A game that generated some buzz for Nintendo at E3 2012 doesn't even have an official title yet. Project P-100 is an unlikely game coming from Nintendo mostly because developer Platinum Games is behind it. At first, the game feels like a DS title ported over to the console space and nothing more. Upon closer inspection, though, that might not be a bad thing at all.
From a gameplay standpoint, the premise is quite intriguing and surprising. The game is a brawler presented from an isometric standpoint. You'll fight gangs of robots before encountering a few minibosses and herculean tasks, such as clearing out airplanes that block your path. Despite being a superhero that looks a bit like Viewtiful Joe, you aren't doing everything alone, as you have plenty of sidekicks. These sidekicks are simply regular citizens who you've recruited, and they choose to fight as a group instead of individually, sometimes forming into giant weapons to take out enemies. In a strange way, it feels like a brawling version of Pikmin.
Like most of the demos at Nintendo's Comic-Con event, this one was relatively short but showed off just enough to give you an impression of how things will be. You'll move from section to section, clearing out minions or smaller bosses to progress. You've got a basic attack and a jump which, when activated, causes everyone in your party to act as one. While you'll mostly handle the analog stick and buttons, your touch-screen on the Control Pad handles two important tasks. First, you can round up new sidekicks by drawing a circle of influence around them. Just about everyone is fair game, so your party might eventually include fans, reporters, soldiers, students and even old ladies. Second, you can draw specific shapes on the pad to transform your sidekick posse into different tools or items. For the demo, this meant having them form a giant hand, which is equally useful at turning knobs as it is pummeling enemies; a sword; and a gun.
The demo was quite fun, especially since it never gets old to see a group of costumed people beat up lone enemies. The graphics lent themselves to the classic Nintendo style thanks to the bright colors, and the music did the same. About the only thing that felt like it could use some work pertained to the Control Pad's screen. When it came to drawing out the needed symbols for transformation and sidekick capture, it felt like you needed your movements to be small and precise. Considering that the extra precision of a stylus couldn't be accomplished since that meant awkwardly switching positions, players have to deal with drawing the required symbols multiple times to accomplish the task. The other thing that could be worked on is the camera when you enter a building. Entering structures transfers the action to the Control Pad's screen, but the camera is lowered to the point where some objects disappear, making you wonder why you can't move forward until you realize that you're actually bumping into an obstacle.
Project P-100 is most likely not going to be the final name for the game, and no one knows if it'll end up being a full-fledged game, let alone having a release date. It's a title that doesn't seem to fall into gimmicks like a few other WiiU titles on display, and it feels like this concept could be done on Nintendo's portable console instead of the upcoming home console. That doesn't mean that it isn't fun, and from what we played, it certainly has that part nailed down. We're hoping to hear about the game's final name as well as more details in the near future.
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