Pikmin 3 Review

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?
Featuring the original 3 colour designs, Red, Blue and Yellow, each Pikmin has a different skill set. Red Pikmin are invulnerable to fire and are also more capable fighters, Blue Pikmin are the only ones that can travel through water and the Yellow Pikmin can conduct electricity and are lighter, therefore they can be thrown higher than any other types. A few new additions have also been introduced such as the rock type which is useful at smashing their way through crystal and weighing down airborne creatures and the Pink flying Pikmin, which can move over any hazard as well as taking out airborne enemies, though these do have a lower damage tolerance. The Purple and White Pikmin from Pikmin 2 also reappear, Purple's are much larger than normal and can crush smaller enemies when thrown and can also carry larger objects by themselves while the White Pikmin can poison enemies but have very little health.

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!
Enemy AI is kind of what you expect, monsters will hold their distance and just move around in circles until you or your Pikmin decide to venture too close, at which point they become aggressive. Smaller enemies won't really cause you too much trouble and it's only when they get to being bigger that you really have to throw a whole bunch of Pikmin at them to be able to bring one down. Boss monsters usually have a quirk to them where you'll need specific Pikmin to take them out. The first boss for example is covered in a crystal like substance, you'll need the rock Pikmin to shatter off it's armour before you can launch the red Pikmin at it which can do higher levels of damage to it's fleshy under body.

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.

Graphics/ Sound
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.

Different views.
Controls can be a bit hit and miss depending on which control scheme you decide to go with, personally I've been playing using a Wiimote and Nunchuk as the pointer controls give a more responsive aiming system. The Gamepad can be a bit difficult to use when you're trying to be accurate and takes a degree of getting accustomed too. The Gamepad also displays a map which is very useful to have when trying to find your way around, moving the map will pause the game and give you an overhead look at the surrounding environment. Using this function at the start of a new day will give you the chance to have a look around and plan what you'll be doing rather than just jumping in blind and hoping for the best.

Final Verdict
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


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