PIKMIN 3 DELUXE
By Mark "Demius" Bronneberg on November 6, 2020
Let's start this review in complete honesty, shall we? I must confess that I never played a Pikmin game before. Maybe I should have, but I somehow never did. My first encounter with Pikmin was with The Subspace Emissary from Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Where Captain Falcon murders a row of Pikmin when he makes a great entrance (damn he is so cool... ehm... I mean poor little Pikmin!). Since I like strategy games I really can't explain why I never played one of the Pikmin games. I didn't really know what to expect, so I first checked out the demo and liked it. Let's see if my opinion about Captain Falcon changes while playing Pikmin 3 Deluxe! Pikmin 3 first released on the Wii U and now gets a Deluxe edition on Nintendo Switch. The first two Pikmin games released on Nintendo Gamecube, where captain Olimar is the protagonist.
The story of Pikmin 3 does not resolve around captain Olimar. Instead, you follow a different group of explorers called Charlie, Alph and Brittany. They all reside from the planet Koppai, and visit planet PNF-404 looking for food (seeds) to bring back to their depleted home planet (because of some serious mismanagement they ate all their natural resources). Of course something happens when they land their ship, The Drake. The damn thing malfunctions and ejects the lot of them, separating them from their ship and each other. Here they befriend Pikmin (little plantlike creatures), which prove to be a great help in completing their mission.
Because I didn't really know what to expect, besides controlling Olimar in smash brothers, I knew you could throw Pikmin around. I expected a game like Lemmings, but Pikmin is quite different from that. There is quite more you can do with these Pikmin. You control one or all of the explorers. You find little Pikmins, each with their own colors and ability. Red Pikmin are fire proof, yellow Pikmin can conduct electricity and you can throw them higher, Rock Pikmin are very sturdy, deal more damage when you throw them and can destroy ice/crystals that block your path. There are winged Pikmin, that are ideal to combat flying monsters and there are blue Pikmin that can swim trough water. The game doesn't throw everything at you from the get go. You unlock different colors throughout your playthrough. I did not find the game too difficult playing on normal. There is also a hard difficulty and the ultra-spicy difficulty. Ultra-spicy unlocks when you complete the game on hard, or if you completed the demo. Your demo save can be used in the full game which makes playing the demo really useful.
The Pikmin are really cute, I wanted to save them all... I didn't lose any of them.. I swear... Ok I am lying, I lost 50 of them on my third day on the planet. I ran out of time, had to go back to my spaceship and they all got eaten by huge monsters... To quote Alfred from Batman: "You trusted me.... And I failed you....". So how did that happen? The story mode evolves around playing day by day, each day has a certain amount of time in it. You see dots on your screen which represent how much time is left. Your spaceship lands in your 'base' the Pikmin you found on previous days all reside in their 'union', which can apparently also take off and fly into space. They are loyal to a default. Once you start a new day, you can retract the Pikmin you saved from previous days from the union. Each day you try to find fruits to bring back to your ship. The Drake makes a smoothie out of them and saves the seeds for the home planet.
After each day ends you have to return to your spaceship and union and back in space you drink one smoothie to stay alive. Once the smoothie storage is depleted I guess its game over. Luckily there are plenty of fruits to find and I never came close to running out of smoothie drinks. Well until a certain someone (spoiler) did a certain something (angry face). You use Pikmin to get past obstacles or throw them at enemies. You can switch between different colors and need to remember which Pikmin works best against certain enemies. To get more Pikmin you knock out coins from flowers that represent a color (match Pikmin color to get better rewards) throw Pikmin at the coins to bring them back to base and the union sprouts new Pikmin, which you have to pull from the ground to add to your team. You can also throw Pikmin at the corpses of enemies to bring them back to your base. This also sprout new Pikmin.
Everything you can carry has a number above it. This means how many Pikmin are needed to carry it. You can add double that to increase carrying speed. Or use flying Pikmin to make them carry stuff past obstacles with ease. There are also obstacles that require a certain amount and color of Pikmin. If you want to complete missions quickly there is a lot of micro management and multi-tasking. Once you find all your crew members you can split into three teams and work on different projects during one day. Some puzzles even require you to split up in multiple teams (you can also throw your other crew members). One thing which made me stress were the time limits in story mode. I am a completist so I always try to get all the Pikmin, corpses, fruits and I ran out of time so many times. If you run out of time all Pikmin that are not in base or in your squad are left behind and die. There are boss battles in the game, these are really challenging and fun. After you kill a boss they often drop a big fruit, a quest item and of course their corpse. Trying to carry them all back to base requires a lot of Pikmin.... Since boss battles can take quite some time I often didn't have enough time to return everything to base.
The controls in Pikmin 3 are easy and I didn't need much time to get used to them. There is the occasional panic attack when monsters start eating Pikmins and you make mistakes like throwing Pikmin in water (only the blue ones can swim) or throw yellow Pikmin at fire monsters. It is possible to play co-op, I did not test this functionality. The graphical style is great. The game looks good in docked or handheld mode. There is virtually no slowdown. The sounds are what you expect from a Nintendo game (no voice acting, some gibberish sounds when the cast speaks and some nice tunes). However the Pikmin death cry is something that will make you cry from the inside.
Now that I have the serious stuff out of the way, let me share how I really think about this game. This game is amazing I loved it! I was sad when I completed the story, but luckily there are other modes to keep you busy. Captain Olimar makes a return and there are side missions where you control him and his friend/ partner Louie. Here you get a certain amount of time to kill as many enemies as possible or return as many fruits as possible. These side missions were to me the best part of the game. I tried to get platinum medals on all of them. In the end I completed the game on normal, completed all the side missions and tried a few missions on Ultra Spicy.
Ultra Spicy makes enemies tougher to kill and fruits give you less juice, which means it will be easier to run out. So let us summarize: you have story mode where you control Charlie, Alph and Brittany on their quest for seeds. There are Side Stories where you control Olimar and Louie in their quest for gold. There are also Missions, where you can take on challenges for medals and there is Bingo Battle, which is a co-op party mode. So the game has a lot more to offer than just the main story. I believe the Side Stories are additional content in this Deluxe edition, nonexistent in the original.
After playing Pikmin 3 Deluxe I am sad that I never played the original games. I now hate Captain Falcon for murdering all those cute and helpful little Pikmin in Smash Brothers. This is a great strategy game with challenging puzzles, boss battles and a funny story with wonky characters. There are not many games that compare to it. I blasted trough the main story and that is mostly a sign that you really enjoy the game. The deluxe edition is polished, looks great on Nintendo Switch and the additional content (to me) is even better than the main game. People that like a combination of strategy, puzzling, collecting and exploration should really try out Pikmin 3.
PIKMIN 3 DELUXE
October 30, 2020