Join Pikachu and his pals in their natural environment away from the rigorous life of training in this insanely cute Pokemon game.
The main Pokemon games on the Nintendo handheld consoles have had little innovations with every generation but still manage to sell millions of copies every year. Most of the allure probably comes from the Pokemon themselves. These tiny monsters have their own unique powers and were designed to have maximum cuteness as much as possible. Plus, the odd allure of letting them battle each other unconscious on the road to becoming the ultimate Pokemon master has been the flagship premise of the entire series. To tide the fans over until the next major release, the developers created PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond, which strays away from this traditional formula and ventures into creative ground.
In Wii PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond, there are no human trainers or confining Pokeballs, just plain old Pokemon in their natural habitat. In fact, it comes as quite a shock to witness these cute creatures on vast open spaces rather than inside battle arenas, and the game captures this magical scenery incredibly well. The Pokemon are all beautifully portrayed, and the backdrops range from lush, green fields to wide, blue oceans. The game stays true to its name; you’ll feel like your observing Pokemon as they frolic and play in a park.
PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond lets you do more than just spectate, though. Just like its predecessor PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure, you can step into the shoes of lead mascot Pikachu and experience life as a Pokemon. In this game, the Black and White starters Oshawott, Snivy, and Tepig can also be played and added to your team. You’ll soon find yourself swapping between the four of them as each have unique abilities that can get you out of tough situations.
As for the storyline, there is a foul plot afoot as Pokemon all over the region are being hypnotized by someone. The method of brainwashing used is cake. Yep, delicious cake. One bite and the poor Pokemon looking for a sweet treat will find that he is no longer in control of himself. It’s up to Pikachu and his three pals to save the day. There are various cutscenes sprinkled all throughout the levels, and the plot is actually pretty good despite the ridiculous concept of spellbinding baked goodies.
Gameplay mostly involves playing tag with other Pokemon, finding items, some platforming stages, and a battle now and then. The battles are pretty standard and involve repeatedly pressing a few buttons until you beat your opponent, so don’t expect any strategy or depth in this one. There are a few other minigames and side-scrolling missions, but overall the gameplay is basic and repetitive.
A disadvantage of the PokePark 2 Wii game is that it lacks enough content to keep it interesting. The graphics and music are topnotch, but after a few long minutes of playing tag, fetching items, and battling Pokemon over and over again, you’ll find boredom sweep over you. Thanks to the game’s wide open spaces, you’ll find that exploring the different areas without any particular destination is more engaging than going after significant campaign objectives. Still, it would have been much more fun had the game been padded well enough.
PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond can be played on the Wii console. It is for single player only.
PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond is an amazingly cute game with awesome graphics and sounds. Plus, the Pokemon included look their best, and the open environments really let the game have a special feel. It’s unfortunate that the unimaginative and repetitive content would mar this otherwise flawless release, but it’s still fun to play. Younger kids and Pokemaniacs would especially enjoy this, but other gamers need to think twice. PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond is a decent game for what it’s worth, but it doesn’t quite hit the mark.