a sword.
The game can be unforgiving when moves aren’t input correctly by not executing the move, which halts progression with the missions that require proper execution of a move to continue. Young children with little to no basic grasp of shapes may not share the intended fun as compared to a child that possesses these cognitive skills, but may still find enjoyment watching the action unfold on the screen.
In multiplayer, a competitive co-operative mode, up to five players can play using one Game Pad and four Wii Remotes. Controls are the same as they are in single player mode, but it’s more difficult to draw commands with the Wii Remotes than it is to use the Game Pad’s touch screen. It’s also very difficult to follow what happens on the screen, as there is too much action happening at once to successfully keep track of your avatar.
As long as the reasons responsible for the game’s T rating are approved in your home, the Wonderful 101 is a great addition for a family that owns the Wii U. It’s a fun romp that children and teens can enjoy, whether they’re playing the game or watching someone play through the story.