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Poképark 2: Wonders Beyond Review
Developer: Creatures Inc.
Platform: Nintendo Wii
ESRB: E for Everyone
Release Date: Out now
Nintendo has put out yet another entry in the huge and successful franchise that is Pokémon. This time, it's a sequel to the spin-off game, Poképark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure. To any Pokémon fan, Poképark 2: Wonders Beyond looks somewhat appealing with the ability to take control of a Pokémon, interact with the other Pokémon of that world, play mini-games, and mess with the other features the game provides. Who wouldn't want to be an adorable little Snivy or Oshawott? Seems like everything would be awesome in a game like this. Keep your money stashed in that wallet of yours, though, and see whether or not this particular Pokémon title is worth your time and hard-earned cash.
What do you do in Poképark 2? Like in some of the other spin-off titles – such as Hey You, Pikachu! and Pokémon Channel – you take control of the ever-popular Pikachu. This time, though, you’re also able to control “pals” you come across as you progress through the story. These pals include Oshawott, Snivy, and Tepig (which are all the starters in Pokémon Black and White versions). It certainly provides some variety, as you might get tired of controlling the electric rodent constantly. Anyway, the story for the game is pretty simple, as you would expect from such a game. You must stop evil Pokémon from luring innocent Pokémon into a place called Wish Park. The evil ones entice everyone with promises of fun, cake, and whatnot, which hypnotizes them. Eventually, you do learn the intentions behind this plot are much more sinister. It’s not something to get too excited about, however.
The gameplay isn’t anything to write home about, either. You can befriend every Pokémon that appears in Poképark 2 by performing different tasks for them (and you must have a minimum amount in order to advance in the game). These include, but are not limited to, things like playing “Chase” with them, battling them, and giving them items. Chasing gets boring very quickly, but battling is something I look forward to when playing the game. It’s very much a simplistic version of what I would like to see in a main Pokémon game. Different moves are set to different buttons and actions (like shaking the Wii Remote). Everything is real time, so you’re able to move around and dodge how you please. It feels very limited, though, which is unfortunate.
Also present in Poképark 2 are mini-games that you must play and beat in order to progress through the story. Like everything else, though, they’re nothing special. For example, one is somewhat of a shooting gallery where you make cakes and another is a cute little dancing mini-game with a Lopunny. You’re also able to play these games in local multiplayer (when you clear them at least once in the single-player story), if you’re interested in playing with your friends.
The controls for Poképark 2 are abysmal. You must play with the Wii Remote sideways and use the D-pad to move around. I’m not sure where the decision for that came from, because it would be much better to walk around with the nunchuck’s analog stick. Trying to move around with the D-pad feels hindered, sluggish, and somewhat tank-like. Therefore, it’s a real pain trying to walk precisely where you want (like when trying to get a berry on the floor or facing somebody). Another downer is that there is no moveable camera and you’re only able to make it face forward with the B button.
The graphics are one plus for Poképark 2. It’s great seeing such bold and vibrant colors among the brown and gray we see in a lot of games today. Also, seeing the world of Pokémon in this gorgeous 3D world is a real treat, and it makes me wish that it was a main series game that I was playing on a console. I can’t say the music is as fantastic (would’ve loved to hear some similar sounding tunes like those of the main games), but there are a few tracks here and there that might tickle your fancy. The cries for the different Pokémon species are also a bit iffy. The older Pokémon have familiar cries that you would hear from the anime, but the more recent generation ones sound a bit weird and don’t seem to fit a lot of their owners.
Poképark 2 is obviously a game made for the younger players in the fanbase. It’s not at all difficult and holds your hand the whole journey. Despite that, it has a bit of charm that will definitely appeal to hardcore Pokémon lovers. Seeing the variety of Pokémon in 3D and interacting with them is certainly amazing. If you’re at all like that, you’ll have a lot of fun being in control of different Pokémon, battling in real time, and much more. If only the game had a lot more content and detail put into it… Then I think it would be something worthwhile. For those looking for something with gameplay as great and as timeless as the handheld main games, however, you should probably stick to those and skip Poképark 2. I hope that we might see something like that in the near future for the Wii or Wii U.
+ Great system for battling, even if a bit simplistic
+ Bold, vibrant colors and graphics that brings out the charm of Pokémon
+ Being in control of Pokémon and interacting with them is fun and a good change of pace
- Lackluster, cliché story and gameplay
- Awful controls that make things like walking a pain
- After a while, the game starts feeling incredibly repetitive
Overall: 6 (out of 10)
Really meant for the younger folks in the Pokémon fanbase. Though if you’re an incredibly avid lover of the series, it might be worth it to keep your collection complete.
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