- Nintendo Wii U / Rated E10+ / $59.99 / released August 2013
- OFFICIAL SITE: pikmin3.nintendo.com
- PURCHASE LINK: Amazon
- FINAL: You NEED this game. 5 out of 5 stars
It’s been almost ten years since the “Pikmin” series last invited gamers to herd tiny plant creatures, but fans will forget all about that wait when playing the franchise’s Wii U debut, “Pikmin 3.” The game does not fall very far from the tree, but when your tree is as healthy and fruitful as Nintendo’s “Pikmin” concept, that’s no bad thing.
Set in placid forests and creeks that might as well be your own backyard, “Pikmin 3” is the story of three alien explorers who have come in search of food for their home planet. The aliens are only a few inches tall, so even a single orange is hailed as nourishment for multitudes. Their quest is assisted by the Pikmin, a mostly-mute race of miniature plant people.
The Pikmin throng about your character, guided by your instructions on where to go and what to pick up. If all goes well, they happily harvest fruit and hike it back to your ship. And should any of the game’s natural predators appear, the Pikmin rely on you to issue attack orders. Now, Pikmin will die – usually when eaten by an enemy or when you lead the air-breathing variety into water by mistake – but this is not much of a detriment. Being plant-like life forms, you simply grow more.
“Pikmin 3” allows control with either the GamePad or the old Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The Remote and Nunchuk method offers more precision since you can point the Remote exactly where you want the Pikmin to go. The GamePad, however, is still a useful option if you do not have any Wii controllers sitting around, since it is used to navigate the map and read bonus items. You can also play the game entirely on the GamePad, if you want to give your TV a break.
No matter which method you prefer, there’s a steep learning curve to “Pikmin 3.” Once you start splitting up your Pikmin into separate tasks, there’s some serious brain power required to manage multiple goals at once. The game also delights in setting environmental puzzles before you, where you need to have one type of Pikmin do this so that another type can do that, and, by the way, the area is guarded by a Pikmin-hungry beast you’ll need to defeat. Put a ticking clock on that and it’s easy to become overwhelmed, but remember, you can always grow more Pikmin.
“Pikmin 3” balances that intensity with a peaceful setting and lush, vibrant graphics. It remains a shame that Nintendo has yet to provide a “Pikmin” game that lets you explore these beautiful environments without a timer, but there is nothing stopping you from diving back in for more “days” again and again.
A couple of splitscreen multiplayer modes add replay value where you can cooperate or compete with another player’s Pikmin squad. The cleverest of these is “Bingo Battle,” where you must try to collect specific items to score a line on a Bingo board.
“Pikmin 3” is such a unique experience that, even a decade later, it remains un-duplicated by anyone by Nintendo. The game’s adorable flora and fauna provide the charm, and the challenging gameplay makes it a serious affair.
This review is based upon product supplied by the publisher. Image courtesy Nintendo of America.