The Wonderful 101 was first released in 2013 as a Nintendo Wii U exclusive and, remarkably enough, ten years later is still the last game to have been directed by Hideki Kamiya (thanks mainly to the cancellation of Scalebound). The game did not sell well, which was probably down to the Wii U's failure as much as anything, but it's an absolute cracker of an action game with a unique combat system, the visual pizzazz of the best Saturday morning cartoons, and bags of personality.
The game was resurrected in 2020 thanks to a crowdfunding campaign and, shortly afterwards, The Wonderful 101: Remastered found its way to various platforms including Steam (where the user reviews are 'very positive'). Part of the campaign were additional game modes offered as stretch goals which, to be honest, I'd completely forgotten about: But Platinum did not. Today saw the release of The Wonderful One: After School Hero Part 1 out of nowhere, which was originally announced as 'Luka's first mission'. After School Hero Part 2 will complete it, and release next week on May 26. Both DLCs are free.
Luka's a young boy from the original game who dreams of being a member of The Wonderful 100, the eponymous superhero crew the game revolves around, and the DLC focuses on his after-school training missions. This is not a 3D action game, however, but a side-scrolling twin-stick shooter featuring the 'Stingy Eye' laser-blasting goggles (this is very much the game's humour, as well as a JoJo reference).
The DLC has an arcade mode to play through, a more difficult challenge mode, and then something called caravan mode where the aim is to rack up as high a score as possible before time runs out. Kamiya's adoration of old school Japanese schmups has been well-documented and, basically, this looks like Platinum giving him the reins to make a miniature Treasure homage.
"We would like to extend our sincerest gratitude to the 33,199 amazing fans who supported us on this journey," said Platinum, adding that once Part 2 is out players will be able to "experience the story of how Luka became the full-fledged hero Wonder Goggles". Wonder Goggles. Right, I'm re-downloading this.
"If you have TW101:R, you can play for free," said Hideki Kamiya. "I was able to make it thanks to all the backers... Thank you very much...!" Kamiya then adds, and how many designers ever get to say this, "If you search for 'wonderful' it will come up…"