Release Date: 8/4/2013
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Pikmin is one of Nintendo’s lesser-known franchises. While the first two were fairly successful on the GameCube they didn’t reach sales numbers that match Mario or Zelda. Pikmin 3 was a great start for the Wii U, especially with a system with such few games so it can garner the attention it needs. The game is cute, whimsical, and easy to play, but has a lot of micromanagement that can frustrate players.
Like most Nintendo franchises, this game isn’t about the story. You play as three different spacemen who are venturing into the solar system to find food and sustenance for their home planet. This is your main goal for the game. Each day you need to find fruit to bring back to your ship which then turns into juice. Depending on how many people are at your party on that day one juice will be consumed per person. This is where things get frustrating. When you’re on the ground you go around collecting tokens that are used in the Pikmin Onions to create Pikmin. The Pikmin must carry these to the Onion and some tokens require a certain amount of Pikmin. If you are a lot more than the required amount the token will get carried faster. You can also bring enemy carcasses to the Onion to convert to Pikmin as well which is a neat idea. Of course, you will lose Pikmin if they get caught up in water (except blue Pikmin) or killed by enemies. That’s not even the frustrating part. You get about 10 minutes for the entire day to explore the area, gather Pikmin, and find fruit. Two days would go by where I get caught up on a boss, need to gather more Pikmin because I’m low, or just figure out where the fruit is.
This sounds frustrating because it really is. I wish the day cycle wasn’t here, it makes things annoying. I wound up losing 100 Pikmin because they were carrying a boss carcass and fruit back to the ship and I missed getting them in the safe zone by 1 second. So I spent 2 days gathering more Pikmin and another 1 day finding a fruit. In the meantime, I consumed 3 juices which left me with one. If I hadn’t found a fruit on that third day I would have had a game over. Super frustrating and that’s honestly not much fun.
Other than this major frustration the game is super enjoyable. The game is paced really well and I felt I was blazing through areas at a brisk pace. The game keeps you on your toes with inventive enemy designs and bosses. The variety of Pikmin is nice since they are based on elements. Rock Pikmin can smash through crystal and glass and do massive damage to enemies. Yellow Pikmin can electrocute, Red Pikmin are your base Pikmin and are resistant to fire and are great fighters. Blue Pikmin can swim but aren’t good fighters. You can swap around these Pikmin and order them around with the right analog stick. I just found that micromanaging them got annoying because they can get lost and stuck in places if you leave them behind so I lost many Pikmin from that, sometimes I just downright lost them somewhere and had to leave them behind.
The Battle Mode is really fun. Bingo Battle pits two players against each other in an effort to gather four cards in a row. You have to collect fruit, defeat enemies, and various other objectives. There’s no online multiplayer which is a crying shame, but two players on the couch are better than nothing. This mode can be really addictive and the Mission Mode will keep you coming back after the story mode is complete.
The game actually is one of the best-looking Wii U games out there. It really shows the power of the Wii U with a depth of field, high-resolution textures, and some great lighting effects. There are some ugly textures like the dirt. It looks like Wii textures, maybe this was a rush job from Nintendo, I don’t know. The previous complaint about the micromanaging and the daily limit is too short. No online multiplayer is a bummer, but overall this is a really nice package and any Wii U owner should check this game out.