It was almost too hard to believe seeing Pikmin 3 at the Nintendo press conference earlier this morning. After so many years of eagerly awaiting an announcement at an E3 the time had finally come, and I have to say, if you’re a fan of the series, the demo playable on the show floor, did not disappoint.
The game can be played with either the remote and nunchuck combo (much like the Wii remakes of the original two titles) or the Wii U controller. Having gone through both the original and its sequel on the Wii a couple of times each now, I figured I’d see how the new Wii U control would compare, despite the representative telling me the original method would be easier. Overall it handles well with the touch screen even allowing you to drag the camera around the environment for a better look. The only trouble I had was with aiming your Pikmin. Moving the reticule was done via physically tilting the Wii U controller and I have to say it felt a bit odd. Whereas pointing with a Wii remote feels comfortable and accurate, this method felt somewhat unnatural. Whether I’ll adjust over time, we’ll have to see.
The game plays like previous Pikmin adventures, this time allowing four leaders to be controlled (although not in the demo unfortunately). Oddly Olimar was nowhere to be seen. One of the playable stages I was shown felt similar to the challenge mode found in the sequel in that the aim was to collect as much cash via fruit or killed enemies within a time limit. Rewarded medals based on your performance, I could easily see this sucking up my time constantly trying to better myself or if included top leaderboards online. Fingers crossed.
On my travels I managed to topple a few familiar creatures along with some fresh faces before I then ran into a new type of Pikmin. Simply labelled Rock Pikmin, these little guys as you could probably have guessed via screenshots and the name, have similar attributes to the heavy substance. While not able to grab onto enemies, they do cause quite a smash when thrown. These helped me crack my way through crystal gates as well as stun some of the bigger enemies latter on. They’re a nice addition and with the Nintendo representative hinting that more types may be on the way, I can’t wait to see what’s next.
The other stage offered a boss battle with a giant centipede looking creature complete with hard outer shell. Trying to avoid his charges at me and my Pikmin, it was a simple case of lobbing the newly introduced Rock Pikmin at his back and tail cracking away at his armour before following up with some red Pikmin to latch onto his fleshy interior. Luckily I managed to just about beat him within the time limit. Tense stuff!
Visually the game looks like a nice step up from the GameCube titles. Similar in style but with the added horse power and high definition it really brings the creatures and their surrounds to life. With just a few basic grassy stages demonstrated, I’m sure much like number two, environments will become more varied and crazy later on (child’s bedroom and underground bathroom) really showing off what the console can do.
Overall Pikmin 3 appears to be what I, and likely fans of the series will want it to be. I’m sure what I’ve seen today is just scratching the surface, but with Nintendo’s promise that this will be a deeper, core experience I can’t see how this will be anything but fantastic.