|System: Wii U|
|Dev: Nintendo EAD|
|Release: August 4, 2013|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Mild Violence|
Fortunately, there's time to take things slow and get used to the controls. Pikmin 3 has a soft time limit, in that the astronauts must find enough fruit on the planet to be able to drink a jug of juice every day. There's little danger of finding all the planet's fruit before finishing the story, however. Surviving each day is a bigger challenge. Days go by fairly quickly and all Pikmin must be gathered up by the evening, so planning out where to go and what puzzle or fight to work on is important. It's not difficult to build up a healthy stockpile of fruit, though. I usually only had fruitless days when I was working on defeating a boss and had to retreat for the night before killing it. It feels like Pikimn 3 strikes a good balance between the first game's hard time limit and the second game's complete lack of urgency.
Beyond the main story campaign, Pikmin 3 offers several shorter activities. There's a challenge mode that allows one or two players working cooperatively to race against the clock gathering fruit or fighting enemies. That's fun enough, I suppose, but it pales in comparison to the competitive multiplayer joy found in Bingo Battle.
As its name suggests, Bingo Battle pits two players against each other in a contest to complete a row on a bingo card full of fruits and enemies. Some of these items are on both cards; you can see your rival's card on the split screen, and only one of each item exists in the area. Players can directly attack each other, attempt to steal objects that enemy Pikmin are carrying, or grab a cherry bomb that can be used to perform a random but generally massive attack against the enemy. It's a blast, and might just be my favorite part of the game.
Pikmin 3 demonstrates that Nintendo's commitment to quality development has survived in HD, and I found the game to be a major improvement over its predecessors--of which I wasn't the biggest fan. If it could win over a skeptic like me, I imagine that people who loved the first two games will be thrilled by the way this game keeps the series' heart intact but improves on the level design and gameplay. The control scheme awkwardness and occasional Pikmin-wrangling frustrations are only mild detriments that are easily forgotten thanks to Pikmin 3's beauty, charm, cleverly designed levels, and overall fun factor.
Date: July 31, 2013