The third game in the Pikmin series is as delightful as ever. An enjoyable level of difficulty and challenges will keep players of all ages entertained and engaged.
A Classic In The (re)Making
Pikmin 3 is the latest Wii U gem to be re-purposed for Switch. Much like other offerings, it comes with all of its original DLC and a sprinkling of new content. Here it’s additional missions starring Olimar and Louie, All of this makes- making this deluxe version the definitive one.
Pikmin 3 has received a fair number of tweaks for its Switch release. Difficulty options, a hint system, unlockable achievements known as badges, that are given out upon completion of specific tasks or milestones. These little additions don’t revolutionise the experience for return players, but they do help make the game more inviting.
A Familiar Sight
Pikmin is just as delightful now as when it first appeared on the Nintendo GameCube. The Story begins - as previous games did - with a crash landing. This time around, you take control of three new explorers named Alph, Brittany, and Charlie, who travel across the cosmos in search of food for their starving planet. A collision with a meteor, sends the crew plummeting to the planet of the Pikmin. This is where you, the player, comes in. You’re tasked with reuniting the explorers, navigating the planet’s perils, and retrieving enough food to save their home world.
You’ll start each day landing on the surface of the planet and spend the next 15 minutes (real time) retrieving treasures and unlocking new routes from the surrounding areas. You’ll have to retrieve all of your Pikmin before the day ends so they can climb aboard their ship and head to the safety of orbit. The three main characters you play are fairly helpless and you’ll have to rely on an army of Pikmin to accomplish anything.
Each Pikmin type is unique. Red Pikmin, for example, are resistant to fire and are fierce fighters. Rock Pikmin - one of two new types in this title - can take more damage and can shatter crystals. Pikmin are akin to ants; one alone is helpless, but in large numbers they can accomplish many things. They’ll take down foes much larger and deadlier than themselves, and they can carry much more than their bodyweight.
The general mechanics of the series remain unchanged. But Pikmin 3 finds a comfortable middle ground between the faster paced tension of the original Pikmin and the more thoughtful pace of Pikmin 2. Just as in the first title, you cannot explore the planet forever in Pikmin 3. But where the original had a set amount of days, the length of your journey is dictated by your food supply. This allows you to extend how many days you have left by finding new food sources.
Luckily fruit is plentiful. You’ll find strawberries, plums, and other deliciousness scattered around every level of the planet. You’ll soon build up an ample supply and buy more than enough time to every corner of the game. You’ll also be on the hunt for useful items, that allow your ship to travel farther, opening up new areas to explore.
Some of these objects will be in plain sight, but most will require a bit of strategy to reach. This is where the joy of Pikmin’s gameplay comes in. Retrieving fruit or items requires negotiating the environment using all of the Pikmin abilities at your disposal. There’s an almost Metroid-esque sense of progression, meaning you’ll be returning to areas once you have new skills and Pikmin to play around with. Also, as you work your way across levels, you and your Pikmin will discover and create shortcuts for more efficient routes back to your base. Exploration is constantly rewarding.
A Rewarding Experience
Multitasking is of the essence in Pikmin 3. The sense of accomplishment from dividing up your troops and retrieving multiple items in a single day is incredibly satisfying. The emphasis on multitasking mixed with the ability to play the entire story cooperatively with a friend is delightful.
It’s hard not to grow attached to the Pikmin, their mannerisms and the sounds they make are endearing. Watching them charge into battle is nerve-wracking. You’ll feel genuinely guilty when a Pikmin falls in battle. You’ll feel even worse if you accidentally leave some behind at the end of the day. The game keeps a running total of all the Pikmin that have fallen under your command, which is painful. Losses are inevitable, especially during boss battles, but it doesn’t make things easier.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe introduces new side story missions featuring Olimar and Louie. These self-contained missions give you a set amount of Pikmin and a simple task to complete. These are usually to collect as much treasure, fruit, and enemy carcasses as you can before the day is out. Mission mode is fairly similar, with challenges that range from defeating bosses quickly to retrieving all treasures in a level. Bingo Battle is fun, turning the usual gameplay into a head-to-head race. Matches quickly descend into chaos as you battle roaming predators but also enemy Pikmin as well. The lack of online support however restricts the mode’s appeal.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe holds up wonderfully on Switch thanks to its unique gameplay and well constructed levels. The tweaks and additions make this title more enjoyable for returning players as well as for newer players, who may be trying the Pikmin series for the first time. There is no other series quite like Pikmin.