Review – Pikmin 4

The Pikmin series has been going since the GameCube days. It’s been ten years, almost to the day, since the release of Pikmin 3, not including the Switch port, of course. With that, it is about time that we see the next entry in the series, so welcome Pikmin 4. I do appreciate that there is no subtitle to these games, just simply numbered the whole way through. Pikmin 4 continues the same kind of idea as the previous titles, but adds to some sections, and adds whole new playstyles.

For anyone who has never played a Pikmin game, it’s an action-adventure game where you explore sections of a world looking for treasures, and generally something to make your spaceship work so you can go further and eventually leave the planet again. In Pikmin 4, you’re once again looking for Captain Olimar from the first game in the series. This time around you’re collecting “sparklium” to make the spaceship run. It’s essentially petrol, which you collect from different treasures you find. Treasure can be any number of things, like puzzle pieces, fruit, Nintendo consoles, anything really. Every treasure is part of a set, once you collect an entire set you get material that’s used for upgrades and to build bridges or climbing walls in the world.

Pikmin 4 Game Boy Advance

Children these days going “what’s that thing?”

In the hub area where you decide what expedition you want to go on, and where you want to go, you’ll find all the crewmates that you save through the world. Crewmates are generally found in dungeons, where you are given a set amount of Pikmin to start with, and you can usually find a few more while you’re in them. The dungeons are full of treasure as well, luckily they give an idea, in the form of a percentage of completion, to let you know if there’s a reason to return to any dungeon.

Which brings us back to crewmates, two of which will allow you to buy upgrades, the first of which is stuff like a treasure radar that tells you when you’re near a radar, and turns off if there’s no treasure left. There’s also stuff like giving yourself and your partner resistances to things like fire, electricity, ice, etc. The second upgrades your partner to make them more effective.

Pikmin 4 Rush

At level 3 you learn to play “Tom Sawyer”.

There are two different kinds of “teammates” in Pikmin 4. The first is Orochi, a dog that you’re able to ride, send to attack or carry things, and more as you progress through the game. The other are the Pikmin themselves, as different Pikmin are used for different things. While there are a lot of basic enemies that essentially don’t have an “element,” or “typing” if you want some Pokemon lingo, there are plenty that do. The Pikmin that are good against certain things are pretty obvious since they’re all colour coated. Red Pikmin are effective against fire, can walk in fire, stand in lava, etc. While Blue Pikmin, on the other hand, can walk through water without drowning.

One of the new Pikmin in Pikmin 4 is strictly linked to one of the new portions of the game, the night expedition. On a normal expedition you must return to the hub before night because the creatures of the world get more aggressive once the sun goes down. When entering the world at night, you’re greeted by the Glow Pikmin, a glowing, ghostly styled Pikmin that reproduces from collecting small star stones and returning them to a dirt mound that you must protect.

This makes the night expeditions a lot more like an RTS. Creatures are on the hunt and want to eat, and their goal is to eat you, the Glow Pikmin, and destroy the hill. This means you’ll need to get more Glow Pikmin, while making sure nothing gets to the hill. Doing so you’ll get a cure for some of the sick crewmates that you rescue once the sun comes back up.

Pikmin 4 Glow Pikmin

Hello, children. I bring you love.

The general ambiance of Pikmin 4 is great. There are some really intriguing music pieces for some of the more elite enemies, essentially bosses. The world feels peaceful with the sound of flowing water and the general sound of creatures just living their day to day life. The background music during the day is soft and casual, while the nighttime music has more intensity to it once the creatures become aggressive. The songs are interesting and do a good job to drive the emotions and feelings you’re meant to have at any time.

Pikmin has always been cute. The Pikmin themselves are cute little flower creatures with a variety of colours, and later on, a variety of shapes. The humanoid characters are small bodies with big heads, all wearing spacesuits. The main difference as time has progressed is everything looks much more vibrant now. The grass quite literally is greener on this side of the timeline. Enemy designs are well done, from leaf enemies that try to hide out of fear, or to surprise attack you. None of them are overly scary looking in terms of sheer horror, but quite a few look aggressive just from looking at them.

Rock Pikmin

“I got a rock..”

The last big addition to Pikmin 4 is the Dandori Battle and Dandori Challenge. Dandori Battle is a new multiplayer mode that can be played as part of the single player or with local splitscreen against a friend. Each side controls the same type of Pikmin and battles to get as many treasures or enemy bodies back to their base as possible for points. Dandori Challenge is kind of the same thing, but a single player version where you need to get as much back for score to get medals. Higher score equals better medals, and if you get everything, you get a master medal.

It’s been ten years since Pikmin 3 and twenty-two years since the original game. While it might not be a household name, Pikmin is one of Nintendo’s most consistent titles. Each game gets better and better, but might be overlooked simply because of the look or design of the characters. Given all four games are now available on Nintendo Switch, if you have any interest in the series, what’s a better time since it all culminates in the best game in the series, Pikmin 4.


Graphics: 9.0

Pikmin 4 is cute, but effective in its design. The characters, the Pikmin themselves, and enemies are the world are well designed to keep them all distinguished from each other. The world is bright and vibrant during the day, and during the night it’s dark without being so dark it looks like a completely different place.

Gameplay: 9.5

Pikmin 4 plays like the other games in the series, with the addition of a few things. The dungeons through the world that make each level feel exponentially bigger than they seem on the surface. The nighttime expeditions give you nearly twice the reason to return to any given area. The mutliplayer/battle modes are a nice escape from going to an area, explore until night, leave, over and over.

Sound: 10

Pikmin 4 has incredible amiance. The music is fitting for any given moment. The atmosphere is spot on with what you would expect from an alien world, filled with hostile and friendly creatures.

Fun Factor: 9.5

There is no doubt I will return to Pikmin 4 multiple times. The first time through I have enjoyed the experience so much I went for a full 100%. The multiplayer mode is great, with the only thing missing is the ability to play against friends online.

Final Verdict: 9.5

Pikmin 4 is available now on Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.