Fluke, a happy accident, a stroke of luck. It was by sheer serendipity that I stumbled upon the Project P-100 game demo station this week, and had I not done so, I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to play one of the most unique Wii U titles on display at this year’s E3. Developed by Platinum Games, Project P-100 on the surface just looks like you normal everyday beat ’em up, but at its core it is so much more.
In my playtime with Project P-100, the game struck me as a mix between Pikmin and Viewtiful Joe, which makes sense as many of the former Clover Studios developers (the guys behind Viewtiful Joe) went on to form Platinum games. You are in control of a hero who is tasked with recruiting regular, everyday citizens to help fight the forces of robot evil. After saving the people of the city from the gigantic robots, you can recruit them to help in your fight by drawing a circle around them using the touch screen on the GamePad. After being recruited, the citizens will change to heroes themselves, complete with super hero names such as Toilet Bowl Man and Top Hat Girl.
Diving right into the game, there really isn’t much to it. There are two forms of attack, a light and a heavy. The light attack sends your recruits into a super hero frenzy, attacking anything in their path. Things get really interesting however once you begin to explore the intricacies of the heavy attack. Each push of the heavy attack button combines your super heroes into a blob to form some fantastic weapon types. On display in the demo were a sword, a huge fist, and a pistol, but the representative running the kiosk informed me that the full retail game would include more weapons to unlock.
Changing between each heavy attack type was perhaps the most interesting part of the whole play through. Instead of pushing a button to toggle through each attack, much like drawing a circle to recruit citizens, you simply draw shapes anywhere on the GamePad screen to from your weapon. Drawing a vertical line formed a sword while drawing an ‘L’ like figure would form a gun.
Another interesting feature of the Project P-100 demo was a simple puzzle that had you looking from television to GamePad screen to solve it. As your character enters a building, the action of the game suddenly shifts to the GamePad screen. In this instance, the game tasked you with finding the combination to a lock to open the way forward. After maneuvering around inside the warehouse on the GamePad in an attempt to find the answer to the puzzle, I just happened to look up at the television and realized that on top of the building I was currently occupying was a three digit number. On a whim I decided to try the number on the lock and my way forward was suddenly opened up.
Add in the promised 4-player multiplayer to the game and it looks like we may have another hit for Wii U on our hands. Projects like this are what get me excited about Nintendo and Wii U in the future, and if more developers like Ubisoft and Platinum Games continue to support the platform, the future looks bright for the console indeed.