The Pokemon phenomenon is one that breaks a surprising number of rules. It was always aimed at pre-teen children first and foremost, but the brilliance of those Pokemon games, coupled with their compelling nature and structure, has meant that people from all walks of life have become totally hooked on them. However, some of the more recent Pokemon games have been so deep and complex that younger players (who were originally the series’ main target audience) may have felt a little left out, but PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure is a very enjoyable attempt to redress the balance.
Like the superb Toy Story 3 game which came out recently, Pokepark Wii very cleverly tries to take the complicated, open-world ‘sandbox’ style of games that adults have been enjoying for years, and simplifies it down for children of a very young age. Besides being as cute as ever, this new Pokemon outing is set in a completely open environment, so players can run around, play, make friends, or discover new missions at their own pace.
The story is very simple – you have to search the land for pieces of a “sky prism” that was accidentally destroyed – but the focus is very much on making friends and then playing mini-games with them. Most of these mini-games are very, very easy to get to grips with, and usually involve simply shaking the Wii remote. When you win these games you immediately become friends with the Pokemon who challenged you to it, and a small journal that keeps track of all of friends (as well as your progress through the game) is accessible at the touch of a button.
Although the game takes place in a fully interactive 3D world, moving around it is done by using the Wii remote’s D-pad, which only allows you to move in one of eight different directions, but this actually works perfectly. If younger players have problems controlling their Pokemon at all, pressing a clever shortcut button (the Z button on the bottom of the remote) causes the Pokemon to focus immediately on any point of interest that is nearby.
Similarly helpful is Chatot. If very young players get lost or have problems progressing through the game, one of the first friends that you make on the island is a small bird named Chatot, and he is available to talk to at any time, and gives valuable tips and advice that will help out anyone who’s having trouble. There are also large wooden sign boards scattered all over the land, and they too offer little titbits of information for anyone who may have become stuck on something.
Instead of focusing on the battles that make up most Pokemon games, here the emphasis is on making friends and having fun with the mini-games. It’s simple, incredibly cute and extremely good hearted, and although older Pokemon fans will have a lot of fun with it, it’s probably going to be most enjoyed by under 8’s. Regardless of your age though, this is a terrific little game for Pokemon fans of all ages.
Have you had a play on Pokepark yet? Let us know what you think!
Want to buy a copy? Get it here – www.TheHut.com