PokePark 2 Wonders Beyond Review: It’s a PokeParty

PokeParkI freely admit that I am a Pokemaniac. Going as far back as 1998, with the North American release of Pokemon Red and Blue, I’ve been hooked on catching and training the little buggers in game after game. Heck, I’ve played Poke games on over seven different Nintendo game systems and I feel that I’ve pretty much done it all. But then I played PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond and realized there is a side of the Pokemon mythos that I missed.

If you can’t tell by the number “2” in the title, PokePark is a sequel to 2010’s PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure. In the original PokePark, Pikachu was tasked with gathering an army of “friends,” all made up from the different Pokemon collected from the core Pokemon games, and then using those friends to save the world.

In PokePark 2, Pikachu is back, but this time the “starting three” from the recent Pokemon Black and White games, Tepig, Oshawott, and Snivy, join him. The story focuses on a great darkness that is descending on the PokePark, one so powerful that it even terrifies the legendary pokemon, Zekrom and Reshiram. This darkness has created a whole world, called a Dream Park, and it is kidnapping and brainwashing pokemon to further its nefarious agenda.

Zekrom and Reshiram seek out Pikachu and once again, the little yellow electro-rodent-thing is tasked with gathering friends and saving the world.


PokePark 2 resembles more of an action RPG than the traditional turn-based JRPG of the core Poke games. The player starts off controlling Pikachu, but soon befriends Oshawott, Snivy and Tepig. Each pokemon represents an element, and each has its own skill set used to move further into the story.

As an example, only Oshawott can swim, and only Tepig can burn down gates marked with the flame symbol. Snivy has the best jumping ability of all four, which helps him reach new otherwise unreachable heights.

The controls are handled with a single Wii remote, turned horizontal, even though the game is played in analog three dimensions. The 1 and 2 buttons handles most of the actions, and the A button allows switching out pokes on the fly. Specific powers are used by shaking the controller.

Most of the game is spent chasing other pokemon, who befriend you if you catch them. Others ask you to battle which is a real-time fight using limited moves and powers. The battles resemble stripped down matches in a pure fighting game. Up to, and including the near comical studio guitar rock soundtrack. There are also a few pokemon that will befriend you if you bring them a specific gift, or complete a simple task. The end result is for you to collect (or “catch “) ’em all.


There are mini-games, called “attractions,” that break up the seemingly endless chasing and battling. Once an attraction is played once, it unlocks for play in up-to-four player multiplayer. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough of them to justify a full-on multiplayer mode, and PokePark 2 suffers for it.

Graphically, PokePark 2 looks good for the Wii, with the pokemon fully rendered in 3D and differentiated by size and strength. For example, Emboar is massive, with his intimidating beard of fire and wrestling singlet, while Joltik is a tiny electric-type spider. There are multiple regions to explore, each with its own set of pokemon to befriend. The environs look good but do get repetitive as the game goes on.

The sound in PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond helps bridge the gap between the much-loved animated series (and movies) and the original core games. The Pokemon retain their in-game sound bites from their limited move sets, but they speak by repeating their names over and over from the anime.


PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond seems to be aimed at a much younger gamer even though the game is rated E for Everyone. Older gamers, especially fans of Pokemon (like me), can have fun with the game as long as you aren’t expecting the twists and turns and plot-driven story of a canonical Pokemon game.

Regardless of age, if you are a true Pokemaniac, PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond is a great, fun game which will make you smile with each encounter, and as each new pokemon is unlocked.

Shop for PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond on Nintendo Wii for a discounted price at Amazon.com (February 27, 2012 release date)


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