The Average Gamer

Post-E3: Hands-On with Project P-100

For anyone who watched Nintendo’s E3 conference, it would be safe to be pessimistic about the Wii U, because Nintendo aren’t doing a very good job of making us think otherwise. But getting the chance to try it out for myself, I realise that Nintendo’s shoddy showmanship has done a disservice to its product.

If Ninty’s true ambition is to recapture the hardcore gamers, ones like single-player game Project P-100 (working title) are going to achieve it, not an Arkham City game that isn’t even being worked on by the original developers.

Before getting a chance to play Project P-100 at the recent Nintendo showcase, I watched someone play through the demo and couldn’t make head or tail of it. The only thing I could compare it to is Viewtiful Joe invading the world of Pikmin-on-steroids whilst said world is being attacked by robots. You’re quite right in thinking that this sounds awesome.

Project P-100 is being developed by Platinum Games after all, with its back-catalogue including great and bizarre games like Madworld and Vanquish. A Viewtiful Joe lookalike superhero leads a gaggle of other tiny superheroes through the beautifully colourful urban streets of an unnamed town that is reminiscent of Tokyo, saving civilians and bashing bots. These rescued people can then join forces with your team to take on enemies and save the city.

By drawing shapes on the GamePad, or using the right analogue stick, your characters can “Unite” to form weapons which can be used to fight against the bosses or interact with the environment. Drawing a straight line will form a sword, a circle forms a hand, and a right angle forms a gun. The sword and gun were only used in battle during my time with the game, but the hand can be used to turn levers to open doors and turn dials too. The hand can also be used as a fist to pummel enemies of course. All of these Unite moves consume battery life, which must be recharged by using basic attacks. You can also form an anvil to guard attacks, or a super-fast wave to dodge.

You can see how it works in the trailer below:

The isometric perspective of Project P-100 provides a really cool view for much of the game, but can provide some problems when traversing the map, especially when you have to manipulate your gang over obstacles or towards the camera. Platinum Games also do some neat stuff with the GamePad. When your team enters a warehouse, you have to guide them through using the GamePad’s touchscreen while everyone else is looking at the TV wondering what’s going on. Inside the warehouse, you have to solve a puzzle using by turning your team into a hand and turning dials to change a number which is on the outside of the warehouse in order to proceed. It’s a simple idea, but a great way of using the Wii U’s new tech.

The bots you face range from mighty tanks to walking war machines, all of which you get to smash into little pieces and collectible cogs. The really cool bit is when you break them down to near death, and their armour begins to fall apart, leaving them with nothing but their skeletal pieces of metal, which look very similar to pieces of LEGO.

These fights aren’t walkovers by any means. You have to use all the moves at your disposal if you want to get past each boss.

My time ended with Project P-100 with a spectacular sprint through the city as it crumbled around my team. As I desperately jumped from one falling isle of pavement to the next, I realised how much fun I was having, more than with any other game on show. My timer reached zero at the perfect moment; as the Viewtiful Joe-looking leader used the beaming blue sword of heroes I’d just drawn for him to pole vault over a giant billboard to escape the falling city.