Now that I’ve fully recovered from my holiday hangover it’s time to stop phoning in my articles and get to the real nitty gritty. There are video games out there and I’ve been playing them! Some of them are so good that I would even recommend them to other people, such as yourselves. And where are these “passable” video games you ask? Well they are on the forgotten console, the WiiU. And the passable game I’m talking about this week is another installment in one of Nintendos newest franchises “Pikmin.” Pikmin 3 for the WiiU was already reviewed by our very own Joseph way back in October, but I’ve got something he doesn’t have; trust issues and a hair trigger temper, also I’ve played the other 2 games in the series.
BUT FIRST: The story thus far…
Pikmin came to use first on the Gamecube way back in October of 2001 and boy was it a weird one. A semi-RTS on the console where you explore a macro-earth gathering ship parts and dead animals commanding child-like plant people like a horde of ant-like Huns. I think what struck me most about the game was how serene the game felt with its relaxing music and sunny outdoor setting, something that would instantly turn tense as you confronted some giant bug or bird that was devouring your screaming pikmin before your very eyes. Despite commanding 100 of the little bastards I felt strangely connected to them and hated to see them die or in danger. I mourned any loss and after seeing the heart-wrenching cut-scene that plays when you leave one behind at night I vowed to keep my soldiers safe and never lose one to the night, going so far as to redo entire days if one was unaccounted for. The first game was, and still is, a treasure.
Pikmin 2 came to use 3 years later and truly earned the title of sequel. They piled on the content and the challenge, adding another captain so you can multi-task and 2 new pikmin. The game had treasure to collect on the surface with the time limit like the first game, but now had randomly generated underground dungeons where you had all the time you wanted, but limited pikmin. Pikmin 2 is one of my all time favorite games, although you wouldn’t know it by watching me play it given my temper tantrums when things go wrong which is often. It’s because of Pikmin 2′s increase in difficulty that I feel safe when I say that the Gamecube was the last time Nintendo really challenged players before the outrageous hand holding really dialed up to 11. While there was no new Pikmin game on the Wii, they did remake the games with motion control support. But we had to wait NINE YEARS before we got a real sequel with Pikmin 3 on the WiiU. And just typing out that it was 9 years between the two games makes my insides twist with horror at the passage of time. Point is, we got a new game!
Pikmin 3 continues the spirit of the games by adding another captain and 2 new pikmin, who replace the 2 new pikmin from Pikmin 2 in story mode. No longer are you Captain Olimar but a trio of similar alien elfs from a similar planet called Koppai. The people of Koppai love fruit and have run out of food due to lack of planning. So they send out ships in search of food they use the seeds of to grow new fruit. Lo and behold they crash land on what we assume is Earth where they meet up with the titular Pikmin who they enlist on their quest to gather fruit.
- With 3 captains at your command you can multitask like nobodies business. Although in my play through I rarely did and just took it slow and easy and still managed to gather all the fruit. Plus I’m pretty stupid and can’t focus on more than one thing at a time. But if you want to do things fast and efficient I suggest you learn. Multitasking is made possible with the WiiU game pad where you can send people anywhere on the map to position them like little fast food supervisors watching over high school dropouts (with which the pikmin have many similarities)
- Rock Pikmin and Flying Pikmin are discovered! Rock Pikmin are a bit like Purple pikmin in Pikmin 2; they can break stuff with their hard bodies and do a bit of damage when they collide with something. You generally use them to break glass or crystals or fight enemies that can stomp because rock pikmin are mostly uncrushable (a few of the bosses can still crush them). They aren’t as tough as purples and they can’t stick to enemies, but they do a damn fine job. Flying pikmin on the other hand don’t have too much in common with their white pikmin counter parts from the previous game except they are both small and slightly weaker than other pikmin. Mostly they can fly so you can bring them with you if you go in the water, and they can carry stuff back faster by avoiding obstacles except for the new spider enemy that can stop them.
- While you search for all the fruit you juice the ones you find. The juice you build up determines how many days you have to beat the game as you consume one container of juice per day. By the time I beat the game I was 46 days into the game with 54 bottles of juice left.
- Side missions and DLC add a bit more to the game and let you use the old purple and white pikmin as well as Louie and Olimar. There you can do challenges, challenge each other to a collecting race, or refight story bosses.
- -This time where you aim your throws plays an important role in combat. Throwing pikmin at a monsters eyes will stun them allowing you more safe time to attack them. Armored enemies can have their armor shattered making more of them vulnerable. It makes sense and adds a layer of skill to the fights.
- As I mentioned before purple and white pikmin from Pikmin 2 are not available in story mode. Maybe they figured the purples would be too powerful.
- Randomly generated underground dungeons from Pikmin 2 are also gone. This kinda pissed me off because it meant less content and meant that bosses now had time limits. Even if you cleared a path right to the boss it nearly always took me an entire day to fight the bastards. At least you could get more pikmin when you screwed up and lost a lot of Pikmin, which was often.
- The second joystick no longer controls the swarm of pikmin like it did in the last two games, now it controls the camera sort of. While the camera was a bit of a problem before, you can’t zoom out as much, and can’t change the angle. And more camera control is not worth losing the ability to direct your pikmin around, that’s a massive loss of maneuverability that makes for a lot of dead pikmin. They tried to make it up to you with a crappy dodge mechanic but its just not the same.
- My empathy for the pikmin is gone. Maybe its because I’m old and sour now but I think the loss of the second joystick for directing pikmin that resulted in so many more pikmin to die that I just began treating them more like expendable tools instead of my children soldiers.
- The pikmin don’t sing their catchy, but creepy, song when you are walking around anymore. Not game breaking but it was a nice touch in 2.
- Despite the complaints that are coming next, I enjoyed Pikmin 3 and would recommend it as a must have for anyone with a WiiU. It can be both relaxing and tense with surprising efficiency and has some new challenges and fun places to explore. It’s still very much pikmin that we know and love. As simple as it is, there was something enjoyable to me in the simple act of gathering fruit and taking down enemies.
- The game almost seemed a bit less combat focused as 2, choosing to be more about figuring out puzzles and what not, and thats not a bad thing even though I liked the combat. The new enemies were well designed and interesting.
- God DAMN does the game look nice! I’m not one to say graphics make or break a game and they don’t here, honestly the old games graphics are still pretty damn good and have stood the test of time somehow. But man this game looks nice. The rain makes things glisten and the world looks alive like it should as a next gen game.
- While it took some getting used to the throw aiming was a neat addition to the game and made for some fights to go much better once I figured out the weaknesses.
- The game is shorter than Pikmin 2. Now before you write that off as a crappy complaint let me explain. Pikmin 3 had about 66 odd items to collect, Pikmin 2 had over 100. Pikmin 3 had about 5 areas that weren’t too big and the fifth area was pretty much just a boss level with a brief maze before that. The levels in Pikmin 3 are about the same size as the surface levels of Pikmin 2. Pikmin 2 had a lot of fluff with 14 dungeons to tromp through. More bosses, more enemies and more challenge put Pikmin 2 above Pikmin 3 in my book. So Pikmin 3 feels like 2 steps forward and two steps back, much like Paula Abdul and MC Skat Cat.
- The loss of the c-stick is too important to forgive or work around. Taking away player control sucks. Like I said it without control I lost my empathy for the Pikmin and fights became sloppier and sometimes felt like a chore against bosses and some enemies. In a pinch fight aiming with percision was tough, and often times thanks to the camera angle I completely missed what I was aiming at. Leading to much swearing and gnashing of teeth.
- The game offeres hints and tutorials in the form of little yellow popup files scattered around the world. I consistantly found these long after the advice they gave was helpful, sometimes bordering on insulting with how basic the information was. Hell they made Navi from Ocarina of Time look like Obi Wan freaking Kenobi!
Like I said Pikmin 3 is a damn fine game and a must have for WiiU owners, if any. It’s not quite as good as Pikmin 2 but that game set a really high bar, and that doesn’t mean Pikmin 3 isn’t good on it’s own. The story is enjoyable enough, and the challenges are fun. So go forth, young Pattons, young Genghis’s, and Young Zapp Brannigans, your Pikmin army awaits your orders. Don’t worry, they are here to DIE FOR YOU.
Kimo is a contemptuous old coot. With experience in video games dating back to 1988 and a schizophrenic range of games he boasts an impressive range of knowledge of gamings best, and worst. Dwelling in the desolate wastes of the American Midwest he brings to Z1Gaming a perspective that looks for positive qualities in even the worst games.