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Pikmin 3 Review

pikmin-3-9

Pikmin is one of Nintendo’s most beloved franchises, with many people calling for another Pikmin game all throughout the life cycle of the Wii. Nintendo answered that call with the Wii U, with Pikmin 3 originally scheduled as a launch title for the new console. Despite the title repeatedly being pushed back for more polishing, it’s been a worthy wait.

Overview

The core aspects of gameplay between Pikmin 3 and the rest of the series hasn’t deviated too much from what fans of the series are familiar with. Sure, you have the return of classic Pikmin and the hunt for juice for survival, but new additions to the series include the ability to replay a day if you’re not happy with how it turned out, as well as controlling three characters and their Pikmin troops instead of just one.

The core gameplay experience of Pikmin 3 is more closely related to the first game than the second, which is a good thing because the refined aspects of gameplay that we loved from the first in the series truly shine in all their polished glory in the third.

Players take control of Alph, Charlie, and Brittany who have undertaken an interstellar mission to find food for themselves and their home world as their home world is teetering on the edge of annhiliation. You can find survivor journal entries littered across the planet that give you some idea of what’s been going on in the world. For a Nintendo game, the world of Pikmin is surprisingly dark.

Gameplay

Of course, the main draw of the game is using your various Pikmin to overcome the cute but tricky obstacles as you progress through the game. The traditional purple and white Pikmin are not available in campaign mode, but two new additions more than make up for their absence. The rock Pikmin look like tiny stones and will willingly smash themselves against glass barriers and your enemies. They’re effective tools at teaching the massive bugs you encounter a lesson.

WiiU_Pikmin3_scrn13_E3

Winged Pikmin are the second type of Pikmin you’ll encounter and in my experience they were decidedly less useful than the rock pikmin, but their ability to absolutely murder bird-bees was a welcome addition to my squad. Of course, the mainstay yellow, red and blue Pikmin are still in the series, with blue Pikmin being able to swim and yellow Pikmin offering support for jumping higher than reds and fiddling with any electrical components you find in the world.

Boss fights in the game are the real feature, as some of them are downright nasty and learning when to use the correct combination of Pikmin in the fight can mean the difference between victory or seeing tons of tiny ghost frowns floating up as your Pikmin needlessly kamikaze themselves at your poor direction.

Boss Rush mode in the game features co-op, which adds a completely new dimension to destroying all the tricky bosses you experience throughoug the campaign.

Graphics & Audio

For anyone questioning how good a Wii U game can look, Pikmin 3 is your answer. The delightfully lush environments you encounter are gorgeous, and the detail is surprising. When I first started the game, I marveled at a group of yellow Pikmin sitting on an old rusted tuna can that actually looked pitted, as if it had been sitting there for a decade, waiting for me to happen upon it in my search for food.

pikmin3_9

As always, the audio is a treat as well, with the alien jargon that the characters speak in having an almost sing-song quality. The boss tracks are some of the best and most frantic compositions in the game and I found myself revelling in the music just as much as I was the strategy of taking down something like the Burrowing Snagret.

Multiplayer

Pikmin 3 also includes four co-op modes that reside outside of the campaign. There are five treasure hunting stages, five monster-hunting modes, and over twenty Bingo Battle maps that see you duking it out against other players in one vs. one or two vs. two matches. Most of the bosses from the campaign make reappearances here, but there are some new creatures. As previously mentioned, the white and purple Pikmin from Pikmin 2 make their appearance in these modes.

Pikmin-3-5

The challenge modes are certainly a great addition after finishing the campaign mode, and playing with others means you’ll not have the same experience twice, but I can’t help but feel the multiplayer aspects of the game are a little lacking compared to the single player. It’s not surprising, since Pikmin 3 is built to tell a story after all, but many are hoping Nintendo will embrace DLC for the title. I can’t say I blame them, since I’d love to see more treasure hunting and boss battles.

Wii U Features

Of course, since Pikmin 3 is an exclusive Nintendo title the GamePad can be an integral part of gameplay if you choose to use it that way. It supports Off-TV play, but I found commanding my Pikmin to be a lot easier using the standard Wii-mote and nunchuk combo. That’s not surprising since motion control allows for more precise selection of Pikmin, but I feel that if you get used to the analog sticks on the GamePad, it’s not too bad.

There’s no touch screen aiming for tossing your Pikmin either, so you’ll have to get used to using the stick for that as well. I found this omission a bit strange, considering touch input is a natural way to select targets for a game like this and Nintendo always seems to lead the charge in innovation with their new products.

Conclusion

I’d say that Pikmin 3 does an admirable job of standing up to the previous two titles in the series, especially considering they’ve set high expectations for fans. The game is absolutely gorgeous and some of the puzzle elements will have you scratching your head as you figure out how to proceed. The multiplayer mode is a welcome addition even if the challenges seem a bit sparse, but here’s to looking forward to more, should Nintendo decide to produce them.

Pros

+ A great storyline that gets surprisingly deep
+ Challenge modes are a nice distraction to play with friends
+ Collectibles, collectibles, collectibles
+ Gorgeous HD graphics
+ An amazing soundtrack

Cons

– Challenge modes seem a bit short compared to the length of the campaign
– Analog stick controls take a bit to get used to

Score: 9.5/10

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  • juancamiloarq

    All hail the Pikmin!

    Great review, BTW :)

  • AAAkabob

    I agree, this game is awesome. Just wish more people wouldn’t dismiss Nintendo as a baby system.

    • Zombie Boy

      Nintendo make family friendly games, which is how they have acquired the ‘baby system’ status. That’s fine by me as I’ve grown out of the shock value of blood and guts and just want to play games based on them actually being good. At the end of the day, if you enjoy the games, who cares what label the company has put on it? The developers sure don’t, else we wouldn’t be getting games like ZombiU, Bayonetta 2 and Watch Dogs amongst the Nintendo titles.

      • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

        That’s why I love Nintendo. They make games I can enjoy around any audience. And I genuinely ENJOY them.

        • Zombie Boy

          Me too. It’s nice that we still have a company that believe games should be, before anything else, FUN :)

          Fancy graphics are okay, but if you don’t enjoy the game, then what are they really worth?

          • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

            Not one bit

          • DWraySweZ

            truly if graphics were everything the mobile smartphone market wouldnt be doin as well as it is.

          • Clel

            I can’t help but think of Ryse: Son of Rome XD

          • LoZ4life98

            Sorry Pikmin, you’ll have to wait. Having just picked up Skyward Sword, that takes first priority.

      • Sol Ridgeway

        I love the games that my kids can watch me play and play with me. They have to wait for the people with kids to have the money for these consoles and games. I come here everyday and read everything, but I do not have a WiiU yet. Probably won’t get one until Smash Brothers.

        • Guest

          That’s a problem people seem to forget when looking at Wii U sales figures: There is still a recession on and the economy is in a mess at the moment. The casual gamers that bought the Wii can’t actually afford to upgrade en masse at the moment.

          • DragonSilths

            Most of the casual that was the reason the Wii did so well is cause they no longer care for consoles. They are playing their $0.99 junk games on Ipads and Iphones. Casuals will for the most part ignore Wii U, for the most part ignore Xbox One, and of course ignore the PS4. Times have changed since 2006. Recession, and crappy $0.99 games. Thats an equation that works out for the casuals. Why buy $60 games and $300 – $500 consoles when they can buy $0.99 games. Since they have less money then before thats what they do.

        • Zombie Boy

          That is a problem that a lot of people seem to forget about when looking at the Wii U sales figures: There is a recession on and the economy is still in a mess. A lot of the gamers that bought a Wii just can’t afford to upgrade at the moment.

          EDIT: Not sure what happened with my other comment, it vanished so I rewrote it and now it has appeared as ‘Guest’…

          • Sol Ridgeway

            The way us “Casual Gamers” work, is to buy a console we have to have something we can not live without or something that really grabs our attention to purchase it. There hasn’t been anything that I couldn’t live without on the WiiU. Motion control got me to buy the Wii, but I am not sold on the Gamepad and would rather buy a WiiU without it at a cheaper price and use the Pro Controller. You got to remember I can want it and my kids can want it, but 1 no vote in the house by the Wife can stop everything.

          • Sol Ridgeway

            Motion control intrigued wives everywhere, and that is why the Wii sold. The WiiU Gamepad scares them away because it looks complicated and is “one more thing the kids could break.” – quote from my wife.

            And the Gamepad brought a problem. Only one person can have it, so families with multiple kids have a problem. It is a fight. The Wii had small controllers with few buttons, perfect for kids.

          • Zombie Boy

            Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean everyone that bought a Wii is a casual gamer, but a lot of people that bought it ARE casual gamers that just got it for Wii Fit and the like.

            But a lot of Wii U games are motion controlled too, like Pikmin 3. Try using that to your advantage when it comes to selling the idea to your wife lol ;)

            Also a lot of games (New Super Mario Bros U, for example) use the controller in an innovative way when it comes to multiplayer. You can use your existing WiiMotes to control the characters and one person uses the gamepad to help them.

            I was lucky enough to win my Wii U in a competition. If I hadn’t, I’d be in the same situation as yourself.

          • Sol Ridgeway

            No you are right. I fall into that “Casual Gamers” category. I use to be a hardcore gamer, but after having kids I have way too much to do. Only games like Mario Galaxy, Zelda: SS and Metroid OM have brought me back to hardcore, until they were beat.

          • Zombie Boy

            Well remember that the Wii U is backwards compatible, so not only can you play your Wii games on it, but you can also use your existing WiiMotes, balance board and other things too (even the cables).

          • Phillip Fauble

            Have you sat down and used a Wii U? It’s hard to understand how stunning of a device it is without spending some time with it. To quote my boss “It’s fucking awesome.” The second wireless screen attached to a controller in your hands can do some cool crap… Nintendo said it’s all about the experience. They’re pretty right on that one.

      • Steven_Segal

        Most of those games are played mainly by adults. I don’t know but almost every kid I know plays Call of Duty but if you play Mario or Pikmin, they say that you’re immature and whatnot.

        • Zombie Boy

          Been there, done that with ‘mature’ games (since the first Mortal Kombat). Now I’d rather have fun with quality titles any day!

          • Sol Ridgeway

            I did the same thing; grew up on MK and Streets of Rage. I think that is one of the reasons I am very desensitized today. I learned from that and I want my kids to keep that sense of wonder and naivety. I believe this is why our generation produced things like Jack A** and Saw. It’s not progression it is desensitizing.

    • Clel

      E for EVERYONE
      Not K for KIDS

      • timehacker11

        Actually, it’s E10+, which I don’t understand because the previous games (Wii versions included) were rated E for Everyone.

        • greengecko007

          ESRB has gotten stricter. Kirby’s Return to Dreamland received a rating of E10+…

          TES Oblivion was originally rated T, but was later changed to M.

          For other examples, just look at other game series.

    • Orto

      Nintendo is da best. They make games that are good yet for me and you. Not like that fony company that seems to think that blood and violence is the answer.

      • timehacker11

        You mean the company that has LittleBigPlanet and ModNation racers? I fail to see how Sony seems to think that blood and violence is the answer when they have non violent games.

        • Elem187

          2 games for everyone, and the other 99.9% over the last 7 years is all blood, guts and dudebro

          • greengecko007

            You seem to be under the impression that games like CoD and Battlefield are Sony IPs. Here are some actual Sony IPs that have either released or been shown in the past 7 years that have limited to no blood and guts content, just off the top of my head.

            Jack and Daxter

            Sly and Co.

            Infamous

            Drive Club

            Rachet & Clank

            Little Big Planet

            Fat Princess

            Tearaway

            Buzz Quiz World

            Modnation Racers

            Uncharted

            And I’m sure there’s more, which you can find yourself should you actually take the time to learn about a company before you decide to pointlessly bag on it.

          • Orto

            Leave your fony promotions on ps4 daily if you love fony that much. Nintendo will be around forever, fony is on its last legs so make the most of the ps4 fony boy as it will be your last.

          • Steven_Segal

            Project Cars is not PS exclusive

          • greengecko007

            Oops, I meant Drive Club. Thanks for catching that.

        • Orto

          Go home fony fan. We do not need your words of poison in these parts, and lol at modnation.

          • timehacker11

            So I can’t even make a simple reply without being called a fanboy?

            This site is worse than GameFAQs!

          • Arthur Jarret

            it’s just this orto guy… most people here agree that sony has some awesome ip – although project cars is not one of them

          • greengecko007

            My bad, Drive Club, not Project Cars.

      • Greg Lanciotti

        I love Nintendo as much as the next guy. They are my favorite company. But enough with the blind fanboyism. Playstation and Xbox also have great games. You nintendo fanboys really do make nintendo enthusiasts look bad.

    • Mario

      Please! If this was a baby game, there wouldn’t even be Pikmins being killed and devoured here!

  • Rugmouse

    Completed the story mode last night, posting a time just shy of 14 hours. I managed to collect something like 25 of the 66 fruit in the process. Plenty of replayability there.

    As a newcomer to the franchise, I must say the gameplay was fresh and downright fun. I was reluctant at first, as clips just seemed to be the same sort of thing: chuck minions at something until it dies, gets demolished, or is reassembled. But man, I’ve got to tell you, hurling little dudes has never been more fun.

    But boy, those boss battles really do stand out. Some of the battles took almost an entire day, and the mechanics kept you on your toes, or you’d pay the price of dozens of your faithful subjects. I loved them all (second to last boss battle was my fav though)!

    Great game and a solid review. Really need to get a friend over for the co-op and bingo battles.

    • AAAkabob

      Those last two bosses were brutal >.>

  • DekuStickFajitaEater

    This is one awesome Review, Way better than other biased & IGNorant Websites.
    this is a perfect review of pikmin 3.Good job.

  • Mochlum

    Yay! A review that doesn’t call this game short! Seriously, I’m nearly 20 hours in and not finished, how is this a short game like everyone says it is?

  • Daniel

    I felt that this game’s story mode was short. I finished it in 15 hrs with 66/66 fruits and all the secret files. I guess i shouldn’t complain given that cod games last 8 hrs. Nontheless, it was enjoyable.

    • AAAkabob

      Took me 16 to get 33 fruitO_o

  • Zombie Boy

    I’ve heard that DLC will be coming for this game. Does anyone know anything about it?

    • juancamiloarq

      Yup, Miyamoto himself talked about it, but no details were given.

  • Zuxs13

    still waiting on WW, but this game does look pretty.

    • juancamiloarq

      Waiting for Wind Waker is fine, but you should be waiting for it while playing Pikmin! Haha :D

      • Zuxs13

        Id rather be playing earthbound and Splinter cell while i wait.

    • Zombie Boy

      Get both. Wind Waker is my BIG game that I’m looking forward to too, as I’ve never played it before so it’s a whole new Zelda for me, but this game is good enough (and different enough) to warrant a purchase.

      • Zuxs13

        Dont want both I have no desire to play pikmin 3

        • andré

          your missing out then.

          • Zuxs13

            not really, i’ve played the first two and the first one was neat and new but they series overall has bored me. It doesnt hold my interest.

          • andré

            ok, i never played any of them , so i thought pikmin 3 was great. and pikmin 3 has one of the best graphics in console games i ever seen. it has the same lever of graphis as uncharted games.

  • Elitepwnsface

    Going to play through the 1 and 2 before picking this up. But first i need to finish FF IX. Playing through some classics lol. Then i will play Pikman 1

  • ZeldaFan83

    Can anyone tell me if the multiplayer modes are local only or is there online play?

    • http://www.youtube.com/azhood321 AZHood

      Local only, no online play.

    • Clel

      Unfortunately, it’s local only.

      • Lord Carlisle

        Though who knows? Is it possible that Nintendo would release an update that allowed online play? If you look in the lower right of the game’s title screen, you can see “Version 1.00.000″, or something to that effect. So I’d expect some sort of update or DLC to it.

  • Laud

    - Challenge modes seem a bit short compared to the length of the campaign

    o_o… What did you expect?

    • https://twitter.com/Zorpix_Fang Zorpix

      I think she means there arent enough of them, and I agree

    • http://about.me/overlordror Ashley King

      Compared to the campaign, only five challenges of each type and then bingo mode is short. I expected to see more challenges of each type.

    • DWraySweZ

      Upcoming DLC… nintendo style.

  • Shota

    this game’s surround sound is just incredible.

    • greengecko007

      Played some parts of the game with headphones, and man, that reverb in the soundtrack is nice.

  • Nintyfan

    Great review Ashley!

  • Blaster pack

    Classic

  • Lusunup

    I would really like to try this game out but I still need to play pikmin 1&2.

    • AAAkabob

      You really don’t need to, the story isn’t connected. Atleast not to the point where you’d be missing out on ANYTHING.

  • uPadWatcher

    Ashley King… TWO THUMBS UP on your excellent review on Pikmin 3. Truly an excellent sequel in the Pikmin franchise.

  • Banemus

    Is the campaign playable with 2?

    • http://about.me/overlordror Ashley King

      No, the campaign is solo only.

      • NkoSekirei

        hey ashely can u please ban springer85 off this site hes been trolling way too much and insulting people as well and it needs to stop

      • Stephen Davis

        Ashley off the topic question, Is Nintendo’s online system the reason Arkham Origin is not getting multiplayer? (I saw this on VGN27 thats why I ask)

  • aldo2410

    good review, it sold me the game

  • Razo_E

    You say there’s over 20 bingo battle maps? I’ve only come across 12. Where are the others.? My family and I are absolutely addicted to it!

    • AAAkabob

      You can modify them to include capture the flag, so I guess she includes those? Anyways the fruit and bingo cards are randomly generated so no 2 battles will play out the same.

  • greengecko007

    The ONLY problem with this game is the Pikmin AI. At times, they can be really dumb and rage inducing. This is the first Pikmin game I’ve lost Pikmin to sunset because of how easily they get stuck in the environment. Even if you call a Pikmin to you, it will give up and go idle if there is something like a wall blocking the most obvious path. I’ve also had pikmin carrying something in a group randomly stop working and thus get left behind.

    Great game, but the Pikmin AI do cause problems.

  • Squid

    Mai favorite Wii U game so far.

  • andré

    this is the best game in a loooong time. its so fun!!

  • DWraySweZ

    love this game but highly dissapointed it didnt use the touch screen for control of pikmin. a missed oppertunity for pikmin that The Wonderful 101 is using nicely i might add.

    • Rémi

      The goal of the game is not to control the pikmin, but the Koppais. It is not a pure RTS in the traditionnal way, where you can control each unit individualy. The game is focused on the management of the trio and the pikmin as a ressource

  • endCredits

    I’ll run to the store right after work for buying this. I’m so excited for this! And over all, a very well written review. Thanks a lot!

    • Noteak

      Am I to assume you read this review during work?

      • endCredits

        Haha, yes and no. 10 minutes for food and 50 minutes for reading news about video games!

  • Merrfn

    Just out of curiosity, can anybody that has the game tell me if it would be to challenging for a 6 year old turning 7? Her birthday is coming up, and she loved the Pikmin game on Nintendoland. Will it be too hard for her? Would Co-op mode be the answer so I could do all the work, but she feels like she accomplished it?

    • MujuraNoKamen

      I’d say it’s pretty well rounded for newcomers and veterans. It eases you in gently but without too much hand-holding. I’m quite a Pikmin player but found that in parts the game could be real challenge but don’t let that put you off as I pressed myself to get as much fruit as I could in 1 day and learn each area well to plot the best and fastest course of action but if you want to play at a more relaxed pace there’s no limit on the number of days you have to finish the game. if you encounter a tricky puzzle/boss, turn around and find an easier one until you learn how to best to beat it, and if you can’t you don’t have to 100% complete each area to finish the story. Credit to Nintendo for making a game that can be as tricky or as simple as the player wants it to be.

      Anyway difficulty aside, the game’s a real gem, fully recommended to anyone :)

    • Rémi

      The boss are challenging, and may be too hard for a young person. It is possible to play the game without separating your troup. The bingo battle should be really fun, since you only control one character. I would suggest New Super Mario Bros U instead

  • Sdudyoy

    I love this game I give a 10 out of 10 myself and I would suggest it to all Wii u owners, I actually used the Gamepad the entire game and never had a problem the Wii remote controls actually were awkward to me.

  • Stephen Davis

    Not a fan of the flat textures, but hey for Nintendo moving to HD this still pretty dam good! I can’t wait to get my hand on it!! No online is the hangup for me…could easily have been a REALLY fun experience online with people around the world. Missed why they would not include something that could obviously bring alot more reputability to the table.

  • skywalkerTREES

    This is really a great review. Good job! Any Wii u owners should def pick this up if u have the spare cash. Im really stoked for wind waker HD though its gonna be amazing! First time on the site it seems like it has a great community of true Nintendo fans.

  • gamesplayswill

    I just bought Pikmin 3 today.

    …. *ahem*

    ….
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