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Review

Pikmin 3 Review

  • Game release: August 4, 2013
  • Reviewed: July 31, 2013
  • WIIU

Strategic combat and rewarding exploration make the adorable Pikmin 3 a satisfying adventure in planetary survival.

by

What would you do for a strawberry? When your life depends on the juice encased in this tasty fruit, the answers are as limitless as they are disturbing. Survival of the fittest is at the heart of Pikmin 3, and though the dangerous fauna cavorting about the environments are well equipped to fend off interlopers, those predators have no counter to a horde of scavengers ready to fight. And as you secure the bounty of your triumphs--avocados, melons, grapes--you feel not regret for what you had to do, but relief. This achingly cute adventure taxes your brain as much as your fingers, resulting in a satisfying journey through Darwinian conquest.

Just stay cool and try to ignore the horde of pikmin around you.

Crash-landing on a foreign planet, three explorers must do what they can to survive. When colorful beings approach Charlie, he blows his whistle in an attempt to chase them away. But that only draws them closer. Once surrounded, he tosses them to and fro, but instead of running away from this angry man, they happily chop down a nearby mushroom. And then he gets an idea. Why not use these diminutive creatures to his advantage? He can gain the attention of the pikmin by blowing his whistle, and then toss them near an object or enemy to set them to work. Through this delightful tutorial you learn the core mechanics and set off to find your two stranded comrades.

Charlie, along with his crewmates Alph and Brittany, is in search of a solution to save the inhabitants of their home planet from starvation. Much of your journey entails securing fruit that will sustain you for one more in-game day. Melons, lemons, and the like are scattered throughout the five enormous environments, and you have to be resourceful and persistent to collect enough to keep living. You consume one vial of juice per day (which lasts about 15 minutes), and you're free to stay on the planet for as long as you have fruit juice to keep you energized. In the early hours of the adventure, you're focused on nabbing as much fruit as your pikmin's tiny arms can carry. Once you have a healthy supply, however, your focus can shift to ship repair.

The rocky terrain looks serene as the sun sets.

Five pikmin types eventually join your party, each with special abilities that make them indispensible to your survival. Venturing underwater with any color but blue is going to lead to a lot of drowned bodies, and only your red guys can withstand the scorching heat of fire pits. When electricity makes its presence known, make sure you have plenty of yellow pikmin nearby. Although those three pikmin types have been in the previous two games, there are a couple of new additions as well. The slight pink pikmin aren't too handy in a fight, but their flight lets you lift up gates or reach higher ground. The black pikmin are the exact opposite. Their heavy shell keeps them grounded, but they can crash clean through crystal. This formidable team keeps you prepared for any situation. Plan wisely, though: you can have only 100 pikmin at a time.

There are five massive environments to explore. Aside from restocking your fruit supply, there are no pressing objectives, so you're free to wander wherever you desire, enjoying your time in this foreign land. The atmosphere is instantly welcoming. Foliage lines every path you walk down, making it feel as if you're taking a simple stroll through an overgrown forest. Such sights are continually stunning, and the game employs a number of camera tricks to ensure you see the many serene vistas from optimal vantage points. The muddy ground textures are the one sore spot, but it's easy to look past that misstep as you admire the teeming beasts that populate this alien world. And the photogenic protagonists are always at their cutest. The pikmin are brimming with personality, squealing their pain and miming their pleasures as they frolic beside you.

You might not want to fight that giant crab, but he's blocking your path.

The beautiful environments contain formidable barriers to test your resourcefulness while you admire the splendid artistic design. There are walls and rivers to corral you, darkened caves filled with nocturnal monsters, and hordes of creatures who have developed a taste for dead pikmin. Combat is a frequent occurrence, and there are enough different enemy types to ensure you can't rely on the same techniques if you want to excel. Giant bulborbs have drooling mouths and insatiable appetites, so you need to stay on their backside unless you want to lose half of your party. Wollywogs leap high in the air, so you better be quick with your whistle lest your team ends up flattened into the earth. Fiery blowhogs make short work of every pikmin type but red, so be prepared. There's no time to relax in Pikmin 3 because there's always something dangerous waiting around the corner.

Death is not handled lightly in Pikmin 3. When one of your friends falls in battle, its soul floats upward from its body into the clear blue sky. It's heartbreaking to see a group of souls soar toward heaven after a difficult fight, and that constant reminder of the price that's being paid for your survival means you never take their sacrifices lightly. The same respect is paid to your many enemies. They are not evil or bad; they're just simple beings trying their best to live. And so they fight you when you encroach on their turf, and they don't stop bucking and braying until you leave them alone. If you should win, you see their souls commingle with those of the departed pikmin, and you realize just how brutal nature can be.

Pikmin 3 never hides from death. At the end of each day, you must gather up all of the remaining pikmin to save them from the impending dangers of night. Any pikmin not in your company are left behind as your ship hovers above the ground, and you're forced to watch the stragglers be eaten by the hungry citizens of the night. You feel utterly hopeless in this situation, and silently resolve to not let it happen the next night. But it will happen. And it's not always your fault. The pikmin, stupid beings that they are, have trouble following behind you. They get caught on rocks and logs, and aren't smart enough to free themselves from those tricky corners to catch up with the group. It's a slight annoyance that frequently surfaces.

The calming sights before you enter the dangers hidden in the tree.

It can be tough to keep track of a handful of pikmin amid the chaotic endeavors of each day. The three explorers can separate from one another, traveling to different parts of the map with their own group of pikmin. Efficiently doling out orders is the key to quickly completing stages. You may grab a few blue pikmin with Charlie as you gather pieces of a bridge underwater, while Alph uses a group of pink pikmin to unearth a banana buried in the sand. The map located on the GamePad makes it possible to keep your eye on everything that's going on. At a glance you can see where your explorers are and where fruits are located, and you can even send Charlie, Alpha, and Brittany to specific points just by tapping where you want them to go.

It's a great system as long as you're using the GamePad. However, even though the map is incredibly handy, you do have to put up with annoying control issues. You can lock on to enemies and objects to quickly throw pikmin where you need them to be, but it's clunky on the GamePad. It's easy to overshoot your target, especially if it's hovering in the sky, which is frustrating during heated battles. The Wii Remote with nunchuk is a much better option if aiming is getting you down. Pointing at enemies is so easy, you never have to worry that you're going to inadvertently throw your pikmin in the wrong place. However, you won't have the map in your hands. Neither method is ideal, so you just have to decide which problem you can live with.

Purple pikmin do make a return in Mission mode.

No matter which controller you use, you won't have too much difficulty given that this adventure doesn't offer much challenge. Pikmin are a replenishable resource. Carry a couple of enemies back to your ship, and new pikmin sprout from the ground. Because you're always ferrying resources back to your ship, you constantly have new pikmin growing, which means you have tons of disposable critters waiting to be unleashed on the world. Any fight can be won by attrition. It's a shame pikmin 3 is so easy, especially compared to the previous games in the series. The original Pikmin demanded efficiency because your adventure ended after just 30 days. And Pikmin 2 introduced caves, which taxed even the most hardened animal trainers.

Thankfully, if you venture outside of the story mode you can find serious challenges. Mission mode can be played alone or with a friend, and time is a quickly evaporating commodity. In these specially designed levels, you have to collect treasure, kill enemies, or vanquish bosses as quickly as possible, and your reward is a shiny badge. Planning how to scoop up all the fruit or slay the baddies without wasting a second requires the mind of a battle commander, and it's exhilarating to ensure all of your explorers are maximizing their potential as you inch closer and closer toward perfection. You may never collect every item or enemy, but slightly beating your previous best attempt is satisfying enough to keep bringing you back for more.

Bingo Battle is pure chaotic joy.

Bingo Battle is the final mode, and it's a chaotic excursion into competitive matches. In this two-player face-off, you try to complete one row of your bingo card before your friend can. Bring fallen enemies or delicious fruits back to your base as quickly as you can if you want to win. But winning is only a small part of the fun. The real joy comes from griefing your buddy. If you see that your opponent needs to collect just one lemon to win, do whatever you can to get that lemon yourself. And then look at the pain on your opponent's face as he or she sees what you just did. It's fantastic! This hectic mode is fast and unpredictable, and leads to tasteful trash-talking as you try desperately to one-up each other.

Pikmin 3 doesn't offer much growth from previous games in the series, and actually takes a step backward in some areas. But there's no shame in falling just short of the classic offerings that came before it. Scouring the environment for all of the hidden goodies is eminently enjoyable because of the clever problem solving you have to employ, and the competitive mode should test the strength of any friendship. There's nothing quite like Pikmin out there, and its delightful combination of survival strategy and unflinching cuteness should entertain you throughout this lengthy adventure.

The Good
Massive levels that reward exploration
Exciting combat encounters
Hectic competitive mode
Mission mode ups the challenge considerably
Lovely artistic design
The Bad
Neither control method is ideal
Pikmin have poor pathfinding
8
Great
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Discussion

1412 comments
PyreofKoL
PyreofKoL

Gotta say, this game is great. Definitely agree with the two negative bullet points, though. The pathfinding is pretty boneheaded, and that's a problem when you're trying to get that last item to the ship/onion before End of Day. The controls are definitely a bit clunky, but I certainly prefer the gamepad. A lot smoother than the Wiimote. 

Dschadir
Dschadir

I've only just picked this game up and boy am I surprised. I never played a previous Pikmin game before and went for Rayman: Legends instead. Happy that I did decide to get it. I can now play Pikmin during the day with my kids and GTA V in the evening when they are sleeping :-)

Nintendo seems to have changed from leading in the game industry to a slow starter. The 3DS has finally picked up Steam and is selling like hotcakes. But Nintendo is now also churning out one good game after another for the WiiU. Lego Undercover, Rayman: Legends, Wind Waker and now this one. And with Sonic Lost World, Donkey Kong, Super Smash Bros. and Super Mario 3D World just over the horizon (not counting those games also released on Xbox/PS) and it's starting to look good, finally, for WiiU owners.

Now if only Samus and the Belmont family could make a reappearance ...

NeonNinja
NeonNinja

WAIT, WAIT A SEC, this dude calls these guys Peekmen?  Wow.

nkaiton
nkaiton

Looking forward to trying this.

justinka777
justinka777

I don't know how this guy moved around but I almost never lost pinkmin to walking around corners. well at least not nearly as much as in the first two, I actually thought the pathing was improved in this one. I will agree that while both control methods worked well, but neither was ideal. its funny, I lost most of my pinkmin giving them food to carry and not paying attention to how they walked back. great game with fun vs and coop modes, just wish the story mode had a hard difficulty setting or something to really challenge you, had 60 days of food left when I finished it.

Necrotron
Necrotron

Nintendo is getting me closer and closer to being interested in a Wii U

stealthyninja81
stealthyninja81

never going to own a WiiU but im glad those that do have a decent game to play for a while

DonRoosevelt
DonRoosevelt

Yet another lackluster Wii U first party title...

91210user
91210user

A nice game for the WiiU! I do like the fact that it's Pikmin and they finally got a release for it!

hadlee73
hadlee73

Still not enough to make me buy a WiiU, but it sets me one step closer. I love games that put great art design ahead of horse power graphics.

Klikandclick
Klikandclick

I know most people don't like the WiiU for some reason, but I really want this console to succeed.

That aside this game looks awesome and I plan on picking it up when I have the cash to do so

Lakersblood
Lakersblood

I'm on day 6 and I'm loving it. The rock pikmin are cool. I love how its more challenging with three different people you can manuver with. There really isn't a game out there like Pikmin. This game actually makes you use your brain a lot more than most games. Definitely glad Nintendo made a third one. I think it would be cool making a 4th game with all 5 Pikmin. The stress level would be through the roof lol

penpusher
penpusher

@DonRoosevelt if you find the Wii U "lack luster" and have already ditched it, what on earth are you doing on a Wii U page in the first place? :S

wubwubwub
wubwubwub

@DonRoosevelt this is an excellent title.  You're just bitter because you traded in your Wii U before any good games came along.  Now you can't play it, so you tell yourself its 'lackluster'.

Its true that there are not many good titles out for Wii U just yet, but that will change.  There will be a few, and those few will be gems. (including pikmin 3!)  It is definitely a great secondary system to own, to compliment my ps3 and PC.  Sorry you got rid of yours...

DonRoosevelt
DonRoosevelt

@hadlee73 Great art in gaming looks better behind stronger hardware.  Your statement really lacks validity.

For example, play Windwaker on Dolphin in 1080P vs. the GameCube.  The difference makes many believe that Nintendo is foolish to bring out such beautiful games on such piss poor hardware.

locknuts84
locknuts84

@Klikandclick Most people on Gamespot don't like it for some reason. Other websites are a bit more fair. Gamespot staff don't help either when that laugh at the console in their videos.

DonRoosevelt
DonRoosevelt

@penpusher @DonRoosevelt This is a public forum.  I care about how the Wii U is doing.  I bought the machine almost right after launch.  I was working for Game Stop at the time, and as good as I am at selling systems, it was like pulling teeth over the holidays to get people to buy one.

Hobbyist gamers like ourselves will try to purchase every gaming device known to man, but my point really lies in the fact that the general public is NOT interested in this new hardware.  It was outdated at launch, the operating system runs poorly, etc... but the main thing that's keeping the sales of it from thriving is the fact that most people who invested in a Wii over the last many years are still believing that the Wii U is just some type of "add-on" , or may not even know the system exists!

Nintendo had a great chance to release a system that was ahead of the curve this time, and they dropped the ball, as usual.  Once the XBOX ONE and PS4 are released, it's likely curtains for the Wii U.

DonRoosevelt
DonRoosevelt

@wubwubwub @DonRoosevelt It's awfully vicarious to tell someone else how exactly he/she is feeling about something.


I don't care about some game for babies... a series that I've never touched.  Nintendo is dropping the ball by not having StarFox or F-Zero return to their system.  Nintendo is bringing out WindWaker and a decent looking Mario game, but that's about it.  It's just more of the same over and over.  

You called it yourself, a "secondary system".  That doesn't say much about its potential, now does it?

DonRoosevelt
DonRoosevelt

@nathanjones007 @DonRoosevelt Let's let the sales numbers of the Wii U speak for me, then :)


I had one and ditched it already.  No fantastic games coming out, very little third party support, especially after XBOX ONE and PS4 are out.

Kakashi_101
Kakashi_101

@DiverseGamer @DonRoosevelt I think he was talking more about the review read than the score, which if you read it, the game doesn't come off as 'amazing' at all, at least for a highly anticipated title. You should try that, instead of looking at a number...

hadlee73
hadlee73

@DonRoosevelt Well seeing as you apparently get to decide whose statements are valid or not (not sure who gave you that authority), I'll have to explain it further.

When I say "horsepower graphics) I'm talking about increased textures, not increased resolution. For example, for me something like Okami looks better than Gears of War, simply because Gears is a combination of realistic textures shaded in muted colours, wheres Okami is made up of fantastic artwork. Yes, Okami looks nicer in 1080p than it did on PS2, but the art design is still the same (and its art design I'm talking about here). Hopefully that clears it up, and my statement is now valid enough for you to cope with.

DonRoosevelt
DonRoosevelt

@DoomglooM @penpusher @DonRoosevelt 


 @DoomglooM @penpusher @DonRoosevelt

Actually, I'm playing the crap outta Diablo III, DOA5 Ultimate, and GTA V right now on my XBOX 360.  


And I'm starting back at GameStop next week, so please, don't assume you're insightful enough to know me, and make a fool outta yourself in the process.


I was thinking of buying a Wii U again this Fall, but the only thing that's bringing me back at the moment is Mario 3D World, which is based on the best Mario Bros. game ever made!


Stuff like Pikmin 3 does poorly in the US.   170,000 copies in the States since release?  That's not helping Nintendo win many Wii U customers, that's for sure.

penpusher
penpusher

@DonRoosevelt @penpusher Which still begs the question why come here and wind people up? I could go into how having "outdated" internal hardware doesn't matter (as if you didn't notice the original Wii's 100 million or so sales), but I shall leave it instead at you've given up on the console, fair enough, but leave the rest of who still support it to discuss the articles about it in peace.

That may be dismissive, and this is indeed a public forum, but you surely knew full well all that comment would do is wind people up, and not actually add anything relevant. Those of us looking into a review for a Wii U game don't really care what you think of the console at large.

DonRoosevelt
DonRoosevelt

@wubwubwub @DonRoosevelt You're not getting the point.  A "secondary" system is one not worth owning, for most folks.  In a time where the economy is piss poor, many households will choose one system, and the folks that bought into the Wii are not going for the Wii U, in most cases.  

Go look up vicarious and you'll see that I used it properly, as you were pretending as if you understood my thoughts, speaking for me.

wubwubwub
wubwubwub

@DonRoosevelt @wubwubwub The Wii U is a great secondary system.  I agree it will not have as many great games as a ps3 or ps4 for that matter... but it will still have some great games, Pikmin 3 is undoubtedly one of them.  Too bad for you that you've made up your mind before really knowing anything about the game let alone played it.  And you used the word "vicarious" incorrectly.  Nice try though! :D

padako
padako

@DonRoosevelt @nathanjones007 if you rely solely on sales number then you must think that CoD is the best franchise ever. not a very good argument my friend.

Pikmin 3 More Info

First Release on Aug 04, 2013
  • Wii U
Pikmin 3 is a fully reimagined, mass-action strategy title from the critically acclaimed Pikmin series that adds a new Rock Pikmin as well as a flying Winged Pikmin that will follow the player and can carry items in the air..
8.7
Average User RatingOut of 105 User Ratings
Please Sign In to rate Pikmin 3
Developed by:
Nintendo
Published by:
Nintendo
Genres:
Real-Time, Strategy
Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
Everyone 10+
All Platforms
Mild Cartoon Violence