Pikmin 3 Review
Solid. If you’ve played Pikmin before then you know what you’re getting into. Pikmin 3 is a great example of what the Wii U has to offer. The story, the controls, the beauty, just about everything was awesome and admirable. Let’s cut right to the chase…
Pikmin 3 has brought over a new story. It’s not about getting off the planet or getting treasure. Instead, it’s about finding fruit (and your cosmic drive key). Let me explain: your home world, Koppai, has a shortage of food and so three explorers: Charlie, Brittany, and Alph are on a mission for food. They land on PNF-404 where they find glorious fruit (with hilarious names) which they hope to bring home to Koppai. At the same time however (during a crash landing), the ship’s Cosmic Drive Key has been lost and wouldn’t you guess it, some treasure-seeker mistook it for junk to be sold, and you need to get it back so that you can return to Koppai with some delicious fruit. Using all three characters, you solve puzzles, collect fruit, and fight some spectacular bosses.
B-E-A-UTIFUL. Pikmin’s micro-world was meant to be in HD. The developers even added a camera feature where you can take the GamePad, hold it like a camera, and snap pictures to your heart’s content. I’ve seen some amazing photos people post on Miiverse. Just do a search for the Pikmin 3 start screen and you’ll be completely blown away with most of the uploaded pics you’ll see. Another beautiful addition is the depth of field. In a tiny world where leaves fall around you, you’re walking under logs, and just plain traversing through the landscape, the depth of field provides a spectacular effect. Having things go in and out of focus really gives the world of Pikmin that uniquely microscopic feel.
You know, not a lot of people liked it, but I played the entire game with the GamePad. You have the option of the GamePad, the Pro Controller, or the Wii Remote (with the Nunchuk). The Wii Remote + Nunchuk combo is really the best way to go as far as accuracy and switching targets, but don’t hate on the GamePad. The lock-on feature is a great touch and allows you to hold “R” so that you can stand still and make slight calculations to your throw. It makes the GamePad a controller to consider using.
A mini-map shows your team and other detailed information, making managing your three explorers that much easier. Granted there was a time or two where I used the Wii Remote for some much needed quick targeting, but I always went back to the GamePad. That too is a thing of beauty: the ability to switch between controllers. You can switch your controller simply by picking it up and pressing a button. You can jump between all three options in a matter of seconds, if you want to. This allows you to stay immersed in the game without missing a beat – a feature all future games should have. Also becoming a standard feature is the GamePad’s ability to play the game on the controller’s screen. As simple as pressing the select (-) button and… BOOM, the game is right there. Nintendo needs to be commended for that for that millisecond screen jump that they’ve perfected.
The pikmin AI is a little frustrating. When they can’t keep up they will run into walls, stop altogether, or decide to take on an army of bulborbs all on their own. But they were only leaflets, not even buds or flowers, so you can’t really blame the little guys. That aside, the only other frustrating thing was the limited multiplayer. You’re given the option of Mission and Bingo Battle. Mission is a selection of co-op treasure collecting, boss battling, or just a good ol’ fashioned brawl with the peasant-enemies. The other is Bingo Battle: a surprisingly fun multiplayer mode consisting of fighting for items to get 4 in a row on your own bingo card. The split-screen isn’t all that horrible, but what is bad is that the games are all local. The co-op missions I would definitely want to play with a friend in my living room, but the bingo battle needs to be experienced online! The intensity of who is going to collect their goods first, or running into each other on the battlefield or better yet – watching your opponent fight a bulborb, only to steal the body for your own bingo card. That would be a crazy online experience! Nintendo has a way of creating intense, yet simple multiplayer games. Pikmin 3 is no exception other than that it’s only local. I can only hope that there’s an update for the software and online play is enabled. The only “online play you’ll find here is global rankings.
You could also argue the story’s a little short, but that’s relative to a individual play-styles. Personally, I took twenty hours because I liked searching for fruit and building up a large pikmin force. However, if you’re objective-driven, you’ll probably finish it in about 10 or 15 hours. It’s fun to go through again, but there’s really no incentive.
SpawnFirst recommends you stop reading this right now, go to the nearest store, and grab a copy of Pikmin 3. It’s the game we’ve been waiting for to prove the Wii U is not down or out. Pikmin 3 shows the versatility of the controllers, the ability of the gamepad, and the graphical capabilities of the system. If only there was actual online play and the singleplayer was slightly longer, with more incentives for replay. Nevertheless, I give my highest recommendation to Pikmin 3.