In the opening moments of this year's The Wonderful 101 demo, I turned a stack of people into a giant fist in order to turn on a water valve. This valve sent water gushing down a water slide, and my crew and I rode the current and splashed into the pool below.
If you've not had the privilege of seeing footage of PlatinumGames' take on a superhero-themed Pikmin, you play a red-suited leader with the ability to grant temporary superpowers to ordinary citizens. Using your "Unite" powers, your throng of heroes can transform into various shapes -- a fist, a sword, a whip, or a gun -- in order to ward off robot and alien invaders.
When I say "transform," I mean these people literally stand on one another's shoulders and get swung around like a sword. In the case of the gun morph, the bullets are actually people being propelled at high speeds. Nuts!
In last year's demo, you would tilt the right control stick in order to "draw" the form you wanted your heroes to assume. I lamented the missed opportunity to use touchscreen drawing instead. This year, both options are available, but I strangely find myself preferring the stick method so that I don't have to hold the stylus in my hand, always at the ready.
The game gets a pretty intense. Some enemies take their beatings like champs, then knock you down and scatter all your friends across the map. You must then run around, picking them back up to regain your numbers and therefore your strength.
My time ran down before I could finish the level, but I was able to tangle with a giant armored robot who seemed to shrug off any brute force attack. I had to transform my guys into a whip and slowly rip chunks of his armor off before he could be susceptible to my other techniques.
What really blows my mind about this game is the level of detail in each individual hero. Some heroes gain permanent powers and sweet new costumes. But among the temp heroes, I've seen some wearing pots and pans as protection. It's friggin' hilarious!
If there was any justice in this world, The Wonderful 101 would be at home spinning in my Wii U disc drive right now. It's just mean to keep this goodness out of the public's hands for so long! The wait until September is definitely too much.