It wouldn’t necessarily be an untrue statement to say that I’ve been waiting for Pikmin 3 for nine years now.
Confirmed to be in development by Shigeru Miyamoto back in 2008, the project soon progressed from Wii to the console’s high-definition successor and, following further delay last year, we can at long last be excited that the Wii U exclusive is just shy of a month away from release.
Whilst much has been discussed regarding the game’s Story mode, Nintendo used E3 2013 as an opportunity to shine a spotlight on what else will be vying for your attention. And such content comes under the guise of the separate Mission and Bingo Battle modes.
High score go-getters and time attack chasing enthusiasts will find that Mission mode leverages a sizeable challenge to tackle. Sliced into individual stages, each sees the player tasked with completing their designated objective with a limited number of Pikmin at their disposal.
Mission structure alone is largely as can be expected: neutralising a boss as quickly as possible; gathering specified fruit and items; or simply completing your objective as quickly as you can to achieve the highest score.
Naturally there’s the same level of strategy to be found, requiring familiarity with each Pikmin type, and also knowing when to dash past fruit and items so that you can concentrate your miniscule troops to construct a bridge that’ll shorten the travel distance to your Onion ship. As a concept it works well, Miyamoto himself seeing it as the perfect method of evaluating and therefore improving your technique for tackling the game more effectively.
Meanwhile, Bingo Battle provides a further alternative to Pikmin 3’s strategy mix. Placing two players against each other competitively, each are handed unique Bingo cards that then see them running amok as they set out to gain victory by completing a single line.
Again, this can be as tactical as you like. With there only being one of each item somewhere on the map, and plenty of crossover between the two Bingo cards, players can either dash for their own success or purposefully make their opponent’s victory ever more difficult by grabbing what they need.
Cherries scattered across the map give additional opportunity to spin a roulette wheel in the corner of your screen, the result of which being a one-use power-up that can deter your competitor’s progress. A landslide of rocks to crush their Pikmin or lightning that electrocutes them, these prove particularly gratifying.
A distinct lack of any online support here will be of huge disappointment to many, especially in relation to how well Pikmin 3 lends itself to team-based play too. Nintendo Network remains under-utilised, and for that is Nintendo’s continual criticism. Sure, couch-based multiplayer is great, but they aren’t catering for those that don’t have such opportunity.
Regardless, Pikmin 3 looks, sounds, and plays sublimely, exuberating the care and attention to detail that Nintendo’s impeccably high standards aspire.
Pikmin 3 launches for Wii U across Europe on July 26th, and North America on August 4th.