Friday, January 22, 2010

Pokepark Wii- Pikachu's Big Adventure- Import Review

Pokemon has been through a lot. From the original Pokemon Red/Blue RPGs on the Gameboy, it's still one of the most popular franchises in history and remains one of the main pop culture icons of Japan. Aside from the main RPG games there are a ton of Pokemon spinoff games to satsfy hardcore fans. Most gamers would pass on them however. Yeah, things like Mystery Dungeon, Ranger and Trozei. Pokemon spinoffs tend to cater to only a niche group of Pokemon diehards, and so I'll be reviewing this game as a Pokefan.

Decorating that tree is easy. Get Delibird to do your dirty work.

You're put into the game controlling Pikachu in a fully 3D world, taking part in various 'attractions' around a Pokepark, the main aim being to beat the minigames to obtain 'Prism Shards' and bring them to the Sky Garden to restore the Pokepark to glory. You're not alone however- Pikachu can play with other Pokemon in games known as 'Trials of Strength' and be friends with them once you beat them at their own game. Pretty fancy name for doing things like play tag, hide-and-seek, or quizzes, among others. Up to 193 Pokemon can be your friends, and then they can be used to participate in the attractions, replacing Pikachu. There are 14 games in all, and seven or eight huge worlds to find them in.

I give gold. You be my friend.

The graphics are much improved from Pokegames of similar gameplay, like Hey You! Pikachu or Pokemon Snap. The worlds are colorful, and the critters themselves are as adorable as they can be. They each make sounds based off their anime counterparts, and for the most part they sound great, a welcome diversion from the 8-bit squeals from the main line of RPGs. However, it does bother me when you first enter a zone, there's only a few Pokemon in it. It kinda feels like you're in a desolate wasteland. Of course, more Pokemon turn up for the party when you start befriending them. The music grates a bit when you're in the various zones, repeating every 10 seconds or so with a few sound effects thrown in, and the only times where it feels complete are at the entrance, and the main hub zone. The Beach Zone music is especially depressing, even if it's supposed to be an upbeat tune, it's almost always replaced by two to three seconds of silence right after. However, the rest of the zones are fine, and some of the later ones are damn beautiful.

Most deserted zone ever. Fact.

Oh, the games? They're pretty good for the most part, except the Pokemon racing games. You simply waggle the Wiimote to run to the finish, which is completely devoid of any challenge, and this template is repeated three times(yes, three minigames involving mindless running), otwo of which have obstacles instead of a flat track. Of course, you can make your own fun and have Magikarp try to race the others to the finish line. That's also part of the fun of the game, using your favorites to beat the minigames, and you're rewarded when you beat their respective high scores. And there are a ton of Pokemon at your disposal.

Good old Togekiss. My personal fave :)

Wait a minute...respective high scores? Each Pokemon has their own sets of records to beat, because they all don't handle the same. One Pokemon might run or swim faster, others handle sharper turns better, and some others swing greater distances off ropes. They're subtle differences, but Pokefans shouldn't mind this.

My main gripe with this game is the controls. You're controlling Pikachu in full 3D, for chrissakes, Nintendo, wouldn't it have made more sense to give us a Wiimote and Nunchuk control scheme and control Pikachu's movements using the analog stick? Instead, Nintendo have opted to stick to the Wiimote on its side, making diagonal movement a lot harder, and subsequently making Pokemon battles and tag races a bit more cumbersome. It sticks after a while, but you can't help but feel that the controls could have been a lot better, and that more minigames could've been put in with the addition of the Nunchuk into the mix. The second problem is that it's far too short to justify a purchase by anyone other than Pokemon lovers. You can complete the story in about 4 to 5 hours, and that's assuming you befriend a decent number of Pokemon along the way and carry out some of the sidequests.

But it's 4 to 5 hours well spent, this Poke-maniac argues. Playing as a Pokemon and with other Pokemon may well be one of a fan's ultimate dream, and this game fulfils that dream, to a certain extent. After a lavish final cutscene which could well be passed off as a scene from a 3D Pokemon short(trust me, it's very good), it's all over, and I'm left there wanting more.

In a nutshell, playing and finishing Pokepark is like tasting a free sample, it's good, generally, but there's not enough of it for you to enjoy. Pokepark has a huge pool of untapped potential, and if a sequel is made, more effort should be put on making more, and varied minigames, a longer story, maybe throw in one or two more Trials of Strength, and Nunchuk support. This game has got a lot of style. It only needs a whole lot more substance, and then it'll be perfect.

Score: 7/10
 ~Review by pikaby



  1. Do you recon i should get it?
    i am a pokemon fan

  2. i cant wait until this game comes out in the US!

  3. that sucks you cant use any other controls other then the wii mote

  4. it sounds good i'm not sure whether to get it or not since its short is it 2 players?

  5. Single player only, sorry. Pokepark would have benefited a lot from multiplayer though.

  6. I have Pokepark :3 Its awsome PIKA

  7. It sound awsome! Im getting it no matter what!

  8. How old do you have to be to enjoy this game?

  9. Doesn't matter. Like Pokemon, you'll like this.

  10. I really want it, but it's just too short! 4-5 hours is nothing! I have a question though. does it have multiple save files or just one?

  11. Yes, does it have multiple files??