The Wii is well within its twilight years of a consoles lifespan, where even the top tier publishers (In the Wii’s case, Nintendo and… well… Nintendo) are regulated to releasing mediocre games whom primarily attract a dying consoles last remaining fan base: Young children. That pretty much sums up PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond in a nutshell: While there isn’t anything technically horrible about the game, virtually every aspect about the game seemed to have been designed for small children. Now that in of itself isn’t a bad thing, as many games made primarily for children turn out to be good — the Lego games comes to mind, The problem with PokePark 2 is that it takes it to another level, to the point where not even the parents of the children this game was intended for will want to spend more than a few minutes playing this game with their kids.
The best example to give is are the games controls; even though this game takes place in a fully-rendered 3D-World, the controls are laid out exactly like they would be in a NES game. In other words, you’ll need to turn the Wiimote on its side and use the digital cross to control Pikachu while using the bottom Z trigger to shift the camera.
While struggling to move about, I kept on asking myself why Nintendo didn’t even offer the analog nunchuck as a control option? Then it occurred to me that the developers probably assumed that kids would find using a Wiimote and nunchuck too complicated, so they decided to keep things as simple as possible.
As for the game itself, it’s basically an interesting combination of a 3D adventure game with a little dash of Mario Party thrown in there. Your goal is to go around the park, befriending different Pokémon by battling them. The battles themselves are very simple: attack them using your powers until they fall; chase after them until you catch them, or in some cases, challenge them to minigames like shooting ingredients at a cake. Overall pretty-simple though somewhat entertaining. The biggest problem outside of the controls is the reputation; you’ll be doing the same thing pretty-much throughout the entire game.
On the plus side, the games graphics are surprisingly great for a Wii title. The Pokémon are rendered remarkably well; are extremely colorful and are nicely detailed. Overall the graphics on a whole are not that much worse than last year’s premier Wii title: Zelda: Skyward Sword, which is actually saying a lot.
Overall, PokePark 2 is what you would expect: A game that’s fine to keep young children occupied and nothing else. While the controls are aggravating, the game itself is so simple and easy that it’s not really a huge problem. If you’re a parent, it’s a decent rental for the weekend — just as long as you’re not forced to play along with them for longer than an hour.