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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.