PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond, is the sequel to PokéPark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure. Like its predecessor, it is an action adventure game from the Pokémon universe, and to attempt to stereotype about the target demographic for the game might risk causing offence as there are more grown men that play Pokémon games than I would ever have imagined.
Having played some Pokémon games in the past I can say that while I am not a huge fan, I can understand (having had it explained to me) why there is an attraction to the Pokémon series. This adventure game spin-off, however, is something I do feel may have a more limited market.
The player starts out controlling Pikachu, but will later go on to select between any one of four available Pokémon during the game, being Snivy, Tepig, and Oshawott. Each has their own characteristic abilities which will allow you to reach certain inaccessible areas or progress more easily through others.
The game opens with Pikachu and his friend Piplup visiting the new PokéPark, Wish Park, but in a kind of “real life meme meets fiction not sure if serious” way, the peace is soon disturbed as we learn that cake at Wish Park is being used to hyponotise Pokémon. It’s up to you, Pikachu, and his friends to save the Pokémon and PokéPark.
There is no denying that the game world is bright, colourful, and some would even go as far as to say “gorgeous”. But there is only so much graphical prowess that the Wii can demonstrate, and I didn’t feel that any boundaries were being pushed by this game. I have absolutely no doubt children will love this recreation of their Pokémon universe, and this is the most important thing.
Gameplay is very basic, and it didn’t take very long for me to get rather bored. The focus is very much on friendships and interactions with the Pokémon (a selection from all 5 generations) that you will come to meet during the game. Most of the game involves roaming the world, talking to different Pokémon, running errands for Pokémon that you meet, or challenging Pokémon to a race or battle. Racing simply requires chasing the other Pokémon as it tries to avoid being tagged. This is typically over in a matter of seconds for anyone that regularly plays games. Battles are not turn-based and simply involve running around dodging or attacking through an understandably easy control system which will be easily accessed by all-comers. There is no penalty for dying – you’ll simply get up and try again. Sadly the gameplay is all rather repetitive.
Later in the game, several mini-games are unlocked which then become available in local multiplayer, but this is the only multiplayer mode available in the game. While there is no 2-player co-op in the main game mode for a friend to join in on, this presents a convenient excuse for any parents wanting to avoid the suffering.
PokéPark 2 is a game which will definitely be loved by young Pokémon fans who will readily forgive the shallow repetitive gameplay it presents. The graphics will blow the minds of young gamers who will love seeing their Pokémon friends in a wonderful 3D recreation. It will have a far more limited appeal for older gamers looking for more substance once the attraction of the cutesy PokéPark wears off.