'Pikmin 3 Deluxe' Review: Port Made Me a Fan and Will Make You One Too

8.5/10 - Nintendo Switch

I have to admit, I've never played a Pikmin game before.

Although I owned a Gamecube and a Wii U, I never gravitated towards Olimar and the silly-looking lifeforms known as Pikmin. I got the premise, but never felt it was something I needed to play or own.

Fast forward to 2020 and while most of us are stuck at home, it seemed as good a time as ever to finally play one for the Nintendo Switch, and I'm sure glad I did as Pikmin 3 Deluxe became a title I couldn't put down.

I love how the Nintendo Switch has become a landing spot for Wii U titles that didn't get the attention and devotion they deserved. While many gamers see it as a fault with the Switch's library, it helped introduce many to great Wii U titles like Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and Tokyo Mirage Sessions: FE and now you can add Pikmin 3 to that mix.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe is an enhanced version of the original 2013 Wii U game, with quality of life improvements and DLC additions in one package. While I can't speak to the improvements, I can say that if you're new to the franchise this is something that will make you a fan.

pikmin 3 deluxe nintendo switch screen
Nintendo

STORY

The story of Pikmin 3 is simple. A ship carrying Alph, Brittany and Charlie crash lands on the alien planet that hosts Pikmin and a variety of other creatures. You start as Alph and are tasked with finding the other two members of your crew.

While there, you learn about what Pikmin are and how this planet works. As someone who didn't play the first or second games, this is a great tutorial if you are not familiar with the franchise.You learn that you can control the Pikmin and use them for various tasks. You also find out that there are different colored Pikmin that specialize in a variety of tasks.

As you make your way to finding your crew members, the mission changes: now you're tasked with finding a key to get off the planet. There's some twists and turns along the way, but that's the basic premise of Pikmin 3 and as a jumping on point for the franchise, it works very well.

If you played the first two Pikmin games there are, naturally, some nods to them, too.

GAMEPLAY

Now, it took me a little while to acclimate to the controls and learn how to manage my time/resources wisely. There are so many things you can do at once in each area, that you won't be able to do it all in one day. There are day/night cycles that limit what you can accomplish. Players will have to be sure to go back to the ship with their Pikmin before night falls and the creatures come out.

With a time limit, you'll have to divide up the Pikmin's tasks wisely. The first few days, I had trouble understanding just how to do so as I would stand around waiting for my Pikmin to break down a dirt wall or carry fruit back to the ship. Once I understood that I can leave them to complete the task I found completing my own tasks to be much more efficient.

This is especially the case when you have all three captains in your party. Players can toss a captain to one area of the map and have them complete tasks. There are some areas that force players to split the three captains up to get over barriers and climb hills. Figuring out the layout of the land and how to get around them is a big part of the puzzle-solving and strategy aspects of Pikmin 3.

Players will also need to find fruit to eat between days, and there's plenty to find in each area, so as long as you're getting your tasks done in a timely manner you shouldn't have a problem with how much you have.

In fact, the difficulty is more on the easy side, even for someone who is new to the franchise. Thankfully, the deluxe edition gives more difficulty options to either give players a more chill/casual playthrough or a more difficult one. The harder difficulty is definitely noticeable, so if you're a pro or want to have a second playthrough I recommend upping it.

Another new feature in Pikmin 3 Deluxe is the lock-on feature. Inexplicably, the Wii U version didn't allow you to lock on to targets for when you lob Pikmin at it. I don't know how anyone did it before this feature, but it's here now and works very well.

There are also optional hints that players can use if they feel stuck, but the best addition is a co-op mode. The Wii U's hardware didn't allow for much split-screen co-op in its games, but on the Switch, friends and family can play through the Pikmin 3 story together to increase the efficiency of your adventures.

pikmin 3 deluxe boss battle
Gather your Pikmin to take out this boss in 'Pikmin 3 Deluxe' Nintendo

CONTENT

As for content, you have the story mode, which will give you the full Pikmin 3 experience complete with the DLC from the Wii U version. There are also new side missions featuring Olimar that will give players more to do even in the middle of playing through the story.

These missions are traditional time-based and lets players control Olimar to retrieve as much fruit and treasures as he can. Get over a certain threshold and you'll continue to the next day. It's a great little extra for players, and can also be used as a training mode as it's a bit more laid back then the stakes in the story mode.

There are also fun multiplayer battle options in the Bingo Battle where you and a friend can race to see who can fill up their bingo cards first.

VERDICT

Pikmin 3 Deluxe is a great addition to the Nintendo Switch library. While I can only speak to the game as someone who didn't play the original, the gameplay and story are great and the new additions like the lock-on feature and split-screen co-op are essential to the overall enjoyment of the game.

As someone who has never picked up a Pikmin game before, Pikmin 3 Deluxe has made me a fan and will make you one too.

Pikmin 3 Deluxe is available Friday, October 30 for Nintendo Switch.