The Pokémon head off by themselves again – where is Team Rocket when you need them?
If you’re a fan of the original PokéPark game, then you will be excited by the arrival of PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond, which takes you on a brand new adventure on the Nintendo Wii. In this wild adventure, Pikachu and his friends Oshawott, Snivy and Tepig have to investigate the mysterious secrets behind PokéPark and explore why Pokémon have been disappearing. The game can be played in single player mode or four player mode for added enjoyment with friends.
The player will, as they progress, get to control the four different Pokémon through the adventure. Each of the four Pokémon has special abilities which make them useful in different situations. Pikachu can use his Iron Tail and quick attack, whilst Oshawott has the ability to jump into water, which is useful for swimming out to areas in the sea or small pools of water, and also has his Water Gun and Razor shell. Snivy can use Leaf Tornado and Leaf Storm to jump to higher levels and can run much quicker than the others, and Tepig can destroy and break down barriers that obstruct your way using his Flame Charge. So, they all have their useful abilities for tackling various situations you encounter along the way.
The game is played with the Wiimote sideways, making it to feel more like your classic controller. The D-pad is used to move your character, whilst using the B trigger can adjust the camera to point in the direction your Pokémon is facing. It feels a little bit fiddly and clumsy while trying to move around with your character, because you are constantly aware that the camera isn’t as responsive as you may have hoped for, which results in everything taking just that little longer.
The 3D environments are charming and you’ll find many different species of Pokémon just wandering around, waiting to befriend you. From the moment you switch on the game, you will be overwhelmed with how adorable and sweet all the Pokémon characters look as they smile and wave back at you. It is at this moment that it becomes very apparent what age group this game is aimed at, with the abundance of cuteness.
Swapping back and forth between each of the four playable Pokémon characters, exploring the different brightly coloured environments is fun. There are four hidden areas to explore with four portals to discover. You’ll follow a set of objectives that are given to you throughout the game by different Pokémon characters. These objectives can be anything from collecting various objects, chasing after Pokémon to grab a much needed item or simply to participate in head to head battles.
Making friends is an important aspect of the game, and this is primarily achieved through beating the prospective friend, either in battle or by catching them in a race. The battles are enjoyable and are played out in 3D, with the Pokémon moving around and using their own special attacks – which still adhere to the elemental factors found in all Pokémon games, i.e. water-type beats fire-type etc.
Wish Park, which is the main focus of this game, contains many wonderful attractions and you’ll encounter different kinds of Pokémon spread over five generations. The park offers a selection of fun activities and battles for you to engage in, from cute mini games to a handful of tasks to complete.
Piplup is the first Pokémon to welcome you to the PokéPark and together you both set out to explore the Seasong Beach with it’s tropical surroundings and gradually make new Pokémon friends. But a strange vortex has been threatening the very existence of every Pokémon in Wish Park and by battling and performing various tasks, you open up different areas of Wish Park allowing you access to all of the attractions. Once you’ve been introduced to a selection of Pokémon, you will progress to Cofagrius’s Attraction, which is a strange cake contraption, and this is the first mini game you’re faced with. This involves pointing the wiimote at the screen and shooting at cake ingredients that pop up.
Deciding which Pokémon to use depends on the situation you’re faced with and each has their own unique set of abilities. The game will allow you to train up your skills and also obtain some much needed berries, which are the PokéPark 2 currency. Berries can be found in special chests scattered across the world, or they can be received as rewards for completing certain tasks. During your adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to take photographs of different Pokémon at any point with the simple press of the A button. These photos can then be viewed and even saved to an SD card. There is also a chance through the game to buy items to boost your health, speed and attack.
PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond is a great way to introduce younger gamers to the world of Pokémon, and as such is most definetly aimed a tthe younger audience. The main game can be completed relatively quickly, but the variety of mini games and the simple gameplay on offer will see kids coming back for more. The storyline is light-hearted and has a general feel-good factor, whilst the bright, vibrant visuals are appealing and a joy to watch. Amongst the older gamers, all but the most fanatical Pokémon fans will find little here to entertain them for long. There is not a huge difference between this game and the first PokéPark title, but that is not likely to bother the target audience. Bright, colourful and full of charm, everything a young gamer could possibly want.