Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
Sweet, but short
on 24 February 2014
I really love Pikmin and have both games for the Gamecube. Pikmin 3 was one of the games that I was most excited about getting for my Wii U.
The charm is definitely still there. It oozes it, and draws people in. I had friends staying over and they were all entranced by the game. I'm excited to get another wiimote and nunchuck to play multiplayer.
I played the game with the gamepad and thought it adequate but clunky at times, particularly when fighting flying enemies. I'm going to give the wiimote a go soon and I expect it to be a much better way of controlling the game; at least for accuracy in throwing and selecting pikmin. The game is essentially an RTS after all, getting closer to a mouse and keyboard control method is likely to make things much easier.
My biggest complaint is with the length of the game. While the others were more about exploring and had little in the way of plot, Pikmin 3 is very linear with new areas only opening up after plot points have occurred. This isn't a bad thing; I lost interest in Pikmin 2 once I had access to all the Pikmin types because there wasn't much to keep me playing but the puzzles.
Unfortunately Pikmin 3 swings in the opposite direction; there is a lot less to see. I was impressed by how expansive the maps were at first, and I liked that there were no load times (I feel like there may have been waits for the various caves in Pikmin 2). Still, there are only four real areas to explore, and while there is reason to go back once you find new pikmin types there isn't a huge amount of extra space to unlock; just more of this games collectible items, fruit (as opposed to junk and ship parts in the second and first installments).
While there is a definite purpose to what you are doing the puzzles are few and mostly repetitive whilst being very simple. For instance, yellow pikmin can handle electricity. A situation is presented that requires them to be used (and how they should be used is highly telegraphed) and there isn't much further exploration of this mechanic.
The positive is that the game has a focus on cooperative play, both in a battle mode and in standalone missions that provide a scenario and limitations. I haven't played the battles so I'll mention the missions. You start off with pikmin of a few types and have to do various things; gather treasure, eliminate enemies etc. I have only played one but it seemed fun and was set up for cooperative play.
My second major disappointment is with regards to these missions; at the time of writing there have been three DLC packs that must be bought in addition to the base game cost; two for £1.50 and one for £4.50. The first two unlock eight new missions (for a total of 15 enemy-fighting missions and 15 treasure gathering missions) as well as some other settings (I'm not sure how many missions they represent).
I have never been a huge fan of DLC but in this case I do feel ripped off. The first pikmin was short and sweet and I appreciated it. I really expect more since then though, and to find that this game has a very short campaign and a significant amount of extra content, but which requires even more money to be spent really winds me up. The first two DLC packs add very little (from what I can tell) other than some more level design. There isn't a huge amount of that in the base game so I'm disappointed that I need to pay another £3; not a lot I know, but if I want the complete game it is almost £10 more than the base.
In conclusion, the lack of content is the biggest issue I have with the game. There seems to be an emphasis on replaying the campaign to better your score (finish more quickly with fewer dead pikmin and more fruit collected) but really, that isn't enough for me. I finished the game in 2 days, and that was whilst entertaining guests and going out in the evenings. The game is very charming but also very easy. The challenge and longevity seem to be expected to come as a result of trying to beat your high score (which doesn't interest me) and coop play, which I am excited to explore.
As a single played game it only gets three stars though. Were all the DLC missions included in the base game it would likely be a four/five. There isn't enough to the base game for that score though.