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PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure
 

PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Category: Adventure
 
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Author:

Developer: Creatures Inc.
Publisher: Nintendo

Features:

1 Player
Wii Remote

The world of Pokemon has been very generous to Nintendo and its fans, as the diehard followers love playing anything that has those cute little critters in it and Nintendo keeps providing it. Most Pokemon games have been released on Nintendo’s portable consoles, with a few hitting the bigger home consoles. Well this holiday season sees a Pokemon game released for the Wii, that being PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure. This game takes a different route than the diehard RPG’s on the DS/DSi, but in the end it is still your typical Pokemon game.

Graphics

Visually speaking PokePark Wii does not tax the graphic abilities of the Wii console. That is not to say it is an ugly game though. I guess the best way to describe the look is serviceable as it manages to look like a world where Pokemon would exist. There is no doubt that it is colourful, and very bright, as would be expected for a game aimed at kids. The world is full of 3D polygons and each level manages to look very different from each other. Some levels are less populated than others, but this was a design choice and not a fault of the game itself or the platform it is designed on. You’ll find there use of some great special effects including lighting, weather, and transparencies, and the game does benefit from being developed on the Wii as opposed to the DS/DSi. Overall the game's visuals are pleasant to the eyes, just don’t expect anything mind blowing.

Sound

When considering the sound in PokePark Wii, given the target audience and the storage medium the game is on (a DVD), I was surprised with the lack of spoken dialog in this game. Although the game allows for the Pokemon to call out each others names, you won’t find them talking here as you have to read the dialog. So even though the game is geared for the younger audience, they will have to be able to read at a decent level to fully enjoy this aspect. As for the music, it is very Pokemon-esque and it changes when you enter different zones and enter battle. Finally, the sound effects for each zone, action, and battle (e.g. using special powers) is well implemented and very familiar to those who know the series. Overall, as with the graphics, the audio is functional.

Gameplay

PokePark Wii does put forth some sort of story to make all your actions relevant. In a nutshell, you take on the role of Pikachu who is tasked to retrieve 14 shards that once formed the Sky Prism. The Sky Prism keeps the Sky Pavilion afloat, and without it the Sky Pavilion will crash into PokePark. Each piece resides with a creature who is a “keeper” of each of the game’s 14 skill attractions. The only way for you to get the piece of the Sky Prism that you want is by beating the target score for each attraction. Collect all the pieces of the Sky Prism and you save PokePark and all those who reside there.

As you explore the world of PokePark, you will find that they are themed in such a way that is very stereotypical of most cute Nintendo games. You’ll find the flower zone, meadow zone, beach zone, lava zone, haunted zone and more. These zones are inhabited by other Pokemon that you can befriend and add to your ParkPad. In order to make friends with the other Pokemon you’ll find that you have to play tag, hide and seek, answer questions (Pokemon based of course), battle, participate in an Obstacle Hop (complete a platform section to find them) or give them food.

There are a total of 193 other Pokemon for you to ‘collect.' There is more reason to collect them just for the sake of collecting them though. You will earn berries (the game’s currency) for each Pokemon that you befriend and once you have done this you can actually use them to compete in any one of the 14 attractions that you will eventually come across, rewarding you with the piece of the Sky Prism and even more berries. The key point here is that some Pokemon are more suited for specific attractions. Water based Pokemon will be more suited for a water based challenge or fire based Pokemon are more suited for any fire based challenges.

Should you have to battle other Pokemon, you will find that you do not battle in the traditional manner that most are used to, such as taking turns (typical RPG style) or drawing circles around your foe (DS/DSi style). In this game you will run around the level, avoid the other Pokemon’s attack, and then use Pikachu’s Thundershock to zap the other Pokemon which will leave them vulnerable to a Dash or Iron Tail attack to knock their HP down even more. You will have to do this a few times depending on the Pokemon you are battling. This was a nice change from the pre-established ways that battling Pokemon have been handled in the past as it is a little more action oriented and should appeal to the kids who play it. If I found anything to complain about here it is that the in-game camera could hamper my aiming, and there is no doubt it will hamper any kids who play this; but most kids will enjoy the battle as it will seem fun to finally beat the opposing Pokemon.

Given that you have to collect the 14 shards of the Sky Prism, you’ll find yourself completing 14 skill games, each having a baseline for you to beat. These skill games are not particularly hard to beat, but that is OK since this game is not really designed for the hardcore or more experienced gamer. These skill games generally use the motion control features of the Wii and Wii Remote for such things as racing (e.g down an icy slope), shooting, or swinging at on-screen objects (e.g. boulders). You’ll find that the Wii Remote is used in simplistic ways. If there is any complaint here, it is that the motion controls are not as accurate as you might hope, but given the target audience, the game seems to take this into consideration.

Given that this is a Pokemon game, and even though it is not traditional in its manner, there are still some elements that are carried over to PokePark Wii. First off you can level up Pikachu’s powers. You will find that you can, and should, level up Pikachu’s Iron Tail, HP, Dash and Thundershock through the use of berries. It is somewhat important to do this as you will be using some of these powers to befriend a lot of the other Pokemon in the game. Remember, you will have to chase and battle a lot of the Pokemon you come across in order to befriend them and add them to your PokePad. Of course the “Collect ‘em All” attitude is alive and well here too, and you can spend a lot of time playing the game should you want to find and befriend all 193 in-game Pokemon. This in itself gives it more legs above and beyond the game’s main quest.

Conclusion

PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure is definitely not a bad game, but be aware of its target audience. Given the simplistic approach to the gameplay, and the familiar Pokemon look, the game is targeted for younger gamers. Of note is that the young ones who play should be able to read. If you are looking for a title that can introduce younger gamers into the world of either Pokemon, RPGs, or both, then PokePark Wii will ease them into it very gently and somewhat enjoyably.







 
 

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