Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Version Reviewed: eShop Download
Category: Adventure, Action, Strategy, Multiplayer
No. of Players: 1-2 Players
Release Date: October 30, 2020 (EU & NA)
Seven years ago, Pikmin 3, a little gem of a game on the Wii U graced the console with an endearing adventure-strategy game that turned real-time management of troops on the field into a game that was easy to grasp and understand, but difficult to master. Now as the Switch is midway through its third year, and ports of Wii U games are in full swing, Nintendo has re-release Pikmin 3, with a Deluxe naming add-on and quality of life improvements as well as a fully cooperatively playable campaign.
While the game was praised highly seven years ago, and many of you may have already played through the campaign several times, it’s time to revisit the game, now on Nintendo Switch, and see what more the series pinnacle game has to offer.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe begins with a narrative about three intrepid explorers who are off looking for food for their dying world whose population has run out of resources. While on their space mission, a rather unfortunate event happens and causes the crew to crash land onto an alien planet. Reminiscent of Earth though also strangely foreign in ways as its flora and fauna are out of this world.
As the crew members awaken from their crash landing, they are greeted by tiny plant-like creatures called Pikmin. The explorers quickly learn that their new companions will aid you in gathering resources, as well as defeating the alien creatures that stand between them and returning to their fellow crew members.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe is a Strategy-Adventure game that has you exploring different areas for resources. You start off playing as Charlie, on the lookout for Brittany and Alph, though you are quickly captured by a boss and then take over the other two captains to reunite with Charlie later on. Throughout the game you will command each of the captains using them to reach new areas and control new Pikmin, eventually coming back together and working as a team again.
As you progress through the various areas in Pikmin 3 you will encounter new Pikmin species, red ones are great fighters and immune to fire, yellow ones can conduct electricity and fight electrified enemies, pink ones are small, but can fly and move fruit across waterways and above the battlefield, black ones break crystal and glass that may inhibit your progression, and blue ones are able to swim and battle water-bound enemies.
Each day plays out over a few minutes of real-time and your main tasks are to gather fruit so you and your crew members survive their journey, as well as uncovering and finding the strange signals you uncover as you look for Captain Olimar and Louie.
The gameplay loop of Pikmin 3 Deluxe is addictive in the sense that each day you will need to command your captains and the Pikmin you take into the battle to gather fruit and fight enemies, culminating in a boss battle that usually rewards you with either finding another captain, an item that will help you maintain your Pikmin, or discover new Pikmin to use. When you set out each day you will need to retrieve up to 100 Pikmin (60 if you are on Ultra Spicy difficulty) in various numbers to work towards accomplishing your tasks. As you play through the map you will need to be diligent in managing your teammates towards the goals and towards clearing the map of hazards.
Along the journey as well, you may come across walls that need to be broken through, ramps that need to be pushed forward to create shortcuts, or stone blocks that need to be blown up. Throughout the maps, there are also flower tokens you can command Pikmin to tear down and carry back to your base to grow new Pikmin. Bringing enemies back to your base will also net you more Pikmin to grow and add to your team, and strategizing which Pikmin you want to grow is part of strategizing each day.
CONTENT & FEATURES:
One thing that Pikmin 3 adds that makes the game more enjoyable, in my opinion, is the option to play the main campaign and side missions in co-op. Having the ability to include a friend or family member in split-screen co-op is helpful in dividing up the duties of the day while you work towards the goals. Being able to jump in and out of co-op was fun for my daughter and me as we worked on each mission, as well as beating the treasure collecting side missions.
Nintendo also added an Ultra Spicy difficulty, which limits the amount of Pikmin you can have in the field to 60, and also minimizes the energy inducing nectar and red spray you collect. The hard difficulty was the original Pikmin 3 Normal mode, and Pikmin 3 Deluxe’s now Normal mode may be a bit too easy for seasoned veterans. In the easier difficulty, the day cycle is a bit slower, making it easier to gather fruit and grow your Pikmin army along the way.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe includes all the treasure collecting and boss battle missions that were present on the WiiU version. The treasure games consist of new and remixed maps that insist that you and your squad members team up to gather fruit, gold, and golden fruit while wiping the map clear of bad guys in the shortest amount of time while getting the highest score.
There are also several Bingo Battle matches that pit you against a friend to see who can complete a bingo card of randomly placed fruits, enemies, and other items while getting four in a row to complete your card. During Bingo Battle you and your opponent may be looking for the same items and need to work against each other fighting enemies and finding fruit the fastest and most efficient way possible to win.
If there was a rating for saddest sound in a Nintendo game, it would have to be the cries of swarms of dying Pikmin. The ghostly body leaving the planet and cry of despair is something that will haunt me forever, at least I know that if my performance on any given day was terrible, I can always restart a day. Pikmin 3 Deluxe has a mostly subdued soundtrack that evokes audio from nature like running water, cool winds, and rain, as well as grunts and effects from enemies as you attack them or they attack you. Yellow Pikmin clink against the electrified gates with a hefty glass tube echo-y fight. Black Pikmin shattering glass and crystal are satisfying to hear as they crunch through barriers revealing new pathways or fruit.
Then there are the main boss enemies, like an early boss fight with the terrifying ‘Star Wars Sarlacc-like worm’ as it tries to engulf your team and emerges from its sandy pit or the fight in the rainy mud pit as the Quaggled Mireclops stomps and sloshes through the dirt and the holes fill up with water. If there is one thing Pikmin 3 does a great job at is its sound design of both world elements and immersion and terrifying alien boss fights.
VISUALS & PERFORMANCE:
If you want a benchmark in realistic-looking fruit and flora, Pikmin 3 is the bar to reach. Each time I found a piece of fruit in the wild I was awestruck by how realistic they looked. The flowers and other vegetation in the game look surprisingly realistic as well. While you will come across the same three or four types of walls blocking your pathway to progression, the detail in Pikmin 3’s level design is still gorgeous to look at.
There are some areas where Nintendo could have done a bit of clean up on repeating ground textures and some spots where the foreground and background blend in, but because Nintendo controls the game’s point of view close to the ground, there’s a lot of great scenery and items in the world to look at and appreciate.
Pikmin 3 on the Wii U pushed the system to the brink and many times the game would suffer in frame rates and anti-aliasing that was noticeable. Pikmin 3 Deluxe improves on nearly every part of the game’s performance making it the best way to play Pikmin 3 if you had to choose between Wii U or the Switch port. Overall the game seems to be very capable on the Switch and can handle jumping in and out of the game, the menus, and map without lag.
If there’s one thing Nintendo has shown us in their many years of gaming it’s that their unique take on established genres, like third-person shooters, platformers, RPGs, adventure games, and real-time strategy games are usually wholly fun experiences that push the boundaries of what’s been done before. Pikmin 3 Deluxe is no slouch to the real-time strategy genre, as well as action and adventure, with some puzzles thrown in for good measure.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the definitive way to play Pikmin 3 if you own a Switch, and even if you played it before on the WiiU. Your mileage will vary however depending on if you have another person to play with and if you feel like your time with Alph, Brittney, and Charlie warrant another go around.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the best experience for fans of Pikmin, as newcomers to the series will not be underwhelmed. So gather up a second captain and embark on the journey with Alph, Brittany, and Charlie on the Nintendo Switch today!
THE VERDICT: 10/10
*A Review key was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review
To check out more reviews by the Miketendo64 Review Team, feel free to click here.
Tags: Nintendo, Nintendo Switch, Pikmin, pikmin 3, Pikmin 3 Deluxe, Pikmin 3 Deluxe Reiview
This post was written by jonathanober