Review – Pikmin 3 Deluxe

With the recent release of Super Mario 3D All-Stars and the announcement of Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury coming out in February 2021, Nintendo has been on a roll porting older games onto their flagship system. Pikmin 3 Deluxe is Nintendo’s latest port in a long line of Wii U ports (not like there’s many games left to port). The only question I have to ask is: why did it take me almost twenty years to discover this amazing franchise?

Pikmin 3 Deluxe

It’s almost like a cute version of StarCraft.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe is a real-time strategy and puzzle game. Originally developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii U in 2013, it has now been ported to the Switch. Three alien explorer captains from the planet Koppai, named Alph, Brittany, and Charlie, set out to explore and retrieve food sources. The player controls the three captains, who explore the planet, PNF-404. The captains rely on the Pikmin, which are plant-like creatures that they literally pluck out of the ground. The Pikmin assists the captains with everything. Without the captains leading everyone, the Pikmin won’t do anything, and without the Pikmin, the captains can’t really accomplish anything.

The Captain and the Pikmin are each other’s lobsters.

The captains use a whistle to gather the Pikmin and then hurl them to accomplish different tasks. The Pikmin fight enemies, gather resources, push objects, and bring fruit, items, and enemy carcasses back to the base. They also have their own ships called Onions. The goal of the game is to build and repair your spaceship in order to return home.

I don’t usually use the term ‘cute,’ but…

The Pikmin are so cute.  They remind me of ants, or those soot creatures from Spirited Away, or Peons from Warcraft II, or like the Korok from The Legend of Zelda games.  There are different types of Pikmin, like Red Pikmin, who are resistant to fire and are good fighters, Yellow Pikmin who can conduct electricity and are good diggers, or Rock Pikmin who can break crystals. There a few more, but I don’t want to spoil everything. They each have their individual strengths and weaknesses, so you have to strategize how to use each type of Pikmin in the best way possible.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe

“It’s a hard job but someone’s gotta do it.” -Every Rock Pikmin ever

Prior to Pikmin 3 Deluxe, I had never played any Pikmin game ever. I’m loving the experience so far. It makes me want to check out Pikmin and Pikmin 2. Could they possibly get a Switch release? Nintendo, take ALL of my money! I don’t think I’ve ever played anything like it before. Actually, it’s kind of like a cute version of StarCraft, but instead of going to war, it’s more like you’re going on a fun little adventure, exploring a new planet.  Also, in general this game seems to be a celebration of nature, which is awesome.

There is a sad part, though. The Pikmin are alive and cute. They have eyes, little legs, they make sounds, and they can die, in oh so many ways. For example, they can get crushed or eaten by enemies. There’s also a timer, and if the Pikmin get lost or separated and they’re not back at the ship or in your group by the time the timer ends, they get left behind. It’s pretty sad, but it also encourages you to do your best to take care of the Pikmin.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe

Run away!

In addition to the main story, there is additional content, such as Side Stories and additional Mission Challenges. The new side missions that are exclusive to the Switch version also feature new Pikmin that aren’t in the campaign. In these you can collect treasure, battle enemies, defeat bosses, or complete various tasks. You can also obtain either a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum medal depending on how well you do. This additional content almost has a mandatory replay factor, because you have to play them over and over again to get the lay of the land, and strategize your timing and multitasking by controlling different Pikmin with different captains.

I’m really enjoying the experience so far. The graphics are beautiful, the gameplay is absolutely addicting, and it’s just a super fun game overall. I can’t believe it took me almost twenty years to discover it. There are so many ways to work on strategy, timing, and the incredibly satisfying puzzle-solving, and to top it all off are these cute little Pikmin creatures.  I’m really looking forward to playing the other installments in the franchise.

Graphics: 8.0

The graphics are beautiful. The game is a celebration of nature and it’s a wonderful balance of realistic nature and creative character designs.

Gameplay: 9.0

The gameplay loop is extremely satisfying, from the main story to the mission challenges and side stories.

Sound: 8.0

The music is fine although perhaps not memorable.  Sound design of the Pikmin is very effective and well done.

Fun Factor: 10

I am really enjoying the experience so far and I would rank the replayability factor at an 11 if I could.  I’m hooked and it’s a hard game to put down.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Pikmin 3 Deluxe is available now on Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.