Platinum Games is best known for the M-rated action of games like Bayonetta and Mad World, but its newest title is a family-friendly beat 'em up that aptly demonstrates some of the Wii U gamepad's unique features.

Project P-100 tasks the player with fending off an alien attack by recruiting citizens strewn about the levels. To enlist citizens, the player draws a circle on the gamepad's touchscreen, which causes your hero to run around them, leaving a green trail on the ground. Connect the green trail into a circle, and anyone caught inside will join your group. These recruits will all attack in unison, either with small flurries of attacks by jamming on the X button, or with more powerful charge attacks, performed with the Y button. Your motley crew can also morph into a variety of helpful shapes. The debut trailer shows mobs turning into ladders and hang gliders, among other things. But beware: your recruits can also be stunned by enemy attacks, causing them to fall to the ground. Reviving them is a simple matter of walking past them again; losing and regaining large swaths of helpers vaguely reminded me of Sonic's longstanding ring mechanic, only they provide more advantages.

The action in the demo I played required little thought; I mostly just spammed the X button, and half the time I couldn't differentiate my recruits from the enemy aliens. It got easier as the level went on, however, as I faced off against several large-scale foes. Toward the end of the demo I was clearing screen-sized enemies and obstacles from my mob's path.

One interesting feature emerged when my character entered a factory. Once the view of the hero was obstructed by the building, the gamepad screen switched to a closer, third-person view until I opened the back door and made my way back into the neighborhood.

I'm still not completely sold on Project P-100 – or the Wii U, for that matter – but Platinum Games' newest title contains the same creative quirkiness I've come to expect from the studio, and from Nintendo games. Expect to hear more about this launch title as we approach the Wii U's fall release.