Tuesday, November 16, 2010

PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure (Wii) Review

Over the weekend I went to Blockbuster and picked up PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure purely on impulse. I had covered the game before, so I was interested in how it came up. Here's my review of the game to let you know.

No admission required.
All screenshots by SuperPhillip.

When it first came out, Pokemon was considered a fad. A decade later and there's still some very bitter people calling it the same. These people aren't the brightest. Regardless, starting with Pokemon Snap on the Nintendo 64, spinoffs of the Pokemon series on consoles have been a popular thing to do. The Wii has already seen the less than stellar Pokemon Battle Revolution, and now it's set to see PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure as it just came out the first of November. Is this a sickeningly cute game or will it shock you with its horribleness?

One innocent day, Pikachu, Charmander, Chikorita, and Piplup were playing when suddenly the legendary Pokemon Mew entered the fray. He opened a tunnel into the world of the PokePark, and Pikachu entered followed by his friends. Mew called upon the help of Pikachu and his friends because Mew's PokePark is in trouble, and only collecting the twelve (or was it fourteen?) Sky Prism pieces will order be restored to the island. It's a tough job, but if someone's got to do it best be Pikachu.

The gameplay of PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure is to have Pikachu travel to and unlock new zones of the PokePark. It is there where he'll meet new Pokemon and attempt to befriend them. How does Pikachu befriend a fellow Pokemon? Usually by playing a quick mini-game with them such as chase where the goal is to catch a retreating Pokemon before time runs out, hide-and-seek, a quiz based on question pertaining to the PokePark, or a battle where Pikachu dukes it out with another Pokemon. Whoever's HP goes down to zero first is the loser. There's really no tension here as all you need to do is hit and then dash to the left or right to avoid an attack and then dash back into the enemy. Rinse and repeat.

The Meadow Zone is Pikachu's first stop on his adventure.

In the PokePark, however, there are owners of each zone. These owners won't become your friend until you have at least won their attractions. What are attractions, you ask? They are deeper, more involved mini-games that pit you against other Pokemon either in foot dash races where shaking the remote like a madman is all that is needed to do, or a rope swing where letting go at the right angle with lead to great success. There's a mini-game where you slide down an icy racetrack, going through slaloms for a boost of speed as you try to beat the clock, and one where you perform a hurdle race. It's important to note that the friends you've made can participate in many of the events giving they're eligible. For instance, a Pokemon without wings very well can't perform in a flying mini-game. After you've completed the attraction, you'll get a piece of the immaculate Sky Prism.

Swing from rope to rope in this attraction.

Pikachu does not control the best in this game. He makes wide circles which makes delicate platforming (obstacle hops) a challenge at first. You hold the Wii remote like an NES controller to play. Pressing the 1 button causes Pikachu to dash while pressing the 2 button makes Pikachu leap into the air. By pointing at the screen and holding the B button, you can enter first-person view and explore your surroundings with your eyes. Holding B in third-person view centers the camera behind the yellow mouse.

PokePark Wii isn't a long game. In fact, it can be completed in less than seven hours. Then there's the bonus content to plow through. This makes this game a hard buy to justify. Instead, it's more of a quick rental which is the road I chose. Without much replay value (beating high scores as every Pokemon is more of a lesson in ennui instead of a challenge), PokePark Wii isn't the best argument to spend your hard-earned cash on.

The Flower Zone is your penultimate stop on your journey.

The visuals of PokePark Wii are fairly simple. The textures are rather bland, but the view is a nice one regardless of this little hang-up. The Pokemon use their own voices instead of their 8-bit atrocities which was a pleasant surprise. The music is soothing and pretty good, too. Overall, PokePark Wii sort of phones it in when it comes to graphics, but sound-wise it's not half-bad.

Ultimately, PokePark Wii is a rental and nothing more. There's simply not enough content to justify a fifty-dollar purchase (can you say "rip-off"?). For what it is though, PokePark Wii is fun enough while it lasts if you're a Pokemaniac or a young player. Otherwise, this park is one you need not visit.

[SuperPhillip Says: 5.5/10]

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