Game Title: Pikmin 3
Reviewed On: Wii U
Available on: Wii U
What happens when some tiny astronauts crash land on a planet where even the fruit towers over them? They rope in the locals to help, of course. In this case, it’s the Pikmin, small creatures that will fetch, carry and do almost anything you tell them to do. It’s a real-time strategy game with a difference. You explore rather than destroy, and it’s as colourful as any of Nintendo’s best platform games.
Each of the Pikmin has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some may be weaker fighters but can fly to hard-to-reach areas; others are light on their feet. Half the fun is in figuring out just how each of the Pikmin function best, and how you should combine them to make sure you get the maximum amount of exploration done in the time allowed. Because, inevitably, you are limited to a certain timescale, and when your team makes its way through their daily nutritional allowance, your work comes to an end.
While the game is outwardly cute and happy-go-lucky, there’s a darker message lurking underneath. You have to protect your busy workers during the day and get them to the safety of the ship before the sun sets, or else suffer the consequences. Every Pikmin left outside the confines of the spacecraft will be devoured as soon as the light fails, with predators waiting to pounce on the colourful creatures. I won’t lie; it’s a little disconcerting and jars with the rest of the game.
Story mode may allow you to explore to your heart’s content, but mission mode focuses the mind. You have objectives to meet, and usually a limited time in which to do it, so you have to knuckle down and get on with it.