Zebei: My history with Pikmin starts with 2, which was a bit too slow paced for me to bother beating, but it was enough for me to become interested in the series. When I eventually got a Wii U, I was able to get Pikmin 3 free because of the deal with Mario Kart 8. This wound up being a great decision because this game is amazing. Pikmin 3 is easily one of my favorite games on the Wii U. . .maybe even #1 because it is just so good. The game’s flow is very fluid, with the juice system giving you plenty of rewards for playing well, while not feeling like there is 0 rush like Pikmin 2. The ability to use 3 captains at once, while having them walk automatically with the gamepad allows for unparalleled efficiency, and with some proper planning, you can finish many many objectives in a single day. The combat and bosses are fun and the puzzles are pretty neat too. Not to mention the game is gorgeous. My only complaint is it’s a bit too easy sometimes, and the juice limit can be a little too lenient around the mid-game (you can have up to 30 days in reserve or more with little effort).
However, about 2 minutes before writing this article, I beat Pikmin for the first time. Pikmin 3DS was definitely what got me to start Pikmin 1, but Game Club did help a tad. While I have seen a play-through of the game by youtuber Chuggaaconroy, that was more than 6 years ago, so this was essentially a fresh experience. Frankly, I couldn’t help but compare the game to Pikmin 3, which I admit is a bit unfair based on how the sequels build on the past and 2 generations of tech to work with. But I just couldn’t stop myself for the first few “days” of gameplay before I started being able to look at this game in a vacuum. Compared to Pikmin 3 this game is SUPER clunky. You can’t even switch what pikmin you are throwing. The only way to pick a pikmin to throw is to try and muscle your way through the crowd and bump into the right one or dismiss your whole army. It’s awkward to say the least. Neither is very practical in a battle or for when you need split second decisions. Thankfully the game has very few of these split second moments so there isn’t much to worry about there. It’s more of a minor annoyance than a major concern. The pikmin are also very very stupid. Many would just run and drown themselves or get distracted in the middle of running or a battle. They constantly get stuck on walls and aren’t very good at choosing the right target. Sometimes it feels like you are fighting more against your own pikmin than the deadly creatures trying to kill you. But barring that, and a few awkward little map details and way more glitches than I expected (a mamuta, an enemy that is supposed to be only able to bury pikmin, flowering them killing 50 of my pikmin in a single swing, vanishing pikmin etc) the game was extremely fun. Good enough puzzles, neat enemies, very fun combat, and neat little followers. It’s very satisfying to have a little rainbow army following you around.
What seems to be consistent about the series is it’s fun areas. In all 3 games it is super fun to go out and explore the levels, mentally marking landmarks, fighting off the dangerous creatures, and getting as much progress as you can in a day. It’s extremely satisfying when good planning leads to everything coming together. It feels like genuine exploration of a hostile planet. And while the Pikmin are . . .quirky. . . they are really enjoyable little creatures to interact with and are usually good for a laugh or something to be proud of for their skill when they aren’t drowning again. Overall a quality series I have enjoyed considerably. I am excited for both Pikmin 3DS, and whatever games come to NX and beyond.
Oh and blue Pikmin are the best. :p
DekZek contributed this piece of art for this month’s GameClub! Click the image for the full size!
PushDustIn: Even though September was a pretty busy month, I got to revisit Pikmin 2 for a little bit. I got maybe ⅓ through the game this month. Pikmin 2 offers a lot of improvements over the original. The most noticeable difference is the use of two captains at once — Louie and Olimar. This allows players to better multitask with Pikmin, working on two sections of the map at [almost] at once. The second major improvement is the the cave system. Inside the caves, the day cycle pauses. It seems like a deliberate design choice by the developers. This allowed the level designers to create more “gauntlet” like challenges in Pikmin 2 over the original. Bosses are usually at the end of the caves, and they have their own separate treasure list than their outside levels. Another difference is the lack of a hard deadline. The story involving a broke Hocotate Freight gives players motivation to complete the goal, but the 30 day limit from the first game is gone. This makes the game a little less stressful than the first. Lastly, Pikmin 2 introduce white and purple Pikmin. Both bring unique abilities, and expand the gameplay. Because of this playing the game is less stressful and more enjoyable. If a boss takes out a lot of Pikmin, then players can spend a couple of days regrowing their numbers, being ready to tackle the next challenge. I enjoyed playing Pikmin 2 this month, and was glad I was able to put a little bit of time into it.
Thanks to everyone that contributed for the 3rd Game Club! We are in the process of deciding what theme we will do for October. You can vote here!