Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo is a good way to introduce younger gamers to Dragon Ball, but don't hope for anything more than that from Revenge. The game follows the adventures of a very young Goku, starting with his fight against the Red Ribbon Army. That's from the original Dragon Ball series, before it had a "Z" or "GT" in the title. And as you might expect from a Wii game with a child as its protagonist, this is a game aimed squarely at the young. Though it does have some juvenile appeal, the single-player mode is too simple to keep the attention of more experienced gamers, and the Versus mode is too simple for nearly everyone.
Revenge of King Piccolo has the young Goku, clad in his traditional orange and armed with his fists and fighting staff, hunting down the dragon balls that have been scattered across the world. The Story mode plays out like a traditional brawler. You spend most of your time in side-scrolling levels that allow you a small amount of three-dimensional movement. Goku's quest takes him to the village where he fights Colonel Silver, the evil Red Ribbon army's Muscle Tower fortress, General Blue's underwater HQ, and a number of other classic Dragon Ball locales.
Unfortunately, Revenge of King Piccolo never sets challenges worthy of Goku's epic quest in front of you. Your core abilities are a regular attack, a block, a jump, and use of your kamehameha, which you'll use to plow through endless hordes of foes without any real effort. Some enemies and enemy projectiles (such as missiles) will be surrounded by a blue lock-on halo, allowing you to tap the Z button to zip to the target. You can also execute some simple combos, such as pressing down while beating enemies to bits to launch them into the air and then pressing the Z button to fly after the poor target. Though these combos add some mild variety to the combat, you don't actually need to use them to progress. Smashing through levels requires very little other than continuously hitting the attack button. You'll bash the same few robots, thugs, and humanoid animals over and over again throughout the course of Revenge. The simplicity of the combat and lack of enemy variety cause the action to turn dull quickly.
The limited platforming doesn't work particularly well either. You might have to jump over and duck under moving electrically charged balls while on a moving platform, but the jumping and hit detection are so imprecise that this is an exercise in frustration. If you need to explore up or down, it's a simple matter of looking for the floating objects with blue lock-on halos around them. If you press Z, you'll fly up to the object, and from there, you'll either have reached the height you need or just have to press Z again to reach the next object. Just as combat ultimately comes down to mashing the attack, the platforming and exploration elements ultimately come down to mashing the lock-on button. While kids might enjoy smashing through the game, there's no joy here for someone who wants to earn a victory.
Boss fights and special encounters punctuate the drudgery of the Story mode but don't bring any real thrills to the game. Although these encounters help to draw attention to key elements of the game's storyline, they're simplistic in the extreme. These boss enemies usually have a shield around them, unlike most enemies. If you can remember to hit them until their shield goes from blue to red and then continue to hit them until their shield bursts, you've mastered the subtle strategy of Revenge of King Piccolo. Although the game looks true enough to the anime--with both English and Japanese voice tracks available--the single-player simply doesn't capture the epic battles of the source material.
Versus mode makes no effort to raise the bar. You can play against the computer or another player in a reasonable selection of Dragon Ball locations and with a reasonable collection of Dragon Ball characters. Sadly, what's a simple combat system in the Story mode is simply broken and dull in the Versus mode. Against the computer, victory is a simple matter of hiding behind your shield until the enemy completes a combo. Then, you smash the enemies to pieces while they're exposed. When fighting against another human being, the combat engine simply doesn't have the depth to support fun matches. Characters have some variation, but the system still basically comes down to just three buttons: attack, block, and jump. Even on the Wii, with its dearth of fighting games, you have plenty of better choices if you want to fight against a friend.
Dragon Ball: Revenge of King Piccolo is too simple for anyone but very young gamers. If you're a Dragon Ball fan and want to introduce a kid to the mythos, this would be an easy place to start. If you're a fan of classic beat-'em-ups who wants to introduce a kid to the idea of walking right and hitting things, this'll do. But if you're looking for a rewarding Dragon Ball or action game for your Wii, look elsewhere.