Pikmin 4 Review
Pikmin 4 Review
If you had as much of a dislike for the Pikmin franchise as I have had over the past while, you might opt to dismiss Pikmin 4 and move on. That is what I planned on doing, but after seeing some of the work Nintendo was publishing I was a bit intrigued, especially when folks billed this as an accessible, streamlined Pikmin experience. After a couple dozen hours roaming the world of Pikmin 4, I have some devastating news for Pikmin haters. You might actually like this one!
What is Pikmin?
In Pikmin, players will use their player to collect and control a colourful group of leafy friends called Pimin. Different Pikmin exist to perform different tasks – red Pikmin can deal with fire, light blue can freeze lakes, blue Pikmin can swim, white Pikmin can fly, and so on. There literally is a Pikmin for every task, and all these small puzzle tasks culminate into a great, puzzle-adventure experience that has yet to be recreated properly by others.
Things are different with Pikmin 4
In Pikmin 4, players will create their own character and will begin hunting down the missing Captain Olimar, as well as the Rescue Corps. members who got lost on the previous Olimar rescue mission. The game drip feeds you information early on, creating a bit of a slog early on, but each and every aspect of the game is laid out and explained, sometimes too much. For younger players – my second oldest Lochlan for example, who is 9 – having all these tutorials is really helpful, so I understand WHY Nintendo slowly rolled you into the story and gameplay.
It won’t take long for you to find most of the previous Rescue Corps members, and most of them will provide you unique opportunities at your base camp. Captain Shepherd will help train your dog-like-creature Oatchi (more on him in a bit), Collin will be your exploration guide, and others will perform duties like provide upgrades and items, allow you to travel to new areas, and more. Although the development team slowly eases you into the game, the rate at which you find the Rescue Corps members and other unlockables (new areas, new Pikmin, civilians) is deeply satisfying. Rarely did an hour go by without finding something new, or someone new.
Never been a fan of Pikmin, but…
My issues with Pikmin in the past have been the gameplay loop. In the original, I hated the 30 day timer for collecting all the ship parts. In PIkmin 2, I disliked the need for food, and hated it even more when my food was stolen and I had to recollect. Pikmin 3 fell by the wayside for me – although I remember enjoying moments of it – and like I said, I had little hope for Pikmin 4. What I quickly realized with Pikmin 4, however, is how the development team was making big changes to improve and streamline the Pikmin experience.
I think this all begins with your loveable fluffy friend Oatchi. Oatchi can do so much for you on your adventure, the best ability being the option to ride on him and take your PIkmin with you. Oatchi can jump, swim, dash, and move objects. He is a very versatile character that keeps the game moving – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used Oatchi to drag heavy items back to my ship, which in previous games would have been left up to a wack-ton of Pikmin. It this new mechanic, coupled with upgrades, items, collections, and more that make Pikmin 4 feel so much different, and yet the same in the best possible ways.
Dandori fun for all
Across the world are tunnels that are begging to be explored, and while most of these tunnels act as extensions of the surface with tighter, more focused puzzles, there are a few that pit you against leaf like creatures. You will be challenged to a Dandori battle, a competition to see who can be the most efficient with their time and their Pikmin.
Dandori battles – which happen both during the main campaign, but can also be played from the main menu – are good ways at training yourself to be better at the game. With limited Pikmin at your disposal and no Oatchi to pick up the slack, you will have to work efficiently as possible to make the best use of your Pikmin, and outplay your opponent by collecting the most loot. I wasn’t sure how I felt after playing my first Dandori battle, and actually dreaded doing the second one. But the more I played these fun little mini-games, the more I enjoyed what they brought to the table.
Other welcome changes to the formula
Getting out at night and doing some basic tower defence style gameplay with Glo-Pikmin is a lot of fun, and is a nice change of pace from the large areas you will explore. The ability to rewind the game a bit when you make a really big mistake is also a great feature, and saved me from losing valuable Pikmin more than once.
The best addition is what you will see after the credits roll – that could take about 20 hours, give or take – but unfortunately I cannot dive into what you are going to see in this review. And to be fair, I wouldn’t want to. Just note that what comes after the main game is some of the best content PIkmin 4 offers, and it’s stuff you definitely don’t want to miss!
Pikmin 4 is absolutely stunning, from the beautiful graphics to the amazing score. The additions (and subtractions, if you count no more timers) are fantastic, and make this the most accessible and approachable Pikmin game released. I’ve always argued the Pikmin is a niche franchise, liked by a small subsection of the Nintendo fanbase. Pikmin 4 might be Nintendo’s attempt at getting more Nintendo Switch owners to jump into this experience. From my perspective, it’s likely to work.