Date Completed: 8/17/2013
After multiple delays Pikmin 3 was finally released 9 months after the Wii U’s launch. Launch window my butt!! While a bit disappointing, the delay did not come as a big surprise. I happened to play Pikmin 3 at the Wii U Experience event that I attended last year and it was quite obviously not close to being ready. They didn’t let me touch the Wii U Gamepad at all and instead handed me a Wii remote + Nun-chuck. While game delays are a fact of life this one was particularly frustrating due to the long software drought on the Wii U. Prior to purchasing Pikmin 3 I had never actually bought a boxed Wii U title (all of my games were Christmas presents last year).
Pikmin 3 follows the exploits of three intrepid explorers who are searching the universe for food to take back to their starving planet. After crash landing on planet PNF-404 Captain Charlie, Alph and Brittany encounter the Pikmin. Like most conquering warlords our Heroes quickly realize that Pikmin can be used for cheap slave labor. Pikmin mindlessly obey your every command and can be used to collect the various fruit products located all over the planet. They can also be militarized and be sent into battle against the Bulborbs and other indigenous creatures.
When a Pikmin dies it lets out a heart wrenching gasp and its spirit lifts from its body and slowly floats away. My wife (who had never seen a Pikmin game before) was completely horrified. Anyone with a heart will want to avoid this graphic death animation and will attempt to keep as many Pikmin alive as possible. Unfortunately Pikmin are ridiculously fragile. Bulborbs scoop Pikmin up and eat mouthfuls of them like skittles. The environment is overflowing with other perils such as electrified walls, jets of fire and numerous foes. Once I accidentally detonated an entire Battalion of Pikmin with a chain reaction of bomb rocks and 100 spirits gasped simultaneously in horrifying agony. There was nothing else to do but turn off the Wii U and quit for the day.
Pikmin 3 is part exploration, part puzzle solving, part resource management and part combat. There are five different colors of Pikmin that each have different abilities that help to traverse the mazes. Yellow Pikmin can be tossed higher and conduct electricity, blue Pikmin can swim and red Pikmin are fireproof and are good fighters. The Purple and White Pikmin from Pikmin 2 have been replaced with Rock and Winged Pikmin. Rock Pikmin can be used to shatter glass or bean enemies in the head and Winged Pikmin can fly over obstacles. The new additions were a lot of fun and I think Rock Pikmin are my new favorites in the entire series (although I was happy to see Purples and Whites are still available in Mission mode).
The biggest change from previous titles (besides HD graphics) is that you have three characters who can be controlled simultaneously. Using the map on the Wii U Gamepad you can assign a character a destination and then switch to another character while the first character works his way towards the selected location. I would often have all three characters working autonomously in different areas of the map on separate objectives but some puzzles require collaboration from all three characters. Effectively multitasking between the three different and managing the different varieties of Pikmin is essential for success.
I played the entire game with my two young sons (who are 4 and 2) and they absolutely loved it. Each of them has their favorite Pikmin color (red for my older boy and blue for my younger) and they have been drawing pictures of Pikmin when we’re not playing the game (We even built a Lego Pikmin). They’ve started pretending that our family cats are Bulborbs and they seem to believe that Pikmin are living in the woods outside our house. The boys have enjoyed watching many of the games that I’ve played but never to the degree that they enjoy Pikmin. After beating the game I had to start it over because they won’t let me play anything else. My oldest son has been asking when Pikmin 4 will be coming out (Are you working on that Nintendo?).
I finished the game in 30 game days, so the length is comparable with the previous titles. When the game was over my wife asked ‘Is it over already?’ even though the in-game clock indicated I’d played for over 12 hours. The game seemed to go by very quickly, but you know what they say about time flying. After beating the game your score is saved and your world-wide rankings are displayed. I’m happy to say I was up towards the top of the bell curve for performance (although to be fair I did restart a few days that had gone poorly). High scores are saved so if you’re not satisfied with your score you can play through multiple times. There is also a Mission Mode and Bingo Battle mode so more content is available for anyone who wants to continue playing.
In spite of it being primarily a single player experience the entire family enjoyed Pikmin 3. I have other games left to play but I haven’t been able to talk the boys into letting me play any of them yet. Pikmin 3 is a fantastic game and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
- Play as three characters simultaneously.
- Short levels.
Genre: Real-Time Strategy