After waiting eight years for a new Pikmin game, we get two in the same year! Sort of. Project P-100 for the Wii U will remind you of Pikmin at first glance, but after a few minutes of playing the game, it takes the idea of controlling a lead character and commanding a group of followers in a much more action-oriented direction.
In Platinum Games newest title, you take control of a super hero and recruit others to join you and fight off an alien invasion that no one hero can fend off alone. You can then command said group of heroes to take the form of a large sword, a gun, a fist, gelatin, etc., and fight off the alien chumps.
The gun, sword, and fist take power to use, which is gained by mashing the X button to attack enemies. It’s a weak attack but is necessary to get to the more powerful skills. Once you have enough power, you input a gesture by either moving the analog stick or by drawing on the touch screen to select the form you want to take and then hold down the A button to activate it. While it is slightly easier to input the gestures on the touch screen, the game is so fast paced that you probably wont want to move your hand that far. Or you’re just lazy. Either one. What’s impressive is that in a sea of developers who are rushing to shove the touch screen controls in your face, Project P-100 is very conservative with the touch screen, only using it in away that makes sense and even then, not requiring you to use it.
The combat feels like an RTS beat-em-up as you smash through enemies with your various abilities. Sometimes, you’ll encounter helpless citizens. By drawing a circle around them, you can turn them into super heroes themselves to assimilate into your hive. The more heroes you have, the more powerful your attacks are.
During the demo there was one time where I had to actually enter a building and use the fist ability to turn some knobs. While inside, I had to look at the Wii U Gamepad screen and control the lead hero in third person. This is the only area in which the game fell flat. The camera was very difficult to control and was so close to my hero that I couldn’t get a good idea of my surroundings. Moving the camera away wasn’t an option because the room was so small. Also, I was supposed to enter the building on one side and exit on the other, but due to the nature of transitioning between screens, it was a little difficult to get my bearings. Regardless, it was only a few brief seconds in an otherwise positive experience.
The demo culminated in a fight on the arms of a giant robot rampaging through the city. It was a very old school boss, fought with fresh mechanics. I had to destroy the weak points on his left arm then chain his arms together so I could get across and attack the other weak points, all the while avoiding his various attacks.
For the life of me, I can’t imagine why this game wasn’t shown at Nintendo’s E3 press conference, especially being a launch title. It will definitely be one to watch as we get closer to launch. Don’t be surprised if it becomes the first sleeper hit on the Wii U.