Pikmin 3 Hands-On Preview -- Rally Around This Long-Awaited Wii U Launch TitleBy Jason Wishnov - Posted Jun 07, 2012
Pikmin 3, while not quite a surprise, was the “bomb” at Nintendo’s Wii U press conference: the must-have launch title, the system seller. It’s been eight years since the last installment of the franchise…can the small guys measure up?
Pikmin 1 and 2 were chosen for “New Play Control” remakes on the Wii, specifically because the RTS-like nature of the game greatly benefited from the Wii Remote’s pointer-like capabilities. Those capabilities are on display, of course, with the third installment, so much so that the GamePad is not currently available for use in controlling the game. When asked about using it as a primary control mechanism, the PR rep on site simply shrugged, noting anything was possible.
Regardless, the Wii Motion Plus enhanced controls worked just as well as in the game’s predecessors, allowing "not Olimar" to throw his Pikmin with accuracy and speed. The demo was divided into two segments: a simple time trial, and a boss battle. The time trial involved simply finding and retrieving fruit, and the boss battle saw the player lead approximately 80 Pikmin into battle against an armored centipede-like creature.
We’ll get to graphics in a moment, but the truth of the matter is…well, it’s Pikmin. Nothing shown significantly mixes up the franchise formula in any capacity. The rock Pikmin (which cause additional damage and shatter objects on impact) don’t really change the gameplay, and while the GamePad’s minimap and end-of-level replay feature are appreciated, they’re merely bonuses. If you like Pikmin, you’ll be happy; if you dislike it, stay far away.
Graphically, well, Pikmin 3 would likely weigh in as a nice-looking PS3 or 360 title. There are odd moments where you think the texture on that leaf is amazing, but by-and-large, the style is merely clean, functional. Of course, seeing any Nintendo game in proper HD is a treat, but the splendor wears off fairly quickly. Pikmin is a sort of game you tend to forget graphically after a bit, as the frantic micromanagement tends to consume most of the player's brain’s processing power.
It was fun, and it delivers what fans of the franchise are after, but does Pikmin 3 have more up its sleeve for a harder sell? We’ll find out later this year, as Nintendo surely details the game closer to Wii U launch. Stay tuned!