I must admit that I’ve never played a Pikmin game.
Although I owned a Gamecube and a Wii U, I’ve never been attracted to Olimar and the silly-looking life forms known as Pikmin. I understood the premise, but I never felt that it was something I had to play or own.
Let’s fast-forward to 2020, and although most of us are stuck at home, it seemed like a good time as always to finally play one for the Nintendo Switch, and I’m sure I’m glad I did, because Pikmin 3 Deluxe became a title I couldn’t put down.
I love how the Nintendo Switch has become a landing pad for Wii U titles that didn’t get the attention and dedication they deserved. While many players see this as a flaw in the Switch’s library, it has helped many to introduce great Wii U titles like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze” and “Tokyo Mirage Sessions”: FE, and now you can add Pikmin 3 to this mix.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe is an improved version of the original 2013 Wii U game, with quality of life improvements and DLC enhancements in one package. I can’t talk about the improvements, but I can say that if you’re new to the franchise, you’ll become a fan.
The story of Pikmin 3 is simple. A ship carrying Alph, Brittany and Charlie crashes and lands on the alien planet that is home to Pikmin and a host of other creatures. You start out as Alph and your mission is to find the other two members of your crew.
There you’ll learn what Pikmin are and how the planet works. As someone who hasn’t played the first or second game, this is a great tutorial if you’re not familiar with the franchise. You’ll learn that you can control the Pikmin and use it for various tasks. You’ll also learn that there are different colored Pikmin that specialize in a variety of tasks.
As you set out to find your crew members, the mission changes: Now it’s up to you to find a key to leave the planet. There are a few twists and turns along the way, but that’s the basic premise of Pikmin 3, and as a stepping stone to the franchise, it works very well.
Once you’ve played the first two Pikmin games, there are of course some nodding movements.
Now it took me a while to get used to the controls and learn how to use my time and resources wisely. There are so many things you can do in each area at once that you can’t do everything in one day. There are day/night cycles that limit what you can achieve. Players must be sure to return to the ship with their Pikmin before night falls and the creatures come out.
If there’s a time limit, you’ll need to divide the Pikmin’s tasks wisely. In the early days, I had trouble understanding how to do this, standing around waiting for my Pikmin to tear down a wall of dirt or bring back fruit to the ship. Once I realized I could leave them to do the job, I found it much more efficient to do my own work.
This is especially true when you have all three captains in your group. The players can throw a captain into an area of the map and let him do tasks. There are areas that force players to split the three captains to overcome obstacles and climb hills. The design of the terrain and the way to get there is an important part of the puzzle-solving and strategy aspects of Pikmin 3.
Players must also find fruit to eat between days, and each area has plenty of it. So as long as you complete your tasks on time, you shouldn’t have a problem with how much you have.
In fact, the difficulty is more on the easy side, even for someone new to the franchise. Fortunately, the Deluxe edition offers more difficulty options to give players either a cooler/comfortable or a more difficult passage. The harder difficulty level is definitely noticeable, so if you’re a pro or want a second round, I recommend increasing it.
Another new feature in Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the lock-on function. Inexplicably, in the Wii-U version, it was not possible to lock on targets when Pikmin was praised for it. I don’t know how it was done before this feature, but it’s there now and works very well.
There are also optional hints that allow Sp