The Wonderful 101 is the latest in a long line of Wii U games to get a second chance at life on the Nintendo Switch. Platinum’s wacky Sentai superhero story was a true-blue made-for-Wii U experience: Using a combination of traditional buttons and hand-drawn symbols, you corral and control a mob of up to 100 characters who fight through beat-’em-up arenas, navigating reaction-based puzzle-platforming challenges and a litany of setpiece minigames. But something feels off about The Wonderful 101 Remastered. The seeds of Platinum’s best games are there–the snappy dodging and parrying, the clever writing and design, the demand that you hone the craft of controlling your characters–but it’s hard to appreciate them in a game that demands mastery over its complex mechanics without taking the time to properly explain how they work. Combined with new technical issues, The Wonderful 101 Remastered doesn’t just fail to make the generational jump, it forces us to question whether it warranted a second look.
The Wonderful 101 tells the story of Earth’s costumed global defense force, the Wonderful 100, who fight off an alien invasion. It’s a light, peppy romp across secret labs and cities under siege by aliens. Though there are 100 members, the narrative focuses on a few core, color-coded characters–trope-borne personas who exchange quips through their adventures.
Though the deeply campy storytelling creates some amusing moments, the story indulges a little too much in Sentai’s penchant for stretching out dramatic moments with sudden but ultimately inconsequential plot twists. Many a boss fight ends with you defeating your opponent and declaring victory, only for them to get up so you can beat them two or three more times. The jokes, good and bad, always overstay their welcome.