Generally speaking, you spend your time playing Skill Games; a basic cluster of mini-games that range from Chase to Hide and Seek to legitimate Battles. Considering this game is marketed largely to children they're all incredibly simplified. Chase requires Pikachu to chase his opponent, and while each Pokémon will vary in their running speed they inevitably double back as they near a wall and run head-on into you, giving you an accidental win. Hide and Seek is equally simple considering the Pokémon will give you a hint about their whereabouts and you'll be warned via in-game text if you've wandered too far off track. But even more strangely, it seems difficult to actually lose Battles, which are largely a matter of running into another Pokémon and dodging their attacks by moving slightly left and right.
So the difficulty of the game generally comes from having to find and speak to every Pokémon in the zone. Befriending Pokémon has its benefits, allowing you to choose from the Pokémon you've befriended when faced with an "Attraction", a larger-scale Skill Task between your character and a handful of others. But while meeting characters is a focal point of the game, choosing to play as certain Pokémon is limited to Attractions, which only make up a fraction of the action in-game.
Every so often you'll be faced with a slightly more complex task, where you come to the aid of a troubled Poké-guy. Bidoof will ask you to gather scraps of wood so he can build a dam. He wants to invite his aunt over, and needs to build an extra room or two. Bundles of wood surround him so finishing the task requires little more than to walk ten feet to the left and press the relevant button, then trundle ten feet back to ol' stationary Bidoof. He continues to ask you to carry piles of wood to his construction lot on the riverbed so he can invite his extended family to live with him in the Meadow zone.
Each cutesy character is matched by a plodding task. For every smiley, pug-nosed Pokémon there are five mini-games asking you to beat them in a ten-second long race. For each happy-looking berry you collect out of a crate you are told to click on and say hello to every Pokémon within the district. The mini-games are so lacking in variety that between ten different Pokémon you'll have played the same game against them four times. It's the kind of repetitive process that is the hallmark of any standard children's game, yet the bane of every other genre. Regardless of whether or not this is aimed at the under-10 market, the game still fails to be anything but a Pokémon walkabout built around menial tasks.
VideoGamer.com Score5 Score out of 10
- Pikachu is cute
- Not enough variety
- Lots of menial tasks
- Mini-games aren't good