Published on March 31st, 2013 | by Darik Kirschman4
The mass genocide and heartbreak of Pikmin 3
I love Pikmin. Ever since I received a GameCube and a copy of the curious little game on Christmas morning of 2001, I’ve been enamored with the series. When Pikmin 2 was released, it seemed insane to me that Nintendo was able to further perfect an already brilliantly designed game. No time limits, more adorable Pikmin, the ability to enter multi-leveled dungeons — Pikmin 2 had a ton of content to keep me playing for a good long while. Then the series went dark. Sure, Miyamoto and Nintendo teased fans, saying work on Pikmin 3 was progressing, but there was no proof until E3 2012. That is when Pikmin 3 marched its way into my heart.
The demo that Nintendo had on display at PAX East 2013 was the same as the demos from PAX Prime 2012 and E3 2012, so if you’ve already devoured as much information about it as possible, like I have, there’s nothing new to surprise you. The controls are the biggest change from the previous iterations, using a more refined version of the New Play Control releases of Pikmin 1 and 2. Ordering your little plant/animal hybrid horde around using the Wii Remote is incredibly intuitive, adding more speed to the series’ strategy elements. Of course, the designers seem to have realized this as well, throwing in quite a bit more for the player to split their focus upon. Should you break down that wall using the sturdy new Rock Pikmin, or focus on attacking the Bulborbs surrounding the cache of cherries — or both? Time and focus management are still the biggest parts of the game and something every seasoned Hocotate Freight employee should learn.
While waiting in line, I got to speak with a friendly Nintendo booth attendant. She told me that, while working at the booth all day, she’d encountered two very different play-styles. Some gamers were incredibly cautious about losing the adorable creatures that make up their forces, while others simply threw as many as needed to take down enemies, with no regards to the lives sacrificed. The little shrieks as the Pikmin died seemed to cause her quite a bit of stress — something I’m all too familiar with. Those screams haunt me each and every time I play Pikmin. Their little souls rising up to heaven in mass amounts never fails to affect me. I hate having my beloved army die. So naturally I chose the Boss Battle portion of the demo.
There I was, Rock and Red Pikmin following behind me, ready to take on a gigantic, armored millipede thing. Using the Wii Remote’s pointer controls, I was able to aim at specific parts of its body to incur the most damage. Being the expert strategist I am, I tried to aim for the eyes at all times — speaking from experience, having a bug fly into your pupil is painful enough, let alone a large rock creature, or one that ignites in flames. My foe continuously tried to escape, climbing up the walls and onto the ceiling. Luckily, the Wii U’s GamePad displays a top-down map of the entire area, as well as the precise location of any nearby enemies. It didn’t take long to quickly break through the thick armor, revealing its mushy, fleshy body.
At that point, it was an all out assault. Pikmin cried and were horrifically eaten, but in the end, we prevailed. The boss monster was felled, doing a rather depressing little death-shake before giving up the ghost. To be honest, I almost felt sorry for the thing, but then I remembered the Pikmin that were slaughtered. I said a little prayer for my fallen comrades, before handing the Wii Remote and Nunchuk off to the next gamer, patiently waiting for their turn to take command.
In the end, Pikmin 3 seems to be all about refining what’s come before — at least from what I had gathered in my short hands-on time. Controls are better, the world looks stunning — filled with lovely details and adorable critters to viciously attack with no remorse — and the old “Nintendo charm” is in full effect. I found it almost impossible to play the game without a grin on my face, save for when my army was being decimated. The Wii U needs that so-called killer app, the one game that justifies owning the Big N’s latest console. Pikmin 3 is that game. I can only hope the title gets released soon, as I don’t think I can wait much longer. I need my fix, Nintendo. It’s been almost ten years since the last game in the series — don’t make us wait much longer.