The Wonderful 101

Despite some missteps, this is a joyous game, with more imagination in each level than most games muster in their entirety.

Key events

A brief history of one of gaming's greatest studios

Infinite climax action: Rich Stanton celebrates Platinum Games on its 10th anniversary.

Five years ago I asked Atsushi Inaba, one of Platinum Games' co-founders, about the dire prognostications many in the west made about the state of the Japanese industry. "I don't like it when people lump Japanese developers all together into one group," Inaba answered. "Frankly I think it's a joke. What do these people know? [...] There are tons of terrible western developers, just like there's tons of terrible Japanese developers. To lump studios together in great masses misses the point."

It seems like ancient history now, but you may recall that Nintendo introduced Wii U as a system designed to appeal to both casual and dedicated players alike. One of its first moves in wooing the core player was to resurrect Bayonetta 2 - a game that was all but cancelled before Nintendo moved in to save the day. Calling to mind the Capcom 5 announcements for GameCube, the Mario maker commissioned Platinum Games to develop two new titles for its fledgling system: The Wonderful 101 released on Wii U last year, while Bayonetta 2 arrives next month, continuing the system's positive momentum that began with Mario Kart 8 and gathered pace thanks to a strong showing at E3. While Nintendo's own titles have a universal appeal for all players, Platinum's latest release is something very different, coming across very much like a love letter to the core gamer.

The Wonderful 101 review

What a title - and The Wonderful 101 knows it. Every loading screen displays the logo prominently, and each time a different member of the voice cast gives it their all: "The Woonnnnderrfullll ONE-OH-ONE!" The first time the game loads, the attract screen talks of the Wonderful One Hundred, before it flips around and flashes an irresistibly cheesy grin: "I knew we forgot someone... YOU!"

Platinum Games' Wii U debut is a thrilling game, the kind that has so much energy and variety it can leave you open-mouthed. In style, it's a love letter to classic children's television. The presiding spirits are shows from Britain and Japan: Captain Scarlet, Thunderbirds, and of course those Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.

These shows aren't bad, but that they're the kind you look back on with amusement; to an adult's eye, the wires and costumes and tight budgets are all too obvious. This feels like the driving impulse behind The Wonderful 101, which fetishises every aspect of its inspiration. It is, on the one hand, about superhuman feats of derring-do in OTT settings, and then it is also a story full of daft names, running gags and deliberately overlong explanations of how fantasy technology works. Is there a meta-theme here - the Wii U exclusive thumbing its nose at the slick entertainments of the next generation while flying by on wires, looking fabulous? You'd like to think so.

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Nintendo confirms Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101 UK release dates

Nintendo confirms Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101 UK release dates

New Super Luigi Bros. U DLC getting standalone release.

Nintendo has revealed release dates for a number of upcoming Wii U games, including Pikmin 3 and Platinum's The Wonderful 101.

Pikmin 3 will finally arrive in Europe on 26th July. The three new player characters were named as Alph, Charlie, Brittany, who must scour the Pikmin world for food to survive.

Platinum's The Wonderful 101 will arrive on 23rd August, meanwhile.

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Wii U exclusives Bayonetta 2 and Wonderful 101 unlikely to jump ship and go multiplatform

Wii U exclusives Bayonetta 2 and Wonderful 101 unlikely to jump ship and go multiplatform

Not unless Nintendo wants them to, teases PlatinumGames.

Wii U exclusives Bayonetta 2 and The Wonderful 101 are very unlikely to appear on any other console unless the company funding them, Nintendo, wants them to. And I don't think that's about to happen.

PlatinumGames co-founder Hideki Kamiya popped up on Twitter to say all that. He spoke in the wake of two other Wii U exclusives, Rayman Legends and Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor's Edge, recently being announced for PS3 and 360.

"We're a development company... Nintendo gives us money, we make Bayonetta 2 and Wonderful 101, and they sell it," Kamiya explained.

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Actual New Games of 2013

More wonder, more awe.

New IPs, we're told, aren't really feasible at the tail-end of a generation, so it's heartening to sit down and discover that a sizeable part of the games industry is sticking its tongues out at the likes of Yves Guillemot and Peter Moore; 2013's looking like it's going to be an absolutely stellar year for Actual New Games.

Actual New Games of 2012: The Half-Time Verdict

We pass judgement on the candidates from January and add a few to the list.

Back at the start of January, we wrote of our hope that 2012 would bring us more Actual New Games. As much as we like stuff like Diablo 3 (when we can play it), we also want games that "invent new styles and genres", as I said at the time.

Project P-100 Preview: Wii U's Secret Weapon

It feels wrong to turn Project P-100 into sentences. It feels wrong to try and turn it into words, really. Instead, it should be left to exist as it is: a confident, colourful tangle of frantic, wriggling onomatopoeias. You know, the kind of thing you might get if you shut a very small, very fancy dog inside a washing machine and then dialled in the jauntiest of spin cycles.

It's only fitting really. After all, Project P-100's the debut Wii U offering from Platinum Games, and it's the latest title from amaze-o action director Hideki Kamiya. It's also, for me, the game of E3 2012, no questions asked. No questions whatsoever.

Okay, maybe one question: what is it? It's a muddle of familiar elements, actually, jumbled together to form something entirely new. It's isometric, for starters, taking a viewpoint so often reserved for strategy and filling it with arcade excitement. In the babbling team of happy little superheroes you move around en masse, you'll spot the top-heavy bodies and pointy legs of Viewtiful Joe, along with a little of Pikmin's crowd control mechanics.

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P-100 from Platinum Games coming to Wii U

Osaka developer working on colourful strategy game directed by Hideki Kamiya.

Platinum Games is working on a game for the Wii U, it's been confirmed - although the Hideki Kamiya-developed P-100 didn't make the cut in Nintendo's official E3 press conference.