Pikmin 3 Deluxe (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Drew Hurley 28.10.2020

Review for Pikmin 3 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

Nintendo's first-party catalogue is without a doubt the golden standard, something that Sony and Microsoft could only hope to one day achieve. Much of this is down to the genius of Shigeru Miyamoto and his wonderful creations. Case in point, the marvellously minuscule milieu of Pikmin. Fans of this beautiful little puzzle series have been clamouring for a fourth instalment for years now, and to tide them over while that new iteration is still in development, Nintendo is bringing back the best of the series to Switch. Even better, this port is coming with all of the DLC that was available for the original game, and some brand-new features, too!

A trio of explorers has been sent from their starving world on a mission to save their people. They are off to visit other planets in hopes of finding a food source for their starving populace. The explorers find a world known as PNF-404, a planet familiar to fans of the series. Here they find huge sources of food (quite literally, with strawberries bigger than the explorers themselves and apples that are about the size of a small car!) but the trio is hit with a small issue when their ship crash-lands and separates the three explorers across this world with no protection from the local predators. They have to reunite, collect key parts of their ship, fix up that ship, collect enough food, and get back home. The key to achieving all of this is the titular Pikmin.

For those new to the series, the premise is simple enough. Lead a band of diminutive explorers across a landscape filled with gigantic flora and the craziest collection of cryptids. The only help in this dangerous land is strange, tiny, plant-based creatures known as Pikmin. The explorers can pluck these little creatures from the ground, then command them with a whistle, or throw them through the air like a weapon. The Pikmin come in various flavours, separated by colour, and when not in use can be placed inside an "Onion", a nest high atop spindly legs to keep them safe from the predators in the area, of which there are many.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe slowly introduces each type over the first few stages, each with their own unique strengths to overcome the various puzzles in the world. Red Pikmin are good all-rounders and are fire-immune. Yellow Pikmin are natural electrical conductors and diggers. Pink Pikmin can fly. Blue Pikmin can swim. Black Pikmin are rock solid, able to smash through rocks and glass. Purple Pikmin can carry heavy loads. White Pikmin move very fast. The team of explorers can take a pack of up to 100 of these Pikmin out into each stage in whichever mixture they feel best.

Screenshot for Pikmin 3 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

Essentially a puzzle game, the explorers need to direct these Pikmin around each map, collecting fruit, killing enemies, collecting their corpses, and all the while fighting against a time-limit. The game works on a day-night cycle, where the explorers need to head out into new stages and gather sufficient food to play again the next day.

The whole game is playable in either single-player or co-op. Best of all, new to this release is local split-screen co-op. This is absolutely fantastic. It's amazing how playing through again with friends can be just so enjoyable, especially if they have never played a Pikmin title before. The main story clocks in at about 12 hours and they simply fly by when done with a friend, as do the extra few hours it takes to wrap up all of the additional parts. Some of these are brand new to this version - more on that later, though.

The split-screen co-op is also available in Bingo Battle, this game's version of competitive multiplayer, where each player races to track down specific items in the world and return them to the Onion to fill in a bingo board. Where the split-screen shines the most is in Mission Mode. This mode can be played solo or in co-op and there are three different types of mission to take on: Collecting Treasure, Battling Enemies, or Defeating Bosses. Defeating Bosses is self-explanatory. Fight against the bosses from the game once again but with a time limit and a set amount of specific Pikmin to use. Then when it comes to Battling Enemies and Collecting Treasure, both mission types give five different stages, and both have another five bonus "remix" missions, once the first five have been completed. Regardless of which is chosen, both types give a time limit of around 10 minutes to rush around a small map with the limitation of a small number of specific Pikmin types. There are enemies and items on both but learning which to prioritise is key. Just the act of killing enemies gives points in Defeating Enemies, while getting items back to the Onions gives points in Collecting Treasure.

Screenshot for Pikmin 3 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

This part of Pikmin 3 Deluxe is so thoroughly addictive, and it gives a mammoth amount of extra life, especially when co-op is combined with it. Each of the missions often requires multi-tasking and sharing of the load between the three explorers. In one of the early Collection Treasure Missions, for example, one is sent off with a team of water Pikmin to gather up items on the bottom of a lake, while another explorer leads a team of yellow Pikmin to smash open electrical barriers and dig up buried fruit, while the final explorer rushes new white Pikmin to race back and forth between piles of crystals and the ship. It requires repeated switching between each explorer or, even better, a second player to assist.

The same challenge is present in the Defeating Enemies missions, often with the explorers starting completely separated across the map, often with Pikmin that are key to progress on the opposite side of the map. Explorers have to be switched regularly, keeping the Pikmin busy at each point to make the most of the limited time available. It becomes almost a science. Repeating the stage a few times, practicing, learning the map, and figuring out the perfect route. All of these missions have specific scores to reach, with bronze, silver, gold, and even platinum medals to acquire. Reaching the platinum medals requires a perfect run, and it's here where players will spend hours replaying to earn them, or even better, replaying with friends in couch co-op sessions.

Screenshot for Pikmin 3 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

These missions were all part of the original release as DLC, but there are some brand new features and content to enjoy. The Piklopedia makes its triumphant return here, creating a one-stop-shop for all the facts and features of the inhabitants of PNF-404. It also brings in a feature that is sadly lacking in all Nintendo Switch titles: Achievements. Pikmin 3 Deluxe has badges that are awarded for completing various feats and challenges over the course of the game. These have been perfectly implemented, with tracking, notifications, and categories - perfect for the completionists in the audience. It's not just these quality of life improvements, either, as there are some brand new stages that tell the tale of Pikmin 3 from a perspective of some old favourite characters. This time, Olimar and Louie get to tell their side of the story.

Now, to a contentious point: the presentation. This port runs at 30fps in both portable and docked modes, and in docked it doesn't get above 720p. This is contentious because, for many, 60fps and 1080p are seen as a requirement these days. Honestly, though, what's important is the experience. This all looks great; smooth, with no choppiness. The environments the team explores look brilliant, while the gigantic items are alive and verdant. Rumours abound around a "Switch Pro" incoming next year, too, and with many PS4 games receiving shadow updates preparing them for an enhanced experience, perhaps similar could happen for Switch next year.

Screenshot for Pikmin 3 Deluxe on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

There's nothing quite like Pikmin, as it perfectly captures the same magic as Miyamoto's other masterpieces. While the Wii U itself was a sales disappointment, it hosted some absolutely wonderful titles that deserved a better home and it has been great to see them finally receive that with Nintendo's initiative to bring them to Switch. Pikmin 3 was already a superb game, and while this release is not a remaster, the extra elements added to Pikmin 3 Deluxe elevate it to something special. While the price point may be exclusionary for some, this is completely worth the asking price, even as a double-dip for those who already have it on Wii U. Perfect for families to play together, for friends to grab a Joy-Con each, or for solo play sessions to track down every badge and master the highest rank.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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