Pikmin 3 Deluxe
Genre: Adventure, Action, Strategy, Multiplayer
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 31/10/2020
A code was provided for review purposes.
A Bit More Than A Mere Pikmin Port
It seems like forever since we had a big Nintendo Switch exclusive and while Pikmin 3 Deluxe may not be a true exclusive, this port certainly has enough bells and whistles to entice players back in. Not only that, I am sure a lot of Switch players, due to not owning a WiiU, will be playing it for the first time, you lucky buggers. Pikmin is a very popular franchise and I will be splitting this review up into two halves, half talking about the game itself and half discussing its improvements from the WiiU version.
For anyone who has neither played nor heard of Pikmin 3, firstly, where have you been all this time? Pikmin 3 is a very attractive 3D exploration real-time strategy title that is very unique. In this iteration of the franchise, you have been sent to look for food on other planets but unfortunately, for video game reasons, your ship crashes into the surface of your destination planet and your crew of three is separated. Oh, what are we to do?
As the story unfolds you control each crew member separately and are trying to reunite them. You are lost, hungry and when it seemed all is lost, what could that glistening ray of hope on the horizon be? Little controllable flower creatures of course, or Pikmin as they are more fondly known. These little adorable creatures help you while you go about your tasks. They are yours to command and will bend to your every whim.
Simple, Intellectual Elegance
Things start out nice and simple. Grab this, collect that, open a new path, but before you know it, you have multiple crew members to control with multiple types of Pikmin and things start getting really intriguing. Red Pikmin are the fighters and are immune to fire, stone Pikmin can break glass objects and there are other types of Pikmin to find during your journey. It’s how you split your Pikmin into squads, it’s how you divvy up the tasks that will govern how successful each day turns out to be.
Each day is a race against the daylight. When the sun goes down, any Pikmin left in the wild will be devoured by the local beasties. Each day is a puzzle, how much can you get done? Should you spend time growing new Pikmin? Should you prioritise returning food because your crew is starving? Every day your crew members consume food, so yes, getting food is paramount. It is a pure distilled joy to control an army of Pikmin, explore the many, gorgeous, vivid areas and tackle your tasks how you see fit. Just don’t leave it too late to return to your ship, you do not want cute bloodshed on your hands.
Don’t Leave Home Without Your Kop-Pad!
What I love about Pikmin 3’s brilliant level design is the open-Metroidvania style that encompasses it. Some areas are gated until you have the right Pikmin, some areas are locked behind light puzzle work and some areas require re-visiting later on. This system gives the game an openness to it that requires you to explore and experiment. It’s intelligently simple yet completely brilliant. You end up talking to yourself and thinking things like; What’s around that corner? Oh, I can’t do that yet, I will come back to it later. The game includes loads of “Ahhh, I have got it now!” moments and it’s all rather cleverly devised.
Helping all these real-time, puzzle-solving shenanigans is your Kop-Pad, which may sound like something a Liverpool manager uses to make tactical notes on but it is your aid in completing your in-hand tasks. It’s like a Pikmin iPad and it has all your apps and notes to help you on your quest, including a built-in camera for taking great shots of your controllable cartoon horde. You can even click on the map to move your squads, very much like a point and click PC title. It really helps when you have multiple squads doing multiple things and the sun is drawing in.
Deluxe In Name, Deluxe In Nature
So, what’s new in this ‘Deluxe’ version? Well, quite a lot actually. Firstly, probably the most important thing in my book is the under-the-hood control improvements and tweaks. Most new players would not even notice it but there have been so many adjustments to the game’s control scheme and the new lock-on feature is a godsend. The game controlled well enough before but now it is so much better. You can also now play the whole campaign in co-op, which is a massive plus. You can now Pikmin with your nearest and dearest – brilliant.
There are improvements to the whistling mechanics, which if you have never played the game before call back your Pikmin to take more orders. It seems now you can do a short whistle to re-gather you Pikmin without disturbing others that are busy working. It’s only a small thing but it makes the gameplay so much smoother in the long run. There have also been small changes to when the Pikmin charge and how you can control your character and Pikmin alike. Like I say, a lot of this will go unnoticed but it’s many very welcome small changes add up to something more substantial overall.
Nintendo Switch > WiiU
There are difficulty settings now which I don’t believe were in the original and side stories for you to complete. These side stories are small remixed parts of the story campaign with added tweaks and timers for you to test your mettle on. I think they are just different enough to not be too familiar and do add just enough for them to be worthwhile. The difficulty settings just adjust the daylight timer and the amount of Pikmin you can use. It is nice that all player levels are accommodated, especially because Pikmin 3 is not an especially difficult game, to begin with.
Graphically, the game is still amazing looking as it was on the WiiU, if not more so. When you consider the hardware it is running on, when you consider how gorgeous it looks while lying in bed, you realise how magnificent it is. The environments are so lush and alive, the creatures are so weird and wonderful and everything is so crisp and bright. Pikmin has that Nintendo quality you rarely see in other games. It is just pure joyful entertainment and it has the looks to go along with it.
Sound-wise, the music is the same as it always has been. It once again has the cheery Nintendo charm that perfectly suits both the gameplay and the visuals. The characters speak in a weird ‘Simish’ language that a lot of games seem to do nowadays but that’s fine. The sound effects are all great and I have nothing bad to say whatsoever about the presentation in Pikmin 3 at all. It’s all very happy and beautiful.
You Should Definitely Pikmin It Up.
Overall, Pikmin 3 Deluxe is an amazing game. This Nintendo Switch port takes an already great game, adds a few new features and refines what made the original so great. I cannot recommend it enough for new players and even returning players eager for a bit of madcap Pikmin action. Hopefully, another Pikmin game is in the works as this may be testing the water for a possible new entry. So get out there, find food for our people and get those Pikmin to do your bidding. It’s a jolly good time and like nothing else on the market today.
Rapid Reviews Rating
If you like the look of Pikmin 3 Deluxe you can purchase it from the Nintendo eShop.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.