It’s a late summer joy. The latest version of Pikmin for Nintendo’s 3DS is pretty darn charming, even though it’s in 2-D, not 3-D. Here’s why.
Yes, the Story is Too Simple. But the Game’s a Delight Nonetheless
The words in the game portion of Hey, Pikmin! hover around the level of writing of a second grader. Still, the opening sequence has so much action, it lures you in. You are Captain Olimar, who kind of looks like Peanuts’ Charlie Brown in a space suit. Minding your own business as you cruise through space on the SS Dolphin II, you hit an asteroid storm and crash. Uninjured, you land near some dancing Pikmin, who immediately run and hide. But once they’ve gotten over their shock, they help you find Sparklium, the fuel you need to get your spaceship going again.
The Gameplay is Simple. But It’s Addicting, Too!
You use the circle pad and the stylus to tap-tap-tap the touchscreen and control your progress. Pikmin line up in lemming fashion to help you harvest golden seeds which can be turned into Sparklium. At the same time, they’ll fight against a variety of enemies — like the Yellow Wollywog or the Fiery Blowhog (one of the tougher bosses). They’ll also get you over crevasses by finding and placing pieces of bridge fragments to build a walkway. It’s all about working together as an ingenious team.
Whistle While You Work, Er, Play!
You call the Pikimin to help you by pressing a whistle button. There’s something satisfying about using the whistle. The hard-working Pikmin aren’t exactly your pets, but using the whistle makes them seem like they are. Actually, they’re a combination of pets and minions. They always do your bidding.
Look at those Pikmin go!
They scurry up vines. They throw rock bombs. They ardently search for Sparklium in a place called Pikmin Park while you’re out on a larger expedition. They just keep on going! I wish I could get them to do some of my writing for me. Or at least go to the grocery store.
There’s So Much Amiibo Compatibility
The Pikimin amiibo is one of the best that Nintendo has released. The creatures look like fairies in a tale straight out of the Brothers Grimm. Each has a difference look on its face. (That red one isn’t lounging. It’s plotting a strategy!) Place the Pikmin amiibo on the 3DS and get bonuses like Sparklium in Pikmin Park. Hey! Pikmin works with all your other amiibo as well. Plus, the amiibo stories you get when you scan them into the game is the best writing in all of Hey! Pikmin. It’s got spunky attitude and it’s humorous.
Why No 3-D?
It’s a conundrum. The opening sequence with so much rollicking space action would have looked great in 3-D. So would the boss fights, especially those underwater. While Pikmin is a fun platformer, I feel like there’s something important missing without that 3-D option. Looking at all the enemies above makes me lament the lack of 3-D even more!