Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pokepark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure Review

There's no denying that the Pokemon RPGs are amazing games. But with every popular franchise comes the inevitable spin-offs, and Pokemon has had lots of them. Some were good (Pokemon Snap, Pokemon Puzzle League), but some were abysmal (Hey You, Pikachu!, Pokemon Channel). This new spin-off title, Pokepark Wii: Pikachu's Adventure is a treat for hardcore Pokemaniacs.

Before we start, some background information. Pokepark was an actual place that was open in Japan for a part of 2005. It was pretty popular, but not many people outside of Japan got to experience it. Pokepark Wii is nothing like the actual park, mind; mostly because actual Pokemon roam around the virtual one. You are a Pikachu who has been guided by Mew to the Pokepark, which is missing the Sky Prism pieces. You gain these items by beating the area leader's minigame, 14 in total. These activities range from a 100-meter dash, a vine-swing challenge, a jet ski-style race, a boxing challenge, and more. The best of these minigames is Bastiodon's Block-Bash, a Breakout/Arkanoid-style game with lots of little twists. Rhyperior's Bumper Burn also stands out from the crowd, with its bashing madness. The racing game is repeated way too many times thorough the game, though, but with minimal changes. The two flying minigames should also have better controls, too.

In order to succeed at these activities, you can't do it with Pikachu alone. By wandering around the Pokepark you see other Pokemon strolling around. Talk to them and they ask you to partake in a friend challenge, which is either a game of chase, a battle, a fetch-quest, or a quiz. The battles are especially fun and they show you what it would be like if Pokemon was an action RPG instead of a turn-based one. Win these challenges and they become your friend, allowing you to control them during the minigames. Each Pokemon is very true to their personalities, and you're bound to find someone you like in this game. The game also includes RPG-like stats, which, when trained upon, allow you to run faster, shoot larger Thunderbolts, etc. It's just so much fun to electrocute these adorable creatures.

The presentation is pretty good, too. The graphics are nothing extra-spectacular, but they get the job done. Control can be a bit wonky, though. You hold the Wiimote on its side, but it doesn't always lead to great controls because you're walking around a 3D world; I often found myself locked into a position where the camera couldn't turn. Sound is also okay, too. The Pokemon use their anime voices instead of their screechy cries, which is a positive and a negativ: some Pokemon are cute, while some are so damn annoying it's not even funny.

Gameplay: It's a mixed bag. Some of the events are boring, while some are really fun. 7
Graphics: Nothing too amazing, they work out. 7
Audio: Again, nothing that amazing. Some of the Pokemon voices are questionable, though. 6.5
Overall: Right now, this game is almost always priced at $50, so I advise to wait on this one. But if you are a Pokemaniac or like cute things, this game is right up your alley.

6.75 Mudkips out of 10.