Project P-100 Preview


Wii U’s hidden gem?

Bizarrely absent from Nintendo’s main E3 conference, Project P-100 is the working title for Platinum Games’ first Wii U title. It certainly has the look of a game that’s Nintendo-bound too – unlike a lot of the other announced third party titles for the system like Batman and Zombi-U, P-100 is bright, bold and fast paced. Hands-on, it’s hard not to be a little overwhelmed at first; as opposed to just one character you control a veritable flock of people on the ground, who move about a city as one unit and and collaborate to strike together when told to attack. After being given a few chances to try this out and prepare ourselves, we then move on to just what it’s doing uniquely with Nintendo’s new hardware.

The touch-screen portion of the Wii U controller is one of the main inputs for the game, and even before it’s given that first touch it gives you examples of what can be done if you do plant your mitts upon it. Draw a circle and it’ll appear on screen like a colourful lassoo; wrap it around nearby pedestrians and you can recruit them into your gang’s numbers. Draw a straight vertical line (the taller the better) and you can group together into a sword and then do a more powerful attack with the A button. Draw a gun (alright… a right-angle) and you band together into a pistol to take out foes from a longer distance away. All of these involve power usage, measured by a battery on screen, which your more traditional actions build back up in quieter moments. As well as a standard attack you can defend yourself either by melding your group together into a jelly-like blob (which can even parry attacks if timed right) or by opting to use the dodge attack, quickly shifting everyone out of the way.

The foes you come up against seem to be fairly simple robot types, but even in a short time you’ll likely see many different kinds. The early structure in the demo we played felt almost like a boss rush, with even relatively small sections of gameplay being interspersed with frequent interruptions from unique, mini-boss-esque foes, complete with short but sweet intro scenes. If adapting to the basic mechanics wasn’t quite overwhelming enough, having a steady stream of new attack patterns to learn certainly ramps up your engagement to keep things fresh and fun. There’s some other clever use of the hardware too, where one building had to be entered on the TV but then navigated internally on the controller’s screen, to open the next area up on the main screen. The perfect antidote to anyone suffering from ultra-realistic uber-violence, P-100 sits somewhere between Nintendo’s Pikmin and Platinum’s Viewtiful Joe, and is hard to not tout as one of, if not the main reason to look forwards to the Wii U later this year.

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