Pikmin 3 Deluxe
Pikmin 3, like the prior entries in the series, opens with a crew in distress. A planet called Koppai struggles with a food shortage, forcing exploration teams to scout the galaxy in search of other worlds with sufficient food sources. A three-man crew eventually stumble upon a world with an abundance of giant fruits and the titular Pikmin ready to assist them, and thus the story begins.
The Pikmin franchise never achieved the flagship status it had hoped for when it first released in 2001 on the Gamecube, but the real-time strategy series has garnered a following in the gaming community. With its simple but engaging gameplay, vibrant world and creature designs, and light-hearted and silly writing, Pikmin consistently delivered an enjoyable gaming experience with each entry. The latest mainline title in the series, Pikmin 3, initially released on the ill-fated Wii U in 2013. But due to either the poor sales of the Wii U limiting the game’s reach or the major popularity of the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo re-released the game on the Switch at the end of October. Styled Pikmin 3 Deluxe, this newest edition allows players who initially missed out on the third entry (like me) a chance to finally experience a new Pikmin adventure.
Pikmin 3 offers a variety of new features to the franchise. First, the game features three different playable characters that can be switched between at any moment: Alph the engineer, Brittany the botanist, and Captain Charlie. Their roles on the ship offer no different abilities in-game but do provide a variety of flavor text to enjoy throughout the story. Not only can you swap between these different explorers, but Pikmin 3 allows players to send different characters to perform tasks while you control another. With the timed day system still present, this allows for a much higher level of productivity during each day cycle and provides a huge quality-of-life upgrade from previous versions.
Second, Pikmin 3 features two new Pikmin types to choose from. Aside from the classic red, yellow, and blue, players can now use Rock Pikmin and Winged Pikmin. Rock Pikmin, as their name suggests, look like small stones that can be used to shatter obstacles when thrown. Winged Pikmin are small but can hover above the water and other hazards as well as access hard-to-reach objects. As with the other Pikmin games, the real enjoyment comes from experimenting with the proper platoon of floral foot soldiers and seeing which ones are needed for the task at hand.
Pikmin 3’s greatest downfall is its difficulty; it’s a terribly easy game, even on Hard difficulty, and on top of that the campaign isn’t all that long. Pikmin 3 Deluxe offsets these negatives by offering a number of additional side missions and -bonus trials, and it also features an extra difficulty level called Ultra-Spicy Mode that adds a new layer of challenge to the main story mode.
At its core, Pikmin 3 Deluxe is a game of wonderment and discovery. There’s a true sense of childlike wonder in finding an old flip-phone in the sand only for the Koppaites to refer to it as the “Folded Data Glutton”, or seeing a watermelon referred to as a “Crimson Banquet”. Whether it’s because of your diminutive size or due to the explorer’s notes, it’s easy to become engrossed in the wonderful world of Pikmin.
Pikmin 3 Deluxe
If you're a Pikmin fan and you didn't get to enjoy this one the first time around, it's an absolute must.