Unfortunately, this article isn’t about the game itself. I’ve yet to play PokePark: Pikachu’s Adventure, because I can not justify why it is the most expensive game on Wii.
Still selling for $99.95 AU at my local EB Games, PokePark is not only more expensive than the full fledged proper Pokemon RPG main games, it’s even selling for a “premium” over new Wii games that are actually popular and good, like Skyward Sword and Donkey Kong Country Returns. These games regularly see discounts and promotions, because people actually buy them. PokePark does not have that appeal, thus stays $99 alongside Xenoblade Chronicles. To add further horror, PokePark is a standalone game with no hardware packed in, as has maintained the same price for almost two years. The same copy of PokePark has been sitting on the shelf in EB Games since the day it came out, untouched. Nintendo even had the balls to release an official strategy guide alongside the game, selling for $30. You can get full, quality Wii games for that price. Just how much depth can PokePark possibly have?
I hate judging a game by it’s cover, but Nintendo has given me no choice. Let’s take an objective look at PokePark from the only place we can. It’s a hard game to figure out. Firstly, it’s developed by Creatures Inc. who’s last console game was the cancelled Earthbound 64 over a decade ago. This is probably why the game looks like it’s running on a Nintendo 64. Graphics aren’t a big deal, and the game still looks nice and colourful, but so does every ten dollar budget licensed game on Wii. So if we shouldn’t buy it for the graphics, why should we? For a genuine Pokemon experience? What the hell is this game?
Despite their lack of experience with home console hardware, Creatures Inc. have played a part in the development of pretty much every mainline handheld Pokemon game, as well as the Pokemon Ranger spinoffs: all high quality games. They certainly know what makes a Pokemon game, and I’m sure PokePark captures some of that magic. According to reviews and impressions of people lucky enough to play it (millionaires and un-enthused paid journalists), it’s an adventure game with a simple story, various mini-games, some fun areas to explore, and wacky events. This could also describe Zelda, or a trip to the toilet. Who knows? Is anyone going to spend enough money to answer the question?
Unbelievably, PokePark 2 is coming out next month on Wii, and it’ll be $30 AU cheaper at retail than the first. It looks bigger and better, and now slightly more accessible, so this might hold the answer. Ironically, this makes the original PokePark even more useless, but now I’m a bit more keen to see what the concept is about. Just how amazing could it be? With the steep mental challenge of buying this game, Nintendo has captured the thrill of meeting a rare legendary Pokemon.