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E3 2012: Is Pikmin 3 Good Enough to Sell Hardware?

Posted on June 7, 2012 AT 12:40pm

EGM’s High 5: Pikmin’s back. Is it worth the wait?

I spent almost all of E3 day one at Nintendo’s booth checking out the Wii U, and to be honest, there weren’t a whole lot of games for Nintendo’s new console that impressed me much. Pikmin 3 was a nice surprise. I’ve always liked the series’ unique and colorful world and real-time strategy feel, but I didn’t realize that I missed Captain Olimar until I was actually holding the Wii U’s gamepad. Here’s what stood out.


Miyomoto opened Nintendo’s arguably disastrous press conference with a heartwarming intro where some pikmin, who apparently “everywhere” scuttled about backstage (one ended up in Miyomoto’s jacket). The little plant-y buggers and their enemies are equally as cute themselves, even when they’re killing each other. Maybe it’s that Miyomoto’s inspiration for the series was gardening, or it could be that the world itself. Either way, Pikmin 3 can turn even the hardest of hearts soft.

Throwing rocks

New rock pikmin join the existing pikmin classes, and their hard bodies add a nice addition to the baseline strategy design. Tossing rock pikmin obviously will damage enemies faster and unsurprisingly it takes longer for them to go down as well. They have environmental uses too: rock pikmin can break through glass or other hard surfaces in Pikmin 3’s earthy environments, for one.

Easy access

Since it has real time strategy elements you wouldn’t think that Pikmin 3 would be that easy to get into, but it is. Despite claims that it was “made to be controlled with the Wii remote and nunchuk, I’d argue that the Wii U gamepad’s control scheme was even easier to use. With only a few buttons to select and command your pikmin, motion aiming with the gamepad’s accelerometer and camera control at your fingertips, I picked up the controls almost instantly. More importantly, they use the gamepad’s features in a non-gimmicky way.

A virtual garden
Yeah, this probably goes without saying, but Pikmin 3 is a nice little graphical showcase. The outdoor environments show off nice lighting and particle effects when the pikmin are scurrying through the dirt, with noticeably improved textures on, say, pieces of fruit. Will the rest of the game be more varied? We’ll see.

Hey, something we might actually care about

Not to beat a dead horse, but with the exception of New Super Mario Bros. U, the majority of the Wii U’s currently announced games are mini game collections, gimmicky games designed only to make use of the Wii U’s gamepad capabilities and enhanced ports of already released games that will be at least a year old by the time the Wii U comes out. It’s not quite “core” per se, but Pikmin 3 seems to be about as close as we’re going to get to a Mario complement any time soon.

Do you think Pikmin 3 will be worth your time, or do you prefer the rest of the Wii U launch lineup?

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