Pokémon players are used to catching and training Pocket Monsters but the PokéPark games give kids a new way to play with Pokémon—as the Pokémon characters themselves. PokéPark 2: Wonders Beyond allows players to play as four different Pokémon, including everybody’s favorite, Pikachu! The game takes place in the coastal area of PokéPark, where players will interact with Pokémon as they try to solve the case of the disappearing Pokémon. This mystery will lead to Wish Park, where players can enjoy the game’s multi-player activities.
The PokéPark games are not the same type of game as the Pokémon games for the Nintendo handhelds (DS, GameBoy, etc.). They have a completely different look and style of game-play that is more of a mission-driven adventure than a turn-based battle format.
The Pokémon from the handheld games have gotten super-cute makeovers for this latest Wii installment, and players get to play with the Pokémon in two game settings: the adventure setting of PokéPark and the activities area in Wish Park. The activities are mini-game-like challenges that feature the Pokémon.
PokéPark does a great job of recreating the Pokémon battle feature from the handheld games in this new form of game-play. Rather than a turn-based fight, both Pokémon square off in a real-time battle using their characteristic moves. For example, Pikachu can swat other Pokémon with his tail and has a lightning bolt attack that players pull off in real-time. The four playable Pokémon will also have the ability to learn new evolved moves as the game progresses.
As an uncle to a couple of boys who love video games, I’m constantly looking for games that adults and kids can play together. PokéPark 2 is not one of those games. It is ideal for the kids, especially little kids under the age of 10, but isn’t going to be something that adults will WANT to play with the kids in their lives. That doesn’t mean that this isn’t a great game for kids, because it is. Young Pokémon fans are going to love it, and parents can rest assured that the content in the game is perfectly suitable for kids as young as three. Even the battles are incredibly child-friendly and usually end with the Pokémon becoming friends.
The only reason a young child might not be able to play this game is the level of required reading. All the conversations among the Pokémon are text-based.
In short, young Pokémon fans (especially around ages 5 to 8) are going to love this game.
There is a lot of text-based conversation early on in the game and kids might get frustrated by how little actual playing they are doing at first.
The graphics look like they belong on the last generation Game Cube. They are probably fine for little kids, but anyone else might be surprised at how cheap the graphics make the game look.
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