Review: PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond (Wii)
PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond is an amazing game if you’re a kid or a Pokémon fan. The gameplay is simple and intuitive, the story is as compelling as a Saturday morning cartoon series’ arc, and the Pokémon – the Pokémon are fantastic. Not only are they animated to the point where you feel that’s how they’d behave if they were real, they’re also adorable. I find myself waving to loading screens. Tepig, why aren’t you here for me to cuddle you!? Combined with its simple yet engaging gameplay, it’s easily worthy of being a fledgling RPG for little gamers.
That’s where its problem is though; it’s a game designed with a target audience of children in mind. As an adult playing the game, I could only sigh in relief that I had a) an addiction to Pokémon and b) an unhealthy obsession with cute things. If I had neither of the two, I wouldn’t be going near PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond.
The game starts by boosting you directly into the PokéPark, a world where no humans nor evil Pokéballs exist to confine your pocket monster pals. You start as Pikachu, and as the game progresses, meet and are able to play as the three starters from Pokémon Black & White.
The moment you set foot in PokéPark and meet Piplup, who’ll become a good pal, you discover the main thread of the game: that there is another, more sinister realm called Wish Park, governed by Dark-type and the generally creepy looking Pokémon, and that once you enter it, you can’t leave.
With Pikachu, Oshawott, Snivy and Tepig’s help, you’ve got to save PokéPark from the evil clutches of the Wish Park crew! Wish Park can easily be beaten by breezing through its Attractions, or mini-games. These mini-games, once beaten, are available in multiplayer mode. That’s about all the multiplayer action PokéPark 2 offers, by the way, and the four Attractions available aren’t particularly challenging.
The legendaries Zekrom and Reshiram also make an appearance, to let you know that the world is ending, and that you’re – as expected – the chosen one. That’s right. You don’t just have to save Pokémon from Wish Park – you’ve got to save the PokéPark as well!
What a burden. But as with all situations in life, burdens are eased when you have friends to carry them with. Like the first game, your main objective in the game is to go around making friends, who can then help you with stuff like opening portals and battling Pokémon stronger than you. The power of friendship is undeniable in PokéPark 2; heck, they should just have called it PokéPark 2: Friendship is Magic.
Since it’s a game designed with children in mind, befriending all the different Pokémon is a really simple process. You either give your would-be pal something they want, answer a quiz, take a photo, play catch or hide-and-go-seek with them or beat them in battle! It’s easy, because you do need their help to progress. By the way, pocket monsters from all generations feature in the game. Again, like the first game, they’re separated by zones, or towns.
In case you’re wondering, battling is probably the most challenging aspect of the game. Each of your playable Pokémon have to visit a trainer in order to become stronger. But having the strongest moves alone doesn’t cut it. You need to be handy with your Wiimote, because the battles in PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond take place in real time. Having strong moves help, but knowing how to dodge and anticipate attacks is even better. Fortunately, elemental strengths and weaknesses are still valid in PokéPark, and this works in your favour if you’re a button masher. Just pick the right Pokémon for each battle.
Kid-friendly gameplay, with dialogue that’s easy to read and understand, there’s nothing not to love about PokéPark 2, especially if you’re a Pokémon fan! If you’re neither the latter nor a child, however, give it a miss. There are better games out there to blow your mind with.
|SCORESHEET (out of 10)||OVERALL
(if you’re a fan)
|Brilliantly animated and disgustingly cute. Pokéfans will have the time of their lives frolicking along the beach with Alomomola, Pelipper and Patrat. You’ll also spend many a minute gazing at the adorable loading screens.|
|BGM compliments the game, but is very forgettable. The Pokémon sound great, though. And as expected, they all communicate by saying their names over and over again.|
|Simplistic and can be repetitive in parts – there are only so many ways to befriend a Pokémon.|
|There are tons of Pokémon to befriend, and it really is more fun than you’d expect to be skittering about as Tepig, Oshawott, Snivy and Pikachu.|
|How the RGB Scoresheet works|
PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond is an RPG developed by Creatures, Inc and published by Nintendo. It was released in English for the Wii on Feb 27, 2012. Its Japanese release was on Nov 12, 2011.