I had heard of the Pikmin series before, but I had never tried it. When I heard that Nintendo was releasing a new title in the franchise, Pikmin 3, I didn’t get very excited. After all, the videos and previews made it look like a very slow-paced game with little action or objective. I decided to try it when it released to critical acclaim. The end result was a surprisingly awesome game.
The premise to Pikmin 3 is that three spacemen, Alph, Charlie, and Brittany, are searching for food in order to save their planet from famine. They travel to the planet PNF-404 where they discover a species of little creatures called Pikmin who, for unexplained reasons, are completely devoted to them. Upon meeting the Pikmin, the three spacemen, along with their new companions, set out to save their planet from starvation.
The plot is very simple, though it goes in certain directions that keep it interesting. The idea that your planet is dying adds a certain level of intensity to the game, even though the game is rather slow-paced. Though I won’t spoil anything, I can say that the twists you encounter later on also keep the game from ever getting boring.
The gameplay, though at first glance would appear to be boring, is very engaging. In fact, despite having multiple fun games in my Wii U library, I couldn’t stop playing this one until I had beaten it. Similar to the previous Pikmin games, you play as a spaceman who is able to throw Pikmin at enemies, obstacles, and fruit. In this game, however, you control three spacemen, which make the puzzles more complex. You can add to your Pikmin army by having your Pikmin carry numbered bottle cap-like things to their spaceship, the Onion. When the bottle cap thing reaches the Onion, it will turn into multiple Pikmin that you can use.
Like the previous games, Pikmin vary in colors and powers. Red Pikmin are fire resistant. Yellow Pikmin can conduct electricity. Rock Pikmin can break glass. Blue Pikmin can breathe underwater. And Flying Pikmin can reach flying creatures and objects. Each has their own weaknesses. For example, Flying Pikmin, despite being able to travel farther distances, are very weak. The multiple different powers add a level of strategy and depth to the game.
One thing that I find interesting about the game is its level system. Instead of beating a level and moving on like in most games, you actually have to travel the planet with your fruit supply acting as a timer. The more fruit you collect, the more time you have to find whatever you’re looking for. You have about twenty or so minutes to do as much exploring as you can before the sun goes down. Once the day is over, you return to your ship and drink a canister’s worth of fruit. As long as you collect enough fruit, you can beat the game in whatever number of days you want.
The graphics of this game are absolutely beautiful. The environments look very photorealistic and feature a special amount of color. The characters and creatures, of course, are much cartoonier, but blend with the environments quite well. They’re not quite as perfect as, say, Super Mario 3D World or Sonic Lost World. Once or twice I noticed a few edgy spots. But they are certainly some of the best graphics I’ve seen on an HD console.
The sound is also really good. There isn’t any voice acting, aside from the narrator to the game. The music, however, is great. It has a very peaceful sound to it which matches the game’s presentation. It’s not quite as notable or epic as a Zelda title, but it still matches the game really well.
Like most of Nintendo’s other games, Pikmin 3 is a really clean game. There’s nothing suggestive or vulgar about the game. The only concern is the mild violence. Pikmin and enemies can die and will turn into little spirits that float away. It’s not graphic, but it is rather off-putting to see these tiny creatures die.
Pikmin 3 is what I would consider a modern classic. The gameplay is surprisingly fun and engaging, the graphics are beautiful, and the overall presentation is near perfect. As great as it is, however, it probably won’t be remembered as much as a Mario or a Zelda game. If I had to complain about anything, I’d say that the bosses aren’t generally that interesting, but that would be about it. If you’re looking for another great game to add to your Wii U library, Pikmin 3 is a definite must.