|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Nintendo||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 11, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
It's been almost eight years since Nintendo launched their little purple lunch box, the GameCube. A month following the system launch, Nintendo released one of their most unique titles ever: Pikmin. With Shigeru Miyamoto acting firsthand as one of the game's designers, it was no surprise to see Pikmin become something of a sleeper hit amongst Nintendo's hardcore fan base. Fast-forward to the present, and Nintendo has now re-released the game as part of its New Play Control! series for Wii. After a full generation of consoles past, does this quirky, little adventure still hold up?
For those folks unfamiliar with Pikmin, you play as Captain Olimar. He's crash landed on a strange planet and must make his escape before the life support system in his spacesuit fails. You've got 30 days to find 30 missing ship parts, but you won't be alone in the work that lies ahead.
Olimar quickly discovers a friendly group of creatures he affectionately calls Pikmin (named after vegetables his wife picks back on his home planet, Hocotate). The Pikmin seem eager to help Olimar, and the captain's quest to return safely home quickly gets underway with the help of his new pals.
Pikmin plays as a sort of real-time strategy (RTS) game, though the simplicity of control, as well as a heavy emphasis on environmental puzzles, makes this very much an adventure. You control Olimar with the analog stick on the Nunchuk and command Pikmin with the Wii Remote. You can rally Pikmin to Olimar at any time by pointing at them and pressing the B button. In order to get the Pikmin to attack, pick up objects, or interact with various elements in the environment, you simply toss them with the A button.
There are three types of Pikmin you'll eventually gain control over, each with unique attributes and abilities. Red Pikmin can withstand fire and offer the most brawn in battle; yellow Pikmin can be tossed higher and can throw bombs; and blue Pikmin can navigate water. Pikmin also have three stages of maturity - leaf, bud, and flower - and with each new stage of growth, they become faster and stronger. Control is very smooth, and there's no doubt this New Play Control! Pikmin makes a great model for any and all future RTS titles on Wii.
There are issues that crop up, however, such as Pikmin getting hung up on objects in the environment or Pikmin drowning because they don't line up narrow enough as a group when traversing paths near water. The camera also takes a bit of getting used to. You can aim the pointer and press the Z button to line the camera in the direction you want to view, but things can get a tad wobbly when you're trying to make your way quickly past large enemies, etc. There are several vantage points, though, from which you can view the action, and you'll definitely need to switch between perspectives as you make your way through areas of the forest.
So, you've got 30 days to get your ship back in order before you're a goner. You'll only be able to work during the day, since it's unsafe for the Pikmin to be out at night when the planet's more dangerous creatures emerge. The Pikmin live in Onion ships, and you call out Pikmin for work by standing under a beam at their landing sites. You'll first have to build up something of an army by having the Pikmin pick flower caps and return them to the Onion ships. Caps, as well as defeated enemies, are then transformed into new Pikmin sprouts (which you pick from the ground using the A button), and the gathering process is both amusing and addictive.