Pikmin 1+2 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Michael McCann 29.06.2023

Review for Pikmin 1+2 on Nintendo Switch

According to a man called Shigeru Miyamoto, development on Pikmin 4 has been complete since 2015, although, since it only recently got an official announcement in September 2022 for Nintendo Switch, most could be forgiven for not remembering what a Pik-thingymajig is. Cue the surprise HD ports of the first two GameCube titles, announced and dropped on the same day as the Big N's June 2023 Direct, to refresh the collective memory. They're two RTS-lite action puzzle classics whereby various Hocotate Freight company employees are commandeered to retrieve treasures and lost ship parts on an alien but also not-so-alien world, with the aid of hundreds of primary coloured flower-creature-humanoids. It's an easy sell, for sure (who doesn't love a flower-creature-humanoid!?), but still, for the asking price, they really should have put it in a pack (edit: they are!).

These HD ports are no doubt an appetiser for what is to entice the larger Switch install base to the upcoming Pikmin 4. However, they could also be an indication of things starting to slow down for the little hybrid that could. June's Nintendo Direct was a great presentation by all counts, but it does point at a strategy shift that leans more towards lower hanging - and not to mention lower pressure - fan service, oddities, ports, remakes and remixes.

It's a strategy that seems to follow a pattern for Nintendo when it is starting to eke out the last bits of life from a given platform, and certainly, in terms of megaton-type titles, The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom is an appropriate bookend for the current system as it's more than enough to hold fort for the foreseeable future and continues to move units.

Screenshot for Pikmin 1+2 on Nintendo Switch

That's not to say that the Nintendo Switch is done for. Far from it. It's just a feeling of encroachment on the autumn season - a season that can often see some of the most surprising gems crop up in a given Nintendo platform's overall library.

By and large, Pikmin and Pikmin 2 are not surprising titles for Nintendo to be putting out right now, but they are indeed gems. Exploration and strategy are the key components to the Pikmin experience, uniquely granting direct control over the protagonist (or protagonists), and then indirect control over the Pikmin themselves.

Pikmin, the aforementioned flower-creature-humanoids, come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Red Pikmin are fire-resistant and excellent fighters, while Yellow Pikmin can be thrown higher and carry bomb rocks. Blue Pikmin are natural swimmers and can traverse water without brutally drowning like the rest of them do.

Screenshot for Pikmin 1+2 on Nintendo Switch

It's Olimar and co.'s job to manage these groups of Pikmin simultaneously across multiple maps to solve puzzles and defeat enemies and the like, whilst retrieving key items for progress. It requires a lot of multitasking, though not overwhelmingly so, and forward planning to complete objectives.

There are some signs of these titles showing their age, particularly in comparison after being spoiled with a recent slate of polished up remasters and remakes. However, for being around 20 years old, they do hold up pretty great, as well. Some textures and resolutions are, as expected, low resolution, though this is somewhat mitigated by the cartoony style, and text boxes and menu items appear stretched in the 16:9 aspect ratio. Most importantly is the gameplay, which hasn't aged a day.

Screenshot for Pikmin 1+2 on Nintendo Switch

Indeed, all of the Pikmin titles do play extremely similarly, but there are some key differences between Pikmin and Pikmin 2 beyond character volume and new maps - most notably is the 30-day time limit in the first game. It does seem that there's a vocal group online that doesn't care much for this mechanic, favouring Pikmin 2 and later titles in the series for replacing it, and generally being more easy-going in that regard.

In this review's estimation, having the time limit is the superior design for Pikmin, however. There's something pure and no-nonsense about it. The later titles are generally more casual and slower paced and do pack in the features, but the time limit in the original Pikmin creates a compelling loop with a genuine risk and reward. which is far more satisfying and contained, certainly when revisiting it after all of this time. It's also not as tutorialised as Pikmin 2 and the rest. It is always the better way to go.

Screenshot for Pikmin 1+2 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

Rated 10 out of 10

The Pikmin series is top notch and these HD ports are a great reminder of that for anyone who has played them before, and a wonderful primer to the series for anyone that hasn't. It's startling how well a lot of the artistic decisions that were made in the GameCube era still translate to now, like a soundtrack that is absolutely bang on, and character designs and animations that are infinitely charming. Whether or not the time limit in Pikmin or, conversely, the unlimited time, gauntlet-like puzzle caves and score chasing from Pikmin 2 is the preferred way to go, they're both excellent titles that play just as well now as they ever did. Plus Nintendo has included the New Play Control options for both titles, which updated them with pointer control on the Wii, as an added bonus. There's only one real issue with these HD ports and that is at £24.99 each or £39.99 for the online bundle, they do feel a tad overpriced. Certainly, in light of the recent Metroid Prime Remastered, which almost felt like a remake, perhaps wait for the physical pack.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

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