Pikmin 3

I’ve had Pikmin 3 for just under 2 weeks; and this site for 2 months. It’s time for a review!

 

Pikmin 3 – smallREVIEWservice

The 2013 Wii U addition to the Pikmin franchise doesn’t evolve the gameplay much, and doesn’t push the boundaries of the capabilities of the console in any way, shape or form. Not surprising, considering the game was originally developed for the Wii. Exploit up to 100 small creatures called Pikmin, and spread out over the maps with your three, all new, captains.

The game supports just about any combination of controllers you throw at it; although compromises intelligent use of some of these controls when a second player is thrown into the mix. Even so, the controls themself are silky smooth to the point where it almost feels second nature.

Story

The story goes that the inhabitants of Koppai are running low on food. They’ve sent out numerous probes to find a planet with ample resources to fill their diet of a fruit juice a day. Just as they contemplate giving up on their search (although why you WOULD give up on survival eludes me), they find a planet by the name of 404: Planet Not Found. Or PNF-404, for those living outside of my deluded mind.

Three intrepid explorers are sent to pillage the resources of PNF-404. Something goes wrong as they basically divebomb towards the planet (going by my basic knowledge of space, I’d wager they forgot about the heat generated in re-entry of the atmosphere and just burnt up). They’re seperated over 3 continents of PNF-404, leaving you to start your 10 or so hour quest. Naturally, it’s not the strongest of stories from Nintendo.

As is, you explore 4 unique areas, revisiting one and have a final boss continent. 6 sections to the game that are mouth-wateringly excellent – whilst cruelly leaving you begging for more. 6 bosses, all designed basically to show off. The difficulty is absent at first, but decides to join in near the end. Whilst the plot decides you need collect up the one missing piece of your craft, there’s plenty of replayability in what is refining your playthrough to speed up and/or collect all the fruit of PNF-404 (poor inhabitants, gonna be starved to death).

All 5 Pikmin types you get in the story feel around equally balanced, and you’ll be finding the same use out of each of these types. The three captains can all control their share of the 100 Pikmin you get (I would have expected more than 100 to be used considering the fact it’s a Wii U game), despite the fact you’ll likely only ever have up to two seperate groups on your first playthrough.

There’s little in the way of stress beyond the first few days when you’ve built up quite a buffer of supplies, as you can progress through the 13 minute days at whichever rate you wish. Once you’ve completed, there isn’t a way to play at a higher difficulty level either. And it’s rather baffling how a co-op story mode was never implimented, when you think of how entertaining the co-op mission mode is.

Mission Mode

Mission Mode is a mode… of missions. Didn’t expect that, did you? There’s three types of missions; the collection, the enemy battles and the boss battles. 5, 5 and 6 levels respectively, it’ll take approximately 150 minutes to complete all these levels.

This 150 minutes may not seem a lot. Although when you look deeper, you also have a co-op play (which you’ll end up playing both ways to get the medals on each account) and the platinum medals to collect. The Platinum medals are gained through thoroughly completing everything on the map on the collecting (collect everything) and enemy missions (kill everything), and through completing the boss battles in a certain time.

I don’t actually know the time boundaries for the boss battles, seeing as they’re the same battles you get within the story. As great (and show-y off-y) as they are, I won’t be chiseling away at my time constantly. The collecting and enemy missions, however, are an absolute joy to play. It’s interesting to note that level one/two/three/four/five of the enemy missions are on the same map area as level one/two/three/four/five of the collection. Weirdly, it’s also the collection missions which are the most fun.

The co-op play in these modes is – at a note – very fun. Criminally fun, for the length. You can complete most platinums second or third time through, and first through on your second play – on the co-op. The single player is a whole lot harder to get any platinum – taking well over an hour for just one. Going back to the co-op, there is one complaint.

The Mission mode only ever supports splitscreen. Even if you’re playing with a gamepad/pro controller configuration. There’s no option to change it. At all. The player with the gamepad gets a map to play with, leaving that player at a massive advantage (as you can’t access the map in any way on the pro controller).

If you have platinum medals on all missions of all the types; there’s still more. Once Platinum is gained on a level, the score gets even higher based off remaining time – leaving you to refine your play in aim of being the very best (on the worldwide leaderboards, which are in this game). This makes for an overall fun and long-lasting mode with some oversights.

Bingo Battle

Very much the ‘party game’ area of Pikmin; battle against your friend on the same system – online play is not supported – to fill out a line on a bingo card consisting of numerous creatures and fruits in the area. There are 12 small arenas to ‘battle’ on – each fairly unique.

The real joy of this mode is that you can win or lose in any number of ways. You may be playing with two captains per team, with one supervising the last lemon your team has, whilst your opponent has a bunch of Pikmin brutally murdering the other captain. Even if the captains have that bit much health. Or, you may have finished killing a Bulborb to lumber back, when your opponent comes and steals it with their superior army of Pikmin. The beauty of Bingo Battle being so various.

Sadly, this mode uses the same logic of relegating the Gamepad to a map no matter what like in the Mission mode (except more important in this mode, considering the competetive nature), and the options menu is a bit skint of actual… options. There’s not too much else to say; the maps are fun, and decently balanced. The gameplay is truely exciting, and it’s hugely entertaining if you have friends that are into commanding small armies of tiny, plant animals.

Pikmin 3 may feel short and quite lackluster on the Wii U, with some glaring problems. It’s no masterpiece, although is an essential addition to any Wii U collection at this point in the console’s life.

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