Pikmin 3 is a really beautifully done game for the Nintendo Wii U console, and a very good one at that! In fact, it’s the reason I even got a Wii U in the first place!
The game takes place after the two previous games, beginning on the Planet known as Koppai. Koppai is suffering from overpopulation, a food shortage, and a lack of planning for the future. The only hope they have is to find another planet that has food on it. After sending out dozens of unmanned probes (called SPEROs), they find a bountiful world they name PNF-404. They then send out a expedition, led by three Koppiates (the three characters you play as), Alph, Brittany, and the Captain, Charlie. However, just before they’re about to enter PNF-404′s orbit, the ship suddenly malfunctions and the trio are hurled out of the ship, falling down to the surface…
The crew are separated at the start of the game, but they’re soon reunited so you can play to the fullest. While exploring the new planet, you’ll find the adorable Pikmin, tiny creatures that are half-plant and half-animal. Like in the previous games, the Pikmin live inside what is called an onion, which stores and plants Pikmin seeds. There’s more than one type of Pikmin, and as you find them, their respective onions join you.
The Gameplay is much like the previous games: you hurl Pikmin at foes or obstacles, they’ll take the spoils and send them back to their onion. Normal items, like enemy corpses or pellets (from Pellet Posies, a strange type of flower) will be sucked up into the onion, where it’ll spit out a number of seeds based on the size of the item. However, some corpses or items are heavy, so you’ll need more than one Pikmin to carry it back. It’s sort of a cycle that way, you get more Pikmin to defeat and carry bigger items to gain even more Pikmin to defeat even stronger and bigger foes. There’s also obstacles and foes that are only weak against one Pikmin type.
There are 7 Pikmin types that have been introduced over the span of the franchise, but Pikmin 3 only has 5. Red Pikmin, which deal more damage to foes and are resistant to fire. Yellow Pikmin, which are shock resistant and can complete broken electrical circuits. Blue Pikmin, which can survive underwater (other Pikmin types will drown). Rock Pikmin, which can break crystal barriers and hard enemy carapaces. Lastly, the flying Pikmin, which are small, weak, but very maneuverable and can fly over most obstacles. You’ll encounter them all as the story progresses.
The mission the trio have is to harvest fruit from the planet, and you’ll find them scattered about each stage (there’s only 5 total, but you have to revisit them often). When you find your first piece of fruit (a strawberry), it becomes evident (to you, not the characters) that you’re on Earth! You have to carry the fruit back to your ship with some help from the Pikmin. The ship (called the S.S. Drake) takes in the fruit, and then juices it for food the crew consume at the end of each day, while the seeds are stored for when they return to Koppai. Each day also has a time limit: as night falls nocturnal predators will start to wake up, so you must retreat your ship and lift off (along with the onion). Any stray Pikmin you leave behind will be eaten.
Here’s a cool part: You use the Wii U Gamepad as a Koppaite exploration tool, called the Koppad. It shows you a birds-eye view of the map as you explore the world, and acts as many other useful tools. You can also enter a first-person mode and use the Koppad to look about and take pictures, which you post on MiiVerse!
That’s the general gist of the game in terms of plot and gameplay, but the puzzles get harder, the plot gets thicker, and the enemies get tougher as you play on.
If you ask me, the game is incredible. The enemies even act like their original counterparts. Frogs (Wollywogs, the game calls them) croak when idle and even clean themselves when in water. Bugs swarm, spiders scurry, crabs nibble their mandibles, bats are stunned when you light up their caves. Add on the beautiful graphics, and you’ve got some astounding visuals. I also am fond of the fact that you and your Pikmin are about the size of a dime. Tiny bugs are towering beasts. A watermelon is like a heavenly fruit for the explorers. A cellphone is a powerful piece of alien technology that enhances the S.S. Drake’s scanning range. They even name the fruit they discover! A cantaloupe is a ”Wayward Moon”. Star fruit are “Stellar Extrusions”. They even mistake a Kiwi for an animal! The countless little details are just charming. It’s a beautiful game.
I don’t want to spoil too much, and there’s many upon many a review for it out there. (I’m also a little out of practice…) I highly recommend this game, and I say it’s a very good reason to get a Wii U console. Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed.