Has it really been eight years since Pikmin 2? Strange, because it feels longer; we went an entire console generation with no Pikmin 3, but Nintendo is ready to change that.
Set to debut as a launch title, Pikmin 3 won’t have players be re-acquainted with Captain Olimar. For unknown reasons, he’s currently missing in action, so instead we’ll be controlling four characters at once. Yes. Four.
Sadly, we didn’t get any hands on time controlling four people at once. Instead, we were given two different modes to try: Time Attack and Boss Battle. To allow us to get reacquainted with Pikmin, we started out with the Time Attack. Its premise is simple: you have seven minutes to get as much gold as possible. Gold is acquired by bringing back various objects back to your camp, such as dead bodies or fruit you find in the world. As you can tell, the essence of gameplay hasn’t been changed. If anything, it’s arguably enhanced by the ability to control using the Wii-mote, though it took some getting used to. Within seconds, though, I was comfortably aiming the controller to gather pikmin and throw them at my targets. I felt quite comfortable being back in the Pikmin world.
One of the new additions to the series that was playable was the rock pikmin, stronger allies who are able to demolish obstacles that stand in my way. They seem to be a reworked version of purple pikmin (no word on if purple or white will be making a return), useful when attempting to remove armored obstacles or enemies.
After the Time Attack, I began the boss battle mode, where I was told that the Wii U’s pad would come in handy. While they weren’t allowing us to get any hands on time with the pad, we did get to take advantage of one of it’s features: a constant area map. The boss we encountered had a couple tricks up his sleeve: armored plating, meaning we had to throw a constant barrage of rock pikmin to break it, as well as the ability to climb the area’s walls to safety occasionally, moving at breakneck speed. Thanks to the game pad’s map, we were able to be aware of our surroundings without having a cluttered HUD.
It was nice to get reacquainted with the Pikmin franchise and we’re eager to see how controlling for people simultaneously works. The title is scheduled to launch alongside the Wii U later this year, but were’ still not sure when that is, so we’ll be trying to wait patiently until then.