Pikmin 3 Review

It’s weird to think back 10 years ago when I thought I would never play a Pikmin game. It’s a game about flowers, after all. How could that be fun? Add in the stress of a time limit? No thanks. I wanted action and fun. A game I can replay over and over again. Can Pikmin be that? I didn’t think so but I was wrong. Not only was I wrong, I’m happy to be wrong.

Concept

Create a new entry in a series almost 10 years after the last one while making it a fun experience that utilizes the Wii U’s potential. Seriously, this game shows how the Wii U has potential. I would not want to play this game on any other system except for maybe PC.

Story

Simple story that starts off as a search for food, stuff, and people. It occasionally shakes things up, but not to the extent where you need to be worried. It’s also fairly short and can be beaten within 10 hours. However, due to the nature of the game, that’s for the best. I know I could have beaten it within “30 days” on the first try if I didn’t decide to explore, but that’s part of the fun. Fun fact: the characters you play as are from Koppai. Nintendo’s original name was Nintendo Koppai.

Graphics

The graphics are beautiful. The environment has been rendered very well, and if you want to appreciate it more, you can use the gamepad to take photos. Despite the time limit for each level, it’s easy to earn plenty of time to stop and admire the flowers and other well rendered objects.

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Sound

The music does play in my head for a while and it isn’t bad. However, I also don’t find too much attachment for it. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the game. The pikmin sounds may be annoying to some people or adorable to others. The sound of them dying annoys me mostly because it means I messed up somewhere, like accidentally sending them to water.

Controls

You have four options for controls: the Wiimote and Nunchuck, Gamepad, Wii U Classic Controller, and Stylus. I agree with Nintendo that the Wiimote and Nunchuck is the way to go. This doesn’t mean that the game isn’t playable with the other options, but since I didn’t play the games on the Gamecube, I’m not attached to that control method. Personally, I found the Gamepad was best used as a map and for overall strategy while the Wiimote was best for executing. Nintendo recently released the Stylus control scheme but I have yet to see it in the core gameplay, partially because I am hooked to the wiimote and nunchuck scheme.

I greatly appreciated having this serve as a map

I greatly appreciated having this serve as a map

I am a great fan of the point and click methods with the Wii remote. I can’t imagine playing the game with as much ease and comfort without the wiimote. It did take me a while to get used to the system, but the game’s story did a good job of getting me used to the controls without any boring tutorial.

Gameplay

This is the first Pikmin game I have ever played and seen more than 5 minutes of. The gameplay was actually fairly simple. You pluck pikmin, you command them, and you use them to obtain your goals whether it be grabbing food, building bridges, taking down walls, or attacking monsters.

It’s a simple game with some complexities. In order to keep playing you need to bring food to your ship, but you can build a stock of supplies that let you play for days without worry. The “day” still ends at sunset (or when you hit “End Day”), but you only need to have control of your pikmin (or you can just leave them). Also, since you eventually have control of 3 characters, some puzzles require you to effectively use them. This generally means use one to toss another or two (Four Swords style) and then give them Pikmin to perform their task (possibly throwing them again).

Monsters have different weaknesses

Monsters have different weaknesses

Sometimes it’s best to plan your day with which and how many pikmin to bring. The more you play, the better you can plan your day. This is where the Gamepad shines as it works as an overhead map and makes it easy to plan and see where everything under your control is located. I’ve also noticed that if you return to the same location day after day, the monsters you defeated stay defeated. I think they only return once you change locations. So that’s a subject of strategy as well as keeping the game interesting. The rule stay about the same for everything. Whatever you have done will stay done, even a boss’ health, giving a greater meaning to your actions.

Currently, my only complaint is the ironic AI. The pikmin are sometimes smart enough to know where something goes before you, but they are not smart enough to avoid jumping into water? There was one occasion I dispersed them so as to properly assign them, but the Red group decided to jump into the water with no hopes of getting out. Occasions like this was when I generally restarted the day.

Treasure hunting

Treasure hunting

Besides Story Mode, there is Mission Mode and Bingo Battle. Mission mode is a collection of mini levels you do within a certain time limit like 8-12 minutes. Inside, you have the option to hunt for Treasure, Battle Enemies, and Boss Battles. These modes can be done alone or co-operatively. They can be a source of a good time and receives DLC (most you have to pay for, but there are a couple free levels).

The Bingo Battle is a versus option in multiplayer. It appears that it can play with up to 4 as there is a 2 v 2 option, but I have yet to test that out. It is a bit interesting as each player has his own set of pikmin and uses them to obtain certain items to get a “bingo”. There is only one of some items or enemies, so blocking the other person’s bingo is a legitimate strategy. It lets you play with the Pikmin formula a little while having some fun with a friend. You also have some control over how many pikmin you begin with so that can be a little handicap for newer players.

That Red Marble is Mine!

That Red Marble is Mine!

Replayability

As I mentioned before, there are plenty of options to play again and again. Since the game is short and keeps track of your score as well as best 5, it encourages you to play again and again and allows you to experiment. It also has gotten some DLC. I actually found the treasure hunting to be a good time to play with a friend or significant other who doesn’t normally play games. With medals to earn, we found ourselves replaying the same level over and over to reach that perfect score. As a result, I say it has fairly good replay value, which jumps when you play with someone else.

Overall

I remember over 10 years ago when I saw a friend playing Pikmin and wondered, “How could this be fun?” I never touched the game, but I did think the controls and system looked a bit harsh. I didn’t like obligatory time limits for puzzles and thinking games. If I got stuck, I didn’t want to lose all of my progress. Pikmin 3 took away all of those fears. It’s accessible and fairly lenient. If you know what you are doing, there are no hindrances. If you are just learning, it comes fairly easily and can give you plenty of time (assuming you grab the fruit). And if you really mess up one day (like killing all your pikmin), you can restart that day or from any day you have done.

Who do I recommend this game to? Anyone interested in playing Pikmin for the first time or old fans of the series. Strategy fans might be surprised by the depth in the game as well. The game also receives DLC so there are occasionally new missions to do if you get tired of the old ones. Also, bingo battle can be a fun way to introduce someone to the game. It takes some thinking, but only needs as much as you are willing to give it.

The three characters

The three characters, image taken from Nintendo’s official site

official website: http://pikmin3.nintendo.com/

 

Pikmin 3 Review
A beautifully crafted strategy game that is enjoyable to play alone and with friends for all ages.
Story7.5
Graphics9
Sound9
Gameplay9
Replayability9
Pros
  • Beautiful graphics
  • Mission mode and Bingo Battle
  • Wiimote + Gamepad
Cons
  • Pikmin AI
8.7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (2 Votes)
9.2
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About The Author

Feature Writer/Game Reviewer

Blogger in the IGN community and no longer for Always Nintendo. You can find him still blogging in the IGN community as FalconRise