PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure Review
You caught them, you battled them, you even photographed them, and now it's time to befriend them. PokePark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure has players assuming control of everyone's beloved electric Pokemon to save the world from impending doom, all while enjoying an occasional game of hide and seek.
The legendary Mew appears to Pikachu in his dreams and tells of an impending doom that threatens PokePark. The only way to save it and its inhabitants is to collect the scattered Sky Prism Shards that broke apart after the PokePark's Rulers became enemies. Failing to collect all the shards will cause Mew's Sky Pavilion to come crashing down and destroy everything upon impact. So it's up to Pikachu to reunite and ultimately save everyone.
The core idea of PokePark is to become friends with a mix 193 Pokemon while searching for the elusive Sky Prism pieces. As you explore areas such as the green forest of the Meadow Zone, the cavernous Lava Zone and the island paradise of the Beach Zone, you come across a myriad of Pokemon that inhabit them. Befriending them doesn't require battle, but rather, beating them in games of tag, hide and seek, platform hopping, Pokemon trivia, and more. Fetch quests are occasionally added to the mix, but frustration sets in quickly as Pikachu moves at a snail's pace when he's carrying items.
Befriending Pokemon opens the Attractions (mini-games), which must be completed to obtain the shards. Playing as any of your Pokemon friends, you'll fly through rings, slide down an icy slope, play bumper-tops by tilting the Wii remote to smash into other Pokemon, to name a few activities. There are 14 attractions in total which can be both an upside or a downside, depending on your point of view. The downside is that the number is very small, and for a game that seems to focus on the fun of mini-games and a park devoted to it, it can be disappointing. However the upside is that each game is quite different, so you don't end up with a bunch of cloned games with the same controls, but different visuals. Oddly enough though, support for multiplayer is nowhere to be found.
Berries, awarded after befriending Pokemon, are required for payment to access the attractions of the park and to upgrade Pikachu's abilities. As you progress, the Pokemon you will want to befriend will get faster, thus harder to catch and stronger. By paying a certain amount of berries, Pikachu is able to upgrade his dash, thunderbolt, health bar, and learn Iron Tail, which is a strong close range move.
While the attraction controls are perfect, choosing Wii remote only controls for the rest of the game was an odd decision. I normally prefer this control method, but it mainly works for sidescrollers like New Super Mario Bros. Wii or Donkey Kong Country Returns. However PokePark has you controlling Pikachu in full 3D motion, which makes navigating with the small D-pad very frustrating and, at times, utterly painful. Since motion controls wouldn't work with a classic controller, this is one game I would prefer to use the nunchuck attachment.
Even though PokePark is primarily aimed at kids, Poke-fans will find a lot to like in this action adventure title. It may not be the 3D Pokemon game fans have been crying for ever since the N64 era, but its own take on the "gotta friend 'em all" formula can be just as addicting as catching them.