PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure
Pokemon fans have been clamoring for a full RPG experience on a Nintendo handheld for a long time. Nintendo hasn’t brought that to us, instead giving us different battle arenas and spin-off experiences. Pokepark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure is another of those spin-off titles that might disappoint hardcore fans of the franchise that are still waiting for a true RPG on a home console. For younger fans, though, there might be an experience they thoroughly enjoy.
The Sky Prism has lots it’s power and fallen out of the sky. Mew comes to Pikachu in a dream and asks him to find all of the pieces and restore the Prism to its former power. To do this Pikachu will have to travel to various parts of a place known as the PokePark battling other Pokemon, making friends and competing in different types of skill challenges. You must restore friendships to unlock new areas of the park and restore peace to this once thriving area.
Big Open World to Explore
The Pokepark is a rather large place. There are a number of different zones all themed around a different element. You’ll find the traditional fire zones, beach zones, ice zones and forest zones. Each of the zones are fairly big taking a few minutes to traverse if you want to walk from one end of the zone to the other. They also do a very good job of getting across the feelings you should have in each of the zones. The cooler tones of areas like the Ice Zone really get across a sense of cold. The haunted zone is filled with darker purples and blacks and feels very gloomy. Thankfully there is a way to fast travel to each of the zones after you find Drifblim’s location in each. It will cost you a few berries for the service, but it’s well worth it when you’re having to travel through zones multiple times.
Pokemon Feel Real
Many open world games have used mindless avatar that just wander around to make the world feel full of life. PokePark Wii actually does a very good job of making the Pokemon in the world feel alive. There are Pokemon wandering all over the area and they all interact with each other. You’ll see different emotion bubbles and ways that they treat each other and it makes the world feel more inhabited than if you were wandering around in a bare environment. Many of them will want you to do things for them. Bidoof, for example needs to build a home for his family and you need to collect piles of wood for him. You’ll have to explore the environment and bring the wood to him. These fetch quests are very short and most of the materials you need are within just a few shorts steps of where you are. All of the Pokemon in the park will talk to you, ask you to play games and interact in believable ways with each other.
You’ll be asked that a lot. You’ll also be asked to play hide and seek or to battle. Most of the pokemon you meet will want to play a game with you before they will become your friend. Be prepared to play these games a lot. There are more than 190 different pokemon that you’ll meet and it will probably get really old having to play the same game of chase dozens of times in order to make friends. Thankfully these mini-games don’t take very long, with most having a timer that counts down from a minute or less for the game. It’s a distraction having to do these games so many time, but it’s a fairly short distraction and these Pokemon will make many of the PokePark’s attractions much easier to win.
You’ll Have Sore Thumbs
PokePark Wii is played using the Wii Remote held on its side. The d-pad controls movement with the 1 and 2 buttons handling most of Pikachu’s abilities. Pressing the A button will unleash his lightning attack. The problem with this control method is that because the game is a huge 3D environment you’re going to hurt your thumbs using the D-pad to move. It would have been a huge improvement to allow players to attach the Nunchuk and use the analog stick to control 360 degree movement. The controls work, but the small d-pad will really hurt your thumbs. The other hard to use button is the B button for the camera. The addition of the Nunchuk would have freed up the d-pad to control the camera. The bad camera controls also hamper the ability to play some of the mini-games like the platform hopping game. You’ll have to replay the game multiple times to complete it because you’re not lined up for jumps properly. A freely controlled camera would have eliminated this problem.
If you’re looking for a real Pokemon RPG with deep, involved story lines and hours of adventure then you’re going to be disappointed. PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure provides a dozen hours of fun diversions and the ability to see many of your favorite Pokemon wandering around a huge 3D environment. It’s a game that younger fans of Pokemon will enjoy and it’s fun to play around with for a while. There is a good number of mini-games to play and a story, that while silly is entertaining.
Final Score: 3/5 Average
Review copy of the game provided by Nintendo.
Played through the single player campaign in its entirety.
Total Play Time: 16 hours