The Pikmin series has been around for the past twelve years and has received nothing but praise from both critics and the community, yet it’s taken this long for me to finally get round to playing this adorable series. But with Pikmin 3 being released on the Wii U, I finally got my chance to experience the series and see what all the fuss was about.
After only five minutes I immediately saw why everyone loves the series. The game carries this overall sense of charm and cuteness that make me feel like a child again. Watching as the little Pikmin run about singing to themselves made a smile appear from my face that wouldn’t ever leave. Everything about the game makes you just saw “awww”, including the Pikmin’s death animations! When they run out of health, the Pikmin collapse with a little sigh before passing away as their cute little ghost floats to heaven. The whole game wants to give the player this overall sense of calm and relaxation, all the movement is nice and simple, while the music seems to play off in the distance allowing the ambient sounds to create a state of peace.
However, the game isn’t completely relaxing. Every day has a time limit to how long the explorers can be on the planet’s surface, once the sun sets they rush back to their ship and leave the hostile planet, leaving all the lost little Pikmin that didn’t get into the onion to be fed to the wild beasts. This time management is also increased by the need for the explorers to keep well fed, as at the end of every day the explorers will drink a bottle of fruit juice from the fruit gathered on the planet. No juice means no food, and no food means a ship of dead explorers. The time management and food management give the game more purpose than just “explore a planet’s surface” and gives a reason to press forward every day in hopes of finding a new piece of fruit.
But exploring the planet’s surface is just as fun as finding fruit, and that’s thanks to the games gorgeous art design and aesthetics. The world is highly detailed with some of the best water textures seen in recent years, and monster designs that look like they came from a Pixar movie. It’s great to see what the game will throw out next and is a driving force to continue exploring.
The game just oozes creativity and beauty, with the worlds obstacles being giant versions of typical objects (E.G. a cardboard box is blocking a path or a mobile phone is a signal jammer). This gives the game a feeling that the explorers are wandering around your garden and finding things you’ve dropped.
One aggravating problem are the controls. The Wii U gamepad feels clunky and unfit for what the game asks of the player. While there are some nice touches that take advantage of the gamepad’s screen, it feels like the game was made to be played with the wiimote and nunchuck.
I’m so glad I finally got to experience the Pikmin series, and it’s a shame it took so long for me to do so, but I’m very happy that my first experience with the series was with this well crafted game. For anyone with a Wii U looking for a fantastic game that the whole family can enjoy that involves a little more skill and planning than Mario, Pikmin 3 is a game worth checking out.
This review was originally posted on Gaming Capacity