Pikmin 3 review
A solid and beautiful journey

The good:

Beautiful scenery
Addictive multi-player modes

The bad:

Cameras angles are not the best at times
No on-line multi-player


This review will use the following weighted scoring scheme:
Graphics - 20%
Plot - 10%
Game Play - 50%
Music / Sound - 10%
Replay Value - 10%

Graphics -
Image taking a walk or a hike at your favorite park or on your favorite trail. This is what Pikmin 3 looks and feels like. The environment of the Pikmin world looks absolutely beautiful in high definition. Pikmin 3 is probably the best looking game on Wii U thus far. Pikmin 3 has both a photo like quality mixed in with elements of claymation. There is also weather elements involved as it sometimes rains in certain areas. Overall, this is a great looking game. (9.5/10)

Plot -
The planet Koppai has exhausted it food resources, and its people are on the brink of starvation. But possible new food sources are discovered on a planet called PNF-404. Three explorers, Charlie, Alph, and Brittany, are sent to investigate. But their spaceship runs into trouble upon entry into PNF-404. The explorers are separated, and they lose most of their food supplies. Now, not only must they reunite and gather supplies for their home planet, but they must also gather food (fruit in this case) to survive on PNF-404. This is a bit of a different storyline. Anyone who has played any of the previous two Pikmin games will know that Captain Olimar was the main character. What stays the same is the resource gathering objective and base storyline. I like that Miyamoto is trying to change things up a bit, but the overall story is not that engrossing. However, like most Nintendo games, you don't play it to experience the story. (7.0/10)

Game Play-

The game has three main modes: Story, Mission, and Bingo Battle

Story Mode mainly follows the crew of the S.S. Drake as described in the plot section of this review. You objective usually is to find someone or something. This objective is marked on the GamePad map. You accomplish objectives by gathering resources, fight hostile creates, destroy barriers, and build structures. This is where the Pikmin come into play. Pikmin are divided into different types with unique abilities to accomplish these tasks. In Story Mode, there are Red, Yellow, Blue, Rock, and Winged Pikmin. Red Pikmin have high offense and are immune to fire. Yellow Pikmin are immune to electricity, are good diggers, and can be thrown higher. Blue Pikmin can go into the water without fear of drowning. Rock Pikmin are strong both offensive and defensively. Rock Pikmin can shatter glass or crystal structures. Winged Pikmin can fly, and they can lift certain objects into the air as well. Pikmin are created by either carrying defeated enemies or flower pellets to the Onion(s). Which ever Pikmin type make up the majority carrying the corpse or pellet to the Onion will increase that type's numbers. Players use their explorer's whistle to call Pikmin. Players can then throw Pikmin to enemies to fight them, throw Pikmin at resources (such as fruit) to collect them and deposit them, and throw Pikmin at tiles to start building bridges and other structures. You can also have Pikmin push or manipulate certain objects and devices. New to the this game is the fact you can now have the explorers throw each other. Use this ability to multi-task and access different areas.

Players have a couple of control schemes to chose. They may use the GamePad, Wii Remote w/Numchuck, or the Wii U Pro Controller. In all the three cases, the second screen on the GamePad acts as an overview tactical map. Players can pan around the map and look to see where paths may lead. The map also allows Players to see areas previously explored. The main TV provides an overview snap shot of the area while panning the GamePad map. Pikmin appear on the map as colored dots with Rock Pikmin being black and Winged Pikmin being pink. There is a useful feature called "Go here" using the GamePad map. This allows any explorer with any following Pikmin to go to that spot. This is handy when dividing tasks among the explorers. The Wii Remote w/ Numchuck is the most intuitive among the three. Aiming and throwing Pikmin is easy as well as using the whistle, dismissing Pikmin, and ordering a charge. As a side note, Charge is new feature. It allows you to send all Pikmin to destroy a wall or attack an enemy without the need to throw them all. The problem with the Wii Remote w/ Numchuck are the camera angles. The camera sometimes auto adjusts to look from the back of the explorer going forward, but it doesn't always do this. I find myself constantly have to point the camera behind my explorer to see what is going on around me. I also have to do it to stay locked unto enemies especially during boss fights. In contrast, the GamePad offers more of a free roaming camera by using the right stick. However, aiming and throwing Pikmin is not as refined as the Wii Remote. I don't have the Wii U pro controller, but I would guess it would be very similar to the GamePad. In both cases of the Wii Remote and GamePad, I will say that aiming overall has been improved from the previous games especially when targeting airborne enemies.

Story mode is divided into days. Players must accomplish as much as possible in a day. At the end of the day, the explorers and all Pikmin either called to the explorers or are within a certain radius of the Onion will go into space before hostile night creatures arrive. Any stray Pikmin will parish. Also, the explorers have a limited supply of juice to begin. They consume one container of juice at the end of each day. If the crew runs out of juice, it will be game over, and players will be forced to replay any of the previous days. Fortunately, there is plenty of fruit to be found on the planet that can be converted into juice. Therefore, players should not worry too much about running out of juice. Also, if all Pikmin die, it's game over so player should not be too careless with their Pikmin. Finally, players can review what they did that day by watching the action on the GamePad overview map. This allows Players to evaluate the strategy they used. Overall, one of the great things about Story mode is it allows players to go at their own pace whether it be a speed run or a relaxed exploration of PNF-404. Yes, there is the threat of running out of juice, but again, it should not be too much of a problem. Story mode is slightly on the short side played at a normal pace.

Mission mode has three categories: Collect Treasure, Battle Enemies, and Defeat Bosses. Collect Treasure involves collecting fruit, gold nuggets, and dead enemies within the time limit. Players must reach a certain coin total to earn a medal (bronze, silver, gold, and platinum). At least a bronze medal in one stage must be earn to unlock the others, five for each category. At the end of the time limit, players are given a score card as well as a replay of their actions on the GamePad overview map. It takes a careful review of the overview map as well as planning out what tasks to assign the explorers with their Pikmin to earn the higher medals. Battle Enemies involves killing as many enemies as possible within the time limit otherwise it is just like treasure category. Defeat Bosses lets you relive those epic boss fights from Story mode. How fast can you defeat these monsters? Each boss must be unlocked in Story mode to play here. Mission mode can be played solo or cooperatively with another local player. Although solo play is available, the intent is clear to play with someone else. I should also mention that in Mission mode, player can find the white and purple Pikmin introduced in Pikmin 2. White Pikmin are fast, and if they are eaten by enemies, those enemies will be poisoned and take damage if not killed. Purple Pikmin are the heavy lifters. They can carry fruit, defeated enemies, and other objects with less numbers. I enjoy this mode and its challenges.

Bingo Battle is a multi-player mode only. Two players will battle it out to complete their own bingo card first. This is done by collecting the necessary items or defeated enemies to the player's respective Onions. Players can adjust how many Pikmin each player has to begin, select the stage, and there is even a "Capture the Flag" option. During the course of Bingo Battle, players can also gain different abilities to make things either favorable for themselves or put their opponent at a disadvantage. For example, one such ability will hurl rocks from the sky unto your opponent, leaving them temporarily stunned. It may even kill some of your opponent's Pikmin. Capture the Flag adds a new level of strategy to the gameplay. Do you go for a Bingo or do you try to sneak into your enemies camp and try to capture their Macaroon (the flag in this game's case)? This is very fun, and things can be come heated and hectic. It's a shame this only a local multi-player mode. This has serious potential as an on-line multi-player mode.

Miiverse Integration
Normally, I wouldn't bother mentioning Miiverse for an individual game since it is pretty much standard in Wii U games as far as it's use and integration. However, there is a unique feature to Pikmin 3. The GamePad can act as digital camera with the second screen acting as view finder. Players can then take pictures of the environment, people, creatures, or Pikmin and post them to Miiverse. Although the ability to post an overall main TV or GamePad screenshot is nothing new, the ability to have close up shots in game is. Hopefully this will a trend that continues in other games.

Overall, I enjoyed the Game Play very much with a few complaints. (9.0/10)

Music /Sound
Nintendo became a little lazy in the music department as many of the same tracks from the previous games are present in this one such as the end of the day music with space blast off. By no means does this mean it is bad music. I would just have preferred to hear something different. There is a little variation to the past music, but the base melody is still there. Sounds are fine although it is a bit of guilt trip when you hear the Pikmin make their parish sounds when they die. Introduced in this game is quasi speak sound. The explorers do not speak any discernible language although a few words may be recognized such as Pikmin. Overall, this is good but not great (7.0/10)

Replay Value
In Story Mode, Players can replay days to see if they can do better. Can you collect all of the fruit? Miyamoto has also included 10 secret data files. For more details on what those do, please read his Miiverse posts in the developers room. I have not collected all the necessary files yet, but on the surface, the reward does not seem all that great. Player can finally play with family or friends in Mission Mode or Bingo Battle, but again, it would have been nice if Bingo Battle had an on-line option. Nintendo has released DLC for Mission Mode for the collect treasure and battle enemies segments. These packs can be purchased for $1.99 a piece. There is also a third pack coming in December that will add new areas and include Captain Olimar as playable. This will cost $4.99 (8.0/10)

Overall, this is a solid game from Mr. Miyamoto and Nintendo. The delays were worth it as this game looks and plays great.

9.5 * .2 = 1.9
7.0 * .1 = 0.7
9.0 * .5 = 4.5
7.0 * .1 = 0.7
8.0 * .1 = 0.8

Final Score = 8.6 / 10

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