Pikmin 3 Hands-On Preview
Pikmin 3 Box Art
System: Wii U
Dev: Nintendo EAD
Pub: Nintendo
Release: August 4, 2013
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Mild Violence
Tending Nintendo’s Garden
by Jake Valentine

Pikmin 3 was supposed to be a launch title alongside the Wii U. The eagerly anticipated strategy title, not seen since 2004’s Pikmin 2, was set to be a premiere first-party title for early adopters of the Wii U to enjoy. Sadly, it’s been pushed back several times to help round out and polish the final product. With its August release rapidly approaching, we go hands-on at Nintendo’s E3 booth to find out if our patience will be rewarded.

Pikmin 3 Trailer

Personally, my patience is all but up awaiting Pikmin 3. Since its reveal kicked off Nintendo’s E3 2012 press conference, it became one of my most anticipated games. Following the success of the original titles, Pikmin 3 attempts to once again bring the real-time strategy genre to consoles in grand fashion. Things have only improved thanks to both the Wii U’s HD capabilities and the Wiimote’s ability to provide precise controls. While some may continue to scoff at the notion of using the Wiimote to replicate a mouse and keyboard, the control scheme feels natural. As for how the game feels using the GamePad, the jury is still out on that one; for the second straight year, Nintendo wouldn’t let me try it out, opting instead to have the GamePad serve as the level map.


This year’s demo showcased the ability to swap between playable characters, expanding on the game’s strategy. Instead of flinging Pikmin and waiting for them to drop off goods at my ship, I could control three groups simultaneously. To describe this in terms RTS fans will be familiar with, Pikmin 3 offers both micro and macro management. You’ll need to make decisions of all kinds.

Pikmin 3 Screenshot

This decision making continues with one of the new additions to the game. Specific types of Pikmin will be required to open specific gates. In some instances, I was required to keep those Pikmin working, otherwise the gates would close. This requires some quick thinking due to the fact that I was operating on a strict time limit: Do I sacrifice some useful flying Pikmin to keep a gate open, or use their ability to reach otherwise unobtainable objects? It’s an addition to the game that’s extremely welcomed.

Speaking of those flying Pikmin, they’re one of the new additions to the game. As you may have deduced from their name, they’re able to fly, granting them access to places that are either unobtainable or difficult to reach by other Pikmin. For example, they can float over water, cutting down on what would be a lengthy trip around to a bridge (provided it’s built) to grab an item, and then float back to the base. All this being said, they do have a drawback: They’re extremely frail, so it’s best to keep them in the back of the line when engaging in combat.

Pikmin 3 Screenshot

The one issue I had with the demo was the substantial amount of information being thrown at me. Granted, I’m assuming the finished game will ease you into things; it wouldn’t be the Nintendo way otherwise. But due to a bevy of options, I found myself playing clumsily. Part of it was being unfamiliar with the terrain and units, but admittedly, another part of it was using the Wiimote itself. Since the release of the Wii U, I haven’t really touched the thing with the exception of playing Nintendo Land, so you’d have to excuse my lack of recent experience. This makes me all the more upset I didn’t get a chance to play using the GamePad. While the Wiimote is precise, it’s not something I’m used to holding.

Pikmin 3 Screenshot

It’s been nine years since we’ve seen the release of a Pikmin title. The wait is almost over as Pikmin 3 releases next month. After all of the teases during the Wii’s lifespan, the recent delays, and the cries for high-quality games on the Wii U, I feel like everyone’s going to get what they’ve been waiting for when Pikmin 3 hits stores. It may not be as sexy as a Zelda or Metroid title, but don’t let that cause you to look the other way.

Jake Valentine
Contributing Writer
Date: July 10, 2013

Game Features:

  • Players can play using Wii Remote Plus and Nunchuk-based controls or the Wii U GamePad controller.
  • The GamePad acts as an overhead map and radar to track Pikmin movements in real time.
  • The greater processing and HD capabilities of the Wii U console are put to extensive use, resulting in a more intricately designed world.
  • After completing a stage, the replay feature allows players the option to review their results using the GamePad and TV
  • In addition to the five original types of Pikmin encountered in previous games, the new Rock Pikmin bring powerful new abilities and are able to crack hard outer shells of enemies and break through solid barriers.
  • Mission Mode challenges players to earn the most treasure in a given time.

  • Screenshots / Images
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