Published on August 20th, 2013 | by octaneblue0
Review: New Play Control! Pikmin
Developer(s): Nintendo EAD
System: GameCube, Wii
Release Date: December 2, 2001 (GCN), March 9, 2009 (Wii)
Released weeks after the launch of the Nintendo GameCube, Pikmin, a new franchise for Nintendo at the time, was received with critical acclaim and became a hit title for Nintendo. Over seven years later, Pikmin received a re-release on the Wii, as part of the console’s New Play Control! series, which adds motion controls via the Wii Remote and Nunchuck, among a few other features. If you’ve never experienced Pikmin before, this is the version to check out! Read on for the full review!
In Pikmin, Captain Olimar crash lands his rocket onto a mysterious planet inhabited by various wildlife. Due to the air on the planet being poisonous to Olimar, he must collect as many pieces of his ship as possible, in the span of 30 days, to leave the planet. He eventually encounters Pikmin, plant-like creatures that respond to his commands. Utilizing their help, he’ll use them throughout his adventure.
Pikmin is primarily a real-time strategy title, with adventure and puzzle elements thrown in the mix. As Olimar, you must command the Pikmin to perform various tasks. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, moving objects, breaking down barriers, and defeating enemies. You’ll first encounter the Red Pikmin, but you’ll eventually encounter Yellow and Blue Pikmin as well. Each Pikmin color has its own unique traits and abilities. For instance, the Red Pikmin are immune to fire, the Yellow Pikmin can pick up and throw bomb rocks, and they are the lightest of the three species, and the Blue Pikmin are the only ones that can cross water. You’ll need to utilize all three Pikmin colors throughout the game, especially if you’re going for all the ship parts.
You’ll initially start out with one of the Pikmin colors, but additional ones are grown by bringing back tokens to the Pikmin ships, which creates a seed of a new one. More seeds can be generated by bringing back larger tokens, certain objects, and even defeated enemies. Those bigger items need more amounts of Pikmin to carry them around, indicated by a number that appears above it. You can only have a total of 100 Pikmin out in the field at once. Because of each of the Pikmin’s uniqueness, you’ll have to switch between them, and you’ll have to plan out how many of each you’ll want to bring out. Pikmin die if they are killed by enemies, blown up, squished, etc. Needless to say, they die very easily, so you’ll have to keep an eye out on your group of Pikmin. Some Pikmin can also get left behind or, annoyingly, get stuck. You can round them up via Olimar’s whistle, and doing this can sometimes save their lives. Any Pikmin that are unaccounted for at the end of the day are eaten by enemies, so you don’t want that to happen!
The main goal of the game is to travel around each of the sections of the planet and pick up the parts of Olimar’s ship. Certain parts of each area are inaccessible until you get all three Pikmin species, or until you accomplish other tasks, so backtracking in a must in these instances. As previously mentioned, you have 30 in-game days to bring back as many of these ship pieces as possible. An in-game day amounts to about 15 or so real-life minutes. You must make the most of your time, as you don’t want a day to be wasted. A new addition to the New Play Control! edition is that you can revisit past days and continue back from there. You can only do once per save file, but you can use the game’s other two file saves to store your progress of a certain day if you’d like. If you utilize this feature, it’s wise to pick a day that you may have not done as well in and go from there. This is an extremely helpful addition, one that series veterans or newcomers alike will certainly appreciate.
Obviously since the game is on the Wii, the game makes use of the Wii Remote and Nunchuck combination, with fantastic results. The game and the Wii controls work together really well, and it feels very natural with this game, rather than being just tacked on to it. Pikmin can be assigned via the Wii Remote’s pointer and a click of the A button. And you can do this while maneuvering Olimar around with the control stick on the Nunchuck. It’s a lot easier to multitask and aim more precisely with these controls.
The game looks largely the same as it did back in its original release on the GameCube back in 2001. While it looked great at the time, the graphics weren’t impressive at the time of the release of the Wii port back in 2009. The mostly-dated graphics do not interfere with the gameplay, at least. Like the GameCube version, New Play Control! Pikmin supports progressive scan, but new to this version is widescreen display support, which was not included with the original release. The game’s enjoyable soundtrack is intact, and for those that haven’t played the original game, you are very likely to appreciate it. The music is charming and very fitting for the nature-themed environment, and there’s a good chance that the game’s themes will get stuck in your head even after you’re done playing.
A playthrough of Pikmin takes around 10 hours. The ending you get depends on how many parts of Olimar’s ship you’ve obtained, so if you want to get the absolute best ending, you’ll definitely want to try to collect them all. The day limit is really the main flaw of this game. It’s a bit of a rush to get through some of the areas with the pressure of actually accomplishing something during a day, so the restart feature is really likely to be used quite a bit in a playthrough. Thankfully, the day limit is removed in the game’s sequels.
If you’ve never experienced Pikmin on the GameCube, New Play Control! Pikmin is arguably the definitive version of the title. The Wii Remote and Nunchuck controls work amazingly well with the game. The core game is largely the same as it was back in its original release, so this release largely appeals to franchise newcomers. If you haven’t tried out Pikmin yet, check out the Wii version!
+ New, extremely intuitive motion controls
+ Fun, charming gameplay
+ Replay feature for past days
– Dated look
– 30 day time span
Final score: 4 out of 5