It’s time to play master and servant once again, as Shigeru Miyamoto’s delightful little creatures arrive on the Switch in Pikmin 3 Deluxe.
With its abundant greenery, ample curious creatures, babble language and more colour than Pantone have made swatches for, first encountering Pikmin 3 Deluxe could leave you convinced that you’ve stumbled onto the set of In the Night Garden.
After some tutorial levels to ease you into things, you eventually control three space explorers, looking for somewhere to plunder grub from after their race ate their home to deathliness. A substantial oops involves a crash on a planet that they, boring science types that they are, name ‘PNF-404’. It ends up a serendipitous place to have a space stack though, as it’s riddled with enormously proportioned fruits that will be familiar to all players, which they christen with infinitely more fun names such as ‘face wrinkler’ and ‘astringent clump’.
They also discover Pikmin – brightly-coloured wee seedling peoples who live to serve. They all have various skills, like fire resistance, electrical capacitance, not drowning when wet and sheer rock hardness. Our three intrepid but klutzy explorers realise that they can use these submissive little cuties to harvest fruit and banish baddies – just fling the eager little helpers at a target and revel in their industriousness. First you get the fruit, then you get the juice, then you get the not-dying-and-seeing-a-game-over-screen…
As you explore, harvesting seeds to regrow the world that you messed up the first time, you’ll juggle puzzles and tasks for all three explorers simultaneously – although you’re not penalised for a lack of multitasking nous, it’ll just take longer – and this game plays out in real time. So, if you don’t tuck your Pikmin comfily home in their onion by nightfall carnage ensues – truly, heartbreakingly so, as they’re gobbled by nocturnal predators. Sad face.
Originally released on the Wii U, the game has a chance to be enjoyed by a far greater audience wit this re-release, but Nintendo have also taken the opportunity to expand on the package. For starters, two players can now explore simultaneously, bringing a new and sometimes frenetic level of strategy into play. Or, there’s a fun head-to-head experience in Bingo Battle – collect items to fill up your bingo card before your opponent does.
“First you get the fruit, then you get the juice, then you get the not-dying-and-seeing-a-game-over-screen…”
Pikmin has always been a wee bit impenetrable at first if you’re completely new to the style of game, so it’s great to see measures taken to ease newbies into the game’s thrall. There are now various difficulty settings, including one that’s more welcoming, and an “Ultra-Spicy” one for more seasoned space travellers. Hints are available if you’re really stuck (or even if you’re not) and there’s even lock-on targeting to make hurling your teensy assistants all over the place that little bit easier.
Nintendo have also included all of the original DLC missions from the Wii U version, as well as adding brand new content in the form of new side-story missions, which include the return of Olimar from earlier Pikmin exploits.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe is easily the prettiest, most accessible turn-based strategy game that we’ve ever encountered, and is brilliant on TV or going portable. It’s a lot (it’s a lot) it’s a lot (it’s a lot) it’s a lot (it’s a lot) it’s a lot like life…
Pikmin 3 Deluxe is available October 30 on Switch.