The very unique Pikmin series, first appearing in 2001, has long been a pet project for Shigeru Miyamoto, being partially inspired by his love of gardening. The last release in the series was Pikmin 2, which released in 2004 to critical acclaim. Ever since, Miyamoto has been adamant about not releasing another unless he felt it was worthy of the Pikmin series. Pikmin 3 started off in development as a Wii title; however, do not take that to mean that it is just a port, as that is far from the truth.
Was the nearly nine year wait for a return to the now named planet PNF-404 worth it? Is this game good enough to be a system seller for the Nintendo Wii U that can attract players old and new to the Pikmin series? Read onward in this review and find out.
The first topic of discussion when it comes to the controls in the game is the wide array of options at your hands, literally. Of course with the game being on the Wii U, the central control scheme revolves around the GamePad. With the use of a TV, you use the GamePad as the controller and as a realistic version of the in-game KopPad. You are also able to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk or Wii U Pro Controller alongside the Gamepad. The game also offers off-TV play with the GamePad.
While playing, I found myself mostly just using the GamePad and TV scheme most of the time, but the use of the Wiimote Remote and Nunchuk with the GamePad brings probably the overall best controls to the game. With this you can pick exactly where you want to throw your Pikmin with precision and speed using the on-screen pointer. The controls are not too difficult to learn, as the game does a great job at explaining everything through the use of hints throughout the game, which can be found throughout levels. These can be referenced when needed through the KopPad menu.
Wide Variety of Puzzles
As you advance in the game, you obtain four other types of Pikmin, including two that are completely new to the series. This allows for an abundance of new puzzles unlike any others in the two previous titles. I found myself using the new Rock Pikmin quite a lot as soon as I obtained them early in the game, and they quickly grew to be my favorite. They may not have a lot of range, but they pack quite a punch, which is vital against early enemies before you have amassed large numbers of Pikmin. The other new Pikmin to the series, the Flying Pikmin, finds a lot of use one you come across them as well. This brought probably the first significant gameplay change in the game from the Pikmin, as it allowed you to get items from previously unreachable areas by being able to cross water, the previously impassible without dying barrier for Pikmin.
Each new Pikmin that you obtain is very useful directly thereafter and against the stage boss, similar to that of the dungeon items you obtain in one of Miyamoto’s other game series, the Legend of Zelda. After plenty of time with the two new types, I’d say that both felt right at home with the others and allowed for some intriguing puzzles.
Building upon the previous title, Pikmin 2, where you controlled both Olimar and Louie, Pikmin 3 gives you three crew members to use. These three, Alph, Brittany, and Charlie, are the engineer, botanist, and captain of the S.S. Drake respectively. The three do not play any differently from one another, but you have to use all three in tandem to solve a number of puzzles.
Time Limit Restriction
A staple of the Pikmin series, the time limit, allows for interesting strategizing where the player can strategize on what areas they are going to attack each day. This may bring out players gambling tendencies as you can try to risk your Pikmin to get items close to the deadline each day. For the most part, I was able to get most of my Pikmin back to the Onion, their home and safe zone, but there were a few times I had some big losses after trying to stretch the time a little too much.
Day Progression System
Unlike most games, Pikmin 3 actually follows a realistic day-to-day change. When you beat an enemy, they will not just reappear in the same area. Specifically on bosses, when you are running out of time or Pikmin, you can leave that fight and end your day. When you return, the boss will have the same amount of health as you left them with the day before. This has long been a pet peeve of mine in gaming, specifically when you leave a room and re-enter to find the boss with the same health. The one example that always comes back to me on this issue is Moldorm, in the Tower of Hera in Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, where you easily can get knocked off the platform and upon your return moments later, he is back at full health again.
It’s not just the enemies that this affects either. Any progress you make on the stage, such as making bridges, breaking down wall, or moving items, will carry over to the following days. This is very useful with the time limit as it allows you to move items closer to your ship and come back to them the next day.Pikmin 3 (Wii U) Review,