Pikmin 3 was a revelation when it was released for the Wii U. After suffering a drought of games for months, Wii U owners had a veritable system seller in Pikmin 3. Unfortunately, not even Pikmin 3 could save the Wii U from mediocrity and so, with the Switch, Nintendo has set about re-releasing every major release from its last-generation console.
After Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Captain Toad, Donkey Kong Country, New Super Mario Bros and more, Pikmin 3 is just about the last remaining Wii U title to come to Switch. And as the saying goes, “save the best for last.”
In my estimation, Pikmin 3 was one of the best games released on Wii U and since that platform sold so poorly was criminally underplayed. Now it’s available on Switch, a brand-new audience is able to enjoy the game.
Pikmin 3 Review
Pikmin 3 follows the formula and success of the first two games in the series. A group of tiny aliens crash-lands on a strange planet (earth) and have to recover parts of their ship in order to survive and escape. In Pikmin 3, rather than have a 30 day limit after which you fail, players need to make sure they have enouigh juice to feed the crew members day after day.
In Pikmin 3, Nintendo also took the ‘3’ part literally and gave players three spacepeople to play with. The hook being, players can switch between the three aliens and control three groups of Pikmin simultaneously. This allows for multi-tasking and completion of multiple goals on each day, rather than devoting each day to a single task. Multiplayer expands on this approach, allowing two players to control groups of Pikin, zip around the map to shift to other crew members and get as much done as possible.
A caveat exists for multiplayer though. This isn’t a game you can play with just any old P2. They need to be competent and able to play the game. This isn’t Mario Galaxy where you could hand your second cousin a Wiimote and trick them into thinking they’re playing too. Provided you find a good second player, you’ll have a great time. I prefer single player, but multiplayer is very good too.
If you’re new to Pikmin, you play as one of the crew members, growing, recruiting and controlling an ever expanding group of local creatures named Pikmin. Pikmin come in a variety of colours, each related to their skills and abilities. For example, red Pikmin are good fighters and immune to fire, blue Pikmin can swim, yellow Pikmin are immune to electricity and so on. Each day in-game runs on a timer and you need to solve environmental puzzles using the various Pikmin at your disposal.
Things begin simply enough, but over time the puzzles grow more complex and completing all available objectives within an area takes more than one day. Eventually, you’ll be battling bosses, building bridges, collecting fruit and mourning the loss of your cute soldiers.
Given that Pikmin 3 originally released on Wii U, the visuals look a bit dated, especially given Nintendo hasn’t updated or upscaled anything visually. It’s a shame because if this had been a proper remaster, Pikmin 3 could have looked really great. Not that it’s an ugly game, but it definitely looks dated now.
The control scheme has benefitted from the time between the original release and playing while using the Pro Controller is just about perfect. I played with motion controls disabled and enabled and found the latter to be actually preferable. A gentle tilt of the Pro Controller extends the distance your crew member tosses Pikmin while you can fine-tune using the control stick. I did find the lock-on function (using ZR) to be a bit touchy and I’d often throw Pikmin at the wrong object, but by and large, Pikmin 3 on Switch feels great.
New to Pikmin 3 Deluxe are some bonus chapters featuring Olimar and Louie as well as additional difficulty modes and all DLC from the original.
Pikmin 3 is one of the best games in Nintendo’s back catalogue and although it missed it’s chance to shine on Wii U, it has a second go now on Switch. While the untouched visuals are a tad disappointing, overall, this is a great game and well worth playing.
Pikmin 3 was reviewed on Switch using a digital code provided by Nintendo.