This franchise's return is shaping up very well.
I have a bit of a reputation on this site (along with Andy Goergen) for being a massive fan of Nintendo’s 2004 classic, Pikmin 2. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that one of the first things I did when I got on the show floor was try out the long-awaited third installment in the series.
The demo level I played was one of the new modes mentioned in today’s Nintendo press event, a timed challenge where I had seven minutes to rack up the most money I could by collecting fruit, with more valuable pieces, like the golden strawberries worth 500 coins, hidden in places that are easy to miss if you’re not thorough. Along the way, you find more Pikmin, including some of the rock Pikmin introduced today.
The gameplay is very reminiscent of the previous games in the series, which is in no way a bad thing. You lead Pikmin into battle, and get them to tear down walls, construct bridges, and carry items back to base to be processed into money. The level I played had a good variety of challenges, including instances in which certain types of Pikmin were required. The rock Pikmin fit in very nicely with the Pikmin universe, and the demo showed off several instances where they came in very handy.
The game is playable with either the Wii remote and Nunchuk or the Wii U GamePad; for my playtime, I chose the GamePad. Interestingly, in either control scheme the on-screen cursor used for selecting and throwing Pikmin is controlled with the IR pointer. Trying to point with a two-handed controller was cumbersome at first, but over the course of the demo it became a lot more manageable. Assuming the Wii Remote and Nunchuk scheme is the same as it was in the New Play Control Pikmin games, I think that will probably be the better way to play, with the GamePad close by for use as a map.
Pikmin 3 is very much a Pikmin game. It captures the feel of the series perfectly, and while this demo doesn’t show off much in the way of new content beyond the rock Pikmin, I’m confident this game will be the sequel we’ve been waiting eight long years for.