One of the Nintendo Wii’s overlooked features is the ability to playback Nintendo Gamecube discs natively; a great option for those who already own Gamecube games or like to hunt eBay for those retro goodies. Not content with selling us new Wii games at $50 a time; someone high up at Nintendo has managed to sneak through the idea of re-releasing Gamecube games under a new branding and selling them to us once again.
Ok so it might be a bit mean to label Pikmin New Play Control for Wii as a straight re-release as they have made alterations to the game. But have Nintendo put enough effort into this venture to make it more worthwhile than finding a cheap second hand copy of Pikmin for Gamecube and playing that instead? It’s time to take a look in this Pikmin for Wii review. Pikmin is one of those rare breeds; a successfully implemented strategy game for a console. Joypad controllers are great for many game genres but typically fail when asked to act as if they were a PC mouse. This has generally resulted in poor user experiences in the few strategy games that have ever made their way to console systems, even those that feature analogue stick.
So if you were around a few years back when Nintendo first presented Pikmin to the world; you too may have thought they had bitten off more than they could true by creating the world’s first strategy game primarily involving coloured flowers. You take of control Captain Olimar; a strange little spaceman whose ship has crash landed on a newly encountered planet. Much to his dismay; thirty rather important pieces of the ship have scattered across a large area and without them he will not be able to leave orbit. That sounds bad enough until you realise that he only has enough air in his spacesuit to last exactly thirty days as well. Normally you’d think Olimar would be done for but hold on a minute. What is that strange sprout sticking out of the ground?
So the intrigue gets the better of Olimar and he can’t resist pulling up the sprout to find out what sort of vegetable would be growing underneath. But what do you know; instead of finding a healthy addition to his ‘five a day’ he instead has discovered a living breathing flower with very cute eyes. The flower can’t talk but seems friendly enough and is certainly happy enough following Olimar around the place and so is dubbed a Pikmin.
Olimar soon comes across a giant pod (which he calls an Onion) and with the help of his new Pikmin friend soon discovers that this is in fact, some sort of breeding facility for the Pikmin species. When a Pikmin takes a seed capsule from a nearby flower and offers it up to the Onion like a sacrifice; the Onion pop outs seeds which fall to the ground creating new Pikmin sprouts. Yes I know it sounds like a cross between The Wicker Man and Gardeners Time but Pikmin is actually a bloody great game and here’s why:
Your goal is to locate a minimum of 25 of the thirty missing ship parts within the 30 day time limit; with the help of three Pikmin species (Red, Yellow and Blue) you will need to negotiate many natural locations and battle intriguing enemies. So what’s the deal with the different coloured Pikmin?
- Red Pikmin are immune to fire
- Blue Pikmin can breathe underwater
- Yellow Pikmin can carry/throw explosive rocks
To reach the missing ship parts you’ll need to use the skills of all you Pikmin individually and sometimes in tandem. An example would be of sending Red Pikmin into battle against a fire breathing enemy so that Yellow Pikmin can travel past to collect some explosive rocks which can then be used to blast down a barrier. Simple sounding stuff but at any one time only 100 Pikmin can be out of their respective (blue, red and yellow) Onions at once; will you take 33 of each colour out on your travels or venture out with just one colour each time? As you can imagine; you’ll find yourself a whole host of clever situations that will see you battling against reaching your next ship part whilst protecting the Pikmin from harm
Whilst there are three Pikmin species to encounter, there are also three growth stages to take advantage of too. The longer a Pikmin sprout stays in the ground before being pulled the bigger and stronger it will become; neatly presented by either a shoot, bud or full flower goring out of the Pikmin’s head. Despite its simple nature Pikmin is quite a complex game underneath that requires thought just like any other strategy game. Going gun hoe into any situation will see you lose Pikmin quite quickly, you need to take care of your flower friends and that includes putting them to bed at night. Any Pikmin left outside of an Onion during the hours of darkness will be eaten by giant bugs; and after nurturing them from birth it’s something you’ll always find distressing (well I do anyways).
So what was all the New Play Control stuff? Well; of course originally Pikmin on the Gamecube used the Gamecube controller. I do happen to have played the original and feel that Nintendo did a great job in mapping the game to the pads analogue sticks and buttons. Pikmin New Control for Wii does away with that and now uses the Wii Remote and Nunchuck. With the accurate pointer system; Pikmin for Wii becomes an even more joyous game to play than it did before; you still control Olimar with a joystick but now being able to point with near mouse cursor like accuracy where you’d like your Pikmin to go makes so much sense.
Apart from the new control scheme Pikmin for Wii and 16:9 Widescreen support; Nintendo haven’t added any other bonus content for fans who have already played Pikmin before. With a lifespan of around 10 to 15 hours may sound a little short but I still loved playing through the game once again and the new play control made it a much more rewarding experience. I can’t deny the graphics have dated a little over the 10 or so years since its original release but Pikmin New Play Control Wii still is top notch game worth of 6 out of 10 despite its lack of new features.
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