E3 2013: Hands-On: Pikmin 3

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

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If there’s anything the oprainfall faithful are used to hearing, it’s, “Sorry to keep you waiting.” Of all of Nintendo’s first-party titles announced for Wii U this year, I think Pikmin 3 is the one that aligns with this sentiment the most. Originally announced for Wii, it was pushed back in favor of development on Wii U. When it was announced in the “launch window,” it ended up being pushed back to August 4th, 2013. When I approached Pikmin 3 at the Nintendo Booth, I sought to answer the question: Has our long wait been worth it?

Before that, I think it’s important to describe my Pikmin background. I’ve not played any of the games since the first one came out for the Gamecube back in 2001. But I played a fair amount of it, so I understood what I was getting into. I’ve also been following Pikmin 3 pretty religiously thanks to covering every Nintendo Direct ever, where information about the game ended up being slowly trickled out over several presentations. ‘Twas quite a pleasure to play the game I’ve been covering from a distance the entire time. Here’s how it went:

Pikmin image 3

I played a seven-minute timed mission. My objective was to collect as much treasure as I could. There was plenty of fruit to be found, and plenty of enemies for my Pikmin to destroy. All of these variables had values associated with them. There was more than enough to try to find, so I got the impression immediately that my seven minutes could be spent in a countless number of ways. At any rate, I ventured forth as someone who wasn’t Olimar.

I was only able to play “old school” for the demo, using the Wii Remote and nunchuck. Nintendo has stressed that there will be a wide variety of controls in the final version, including the Wii U Gamepad and the Wii U Pro Controller. For the demo, I was able to get a look at the map of the level I was in, but I was too focused on my mission to pay much heed to it.

I grabbed a few red Pikmin and wandered around for a bit, collecting the occasional strawberry, or downing a few familiar foes. After a little while, I ran into a barrier my red Pikmin couldn’t penetrate. The new rock Pikmin were clearly needed! I moved forward a little bit and found some being guarded by a powerful foe. After I grabbed them, I went back to the rock barriers and nabbed a few nice point values. Since I was several minutes into my demo, the Nintendo rep showed me various things I hadn’t done yet, like how to separate my Pikmin into different types in case I wanted one squad to do one thing, and another to focus on a separate task.

At the end of my mission, I was able to watch a live replay of everything I’d done and realize I missed an entire section of the stage that looked like it had heaps of treasure, so clearly I have much to learn. But, considering there are so many Pikmin and a variety of playable characters to control, I am pleased to report that Pikmin 3 is absolutely filled to the brim with content. There seems to be a variety of ways to play and reasons to keep coming back, so it seems like the wait has been worth it, and it’s certainly worth the asking price.

Pikman 3

These impressions come from someone with only a little experience with Pikmin. I wasn’t lost, and I think Pikmin 3 could be a decent entry point into the series depending upon how the story is handled. As for you Pikmin veterans who’ve been excited for quite some time… you won’t be waiting for too much longer.

E3 2013 Pikmin 3

It’s great to know that all your waiting hasn’t been in vain. Pikmin 3 shows a lot of promise, and it will definitely be a polished final product.