Pikmin 3 Review
It’s been almost 10 years since the adventures of Olimar on the Nintendo Gamecube brought Pikmin to a Nintendo console. Somehow though, Pikmin 3 seems to feel almost like a game in a long running series. The beautiful colored world, the funny looking Pikmin and the great feeling of loss when you make a mistake killing some of your vegetable like minions are all back, and if you ask me, are better than ever. Pikmin 3 is not the most complicated, difficult or intricate game on the Wii U, but it might just be one of the best games on the console to date.
If there is one thing that Nintendo does right, it is fun. I don’t know how they quite manage their mastery of fun, but it is very much so present in almost every ounce of Pikmin 3. From the moment that you land on PNF-404, to the moment you blast off after finishing the last boss, everything is just enjoyable. From the music, sounds, sights and little quirks to the game everything is for the enjoyment of the player.
Most of your days are spent in the story mode as three different crew mates, splitting up Pikmin, collecting more Pikmin and searching for fruit to be converted into juice as the main food source of the player’s people. As the player, you are running around in the environments trying to complete these objectives during a day/night cycle that lasts about 30 minutes per day. This time limit has been a staple of the Pikmin games in the past but for some reason feels kind of short.
These sessions mainly feels short because the game splits the days with long cut scenes, story bits and dairy entries that seem to take entirely too long. After playing 30 in game days of Pikmin 3, I just wanted to jump into the next day. The time it takes to juice fruits and tell a story about the previous day just seems a little bit too long and tedious. Having an option to skip all of the animations and nonsense would have been a nice touch for players that just want to keep the action going. There is nothing worse than being excited about taking on a boss and having to wait through what seems like 5 or so minutes of nonsense to get back into the game.
Maybe these breaks in action are so annoying because the gameplay is so good. Splitting up the three crew mates to complete different actions feels good and uses the gamepad very effectively. Even when using a different control scheme, like the wiimote or the pro controller, the gamepad becomes an overworld map where experience players can split up tasks and send members all across the lands of PNF-404. Experienced adventurers, or players coming a second time through the game, will almost feel like Pikmin gods completing tasks at lightning speeds. The best part about it is that Nintendo has limited the amount of Pikmin needed for a task and planned for the splitting up of jobs.
But this enjoyment and limitations on Pikmin needed comes as a double edged sword. People looking for a hardcore RTS game or hardcore puzzle game might feel a little bit of a lacking in challenge. Even on the first play through, none of the puzzles or bosses really felt that difficult. Even in the last boss battle, that lasted a couple days, ended with only like 25 or so Pikmin dead. The only time I lost a lot of Pikmin were my own fault and lack of paying attention. This is a huge change from the past games where one wrong move could have been very costly.
Thankfully there are challenge missions after the story is complete that are much more challenging and may be more a hardcore gamers style. These missions task players to collect treasure as quickly as possible with leaderboards and a stressful time limit. For people that have a couple of friends the local competitive multiplayer is also a blast. It would have been nice if Nintendo could have figured out a way to have online co-op or competitive multiplayer as an option though. It feels weird not having an online option these days.
Overall the game is a beautiful work that has a few slight problems that usually don’t exist in Nintendo games. The story rolls along at an enjoyable pace, but there could have been a couple of tweaks that would have made the game more enjoyable. The multiplayer is fun, but lacking with no online options. Pikmin 3 then is a great game that uses the hardware effectively while at the same time just missing the mark.
Pikmin 3 is a fantastic game for the Wii U a few brush strokes away from a masterpiece.