Pikmin 3 Review
After nine long years the much awaited Pikmin 2 sequel has finally arrived: Pikmin 3. In spite of the previous games’ rereleases on the Wii, a new generation of players will be exposed to the third game’s contemporary sensibilities while still trying to maintain the spirit and charm of the first game. This is effectively achieved by introducing new mechanics that are analogous to that of the original Pikmin, but doing so in a manner that eases new players into the experience.
The story mode has a few narrative elements which move the game along that involve individual control of each character. This either introduces a new mechanic or Pikmin type, and helps to solve the current objective or obstacle at hand. Whenever that’s completed, something else usually happens immediately after, keeping the plot interesting without stifling gameply with lengthy cutscenes. The pacing is based on how well the player is at figuring out how to resolve the issue, and since answers are vaguely given as for where to go next, it can take up quite a bit of time between producing more Pikmin and looking for fruit, the latter which is required to continue playing, similarly to the day count limit in the first Pikmin.
While the number of different areas is about the same as the first two games, they are much larger, which might seem initially intimidating, but the player is awarded with shortcuts as they progress. However, instead of being more open, in which any leader can explore without Pikmin, the levels are more labyrinthine, like the caverns of Pikmin 2, and require Pikmin to expand the player’s reach. Unlike the caverns, no matter where the player is on the map, they are still timed for the day. Additionally, the environments feel more natural, with greater attention to detail in the scenery, which is more prominent when the camera feature is used.
With many years in production, Pikmin 3’s controls are as polished as can be. Instead of guessing by aligning the cursor beneath objects and enemies to throw Pikmin, the game lets you know when a target has been found with a clicky interface. Instead of controlling the movement of the collective, Pikmin can now be swarmed with the lock-on feature, allowing the player to move large amounts to whatever they exactly want. Additionally, the player can pause the game to direct their leaders to any location with the GamePad, while they are free to control another leader on their own. This cuts down on time if the player needs to retrieve Pikmin from a certain area after they’ve completed a task.
The two control schemes allow for different playing styles. With the traditional GameCube controls and New Play Control! style for the Wii in the same game, the two interfaces can be directly compared. While the Wii remote and nunchuck allow the player to move the leader and aim independently, only GamePad controls work with off-TV play. Using the traditional controls has become easier now that the lock-on feature automatically aims thrown Pikmin at their target, allowing the leader to strafe around it. In a way, the two control schemes are opposites, with the Wii remote and nunchuck having the player focus on where to move, while the with GamePad, the player is going to look at where their reticule is, and the movement of their characters is an afterthought.
In addition to the story mode, there is a mission mode, which challenges players to complete certain tasks in a limited amount of time in smaller areas separate from the campaign. As well as completely new maps, this allows the player to use Purple and White Pikmin which were introduced in Pikmin 2, as well as play co-op. With Bingo Battle, there are many different stages with different layouts that two players can go head-to-head in. The only pressure is that of the players put on one another.
+ Completely new content
+ Multiple control schemes
+ Balanced learning curve
+ Refined controls
+ Innovatively designed bosses
+ Breathtaking environment with camera feature
In the end, Pikmin 3 offers a chance for new players to experience the franchise, as well as offering a challenge for veterans. While it doesn’t have anymore more content as its predecessor, it's presented in a way that doesn’t pad the game out, making each spectacle shine brighter than the last.