Pikmin 3 review

A long overdue return

Waiting a year or two can be a long wait for people highly anticipating a certain game. But while that may be a struggle for many, Nintendo have made us wait nine years for a follow up to its beloved franchise. For many, this leaves plenty of expectations about the game for those fans eagerly awaiting the title, and surely Nintendo delivers.

The planet of Koppai is in danger of starvation after squandering all of their food sources, because of this they send out many pods across the universe to find food. After many failures, the final pod reports back to Koppai mentioning the discovery of food, and three brave adventurers answer its call. However, as they are just about to arrive on the planet they are all sent flying out of the ship and must learn to work with the mysterious creatures known as Pikmin in order to complete their mission and save their home.

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The return of the Pikmin features the traditional ideas featured in Pikmin 3’s predecessors. As usual you get Pikmin of different colours each housing their own separate abilities needed to help in the field. Your basic Red, Yellow and Blue Pikmin return, with Red Pikmin being flame resistant and great in a fight, Blue Pikmin are used primarily for jobs that require going underwater or in water and Yellow Pikmin are used to deal with electric fences as well as help carry an electric charge.

New to this adventure are two brand new types of Pikmin, the Rock Pikmin and the Winged Pikmin. The rock Pikmin are primarily used to cause great deals of damage against foes as well as being able to shatter glass barriers. Winged Pikmin are Pikmin with the ability to fly and are good for moving objects that require transportation across the sky.

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Entering Pikmin 3 you will most likely realize that this features a lot of the same things that fans have done in two outings already. But as with many of Nintendo’s games this is okay, rather than focusing on a whole host of new ideas, Nintendo has narrowed down what was liked about the original games and has made small inclusions to provide something different to experience.

First and foremost this is a time management game built around strategically managing your day to get the best results and achievements possible. Similar to Pikmin 1 and 2 you get the entire daylight to explore sections of the planet, which amounts to about thirteen minutes real time. Learning to effectively manage your team of Pikmin and your three characters is key to making use of your day.

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On first arrival it is usually helpful to check your map to plan how you are going to spend your day, which is done quite effectively by sliding the map on the Gamepad. Usually a day is spent heading to a key location for a specific reason, but more often the day will be spent searching for fruit to help keep progressing as well as building up your Pikmin numbers. Learning to manage your day becomes first priority and ensuring you have all of the necessary resources required for survival and to continue on while on location is very important and a very quick lesson.

On top of this, balancing out your Pikmin numbers in the field is also important. Ensuring the proper Pikmin are around for the job is often challenging but adds the strategic merit of the game. More often than not I found it important to keep an even balance in my numbers to work for what I needed to do and keep the rest for any sudden needs.

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For those who find themselves at a point where they have no food and little Pikmin, there is always the option to go to an earlier day to help fix your mistakes which is always handy.

Unlike previous entries in the Pikmin franchise, each area also features a big boss to fight. These each cleverly make use of the new Pikmin type you discover in the area to help beat them. The boss battles are often challenging and are fun to fight.

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There is only one major problem with the game which will affect a selection of people, which is the controls. The way to throw your Pikmin to a certain location is all tied to the left joystick, which is also used for walking and may bother some. For these people there is an option to keep the gamepad as the map of the area but play with the Wii remote and Nunchuk to use the pointer a lot easier which may be more accurate. Personally I stuck with the Gamepad control for most of my play but others won’t find it as comfortable.

This is among one of the most beautiful games anyone can lay eyes on and more importantly on the Wii U, which was quite surprising to me. Nintendo has worked hard to present a fully realistic environment that shows off the beauty of nature. It is almost impossible to visit a new area and not just want to stare at the area for a short space of time. The incredible detail delivered to simple bodies of water or even to a simple leaf or plant looks amazing, in fact it does give a better appreciation for what truly exists in our own world.

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Pikmin 3 is a short game clocking at around 8 to 10 hours to finish a basic run of the story without much more than what is needed. The time can be expanded by focusing on collecting everything, but for those who really need something else to do to keep them amused, or have just exhausted the story, Mission Mode is a fun way to complete objectives while trying to manage your team and how effectively you can complete the objective within the allotted time, which does provide quite the challenge. In the basic game there is not much in the way of missions but hopefully more will be added soon, but what is there is certainly quality and I found easy to lose a few hours on.

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Nine years may be a long time to wait, and Pikmin 3 may not seem like it was worth a nine year wait at some points. But still, Nintendo has provided fans what they have been waiting so long for, a fun and interesting game that still remains enjoyable even late into the experience. Pikmin 3 sticks to its roots and provides probably the best Pikmin game we have seen so far, my only hope is that Pikmin 4 won’t take so long to arrive.

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My top 5 Wii U exclusives (so far)

This article was originally published to Gameluster on April 25th, I have not updated the information from this article to show new developments and new games for the list it remains exactly as originally written. I do plan though to write an updated list towards the end of 2014 with a selection of new games.

It is no secret that the Wii U hasn’t been doing too great in sales unlike Nintendo’s handheld endeavour, but that doesn’t mean the Wii U is a bad console. In fact I would go so far as to say the Wii U is an excellent console, and the standout of the current generation consoles. Nintendo created an excellent control system, but that isn’t all that makes the Wii U so great, it is also the games themselves. I have played many of the games being a day one adopter, and while there are a lot of great multiplatform titles I could include in the following list, for today I want to talk about my top 5 exclusives on the console.

5. Zombi U

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For many years the survival horror genre of games has been going downhill, and classic franchises such as Resident Evil which were once praised for their work in the genre have now lost their touch. So enter Ubisoft’s exclusive on the Wii U, Zombi U re-established what the survival horror genre was all about, which is the fear of going around a corner not knowing what awaits you, remaining low on supplies and utilizing whatever you can scavenge and worrying about what sits in the impending darkness. This exclusive did all that and more by utilizing the very essence of the gamepad, the gamepad allowed for panic as you quickly rummaged through it to find what you needed while the game kept going on the TV, it also allowed the player to detect the locations of Zombies which is even scarier when you hear them moaning and constantly hear many beeps on the gamepad. The game is fun and well worth playing, it was just a shame so many people didn’t give it a shot.

4. Lego City Undercover

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TT Games’ Wii U exclusive Lego experience draws alot from the developer’s previous Lego endeavours, but this time comes out with a fresh story and world to play in. A lot of the experience of Lego City undecover is pretty familiar to anyone who has played a Lego game before, from the combat, to the levels, to many other factors this is very familiar, but for its similarities, Lego City Undercover masterfully pulled itself out and stands unique in the name of Lego. For the original story or even just the stupidity in the comedy is why this game holds a special place as one of my best Wii U exclusives, plus the added bonus is that Lego City Undercover is a game that can be enjoyed by anyone. Mostly I enjoyed it for going around and playing a much more fun version of Grand Theft Auto, and following the well-crafted police drama of a story while just smashing up random peoples cars and all around having fun in Lego City.

3. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze

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My faith in the Donkey Kong Country series has been steadily declining for years, and Donkey Kong 64 was the last game in the series I truly enjoyed, which is half the reason why it is my favourite game of all time (but that is a story for another opinion piece). However I do feel that Retro Studios was finally ready to give the classic character a true return to greatness, and having the power and capabilities of the Wii U it was no wonder. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze takes a different approach to other games in its genre, and delivers a much more challenging experience, on top of that it shows plenty of diversity between each level you visit and plenty of detail which is hard not to love. Those, alongside the new additions such as multiple sidekick characters, easily help me to see this game as fun and a must play game on the console even if you are only looking for a challenge.

2. Super Mario 3D World

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It would be almost impossible to make a best of list for the Wii U and not include this wonderful gem of a game. After the more or less same style of Mario game we recieved in New Super Mario Bros. U, Super Mario 3D world shows Nintendo still knows how to make a good Mario game. Sure, I will be the first to admit this wasn’t the experience I was expecting from the Wii U’s first three dimensional Mario game, but it didn’t matter, at every turn Super Mario 3D World evokes interest with the addition or return of ideas. At the centre of this game stands incredible and varying level designs set to challenge you and tell you to have fun, then at another point stands the characters you play as which each provide enough difference in their styles that each player gets to enjoy a somewhat difference experience to the other players and enjoy different luxuries in playstyles.

1. Pikmin 3

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Nintendo’s journey into the world of tiny microorganisms and the adventure to save their planet may not be the best game on the Wii U, but by all respects it has to be my favourite out of all the ones I have played. The game often feels like it wants to make you feel guilty about any mistakes you make and they can happen both easily and completely by accident. The key thing that I feel really makes this game one of my favourites on the Wii U is the fact the game never outstays its welcome. From the moment you start you are greeted with a fun adventure filled with strategy, but as fast as it arrives it is all all over. In some games I would consider this a bad thing but for the course of the story the little actions and adventure are great and keep you interested. One final note it is kind of hard to resist the Pikmin as they are adorable.

Picking these five games was not an easy process and I think it is only going to get harder by the end of the year with so many potentially great games just around the corner, so I might have to look into doing this again when that time comes. Even though they didn’t make it into the list I would like to give an honourable mention to Nintendo Land and The Wonderful 101 as they are both great games. I hope you liked my list and picks and thank you for reading.

Random Game Trivia 7/18/14 Pikmin 3 and Koppai

I believe we have seen it done in many games where Nintendo and many other game companies have referenced there past or many other things or points from history in the naming of a location, this is often referred to as an easter egg and works in a similar way to some of the cat faces that have appeared in the backdrops of Nintendo’s games over the years. The interesting point that can be made in Pikmin 3 is the naming of the home planet that the games protagonist Alph, Brittany and Charlie come from. the name Koppai which is the home planet is actually an interesting reference to Nintendo’s past, when the company was founded in 1889 it was originally named Nintendo Koppai. Obviously they pulled this past reference into play as a nice name for the home planet in Pikmin 3 and because they liked the name, not to mention it sounds like a good name for an Alien planet.

Another little bit of trivia that is seen in Pikmin 3 is the naming of PNF 404. While it has ben proven that this name fits in with how NASA names unimportant planets it is also believed that this is actually a pun. 404 is an HTML error code and PNF stands for Page Not Found when you are having trouble finding a page on the internet. Which in itself is quite interesting, so there you have it to interesting bits of trivia from Pikmin 3.

Games to play when you need to stay awake

There is times in life where we must keep ourselves going and keep ourselves awake for longer periods of time then we are used to. It is days like New Year’s Eve where that statement particularly rings true as keeping yourself up and awake just to see out that old year out can be a struggle. This is also true of other days in the year where you decide to keep yourself up for whatever reason. Keeping yourself awake can be quite difficult and to do this I find that this is one of the great times to pick up a game and play to see out the time.  Well here is a list of games to play that will keep you going and awake while you wait out the time.

Call of Duty (series)

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Of all the games to play Call of Duty games would most likely stand as the games to play for a quick boredom buster. It provides a simple concept which is essentially shoot or be shot, but for the more adult audience this simple concept has the ability to keep them amused for hours. For something to do Call of Duty games combine a decent local multiplayer, and an excellent online feature that will make for the perfect way to kill a couple of hours. Not to mention that Call of Duty games require so much attention and thinking that they can keep you awake.

Pokemon (series)

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It is nights when you are trying to keep yourself awake that your mind can wander and try to figure out what to do, but how about a proposition for Pokemon fans there are a couple of good options. To keep yourself awake how about attempting to complete that Pokedex you have been waiting to do. If that isn’t for you training your Pokemon could be, working to raise that perfect Pokemon and become stronger. But otherwise there is another option you can battle people from around the world which is sure to keep you awake and on your toes as you try to best the masters.

Pikmin 3

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A good way to keep the mind active is to force it to think and have activities that require strategy, planning and more. For this idea I select Pikmin 3 as another great game to keep you awake. The core base of the game is based on strategy and planning in organising how you are going to go about your day. Outside of the story mode the challenge mode offers a deeper challenge which is bound to keep you focused and awake when necessary.

Minecraft

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A great use of time and a key point of mental focus comes in the form of Minecraft. A simple enough game that relies completely on the imagination. This games concept can keep you busy as long as your imagination has something to consider and create. With that idea in mind Minecraft is sure to sure keep you awake as long as you focus on what you want to create and just go for it.

Wii Sports

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Have you got friends or family you can gather around if you do then Wii Sports is certain to provide enough fun to keep you and your company amused. On your own Wii Sports may not be that great for keeping you awake but add friends and you can strive to see who is best and pass many hours by without even noticing.

Keeping yourself awake is never an easy thing to do. From personal experience I know this can be a challenge and without the proper amusement and focus it is easy to lose. Hopefully though my suggestions will keep you amused and awake when necessary.