Title: Pikmin 3 Deluxe
Release Date: October 30, 2020
Reviewed On: Switch
Since the Gamecube, Nintendo fans have been graced with these flower-like creatures known as Pikmin. As strange as they are, they’ve found a place in the hearts of many gamers. However, I have never actually played a Pikmin game, which I’m actually sad about after playing Pikmin 3 Deluxe. Why? Well, because this is perhaps the most chill game that I have ever played, even with the survival elements.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe takes players to the planet of PNF-404, where the crew of Koppaite explorers has crashed while out on a mission to find a sustainable planet for their race. Sadly, they are unable to leave or communicate with their planet after missing the Comic Drive Key. As the crew finds their bearings, they suspect that someone named Captain Olimar has it, so they make it their mission to find him.
The world is inhabited by dangerous creatures that would easily eat the explorers’ group, but luckily the Pikmin are here to help. Throughout the game, you’ll gain access to different color Pikman who each excel in various tasks. Commanding these creatures is handled using a whistle, enabling you to have them gather items, move objects, take down walls, or fight enemies.
The story is told over days, where each day, you’ll have a different objective. However, even though time is passing, you aren’t forced to complete your mission in one day. Instead, it’s possible to simply prolong it and take the entire quest piece by piece. Realistically as long as you gather fruit to drink at the end of the day, you can take as much time as you want during these missions.
I just loved this approach as it allowed me not to feel too rushed while attempting to progress. Each day, I would set a goal such as complete the construction of a bridge and then see where I was in the day to decide if I should progress the story, or take some time to build up my Pikmin army or collect items for survival. There’s really no wrong choice in that regard, and if you completely screw up and accidentally lose all your Pikmin to an enemy or a pool of water, then you can easily restart the day.
The missions in the day utilize the fact that you have three party members at your disposal. It’s possible to separate the group and the Pikmin to tackle various challenges spread across the area. This is where co-op becomes such a substantial impact on just how fun this game can be. Playing this game with a friend makes the experience even more enjoyable as players can separate and do their own thing.
If one player wants to focus on collecting fruit while the other builds a bridge, well, that’s completely reasonable. The more interesting levels revolve around when the game separates the two characters, and they need to work together to reunite. Hours went by in this mode for me, and I was still consistently having an enjoyable time. Bosses are also fun in this mode because players can cover more surface area of a boss arena.
Other new options for Pikmin 3 Deluxe include a side story mode where you can catch up with Captain Olimar and Louie to see exactly what they were up to on this planet. This was an enjoyable mode where players can plan out a treasure hunt and each day to collect fruit and gold to help pay Olimar’s debt. This mode can also be played in co-op, which does make it more fun overall.
I think the controls were probably the toughest element of the game. The layout just isn’t user friendly when trying to access a specific Pikmin or character to throw. This extends to how sometimes Pikmin can just get stuck behind walls as they try to run straight at you instead of going around an object or how one slip of a button has your Pikmin charge off a cliff into a pool of water.
I personally enjoyed the visuals of Pikmin 3 Deluxe and thought the colorful world looked great. The sense of scale that the developers have implemented in these designs is commendable as you instruct 20 Pikmin to carry a cell phone back to your ship. There weren’t many frame drops, but the game definitely looks like a Wii U release only because the visuals feature some pretty jagged edges.
As someone who hasn’t played this series before, I enjoyed my time clearing stages and even returning to them to collect things I missed with a larger arsenal of Pikmin by my side. The puzzles were challenging at times, but there’s also a hint feature to help move things along. There’s such a low amount of stress put onto the player where even in hectic situations of fighting a spider, I stayed confident that my team and I would make it out okay.
The added DLC is another selling point for the adventure, as well as the greater difficulty. I wouldn’t say that the normal difficulty is too challenging, so raising it a bit is probably needed if you are a returning player. Whether this makes this Deluxe version worth returning to is probably up to you. However, I would say that the co-op mode and additional stories don’t feel like they were slapped together. The modes have a good amount of polish to them, making it feel like playing a game released this generation. I wouldn’t have minded an option to increase the time and speed up things a bit when trying to get a group of items back to the ship.
It may have taken me almost 20 years to become a Pikmin fan, but consider me sold on the series. Pikmin 3 Deluxe is just a joy to play from beginning to end. The game has several timers that keep you on track, but it rarely makes you feel rushed. There’s an added layer of accomplishment across each task you complete or day that passes where you don’t lose any Pikmin. While some systems show their age in terms of environment and controls, there’s a lot that makes it must play for Switch owners looking for a chill co-op experience.
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