The week of cuteness continues with the latest title starring our shockingly cute little friend, Pikachu (seriously, folks, I have cavities; this week has been full of Wii Party and Kirby already). PokéPark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure is a single-player action-adventure that focuses on PokéPark, a PokéMon attraction park. I am not a fan, so my ability to discern between different games in this franchise is not very powerful; however, this game seems to stand out from the normal fare.
Pikachu is hanging out with his friends when Mew, a legendary PokéMon, informs the gang that 14 pieces of the Sky Prism have gone missing; they need to be found and reassembled or the Sky Pavilion will fall, crushing PokéPark (and all of the cute l’il critters contained within) in the process. Mew gives some indication as to where these pieces could be and entrusts Pikachu with the task of finding them.
You had better be in a helpful mood; you will be doing a lot of errands.
PokéPark Wii is a game that is definitely designed for the younger crowd (and the young-at-heart crowd). The game is played primarily with the Wii-Mote held sideways (a la side scrolling games), and the controls are pretty basic: move, dash, attack, and jump. You guide Pikachu around PokéPark and its many zones (all of them have an obvious theme, and if you can’t figure it out, the name of each zone will give it away), finding Attractions (mini-games) which result in hopefully discovering and acquiring one of the pieces of the Sky Prism.
The Attractions are entertaining; each one is different, and will have you using the Wii-Mote in its traditional movement-based role. Some games involve rapidly shaking the Wii-Mote, while others have you swinging back and forth and pressing a button (swinging on a vine and releasing). The Attractions do a great job of breaking up the exploration part of the game, allowing you to engage in some fun activity; the controls for the mini-games are also not very complicated, so kids will have fun with them while the adults should be able to power through them pretty easily.
The benefits of social networking: arsenal!
Interacting with other PokéMon on the island is done via dialogue, simple games, and battles; those last two options eventually lead to those other creatures becoming your friends. Part of the benefit of this is that you gain berries (which is the currency in this place), and it also allows you to draw upon those PokéMon during Attractions. Each PokéMon will be able to perform much better in some of the mini-games than Pikachu; it is in your best interest to ensure that you have a wide range of peeps to draw from; when a creature is better at a particular event, it pretty much guarantees that you will win.
The simple games you can play with creatures include gems like “chase” and “hide-and-seek”, which are self-explanatory. Battling is also not very complicated: take your opponent down by reducing their hit points; shock them or dash into them, and make sure you dodge! I had the most fun playing chase, as it offered the most challenge (for me, anyway). As with the Attractions, the overall difficulty of these creature interactions is minimal, allowing for easy access from a much wider audience than most games.
This is what happens when Pikachu drags his feet along the carpet.
Even though it is a solid game, there were still some challenges: camera controls could be awkward in the middle of a heated battle; some of the supposedly basic tasks are a bit tricky to complete, even though this is a game for kids; I don’t know how long I can actually stand listening to creatures say their own names repeatedly.
All that aside, I have to say that I enjoyed playing this; no one is more surprised than I am. PokéPark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure is a solid “lite” RPG action-adventure that will keep kids entertained for hours and give the grown ups their grinding fix. With a very basic plot, easy controls, clean-lined graphicsm decent sound design, and some fun mini-games, this title is worth the rental for sure – it probably won’t take most adults too long to finish this; definitely a buy if you have little’uns that like the franchise – they will enjoy it.