The definitive way to play Nintendo’s best franchise? I think it probably is. A long time ago, Nintendo released Pikmin on the Gamecube, and now that they’ve started cutting Gamecube support, it seemed like a proper time to give it a whirl on the Nintendo Wii. With Wiimote based controls, widescreen support and a new save function, how does it hold up?
For starters, what is Pikmin? It’s a hybrid of utterly cute graphics and noises and action with a very healthy dose of strategy and RTS-esque gameplay elements. You control the loveable Captain Olimar as he crash lands on the planet of the Pikmin and has to repair his spaceship in 30 days before he dies in the toxic atmosphere. On the first day, he discovers a plant-like creature which is eager to assist him, and he names it a Pikmin. The game is his adventure with the Pikmin through four and a half vibrant maps packed with hazards, enemies and ship parts to collect to save Olimar’s life. The result of this is a really enjoyable, creative, fun and charming adventure which is also amazingly challenging and difficult, and something that the lightest of gamers can enjoy as much as the most hardcore of gamers can.
The Wii version mostly changes the control system to the game, giving you much more freedom over how you deploy the Pikmin and how you order them around, with all of the clunky controls from the original cut out in the process…the way that it should have controlled in the beginning. You sit and play it and you just wonder if Pikmin was ahead of the technology, and as such, they gave it the technology which they could, even though it didn’t exactly fit the theme or the gameplay. It’s really well implemented and it just shows as you go through the landscapes with a much more relaxed feeling.
It’s not all good, though. Whilst it would have been to much to ask them to remove the time limit on the game (It only lasts 30 ingame days, and each day is around 15-20 minutes) , they could have streamlined it a little. They could have introduced an option to turn it on and to turn it off, although expecting that would have been far to much in the first place to begin with. However, the glitches that plagued the first game seem to have come back with a vengeance in this version, with Pikmin vanishing here and there and the counters giving you the wrong numbers every so often. It’s not pleasant nor fun, and they’re just annoying.
Ultimately, the Wii version of Pikmin brings the absolutely amazing Gamecube game to the eyes of gamers nowadays, and it’s just as good as I remember it, possibly being even better with the updated controls. Whilst the time limit does still suffocate and stifle the sense of immersion and exploration, it doesn’t stop an amazing game remaining amazing, and darnit, it still looks amazing graphics wise. It’s something that’s a perfect addition to any Wii library, especially with the ever exciting Pikmin 3 coming closer and closer.