Community Review: Pikmin 3

Community Review: Pikmin 3
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I’ve played and beaten Pikmin 3 and I’ll put my thoughts below, but this is Kotaku’s communal review post where everyone can put forward their opinions. The only thing better than a review is a community review, because no matter what wild view you hold, it’s valid and fits into the wider spectrum of criticism. So what did you think of Pikmin 3?

This is Nintendo’s first-party RTS. It’s simple in RTS terms… I suppose it’s simple in any terms. But this latest version gives you a maximum of three squads that can roam around, plucking the planty pikmin from the ground and thus gaining control of them. Under your command, they’ll take out the massive garden setting’s largest predators in the search for fruit, and in the quest to get your spaceship working again so you can return home.

My first thoughts when playing this game revolved around hating how much my hand was being held. I felt like certain tutorial notices were coming up long after they were relevant, and got frustrated at the slow introductory pace.

Over the course of a few days, I had two people hanging out with me while the game was on. Both are not really gamers, and I assumed the heavy hand-holding was meant to cater to them. But oddly, they were the ones hating on the game. Not just bored, or uninterested – hating it. Comments were made about why anyone would buy something “so stupid”.

So that surprised me, as, after the early basic periods, I started to really get into it. It’s basic the whole way through, mostly just using the pikmin for the jobs they were intended for, with a puzzle here and there that does require you to think. Boss fights were very enjoyable, and some did take me a few in-game days to take down. Very nice of those bosses to not heal in the combat breaks.

Though I was never in danger of losing (fruit is easy to acquire), I did find pleasure in trying to maximise efficiency in every day. Splitting up into three squads and using the Wii U’s gamepad to micromanage their movements all at once can be dangerous, as the automatic worker lines the pikmin form can come under attack. Some enemies deliberately lay traps for them, but as long as you’re vigilant you can put together a fearsome logistical machine, as more and more garden items are hauled back to be digested into more pikmin.

The only time I had trouble was on the final boss, which was hard, but so unique I still found it enjoyable. What did you guys think?


  • As a first time Pikmin player, I am really enjoying it. I also discovered quite early that the most enjoyable thing is maximising efficiency. Exploring makes me anxious as I feel as though I am wasting time and not gathering! I don’t think I’m very far in, but I have a few weeks’ worth of juice stored 🙂

    • You consume one per day so if you don’t harvest fruit you eventually run out. I haven’t let this happen so I don’t know what happens. Game Over? You have the option to replay days so perhaps you can go back in time and harvest fruit.

      • Going back in time resets your game to that point. At the end of the day your game essentially over-writes the old save, losing any “future progress”.
        There is a finite amount of fruit (64), which produce between 1 and 3 bottles each… so something like 90 or 100 days is the max? I beat the game with 50 fruit at 29 (I think) days, so realistically even with loads of exploring there is plenty of time to do everything you need to do in the game.

        • Thanks for that! I *thought* that might be the case, so I was too scared to try. I didn’t really want to lose any progress.

          • I haven’t needed to go back yet. But now that I’ve completed the story I plan to go back one day so I can get the rest of the fruit.

          • A little bummed about this. I love to spend loads of time exploring and mucking around in game. I spent ages in Pikmin2 after beating the final boss seeing how many pikmin I could get in a day and all sorts of stuff. Bit annoying that there is an arbitary limit on play time.

            Still getting it though, it’s been a decade without pikmin!

  • Seeing a 3D Nintendo game in full HD (sorry Nintendoland, you don’t count) is just fantastic. Couldn’t be more impressed with the visuals. Also, some of the ‘gamey’ aspects of Pikmin 1 and 2 have been sorted out this time around, so there’s less frustration as you try to select the right Pikmin to throw. Also, while it’s a bit convoluted, the Wii U gamepad has a map that can be scrolled around at any time, pausing the action. This enhances the Pikmin formula to no end, because you can quickly find out where on the massive landscapes those lost Pikmin have gotten caught, and can even get your teams of Pikmin to go to any spot on the map automatically. Of course the precise controls of the Wii remote and nunchuck suit this game perfectly, and much more than the gamepad, but you can sit the gamepad next to you as an interactive map, and it makes for a great experience (once you get the hang of it). Kudos Nintendo, I do believe this is the first big reason to buy a Wii U.

    • I’ve been playing it with the Gamepad because my wiimotes have gone flat. You recommend I shell out for new batteries?

      Great game so far. I just had my first boss fight. I am an inept commander, and many pikmin died to bring us our freedom. 🙁

      • Definitely get some batteries; the control difference is massive, makes you way more accurate and much faster to react.
        Some of the bosses really chewed through pikmin… I felt so guilty seeing huge hoards of my guys die on the second last and last bosses =(

      • I got annoyed having to shake the Wiimote for the “all charge in” ability, preferred just pressing a button 😛

      • I got a dirt cheap charging station with battery thing that connects to your Wii U’s USB port and charges your wiimotes whenever the console is turned on. It was made for Wii, but it’s USB so works well. I have two for my 4 wiimotes.

        Kmart I think had them.

  • I played the first few levels and beat the first boss. It’s pretty good so far! A big caveat though: the controls.

    Question: Am I missing something here? In the previous games, an integral part was using the c-stick to swerve guys out of the way, make them swarm things to pick up or attack, and generally herd them around. Now I keep losing guys because they don’t get out the way when I want them to, and the only way I can make them pick stuff up is to throw them at it. Perhaps there’s a modifier or something to let me herd them? Help! If not, well, I’m fairly disappointed in the gamepad controls. Maybe I need to try the wiimote ones.

    • There is a point where you are taught how to roll Pikmin with the D-Pad on the Wii Remote (Don’t ask me Gamepad controls). It wasn’t too far in so you should get it soon.

    • If you’re using the gamepad instead of the wiimote… you’re “doing it wrong”. Only reason you should be using the gamepad is if you’re playing off-screen (I tried this, and while its a fun experience, you have way more control and speed using the wiimote).
      You do pick up a “dodge” ability later on, allowing you (and your pikmin) to roll left or right to avoid danger, but its not as broadly useful as the c-stick was in early versions.

      That said, I didn’t really miss the c-stick at all…

      Beat the game with 50/64 fruit in about 9 hours; absolutely fantastic game. Looking forward to going back and getting the rest of the fruit as well as mastering the challenge levels.

      • Hrmmm. Damn. I was a very busy c-stick player, constantly moving them around. I found the boss fight was particularly frustrating without this. Guess I’m going to have to learn to live without it, and accept that guys will die and it doesn’t *really* matter.

        But I shall dig out the wii remote and try it that way.

        • The pikmin are generally a bit better about following you and moving along your “trail”, so I think its easier than in past games to manoeuvre them out of trouble… you’re still gonna lose stacks in the later boss battles though =(

      • Wouldn’t that depend on how well positioned your TV and you are? I have all types of issues with my sensor bar to the point where I have to constantly recenter it.

        Than again having the walk as the same button as the aoe whistle circle means your circle normally always top of the screen, which makes the gamepad annoying.

        • Not quite… the wiimote now relies heavily on the plus attachment… the sensor bar is really only used to maintain calibration; the actual motion and movement is generally done using the plus attachment.
          I found that the sensor bar was out of sight of my controller for quite a while; and only really noticed coz rarely my cursor would go wandering and I’d have to lift my hand up so the wiimote could see the sensor to re-center things.

          • I guess I shouldn’t judge it until I’ve tried it, my experiences are mostly connected with my play through of Skyward Sword, I’ll give the wiimote a try on Pikmin 3 tonight.

          • To be honest, I think Skyward Sword used the same technology.. though from memory you had to manually force it to re-center (with a button combination or something?). This implementation seems far more robust.
            My sensor bar sits on top of my TV and I generally don’t have a problem; though on the weekend I was sitting in my couch and the line of sight from the wiimote to the sensor bar was often blocked by an oil heater, and I barely had any issues whatsoever.

            That said, I played the Wii versions of Pikmin 1 and 2 and don’t recall having any issues either.

  • Unsure how I feel about the whole time element, makes it pretty hard to think things over, or explore I feel so rushed.

    Very charming game however, the Pikmin death count at the day results can be depressing lol.

    • The thing that gets me, is quite often I’ll defeat a fairly difficult (non-boss) enemy towards the end of the day, but not have enough time to take its body back to the onion… which means I miss out on recovering it and getting more backup pikmin =(

  • I’m also a first time Pikmin player and I’m really enjoying it. It gets hectic when you’re micro managing 2 or more squads…especially when you’re a screenshot whore like me. 😀

    I’ve replayed a few days at the start after I became familiar with the controls, You can make some silly mistakes if you’re not careful. (I really should stop hunting tadpole thingys in the water).

    • I quickly learnt not to attack flying things if water is in the background. If you are a little bit inaccurate with the cursor you end up just throwing your pikmin into the water…

  • Still on the fence about this game, but keen to hear about mutliplayer too.

    What are people’s NNIDs?

  • Never played a Pikmin game before but got this based on how excited Mr. Miyamoto was about it and how great the visuals looked. The game mechanics are great if a little unpolished but it’s just a really simple kind of fun. You can really tell how much effort they put into this game, it feels like they enjoyed putting this all together which is missing from so many major releases these days. Very happy with this purchase.

    • Interested to hear what sort of mechanics you think are unpolished.
      This is the 3rd game in the series, so generally you’d expect the mechanics to be pretty good by now.

      • Unpolished might be the wrong word. Obviously the base game mechanic is solid but it feels like there’s room to expand on their ideas. I shouldn’t criticise really, it’s a great game.

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