For fans of the TV shows or other Pokemon games, PokePark 2: Wonders Beyond is sure to go down a treat as, with the humans out the way, you get to play as a Pokemon, talk to other Pokemon, and befriend other Pokemon in a world full of... well, you can probably guess. Essentially a story of friendship, the Pokemon that inhabit the various regions of the PokePark are in trouble - being hypnotised by a group of evil Pokemon into staying in a weird alternate dimension called the Wish Park. Being the all-round nice guy he is, Pikachu decides he needs to rescue them - but in order to open the portals to the Wish Park, he needs a whole load of other Pokemon to join up with him, and help "wish" for the portal to open. Never one to sit around waiting, Pikachu, along with his friends Oshawott, Snivy and Tepig, set to work gathering as much support, and making as many friends as possible - which in the world of Pokemon, involves playing tag, fetching items, beating other Pokemon in battle, and much more.
The game is controlled with the Wii Remote held sideways, moving your character with the +Control Pad, dashing with the 1 button and jumping with 2. Holding the 1 or 2 button does various special attacks and moves dependant on the character you're playing as - whether it's Snivy's higher leap, Tepig's boulder-breaking dash or Pikachu's Iron Tail attack. It's all pretty simple to get the hang of, and it explains it pretty well at the beginning of the game, along with various button icons popping up to prompt you during your adventure.
Perhaps the only real obstacle young Pokemaniacs have to get over is the fact that there is an awful lot of reading required to play the game. The Pokemon aren't voiced so everything they say - from what to do to befriend them, to story-critical conversations - is done through speech bubbles and text - and there's a lot to be read. Thankfully, the words used are all fairly simple, and the sentences aren't overly complex, but your child will have to be a confident reader to manage this one.
As a story about the power of friendship, PokePark 2 has very little in the way of mature content. Perhaps you could get offended at the battles between Pokemon - but as no-one gets hurt and the Pokemon happily get up again, declaring their undying loyalty in the process, it's no big deal at all.
Despite boasting four different playable Pokemon in the form of Pikachu, Oshawott, Snivy and Tepig, the main game is entirely single-player. The mini-games can be played with up to four players, but with only four games which all need to be unlocked through the main game, it's not really anything to shout about.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo Wii