I have been waiting to rejoin the miniature world of Pikmin for a really long time now. I love the ‘Honey, I Shrunk The Kids’ perspective of the series and its quirky menagerie of creatures where both friend and foe are all unique and somehow recognisable at the same time. The unique perspective and the detail it requires to make the world interesting is probably why I also love games like The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap as well. Pikmin 3 has been high up on my most-desired Switch port list for ages and now Pikmin 3 Deluxe is almost here in souped-up HD with a bunch of extra goodies inside, just the way I like my ports. I’ve been lucky enough to catch a super early flight back into the undergrowth thanks to Nintendo and I’m looking forward to staying a while longer. While I can’t quite share all of my adventures with you yet, I’ve put together a little taste of what I can so far.
Bringing our spoils back to base. Pikmin 3 Deluxe is full of weird and oddly familiar things.
If you’ve never played Pikmin 3, here’s a quick rundown. The game focuses on three explorers on a mission to find food for their starving planet, but after crash landing and getting separated on planet PNF-404 they must first reunite and use the adorable Pikmin to save their teeny-tiny hineys. It’s a real-time strategy game with action and puzzle elements in a quirky, charming package grown from the creative mind of Shigeru Miyamoto. The game is played in daily cycles, against a timer, as night is far too dangerous for you and your Pikmin, so you need to be efficient and productive to find sufficient food and make new discoveries.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe looks lovely running on the Switch, both in handheld mode and docked, with its upscaled visuals. The game’s control scheme required a bit of modification from the original Wii U setup, removing the necessity of the touch screen in docked mode (which was used for targeting), but retaining this function as an option in handheld mode. The left stick is used for both movement and for choosing where to throw your Pikmin when playing via controller, but gyro motion controls also make a comeback if you prefer, and this arrangement works well.
A great new addition is the lock-on function, allowing you to lock onto possible targets such as monsters, fruit and other collectible items with a press of a button, increasing your accuracy and efficiency. The game has also been made even more appropriate for veterans and newcomers alike by adding a new difficulty mode (Ultra Spicy) for expert explorers and optional hints for new travelers.
A Bingo Battle field
Historically the Pikmin game’s have always been single player adventures, but in Pikmin 3 Deluxe there is now the option to play the main story mode in co-op. My brother and fellow WellPlayed gamer Dylan and I sat down to try out this new mode together. Co-op in the game’s story mode is fun and well-integrated and suits the real-time strategy gameplay of Pikmin quite well. When you start the game you’ll be playing as clones of the same character, one solid and one ghost (think Mario Kart Time Trials but cooperative). You’ll manually share Pikmin between yourselves – or hog them all to yourself – allowing your character to literally be in two places at once and do two different tasks. Once you progress through the story and rescue another team mate you’ll continue on your split-screen adventure as two separate entities. The transition from split to single screen when cutscenes occur is smooth and the field of view for each player during gameplay is sufficient enough, and you’re able to hop in and out of co-op in any save and at any time, which is great.
Two other co-op modes are available at the beginning of the game as well: Bingo Battle and Mission Mode. Bingo Battle is the non-collaborative option, pitting you against each other with different teams of Pikmin and tasking you to collect specific food or monsters to call BINGO! This mode is really fun and competitive, with many different potential strategies from simply trying to collect everything to going after your opponent and sending hazards their way via a cherry-powered roulette wheel. There are different-sized maps and handicap options available to mix things up, too. Mission Mode on the other hand entails co-operative treasure hunting, monster killing or boss battling madness with the pressure of a timer. Both modes are quite enjoyable if you’re looking for a change of pace from the main storyline.
The third alternate mode, and new to the Deluxe version, is Side Stories. You need to progress to a certain point in the story to unlock this mode, but you can also play all of these stories in both single player or co-op. We’ll tell you more about this at a later date, but know that this mode has even more secrets and surprises to offer up (shhh)!
Not a platinum but gotta start somewhere
I’ve got to get back to protecting my Pikmin from being eaten now. Trust me, the sound of Pikmin dying is the absolute worst. If you’re interested and would like to see if this is a game for you, there’s a demo of Pikmin 3 Deluxe out now on the Nintendo eShop. The demo has an option to transfer your save to the full game, and if you finish the demo you can play at Ultra Spicy difficulty from the get go. Look out for our review later this month!
Pikmin 3 Deluxe launches exclusively on Nintendo Switch on October 30.