Hey! Pikmin Review
The Pikmin franchise has been one of Nintendo’s best since the original title released many years ago on the Nintendo Gamecube. Since then, Nintendo has been careful to not over extend the franchise, only releasing new titles every few years. Until 2017, Pikmin has lived and died on the home entertainment console, never finding its way to the Nintendo 3DS family of system. With the release of Hey! Pikmin, that all changes, as does the game’s formula, to make it more appropriate for the handheld device.
There is a free demo available now on the Nintendo eShop! Grab your Nintendo 3DS system and grab it if you are on the fence!
It Is Pikmin Lite
Some of the things you loved in Pikmin 1-3 are still very present in Hey! Pikmin, including the ability to find and collect a variety to Pikmin, who posses a variety of different powers. That’s still very much the core of this Pikmin title, and weak little Olimar is, well, still weak. Gone, however, are the 3D levels to explore, and of course, puzzles that can only be done on large screen in completely 3D environments.
There is a story to Hey! Pikmin, but like so many puzzle-platform, level based games, the story is simply the catalyst to bring you through a number of stages and through a number of boss fights. The story is never that exhilarating, and it won’t be what keeps you playing, but in my opinion, that pretty OK here. Captain Olimar has crashed his ship, and requires Sparklium to power it back up and to head on home. Sparklium is what you will be collecting each and every level, by finding common household items that contain the magical component.
As always, our good friend Abdallah is playing through the game on his YouTube channel. Click the video to check out his YouTube page, or select his banner below to head to his Twitter!
Controlling Couldn’t be Easier
Playing Hey! Pikmin probably couldn’t be easier, which makes this title accessible to almost all ages. Players will use the left thumbstick or the D-pad to maneuver Olimar around the level, while using the stylus on the screen to aim and throw Pikmin, whistle at Pikmin, and so on. The buttons can also be used to perform some actions. We reviewed this title alongside the New 2DS XL so holding the console with one hand wasn’t a big issue. However, when I swapped the cartridge over to the New 3DS XL, I notice some left hand cramps from attempting to hold a much heavier system for long periods of time.
Throughout your journey in Hey! Pikmin, it is likely that, “Wow this is too easy” is something you might say fairly often. Most – although not all – level puzzles are incredibly predictable, and boss fights come down to you learning the predictable movements of the boss, and then hitting weak spots. The challenge, on the surface, is definitely not there, but that is why I continue to say how accessible this title really is.
Using Pikmin to complete puzzles is still fairly satisfying though. Sometimes you will use the Pikmin to solve simple puzzles like pushing down a wall so you can pass through, but other times you will use them to collect various parts of a bridge or stair that Olimar will need to progress to the next area. Still other times, you will need to launch those Pikmin into hard-to-reach-areas to collect the treasure you need to power your ship. Having a keen eye is very important so that you don’t miss specific areas of the level.
Not all the Pikmin from past titles are features here. Of course there is the classic red – resistant to fire -, classic yellow – resistant to electricity -, and classic blue – resistant to water – that you will need to understand and use when necessary. Making a return to Hey! Pikmin are the rock and winged Pikmin that were introduced during Pikmin 3. Based on this alone, Hey! Pikmin will feel like a ‘dumbed down’ Pikmin experience, and perhaps it is, but I also don’t see that being a problem on the handheld device. You still need to have the smarts to use the right Pikmin at the right time, a staple concept in the Pikmin franchise.
This is where the challenge presents itself. Yes, you can blow through Hey! Pikmin fairly easily, and perhaps never die. However, to finish the game 100%, you will need to revisit levels and really look at your surroundings and manage your Pikmin’s abilities to find all the treasures, and those elusive ‘bonus’ level doors (entry points). If I could sum it up easily, I’d put it this way: the base game of Hey! Pikmin is easy to complete, but going for everything will take both skill and time. This, my friends, is a true mark of accessibility.
At the end of the day, a big chunk of the fun for me was collecting various every day items that Olimar can log into his journal at the end of each mission. Whether it is a battery, an NES cartridge, or something else, you can bet that Olimar’s detailed description of that item will be incredibly funny to read. This might be a minor addition to the game, but one that ultimately kept me looking for loot and treasure!
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Nintendo title without some additional goodies to purchase, and alongside the release of Hey! Pikmin will be a new, Pikmin amiibo. This, along with the Captain Olimar amiibo released a few years back, will allow you to summon additional Pikmin instantly to where ever you are located. This is a huge advantage, especially if you get to a puzzle and suddenly realize you are a few PIkmin short to complete it. With the amiibo, you save yourself some serious backtracking time!
Hey! Pikmin is a slow title and an easy title on the surface, and if you don’t properly dive into everything available, you might come out the other end incredibly disappointed. However, in the right, relaxed mindset, there is so much to love about this charming experience on the Nintendo 3DS family of systems, and one that any Pikmin fan – or fans of puzzle platform games – shouldn’t quickly dismiss. If you’ve been looking for a title to extend the life of your 3DS as we move into the 2017 fall and holiday seasons, this is probably a safe and enjoyable option!