Pikmin 3 – First Impressions

A preview of Pikmin 3 I wrote for the website www.square-go.com

The story goes that Shigeru Miyamoto’s original concept for Pikmin was inspired by his gardening.

This may or may not be true but it’s a good story that befits a Nintendo franchise. The original on the GameCube was excellent, as was it’s sequel. A third game has been long in the waiting; the only Pikmin appearance on the Wii was as a character in Super Smash Brothers Brawl as well as an updated version of the original game. At this year’s E3 the new Pikmin was a big part of Nintendo’s plans.

The game doesn’t change too much; everything still involves exploring a world by using teams of Pikmin, small plant like creatures that have special skills. Red Pikmin are immune to fire, blue immune to water for example. You have to grow these before using them to get through the level to collect stuff, this game the prize being fruit.

The story is light hearted in typical Nintendo fashion; the three main characters hail from a planet which is running out of food. In exploring planets to find new food they crash land on the Pikmin’s planet which kicks off a race to collect fruit (as it’s so much bigger on this planet) as quickly as possible.

The problem is that this isn’t going to appeal much beyond the typical Nintendo/Pikmin fan. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this as Nintendo has it’s other franchises to carry on the battle for mindshare amongst the public. What Pikmin has always been is a well crafted fun experience and that looks set to continue with the third game.

Pikmin 3 looks to be an evolution of what came before although now it mixes in a few new elements; new Pikmin give you access to different skills as well as an expanded multiplayer mode.

The main upgrade is in the graphics; as this in on the WiiU everything in now in HD which is a big step up from the previous games, the original being over 10 years old now. That isn’t to say that the games looked rubbish before, the art style has always been beautiful, but having the world of the game look sharper and in greater fidelity only accentuates the great design that has always been a hallmark of the series.

Pretty much all of the various WiiU control options are covered; you play can on the WiiU Game Pad, with the Wiimote and nunchuk or the Pro Controller. The consistent aspect of this is it’s regard to the Gamepad which shows a map of the level you’re exploring. Happily off screen TV play is also supported which is always a big plus.

Pikmin has always been an acquired taste so it’s difficult to say how big an audience this title will get. The art design does put some people off but once you play the game the charm of it is undeniable. Pikmin 3 can’t come soon enough for fans but whether it will get people buying the WiiU itself is another question entirely.

Originally published June 18th 2013

 

 

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