Developer: Nintendo EAD
Platforms: Wii U
Release Date: 4th August, 2013
Pikmin 3 is something that will pull out that childlike smile that has longed to leave you lips. It is a game that screams Nintendo with everything it does and will bring a smile to your face. By combining unique environments, clever level design and pure fun,it turns out to be one of the games that are definitely worth picking up if you are a Wii U owner.
It has to be Nintendo who understands the joys of simple pleasures. We’ve seen excellent platforming and innovative design with Mario games and explored worlds of wonder in The Legend of Zelda. Then we have Pikmin; a game which essentially is multitasking, planning and time management and contrary to what you might believe, immense amounts of incredible fun. One of the many inventions from the mind of Shigeru Miyamoto, Pikmin is actually based around the idea of little creatures providing assistance around the garden.
While terms like “time management” and “multitasking” don’t necessarily sound like the elements that could create a good game, it simply does thanks to the developers behind the game. Pikmin 3 proves that you don’t need excessive violence, sex and guns to make a good game.
In Pikmin 3, you control three little astronauts from planet Koppai. Koppai is suffering from explosive population growth and its inhabitant’s lack of spacial planning. The astronauts are tasked with scouring a new planet for new food and supply to compensate planet Koppai’s shortage of it. Essentially you must find fruit, bring it back to your ship and turn it to tasty juice pods, one of them being drained each day to sustain your small explorers.
Here is a fun little fact about the name of planet Koppai that I found interesting. Nintendo was founded as a card company in late 1889, originally named Nintendo Koppai.
Each stage in Pikmin 3 is separated into days that last around 20 minutes, and it’s up to you to use that time wisely. By the time sun sets you need to return to your spaceship or the poor, stranded little Pikmin are lost to vicious predators. You can’t achieve everything you would like in one day so you will have to decide what your goals are for each day.
The first thing you’re going to do is to reunite the scattered explorers after they ship crashes and they’re flung to different areas. The early stages of Pikmin 3 automatically let you discover new kind of Pikmin, a cute yet destruction causing little creatures that will do your bidding. The gentle learning curve will soon let you enjoy the game to the fullest.
Pikmin 3 and the ways to play it
Soon you’ll come to welcome the way it accommodates different play styles. You can hurry to the finish on a minimal supply of juice, or build up a buffer to allow you time to find every available fruit. While it seems simple at heart, the strategy turns out to be surprisingly complex. When you have up to 100 Pikmin available on the field, you have to know which units you should send fighting, as well as when and where to send them.
When we add the different types of Pikmin to the equation, things get even better. Pikmin 3 has some several Pikmin types that are completely new to the series. The Rock Pikmin can do more damage when you throw them against hard objects and enemies. It isn’t anything revolutionary, but a nice addiction which enables clever level design. Then there are the Flying Pikmin, that are relatively weak, but are the quickest way to carry items back to your ship, the SS Drake. Add in the traditional Red Pikmin that are immune to fire and blue that can survive underwater and there are plenty of options for you to choose from to build your strategy for surviving the day.
there are plenty of options for you to choose from to build your strategy for surviving the day
With the options available, three explorers and dozens of Pikmin to use, you might split them up to complete several tasks simultaneously, or keep them together to make sure it is safe. It is completely up to you! The game turns out to be most challenging (and rewarding for that matter) when you’re forced to separate your explorers, throw another explorer to an area that cannot be reached otherwise, or use group of Pikmin to act as counterweight when you’re balancing through a puzzle.
While puzzles aren’t too hard to solve, they’re not something you can just run through. Every time you manage to complete such puzzles, there is a well deserved feeling of achievement. By the end of the day, it really feels good that you were able to defeat one of the colossal enemies on an area or bring back a total of five fruits to the ship! Sometimes it is worth a day’s work to just to find a shortcut to an area that you can then utilize in the days to come!
The actual story takes a little over fifteen hours to complete. Of course this depends on your play style, whether you’re hurrying through the levels or being extremely careful and playing the perfectionist.The length of the game isn’t bad for the actual story yet the longevity of the game comes from the replayable stages that are not ripped from the campaign, but crafted to offer something more with tactical possibilities.
Enjoying Pikmin 3 with a friend
Pikmin 3 offers two different – local only – multiplayer modes (one can actually played solo if the mood strikes you) which supports split-screen, but strangely not two-screen multiplayer utilizing the Gamepad. These modes are Mission mode and Bingo Battle.
In gather the fruit mode, you’re essentially completing challenges with a partner. However, when you’re working with a partner Pikmin 3 can quickly turn into something tricky if the communication between players doesn’t work fluently, which – then again – is a part of the appeal. Once you’ve completed a mission, you are awarded one of four ranks and can then choose to watch a replay of the entire mission, if you want the reconsider your strategy.
With local play, I simply can’t imagine and two characters that would play this game in silence.
On the competitive side, playing with a friend doesn’t have to be a cooperative effort. Instead you can have both players choosing to control one or two captains in their team and competing against each in Bingo Battle by carrying desired objects back to their own base.Now it wouldn’t be fun if the focus is completely on collecting objects on the level, but the amount of mischief you can cause is simply hilarious. For example, you can find power-ups that trigger a rockfall on your rival or you can command your Pikmin to attack the opposing explorer to stall their progress. These are only two of the possibilities available. With local play, I simply can’t imagine and two characters that would play this game in silence.
It is also worth mentioning that in these multiplayer stages, there are several enemies that aren’t present in the story mode so if you want so see the complete range of what Pikmin 3 has to offer, don’t neglect the multiplayer of the game. All in all it is a shame that Pikmin 3 keeps the gameplay experience strictly offline as the multiplayer aspects are thoroughly fun and worth playing, even if your opponent is in another room or country.
How about the controls?
Pikman 3 can be played with a variety of controls. The game supports playing with the Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuk, Wii U GamePad and even Wii U Pro Controller. Please note that the origins of the Pikmin’s control scheme comes from the previous games so it is only natural to use Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuk as your first choice for input because with that combination the controls and commands you give to your small army are much more precise and accurate.
However, I did also enjoy the game with Wii U’s Gamepad as I was allowed to access more information and the map view from the controller and it also gave me the ability to send a captain to the other part of the map by themselves. However, you lose some of the precision you have with the Remote Plus and Nunchuk.
Eventually I chose to use Wii Remote + Nunchuk as I played throught the game, but it really was fun to use the Gamepad as a camera which let you see the world around you and take pictures that could (of course) be posted to the Miiverse. In a world that’s been beautifully crafted as the world in Pikmin 3 has, I found myself using the camera quite often.
Putting it together
Unique, mesmerizing and rewarding are the adjectives that come into mind when I try to sum up my time with Pikmin 3. It retains that bright, attractive aspect and mood of games we’ve come to expect from Nintendo, even though it retains that gruesome aspect of nature. It is very upsetting to hear that wailing Pikmin cry when they die, you feel guilt if you aren’t able to gather all of them to safety.
Despite that, I had a childlike glee on my face as I played the game. It’s the exact same feeling I’ve had with Nintendo’s other successful releases. Maybe it is the little things Nintendo does that make the game feel so fun and rewarding. For example, for the explorers the names of the fruits are different. You can pretty much guess what fruit we’re talking about when the explorers aptly name it Face wrinkler (lemons huh?). Not to even mention the unique design of the cute Pikmin themselves who are very characteristic.
The gameplay is challenging and rewarding, it has an adventure that is suitable for new Pikmin players but keeps it very interesting as under the gentle learning curve you find a game that has lots of depth and strategy in it. The graphics make good use what Wii U can accomplish, as everything you see is a thing to marvel. Everything is highly detailed and radiates “Nintendo”.
All in all while the game is not probably going to be the thing that will make you purchase a Wii U, but it is a wonderful game that will bring a smile to your face and is definitely worth picking up if you are a Wii U owner. Honestly, I recommend this game to everyone.
BOG’s Pikmin 3 Review Score
|9.3||Why so high?
Rewarding, enjoyable and it puts that childlike glee to your face
|Why so low?
Lack of online multiplayer, precision while you’re playing with the Gamepad.