The Wonderful 101: Remastered

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
The Wonderful 101: Remastered Game Poster Image
Enhanced cartoon brawler has animated violence, blood.

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The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Fantasy-action game tells of vicious alien race threatening to destroy all living things on Earth as 100 small heroes band together to fight back. This is a positive (if not trite) premise, but you must use weapons to kill intruders, which might not be considered so positive.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Because you're controlling a huge group of characters, this game is less about individual people and more about the collective. There's a backstory to each of the 100 Wonderful Ones, but not a lot of depth here. While cartoon-like, the characters are diverse, at least, in gender, body type, race, skin color.

Ease of Play

Easier to play than 2003's original The Wonderful 101 but can still be difficult at times since there's little guidance, such as when to transform into a typical weapon or how to exploit weakness of a giant boss character. Some items and abilities are unlocked, unlike in first game, to make it a little easier. This brawler will largely be a trial-and-error experience for most players.

Violence

While cartoon-like, this game is mostly a brawler that challenges you to take down enemies big and small using the collective force of the Wonderful band of characters. Players will punch, kick, form giant weapons, such as a gun, sword, or whip, to kill enemies. Along with animated violence, there's blood-like liquid that might splash out of an enemy; it's usually green or purple. Some fistfights break out.

Sex

Some female heroes are wearing revealing outfits, perhaps showing cleavage, as camera does a close-up pan across their bodies. Also some suggestive dialogue, such as comments like "Such a haplessly big sword ... are we compensating for something?" and "Did you just call me a cougar?"

Language

There's a little toilet humor, literally, as one character is called "Wonder-Toilet" and has a toilet bowl helmet.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some images and on-screen text reference consuming alcohol. In one still image, a hero has a "Wonder-Beer" mug over his head, with some froth at top of mug, and text that says "Tries to get the enemies too drunk to fight."

What parents need to know

The Wonderful 101: Remastered is a cartoon action brawler for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The game has plenty of animated violence, and players can punch and kick enemies -- which are mostly alien or robotic in nature -- or form together to create giant weapons, such as a gun, a sword, claws, or a whip. There's some green or purple "blood" when some enemies are destroyed and cries of pain during combat. There are some one-on-one fistfights, as well as some suggestive imagery (revealing clothing on some female characters) and dialogue, as well as references to alcohol.

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What's it about?

THE WONDERFUL 101: REMASTERED challenges you to lead a clan of 100 fighters from around the world, who team up to fight back against an alien invasion throughout the fictional Blossom City and other locations, including jungles, oceans, and other exotic locales. Your goal is to head to various locations to confront foes big and small, and collectively form super weapons to help win the skirmishes. For example, you can create a giant gun to shoot a projectile, or form a huge sword to slash a giant robot or deflect what's coming at you. You can also create an enormous fist, claws, whip, hammer, bomb, or drill. Based on the enemy and environment, you'll select the right weapon for the job, and after you're done, the group breaks apart and continues on with its mission. (Oh, and in case you're wondering, since you're the one calling the shots, you make up the 101st "Wonderful One.") Along with improved graphics and loading times, the developers also tweaked a few gameplay elements to make the game easier to play and added a few other extra touches to update the experience.

Is it any good?

This adventure takes a great game and, while it's not perfect, improves it to become a super fun and unique action experience worth considering. The Wonderful 101: Remastered is a refreshing take on action games because you're controlling a mob of mini-fighters, each with its own look and backstory, and can transform the entire group into special weapons by drawing a shape on the screen. It might take a little bit of trial and error to get this mechanic down, but a couple of hours in, you'll no doubt get the hang of how to effectively draw the shape you want.

And it's not just weapons. You can also draw other objects to form as a group, including a bridge or a glider plane to reach a location across a chasm, for instance. "Unite Morphs," as they're called, is what makes this game a fresh and memorable experience, as it's a clever combination of combat and puzzle-solving. Most of these abilities need to be purchased with virtual currency throughout the game, but you now start off with a few good ones, unlike the original 2003 game, which made it tougher for newer or younger players. "Multi-Unite," which lets you summon A.I.-controlled weapons to help in a frenetic battle, is highly recommended on tougher levels. Combo moves will also need to be mastered in order to advance through this game. The boss battles are a major highlight: Without giving away too much, they're big, creatively designed, and challenging -- once you figure out a weakness, of course. Aside from a bit of steep difficulty and a few control issues, such as drawing an object that isn't recognized by the game, The Wonderful 101: Remastered is a fantastic game reborn for new platforms and with improved graphics and more. From its unique gameplay mechanic and polished production values (including a great musical score), this 10-hour or so single-player brawler is a great buy -- especially for those who love fast-paced Japanese action games.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. Is the impact of the violence in The Wonderful 101: Remastered affected by the splashes of green or purple "blood" in the game? Would the violence have the same impact if nothing was shown in battle? Would it be intensified if it seemed more realistic?

  • Why do you think the game included multiple references to alcohol? Does this add anything, or is it distracting to the gameplay? Is there a reason to include a character with a "Wonder-Beer" mug over his head?

Game details

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