I had never tried a Pikmin game before I tried the Pikmin 3 demo at PAX East, but if it’s as enjoyable as this version than it looks like I really missed out. Guiding the little guys around and making them collect fruit for me was fun, as was figuring out all of the other ways they could interact with the environment. I may have to buy some of the older ones while waiting for this game to release.
Pikmin 3 is listed as being a game for the Wii U, but what perplexed me about it was that this demo build could only be played with the Wii remote and nunchuck. I don’t know why this would be, and it seems extremely strange to be demoing it that way when you’re trying to sell it as a Wii U game. The rep didn’t even know of a way to get it to work with the Wii U’s controller, so I have no idea how or if it is going to work with it. I would hope they wouldn’t force players to play using a controller from their last system, but from what I’ve seen that could very well be the case. A downright bizarre decision if so, but Nintendo’s not exactly known for behaving normally. Just the same, what is there about this game that is going to help sell the Wii U? I can’t honestly say.
The game itself seems pretty good. I enjoyed calling to my little groups of Pikmin and putting them to work collecting items for me. I needed a set amount of them in order to pick anything up, and would just toss the guys at the items I wanted to get. I’m not real sure how an orange is going to help me rebuild my spaceship (assuming we’re still doing that), but just because it was lying around I picked it up. The different items all needed certain numbers of the guys to carry them, but my work crew was typically big enough that this was never an issue.
If I got too carried away with goodies, though, I wouldn’t have much of anyone left to deal with the weird creatures that I stumbled across. I ran into some of the enemies I’d seen from previous Pikmin game covers, as well as some floating jellyfish. I tossed my guys at them as fast as I could; calling them back by pointing at them with the Wii remote and hitting a button so I could throw them again. The fights typically went by fast, but I didn’t see any way that I could lose them. The enemies just seemed to shake the little guys off after a second without hurting them. I was told by a rep that if you used the wrong guys or they got hit after they were downed I could lose them forever, but I didn’t see anything like that in the demo. There was also an excess of the guys behind every little spot, so it wasn’t long before I had a huge army to throw at enemies.
There were also walls and other obstacles I could knock down by throwing Pikmin at them. This was another instance when having the right type mattered, as I’d freed a bunch of rock looking ones and they were the only thing that could knock down a wall I’d come to. Those same rock guys didn’t fare so well when I came to an area that was filled with fire, so I had to keep an eye on the poor guys depending on what I was doing. I knew I could select which Pikmin I was tossing around, but I never got a chance to see if I could control specific Pikmin at specific times before the demo ended.
It was all very simple, but playing it was just really relaxing and felt like I was just exploring some imaginary world in a back yard. There is a childlike joy in poking around these lush jungles and fighting off these goofy monsters, and I just felt really laid back while trying it. I wish I knew more about the franchise so I could tell you what’s new and different about it, but to me it just seemed like a solid game that I’d really like to spend a lazy afternoon with. If you’re just coming to the series now, like I am, you’ll probably get a kick out of it.