Pikmin 3 (Hands-On) (Wii U) Preview

By Adam Riley 16.06.2012 12

Review for Pikmin 3 (Hands-On) on Wii U

Good old Shigeru Miyamoto. Not only does he come up with fantastic characters such as Mario, Link, and Donkey Kong, but he has wondrous ideas whilst doing even the most mundane of tasks. Take Pikmin, for example -- one day whilst pottering around the garden he contemplated how it would be so useful to have little helpers to ease the workload. Thus, Pikmin was borne of such a train of thought. The original, back in 2001, hit Europe a few months after the GameCube launch and was hailed for being a superb slant on the traditional real-time strategy genre, albeit a bite-sized one. Its 2004 sequel, Pikmin 2, was a phenomenal step forward, developing the concept far more than ever imagined, resulting in it becoming one of the best GameCube releases to this very day. Around the time of release, Miyamoto-san discussed how brainstorming was taking place for a third game. Although seemingly premature at the time, considering the second game was just about to hit, clearly the process took longer than expected. Eight years later, Cubed3 finally had a chance to try out Pikmin 3 to see how the long development time had benefitted the product.

At the E3 conference, Miyamoto-san discussed how there will be four leaders to control, along with extensive GamePad support for ease of managing Pikmin leaders dotted all around the forest-based environments, plus two new varieties of the little critters to utilise in the most productive of ways. For the purposes of the actual E3 demo shown in the UK, however, the GamePad was not supported (despite being available for use at the US event), only the black ‘Rock Pikmin’ were available for use, only Captain Olimar could be controlled, and timer restrictions had been enforced on the two stages shown off. Considering this is set to be a ‘launch window’ Wii U release, Nintendo was definitely keeping its cards close, which could suggest that Shigeru Miyamoto and the team still have plans to tweak the game further until the last possible minute.

Pikmin and its sequel always had exceptional presentation values, and nothing has changed in this third iteration, with there being a delightful soundtrack accompanied by ambient forest-life sound effects, and even more polished visuals than before thanks to the added horsepower and HD capabilities of the Wii U hardware.

The first of the two demos on show was ‘Gather the Fruit,’ where a seven minute time limit was given for the little spaceman, Olimar, to order the Pikmin to grab as many delicious pieces of fruit as possible around the map area. Aiming the Wii Remote pointer at the screen and moving the controller about adjusted the position of the on-screen reticule and a simple tap of ‘A’ either blew a whistle to gather Pikmin within a certain radius, or launch them towards whatever needed to be attacked, collected, or demolished. Every item of fruit requires a set amount of the standard Red Pikmin to carry back to Olimar’s spacecraft in return for coins, and the same goes for enemies that need to be despatched and also transported back afterwards. This is where the tactical element really hits home, since there are only around ten critters at your disposal to start with and various pieces of fruit littering the area that take two or three Pikmin each; what to go for first, as the timer quickly counts down?

Screenshot for Pikmin 3 (Hands-On) on Wii U

The controls also allowed for a quick pan of the whole map, and the centring of the camera that normally automatically moved around as Olimar et al trundled around their surroundings. The controls worked extremely smoothly and intuitively throughout, giving the player immediate authority over the whole troupe, quickly enabling the acquisition of strawberries, grapefruit and health-refilling nectar, as well as breaking down soft barriers to access secret items and new areas, gain access to more Pikmin, and dispose of the pesky monsters roaming the general vicinity. In terms of enemies, there were familiar faces, but in addition there was a crazily fast hard-shelled insect and a floating jelly, almost Metroid-esque, being that upon being defeating unleashed the Rock Pikmin, little black, block-shaped garden folk that use brute force to devastate brick walls and crystallised structures, as well as inflict more damage upon foes.

There came an important juncture mid-way through the level where time could be taken to construct a shortcut back to the landing ship; would it be quicker to build the bridge or keep trekking back each time to fetch Pikmin once they had finished delivering goods? It was here that special crystal-covered bugs were found, as well as a disastrous few flame-enveloped ones that could burn both Red and Black Pikmin in seconds. How could they be dealt with? Clearly the final game will give access to the water-based Blue Pikmin, but for the demo here it was a case of dodge and grab the fruit high atop the nearby ledge and just hope the monsters did not catch wind of what was going on. Everything worked as well as it did in both GameCube iterations, as well as the revamped New Play Control! versions on Wii, but whether or not MotionPlus made any difference was debatable. Miyamoto-san may have stated it added much to the experience, but it was not noticeable during the play-test.

Screenshot for Pikmin 3 (Hands-On) on Wii U

After successfully beating the fruit gathering mode, the second element was a Boss Battle, pitting Red and Black Pikmin against a scorpion-like beast with dangerous pincers and a crystal shield encasing its soft innards. The key tactics that had to be employed here was to make use of only the Rock Pikmin to start with, since the standard flower ones never even made a dent on the armour. Smashing away repeatedly meant that panel by panel the Armoured Mawdad’s defences were slowly stripped away using a whole host of patience and careful Pikmin lobbing. The temptation was to grab all the Pikmin from around the enclosed arena, but in doing so it slowed the destruction process down due to the inadequacy of the red ones. Biding your time was imperative whilst playing against the Mawdad, with it shuffling in different directions in the arena, then scurrying up the walls akin to a boss from The Legend of Zelda, before slamming back down to the ground. After removing as much of its outer shell as possible, then it was the right time to enlist the support of the remaining Pikmin to drag its health down swiftly and claim victory.

Pikmin 3 may appear too similar to its previous two counterparts for the liking of many, but only the tiniest of snippets was shown off, and it has already been revealed that plenty of new elements are being included. With only two games released over a period of eleven years, it is high time the third comes out to satiate the appetite of gamers around the world. With both selling around the half million mark in Japan alone, and the Wii re-releases bagging a further 200,000 each, expectations are high for this third game. Undoubtedly, Miyamoto-san and the team will deliver.
- Adam Riley, Operations Director.

Screenshot for Pikmin 3 (Hands-On) on Wii U

Extra Thoughts

Pikmin has always been a delight to play, with its pleasant and soothing world putting players into a very relaxing place amongst nature from a miniscule-like perspective. Nintendo’s demonstration of Pikmin 3 delivered exactly what fans would expect of the series. The control scheme used in the Wii’s New Play Control! versions of the two GameCube entries naturally made its way over to the third game, so it was easy to get right in there and run around with the army of little plant men. The spruced up graphics were instantly noticeable, where high definition added a lot more atmosphere to the outdoor scenery, with neat touches like foreground blurring and glistening body armour of enemies extending the range of effects.

The demo felt very “same old Pikmin,” with the aim to pick up fruit and defeated enemies using the creatures themselves and bring them back to the ship to create more helper buddies being the order of the day. The introduction of the new, black ‘Rock Pikmin’ was really about the only fresh idea present in the demo, which was quite unfortunate. It felt good launching these tough nut guys into foes and walls to smash them up, but it would have been great to try out the flying Pikmin we already know will be in the final game, or at least get some hands-on time with the co-operative features. As it stood, the demo was a familiar experience, emphasising the re-use of simple Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls, but also highlighted just how good the game will look. There will no doubt be plenty of new ideas revealed eventually, but to really only sample one new type of Pikmin was simply not enough to gauge how different Pikmin 3 will be to the previous entries.
- Aaron Elias, Previews Editor.

Screenshot for Pikmin 3 (Hands-On) on Wii U

Final Thoughts

Pikmin 3 already has plenty of sceptics around the world, all wondering why the game looks so similar to the past two releases. However, in the near decade that has passed since Pikmin 2, the hunger for a new title, even with the smallest additions, has built up so much that when jumping into the, admittedly brief, E3 demo it was something well worth savouring. Every second spent with Pikmin 3 was a true delight and this is definitely in the ‘must buy’ list of Wii U launch window titles.

Developer

Nintendo

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Strategy

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (353 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop

Comments

Jay (guest) 16.06.2012#1

How many pikmin can you have following you at one time, is it an increase on the 100 from the gamecube games? It looks nice enough but you'd expect it to have some sort of online functionality even if it's something as simple as leaderboards.

Jay (guest) said:
How many pikmin can you have following you at one time, is it an increase on the 100 from the gamecube games? It looks nice enough but you'd expect it to have some sort of online functionality even if it's something as simple as leaderboards.

Each player can control 100 Pikmin. I think this means in two player co-op, for example, both players can have up to 100, but someone might need to confirm that.

It is a shame for no online. I'm not lucky enough to know too many people that would play something like this. Online helps players find those that do. Leader boards should be there for anything where scores are involved - it just helps bump up the replay value and people love to compete.

Pikmin 3 already has plenty of sceptics around the world, all wondering why the game looks so similar to the past two releases.

This is actually the first time I've heard someone say this. While I haven't read a ton of previews of the game, I've only heard comments about how good it looks.

Our member of the week

only Captain Olimar could be controlled

I thought they said at E3 that Captain Olimar wouldn't return this time??? Just checked, the Wikipedia article it says so too. As well as this article:

http://n4g.com/news/1011303/captain-olimar-not-main-character-in-pikmin-3

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

In Pikmin 3 you can now control 101 Pikmin, from what I've seen hinted on the demo.

RudyC3 said:
only Captain Olimar could be controlled
I thought they said at E3 that Captain Olimar wouldn't return this time??? Just checked, the Wikipedia article it says so too. As well as this article:

http://n4g.com/news/1011303/captain-olimar-not-main-character-in-pikmin-3


Yeah, it seemed to be Olimar in the demo, though.

( Edited 17.06.2012 11:27 by Azuardo )

Monkey D Super (guest) 17.06.2012#7

They said that the reason Olimar was not shown in the game was still a secret. He will most likely still appear in the plot.

Yeah, Olimar has a 'special' role in P3, as Miyamoto said on the stage at E3, but he was playable in both demo modes...

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses

I'm quite baffled how a lot of people say it just looks like an upscaled Wii game.

Marzy said:
I'm quite baffled how a lot of people say it just looks like an upscaled Wii game.

Because you haven't seen it close up in action. It needs a lot of work. Some of the textures look really nice (Boss, fruit etc) but others look flat and lack detail - Ground, slides pikmin themselves. And there is a heavy lack of AA. Maybe it's just these events that put you in close proximity of large screens - but Zombie U didn't really suffer much from this, but everything else did. Considering its been in development for the Wii for the past 3 years or so, of course it's an upscaled Wii Game, they just have a long way to go to make it look much better. Nintendo have a lot of catching up to do.

Sadly, yeah. Pikmin 3 looks nice enough in shots but up close was a bit different. ZombiU I thought suffered from a very poor lack of AA. There's still time to polish these games up, though.

Azuardo said:
Sadly, yeah. Pikmin 3 looks nice enough in shots but up close was a bit different. ZombiU I thought suffered from a very poor lack of AA. There's still time to polish these games up, though.

Yeah, it looked a lot better than Batman and Ninja Gaiden did though... That was just appalling. Seeing stuff like that scares me away from this console as it should easily be able to outstrip current gen. Nothing I have seen has shown me that yet.

It probably doesn't help that I've been playing games on PC for the past couple of months again instead of my temporary xbox solution. Kinda hard not to compare and go back. But I'm watching my brother play Skate 3 on the xbox and it looks really good still.

( Edited 17.06.2012 18:03 by Echoes221 )

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