Pikmin 3 May Not Save Dwindling Sales of the WiiU, But it’s an Outstanding Addition to the Console’s List of Titles
Pikmin 3 for the WiiU, developed and published by Nintendo, is an adventure/puzzle series introduced by Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of the Super Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda series’.
The franchise premiered on the GameCube in 2001, with its sequel, Pikmin 2, released in 2004 for the same console, both games later being rereleased on the Nintendo Wii.
Both the first two iterations of the Pikmin series were acclaimed by critics and consumers alike.
Nintendo’s newest console may not be a best seller so far, but Pikmin 3 is definitely a contender for the best WiiU game to date.
The first two Pikmin games featured the astronaut Olimar as the main playable character. Olimar was charged with using the different types of Pikmin to aid in his pursuit of food to return to his spaceship. Pikmin 3 follows a similar gameplay formula, but unlike the first two Pikmin, you play as three new astronauts.
As the story begins, we meet Charlie, Alph, and Brittany. We learn that their planet, Koppai, is in desperate need of food, and they have begun a voyage to other planets in search of more to return to their planet. Their search leads them to a previously undiscovered planet, PNF-404 . Unfortunately, their ship crashes upon entering the planet’s atmosphere, separating the three.
From here, the adventure becomes a search for supplies to return to the ship, as well as a journey to find your lost allies. You not only collect fruit to sustain and further your adventure, but enemies and bosses that provide more Pikmin, as well as items that improve your ship and its abilities. When you reunite the characters, you must occasionally switch between them, cooperating together to solve puzzles or exchange Pikmin. The game requires cooperatively play between the characters, resulting in some interesting levels. However, many puzzles are reduced to simply whether or not you have the type of Pikmin or explorers required to solve them. So they are, for the most part, not very difficult.
It is an exploration and adventure game first, and a puzzle game second, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
In terms of available Pikmin, your arsenal includes some of the classics, as well as some new recruits. Red Pikmin are your primary soldiers, and are fire resistant. Yellow Pikmin can be thrown higher, and are resistant to shock. Blue Pikmin can move through and attack in water.
Winged Pikmin are weaker, but can fly, passing over hills and water. Rock Pikmin are strong, capable of breaking shields of enemies, as well as crystals that can reveal items. There are also two Pikmin that are exclusive to multiplayer only; white Pikmin which are faster and poisonous, and purple Pikmin which are stronger, and can carry more weight. It’s imperative to use each type of Pikmin correctly as the situation calls for them, as it will save you a lot of time and frustration, and most importantly, the lives of your Pikmin.
Nintendo is fairly well known for the bright, saturated color palettes used in their first party titles, but their name isn’t exactly synonymous with impressive graphics. Not surprisingly, Pikmin 3 doesn’t boast the smoothest graphics, but textures are quite detailed and environments are attractive. It’s the best looking Pikmin to date.
Nintendo has implemented new methods of control for the game, opting for a combination of the wiimote and nunchuck, coupled with the gamepad acting as a map with tools the player can access, such as Pikmin info, radar, and exploration notes, among other helpful equipment. Control with the Gamepad only is possible, but aiming your Pikmin can be frustrating. Although, sometimes changing the camera angle with the Z button on the nunchuck can be frustrating, as well, especially during boss and enemy battles where your opponent can sneak up on you.
As expected with a first party title on a console with new peripherals, there are new mechanics to the series. For the first time, it’s possible to take photos (via a tool on the gamepad) during the game and post them to the Nintendo Miiverse. This resulted in some impressive and sometimes comical photos, including one I found by a user posting a picture of several Pikmin from behind, which they titled “that butt”.
Another of Pikmin 3’s attractions other than the main story is its multiplayer aspects. There are four options for multiplayer. In Collect Treasure, players work cooperatively to collect as much treasure as possible in the time limit. In Battle Enemies, players work together to defeat as many enemies as possible before time runs out. Defeat Bosses has players try to defeat previously encountered bosses. However, the most imaginative of the four multiplayer modes is Bingo, which is a competitive multiplayer mode between two players where each player is given a grid of enemies and items. Each player must return items or enemies to their ship to create a line in the grid.
Pikmin 3’s multiplayer options include some interesting distractions from the main story, and without an intense learning curve, are easy to pick up and play.
I’ve enjoyed Nintendo’s games for decades, and as the current generation arrives, they’ve sadly become the underdogs. It may be a bit of a presumptuous exaggeration to say that Nintendo’s prime has come and gone, but Nintendo now serves a much more esoteric demographic than they did fifteen to twenty years ago.
To look at things with brutal honesty, Pikmin 3 is not a system seller. Not because it isn’t a great game (it is), but because the franchise isn’t big enough to most people to make it a console seller. Most won’t be willing to purchase a WiiU just to play Pikmin 3, except perhaps for hardcore fans of the series. Which is slightly disheartening, as many people who see the series as for “casual gamers” or for children will be missing out on a truly fun, fulfilling game.
With that said, Pikmin 3 is a must buy if you have a WiiU.
For Pikmin fans looking for a game changing experience, you will be disappointed. I didn’t expect any cataclysmic changes to the franchise, and I’m very satisfied and impressed with Nintendo’s newest addition to the Pikmin series.
Nintendo has a rich tradition of taking what they know and what they’re good at, and expanding on it. That’s exactly what they did with Pikmin 3. As long as you go in with this philosophy, Pikmin 3 won’t dissatisfy, and you’re in for a good time.