(Available for Nintendo Switch only)
Pikmin 3 finally makes it to the Switch from the Wii U making it one of the last great games on that system to make the jump to the Switch with added content. The game was announced in August via Nintendo’s Twitter account with a weird considering the nature theme of the game October 30th release slot which likely was made to fill the slot of another game due to a possible delay of Super Mario 3D World switch port moving to Febuary (note: this is largely speculated Nintendo insiders and Nintendo has not confirmed this is the case). The main additions that were announced for the game were that the game would contain an prologue and epilogue missions involving fan favourite characters Olimar and Louie, extra difficulty levels, as well as 2 player co-op. in case you haven’t played Pikmin before here’s what the basic premise is it’s an real time strategy game where you play in a small version of out world using little creatures called Pikmin to survive, find resources and battle bigger creatures with different types of Pikmin being more useful or required to certain sections and puzzles. In Pikmin 3 you play as new characters Alph, Brittney and Charlie traveling to planet to get fruit to sustain their planet’s growing hunger problems however their ship runs into a problem which requires them to also get a key that previous main character Olimar has somewhere on the planet using the pikimin to help get fruit and get off the planet. The game makes you balance exploring environments to gain extra fruit to boost your score but at the cost that the crew needs to eat some of that fruit to survive so to get the best score by the end of the game you need to get a lot of fruit in as short a number of days as possible, though I would recommend exploring all the areas since trying to do the game very fast actually makes the game way too short. Now I will be honest and say that I never played the Wii U version of the game so my perspective is someone playing Pikmin 3 for the first time though I will be commenting on how many people have perceived the changes from the Wii U version.
- Gameplay: Pikmin is still really great in terms of gameplay. Some people refer to Pokemon as “little Jimmy’s first RPG” because of it’s more simplified but well structured RPG mechanics and in that sense Pikmin could be refered to as “ little Jimmy’s first RTS” and the 3rd entry does some good expansion of that gameplay with some apparent refinments to this deluxe version. I would say that 3 in this form plays better than 1 and 2 in many ways and feels it took most of what worked in 1 and 2 whilst casting aside much of what wasn’t working. It feels like the game has a good amount of challenge whilst allowing each player to tailor the difficulty to what they want to get out of the game.Tthe addition of ultra spicy difficulty is also a welcome edition for Wii U players to double dip for this Switch version.
- World design: each of the areas are amazing to explore and each level seems well designed. The levels are also well designed to warrant repeat run-throughs since you won’t be able to get all the fruit on each level on your first vist to an area. For example you won’t be able to get fruit from the water since only Blue Pikmin survive in water. Also the level design is well done, not only are these environments huge and sprawling with features even when compared with Pikmin 1 and 2 but they have so many pathways to explore along with some shake ups for challenges which some changes. Plus the environments really pop out with a real beauty of nature effect Pikmin is known for (further confusing the October release)
- Non gyro Controls: we’ll get to the gyro controls in a minute but my first thoughts when playing Pikmin 3 was that the controls are genuinely well applied and from what I’ve heard have had some refinement made to them for this game. The biggest complaint I see for Pikmin 3 was that the experience was brought down by the Wii U gamepad and by making it a non factor it seems that it’s a real improvement since it’s not required for control or seeing the map any more and some of the ways of getting Pikmin back to your location have been improved which is a majour upside. Overall if you’re looking for the best controlled version I suspect this is your best bet despite having not played the Wii U version
- Boss battles: honestly they are a real highlight of the game. the first few are easy but later battles really test your strategy and what risk you’re willing to put on certain kinds of Pikmin. The desgns are also really cool with some real imagination to put into them.
- Co-op: I wish I could’ve done more of this because it’s the best new feature. I really like playing co-op and doing split screen multiplayer can really boost how effective you can be each level and is really enjoyable provided you can communicate well with your friend. Downside is that when this game came out we were going into lockdown so finding people to play with was difficult when your housemate is very busy and you can’t go out and see your mates. While we’re on the subject I didn’t have a chance to play the bingo game but I’ve heard it’s brilliant and am dying to give it a go. The multiplayer is great but it’s useless in a lockdown.
- Gyro controls: tried it once and it wasn’t that enjoyable of an experience. While it functions fine but they’re a bit finickey and aren’t to my tastes on how I want to play and I quickly swapped back.
- The extra story missions: they’re alright but they don’t add much significance to the game and are basically extended challenge maps. It is nice to get a bit more from Olimar and Louie but for something that was a big selling point for people to double dip it’s not extraordinary
- Graphics: Pikmin 3 looks fine and 720p 30 fps is fine for it and looks good but it doesn’t look as good now being stacked with some switch games including other Wii U ports which have benefited from the conversion to the Switch. maybe it was asking too much of developers who are clearly overworked and deserve more appreciation so I can’t say that it would be possible to upscale the game 1080p though if it was it would’ve improved the image of the game
- Very short main story: I know this is a standard in Pikmin and comes with the challenge of the game but I would like a longer main story in a future Pikmin 4 because it felt like when I was really getting into the story, it was over. That being said it’ not a deal breaker
- No online co-op: as mentioned before the multiplayer is great but the fact that no online functionality is in the game is staggeringly stupid. I was planning to do some co-op and bingo with my friends but we live way too far apart and no online multiplayer meant our ability to play this game to the full was shot in the foot before we even got started. If you want to experience the multiplayer with people not inside your household then you have to wait for lifts in lockdown which in uncertain times is a massive misstep on Nintendo’s part.
If you weren’t a fan of Pikmin this one won’t change your mind since it’s more of the same but with a few extra refinements. I really liked it but I would say I still would like a Pikmin game that’s a little longer and the lack of an online co-op is really disappointing. As a whole however it is genuinely enjoyable to play and explore these environments and it really is a great to have awesome co-op experience which on the switch with its automatic multiplayer thanks to the 2 joycons on each system is a real boost. With all the dlc from the Wii U version and new content it is worth buying again if you owned one because there is a new experience here and the ultra spicy difficulty will give you a challenge if you want it. If you didn’t play the Wii U version I am proof you can just play it and enjoy it and it can function as someone’s first Pikmin game if you saw Olimar in Super Smash Bros and want to know what he’s about though I would recommend checking out some videos about the first 2 games first
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