Billy's fallen head over heels for Pikmin. Read our full import review. Best of all, IT'S FREE!
E3 2001 was the first time we got to see Pikmin. Peter Main introduced the game to a full room of very confused people. Without any explanation Pikmin looks…well, rather odd. Shigeru Miyamoto then demonstrated, and explained the game, and we learned all about the world of Pikmin. Once I got my hands on it on the show floor, I knew I wanted to see more.
You are stranded on a planet after an asteroid takes out your space ship. You discover Pikmin, and they help you put your dilapidated space ship back together. You have 30 days to regain 30 parts of your ship. Pikmin aren’t the most intelligent things, and part of your role is to protect and breed more Pikmin. Keeping them alive isn’t always easy. Control is generally responsive, but when you have a ton of Pikmin it does get a little tricky. Pikmin get lost, drown, get torched, and sometimes they get poisoned and try to kill you. But it’s rather satisfying when your Pikmin bring a space ship part back safely, or take out a tough enemy. You will kill a lot of Pikmin…and it’s fun, albeit frustrating.
Pikmin graphically are impressive by themselves. Seeing 100 Pikmin running around and responding to the environment has to be witnessed to be truly appreciated. Some will break off and do their own things, while the main pack will generally march behind you. Nintendo has created some of the most interesting enemies you’ve seen in a game as of yet, but they look realistic. Everything moves at a quick pace, and I haven’t witnessed a hint of slowdown. The 5 different environments are incredibly detailed and really make you feel like you are in the garden. Everything feels distinctively alive and vibrant—it looks so real you can almost smell dirt.
The audio is one of the main things that I think really draws you into the game. The sounds that come from the Pikmin alone have a lot of personality. Screaming, chanting, whining, cheering…you’ll hear it all from the little buggers. Sure it adds to the cuteness of the characters, but it is also quite helpful. Audio cues let you know a lot about what’s happening all around you. From the sounds of enemies, to the screams of death or fear from Pikmin--you’ll hear everything. Not to forget about the fact that the music is incredible. I’ve said it many times, but I really want a soundtrack. It’s unlike anything you’ve heard before. Turn up the stereo, and you will be sucked in.
Pikmin is a very relaxing game. That is until the time starts running low and you’re dragging a space ship part and a couple corpses back to load onto the ship. But overall, it’s a great “chill on the couch” game. The whole feel to the game may be cute, but it’s calming. After a long day at work (or school), Pikmin is a great game to come home, dim the lights, and lounge around and play. Not to say Pikmin isn’t exciting, it’s just thrilling in a very different way.
Did I mention I suck at this game? I’ve gotten through 20 days of the game twice and started over due to the fact that I felt I wasn’t efficient enough. I’m at the 25th day right now, and only have 21 space ship parts. The last level is driving me absolutely insane, and has depleted my stock of Pikmin repeatedly. But I’m actually looking forward to going back and playing through it again after learning how to tackle a majority of the puzzles, enemies, and obstacles. Some people have claimed to blaze though Pikmin, but I think there’s plenty to do. Then again, I play the game as more of a “Dessert Game,” and play it once in a while instead of playing it all the time.
Strategy, resource management type games aren’t generally the what I like to play, but something about Pikmin’s feel really drew me to it, and still keeps me coming back for more. I will beat this game, and probably more than once. Pikmin more than exemplifies what “The Nintendo Difference” is all about. I think Pikmin will probably be the sleeper hit of the year. Shigeru Miyamoto has created yet another unique and wonderful experience.