Pikmin 3 (Video Game Review)

It's been nearly twelve long years since fans were first introduced to Captain Olimar and the charming world of the Pikmin. The new Nintendo franchise quickly grew into one of the most beloved series ever released by the developer, as the second title released in 2004 for Gamecube, but fans would have to wait nine more years to get another offering from their favorite franchise. The Nintendo Wii strangely never released a Pikmin title, but fans can now pick up a copy of Pikmin 3 for Nintendo Wii U--a system that is in desperate need of some fun new titles. Luckily for Nintendo and gamers, the new release was worth the wait and another great release to add to the Pikmin trilogy.

The new release is the third in the series, and fans are treated to three new protagonists in the game as well. Captain Olimar is sitting the new game out, and newcomers Alph, Brittany and Captain Charlie are filling in as more than adequate replacements. The trio originate from planet Koppai--a world eerily familiar to our own whose advanced technologies and great demand for food has led the team to a planet rich in oversized fruits and other edible goodies as well as a helpful race of plants known as the Pikmin. The fruits and foods of the planet are too large and plentiful for the crew to carry back to their ships alone, so they find seeds to grow Pikmin that will carry supplies, destroy obstacles and fight off deadly wildlife with the crew's direction. The game's presentation and storyline is clearly the envy of the gaming industry with colorful characters and awe-inspiring environments that exude a pleasant presence without the need for spoken dialogue. Even without the typical series' star, Pikmin 3 manages to shine with one of the best storylines Nintendo has ever crafted.

Pikmin 3 doesn't feature major gameplay innovations. Players still control and direct the Pikmin to perform tasks the playable characters aren't able to perform, such as destroying walls, battling baddies and carrying heavy objects. Up to 100 Pikmin can be controlled at a single time, and time is always a key component of any mission as well, since plenty of nasty creatures will make short work of the team once night falls. There are many unique races of Pikimin in the world including the easily recognizable Red, Yellow and Blue as well as some featured in the series for the first time such as the Rock Pikmin, who are capable of dealing heavy damage in battles and quickly destroying obstacles.

The most prominent change in the way the game is played comes from the inclusion of three main characters. This allows players to cover larger areas of the map more quickly and allows for the creation of some very intricate puzzles. The design choice is also a very cumbersome task to manage for a single player. Luckily, the Wii U Gamepad steps in to help lessen the headache caused when trying to complete a mission and get three different sets of characters back to each respective ship in time by providing a very handy map for locating key areas on the map or finding where you left a group quickly. Other than this, the Gamepad is rarely used in single player sessions and only becomes a factor in multiplayer versus matches where the obvious advantage of having the special controller with a detailed map can cause a severe imbalance between players.

Pikmin 3 certainly looks the best it ever has with HD graphics that brings the world to life like never before. Light illuminates the game's colorful creatures and reflects from water surfaces, while the creatures themselves feel more alive as well. Though there can be hundreds of creatures on the screen at any given time, there never seems to be any slowdown or glitches, and it's easy to see that Pikmin 3 is among the best looking Wii U games around. The game features another great soundtrack this time around, and running about blowing the whistle to direct the Pikmin is just as enjoyable as it's ever been. The game's controls can be a bit wonky at times, as Wii games are apt to do. Players will rarely see a game over screen throughout the duration of Pikmin 3 though thanks to a difficulty setting that may be a bit too simplistic, even when control problems put the wrong type of Pikmin in a bad situation.

Nintendo Wii U fans can be pleased to know Pikmin 3 is a must own title for their console. The game isn't perfect; a lengthier campaign and better multiplayer could have coupled with a slightly greater difficulty setting to give the game much needed replay value, but the game still offers one of the truly unique gaming experiences on any platform. Players will not want to miss out on the grand storyline or beautiful world featured in Pikmin 3 to be sure. Pikmin is one of gaming's truly great franchises, and Pikmin 3 is another worthy successor for the company that Miyamoto built. Pik up your copy of Pikmin 3 for Nintendo Wii U today!

Pikmin 3 is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $59.99 and can be purchased exclusively for Nintendo Wii U. Pikmin 3 is rated E by the ESRB for Mild Cartoon Violence. For more information on the game, check out the official Pikmin 3 website.

Game Features:
  • Local Multiplayer 1-2
  • Three New Playable Characters
  • Scan Objects to Learn More About Them
  • Battle a Friend in Bingo Battle
  • Multiple Control Schemes

  • Game Information:
    Developer & Publisher: Nintendo
    Available exclusively for Nintendo Wii U (reviewed)
    Release Date: August 4, 2013

    Score: 8 out of 10

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