Finally getting released after being delayed several times from the promised launch lineup of Wii U games, Pikmin 3 gets a much wanted third outing but was it worth the wait?
The game starts off with you setting out in search of other nearby planets when you crash land on the Pikmin homeworld, you're then tasked with collecting your lost ship parts and food supplies in order to survive and to also take back home. You play as Alpha, Brittany and Charlie, 3 explorers in search of food as their home planet Koppai is running short on sustainable supplies, but only being tiny people they require help from the Pikmin. Gameplay revolves around calling on the Pikmin's aid using a whistle to collect fruit and defeat monsters. Get used to the whistle because you'll be using it a lot!
|So where's your army?|
Pikmin all start off with a small flower bud on their head, as you walk around with them and they beat enemies and carry things for you the bud starts to sprout, this is a slow process though but can be sped up if you manage to find nectar. Nectar is usually found inside small eggs and once drunk by a Pikmin it will instantly make the bud bloom into a flower which makes your Pikmin a little bit stronger and faster as well as more resilient to general hazards.
|Oh so many Pikmin!|
With the campaign being a single player affair, even though there are 3 playable characters, the multiplayer falls down to mission mode where you are given objectives to complete such as collect a certain amount of fruit or defeat a boss. These missions can be played in either single or co-op play with split screen.
If you're looking for a more competitive game, look no further than Bingo Battle. With up to 4 split screen players, each person is given a 4x4 card with items, creatures and fruit listed upon it, it's then up to you to gather those items to try to get 4 in a row to win the game. The trick here is once an item is crossed off from one players card, it blocks out on everyone else’s cards, so you can either play strategically by looking at what your friends have and try to stop them from making their lines, while filling in your own card trying to get a straight win, or you can rush out to try and get as much as you can as fast as possible and hope you get lucky. Unfortunately there is no online play optional here, which considering it's on Wii U, would have been a welcome feature, but half the fun is being able to see what your friends are doing at the same time, so the couch co-op aspect of it works well in its favour.
With the Pikmin's simplistic design, they have always looked pretty quirky, but now with the addition of high definition, the different colours that separate the Pikmin apart really pop both on the main TV screen and the gamepad. Environments also look visually striking as well as having fantastic level design. The 3 main characters are all well designed and have a unique feel to them; they all play the same so it's purely aesthetic. Creatures other than the Pikmin that inhabit the world are varied and wonderfully modelled with some looking like frogs or flaming slugs and some taking shapes more similar to insects with tough exteriors.
Sound in the game is very pleasant, but with little to no soundtrack, you won't be humming along to it. The Pikmin themselves make cute little noises when you throw them around and make sorrowful whelps if you let them get eaten by creatures. In the later stages of the game, you'll be hearing this a lot as some of the larger monsters can wipe out masses of Pikmin in one hit if you're not tactical. As for the player characters, the 3 of them all talk in garbled voices so all of the information is relayed through text. The only sound that may possibly annoy you can be the constant whistle you have to do to get your Pikmin into formation, though after a while, you forget that you're doing it as it eventually blends in with the ambient sounds of the level.
The game can also be switched over to be played off TV by simply pressing the -/select button on the Gamepad. This does limit you to playing with the Gamepad controls as the Wiimote option requires a sensor bar to be able to operate. I would suggest using a good pair of headphones as well if you are going to play off TV as the sound through the Gamepad speakers can tend to be a bit quiet.
With its fantastic visuals and captivating gameplay, Pikmin 3 is a welcome addition to the Wii U catalogue. It's a shame that the controls can sometimes become a bit fiddly and there is no online play, but overall its charms win over these small missteps. If you're on the fence about getting a Wii U, Pikmin 3 really showcases what the system is capable of.
Gameplay = 8.5/10
Graphics/ Sound = 9/10
Design = 9/10
Final We Know Gamers Score = 8.8/10
Had a chance to play the game? Maybe you have a different opinion to ours? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet me - @ChaosRiotZero