As is often the case with licensed multiplatform releases, the Wii version of Thor: God of Thunder was developed separately from the other console versions and offers a markedly different experience. Whereas the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions do their best God of War impression with consistently irritating and ugly results, the Red Fly Studio-developed Wii release takes the path of a straightforward beat-em-up — albeit one where you wield a magical hammer and unleash the forces of nature on unsuspecting foes. While the result here isn’t a remarkable action game, God of Thunder offers a largely decent take on the comic hero — though it dips into mediocrity on occasion
On Wii, God of Thunder again skips the film’s origin story and dives right into an action-packed quest through familiar worlds from the comics, where you’ll battle ice demons and fiery foes alike en route to crushing the monstrous Mangog. Commanding Thor through the enemy waves on Asgard, Earth, and beyond requires a combination of button presses and light Wii Remote movements, as you’ll swap between the two for melee attacks, throwing Mjolnir (his mystic hammer), and triggering sweeping lightning, thunder, and wind spells.
The combat puts a heavy emphasis on racking up huge combo totals, and rewards you with more powerful attacks and screen-clearing elemental bursts as you battle through packs of enemies and notch large sums of back-to-back hits without significant pauses. Aside from occasional issues launching the right power attack — as your various powers are partly tied to Wii Remote movements — the control scheme does a fair job of putting you in control of Thor’s many abilities, and various unlockable upgrades and equippable power-up runes let you customize his arsenal throughout the adventure.
Beyond the traditional beat-em-up action, the many boss fights also rely on canned Wii Remote movements — shake the Wii Remote and Nunchuk to avoid being crushed, swing up to deliver an uppercut, etc. — but elsewhere, God of Thunder shakes things up on occasion with brief flight stages. Taking cues from the likes of Panzer Dragoon and Star Fox, these quick and simple exercises fling you forward as enemies and hazards fly in your path, letting you whip lightning bolts at foes and chain together electrical attacks between oncoming aggressors. These sequences are not fully formed enough to carry the game, but as momentary asides on this button-mashing journey, they’re thankfully appreciated.
But while the fundamentals of this licensed affair are pretty solid, the overall experience doesn’t rise to the challenge of keeping the plain action from sometimes turning lifeless and repetitive during the boss-to-boss grind. Smashing through impressively destructible environments and sizeable sub-bosses is only entertaining for so long when you’re constantly fighting the same handful of beasts in each multi-level world; or consistently clearing rooms of foes and then triggering switches without some sort of variety amidst that cookie-cutter tedium. More often than not, bashing through the missions and unlocking new abilities is solid fun, but those persistent doldrums do drag down the adventure from time to time.
Click the image above to check out all Thor: God of Thunder (Wii) screens.
Luckily, the laughably poor “realistic” characters and cut-scenes of the other consoles versions are eschewed here for a brighter, more colorful approach that more closely approximates the aesthetic of the comic series. Lightly animated motion-comic sequences thankfully minimize the expository dialogue and simply fling you from mission to mission in a reasonably attractive manner — well, for a non-HD Wii game. Little hitches rear their head on occasion, though, like odd visual flickers or poorly synced dialogue during in-game cinematics, but otherwise the Wii version offers a pretty straightforward, low-frills six-hour campaign with bonus combat training rooms on the side.
Thor: God of Thunder doesn’t pop on Wii, thanks to a campaign anchored at times by repetitive combat and objectives, but die-hard fans burned out on Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 now have a suitably decent standalone option for taking the Norse comic hero for a spin around a few of the nine mythical worlds.