After something of a drought of Wii U-specific games, along comes this absurdly entertaining title that offers up innovative gameplay and embraces the unique GamePad, all while beating your senses round the head with a big stick. Well, proverbially at least...
The isometric The Wonderful 101 has a simple premise - the Earth is being invaded by aliens, the Geathjerk, and you're charged with defeating them by controlling not a mere superhero but up to 100 hapless citizens who are instantly transformed into your super-powered posse on contact; the more folk you amass on your team, the more powerful your attacks become.
And talking of attacks, this is where the GamePad steps in. Draw on its screen to morph your group of unlikely heroes into all manner of attack formations whether it be a sword, a gun or a, erm, jelly. Tracing out the symbols needed to morph can be tough to master in the heat of the moment but you'll need to nail it - because the enemies come in a huge variety of guises, constantly surprising you whether it be small goons that can easily be dispatched to monstrous bosses that spread themselves out over multiple screens.
But to only highlight The Wonderful 101's hectic combat would be to do the game a disservice. It also boasts an obscenely varied amount of gameplay; from Dig Dug and Punch-Out to Space Harrier, if you can think of a genre, the game expertly riffs on it, never leaving your attention alone long enough time to even contemplate gathering dust.
And then there's the backdrop to all this crazed action. Taking its visual cues from classic kid's TV covering everything from the Power Rangers to Captain Scarlet, The Wonderful 101 parodies them all. The game's imaginative twists and turns spill out of both screens, daring to overwhelm you, all while leaving you giggling with delight like a nine-year-old.
With rich visuals, a fantastic soundtrack and mountains of innovative gameplay, The Wonderful 101 proves that, despite all the attention surrounding the Xbox One and PS4, the Wii U remains a platform to be reckoned with. And that the GamePad can be used to create experiences that are unique, special and, well, just plain super-heroic...