Pikmin 1 + 2 saw release on the Nintendo GameCube back in the early 2000s. The game highlighted the power of Nintendo’s follow-up to the N64 with impressively rendered visuals, including the many individual character models of the titular Pikmin that took up the 4:3 real estate of the screen.
With its release on Nintendo Switch, Pikmin 1+2 brings the same solid experience found in the two original titles for better or worse. The overall package, at times, can feel barebones compared to something like Retro Studios’ recently released Metroid Prime Remaster, but it ultimately gets the job done and offers the best way to play Pikmin 1+2 on modern hardware.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Pikmin series, before the likes of Splatoon and Xenoblade Chronicles, Pikmin was the first significant and new property out of Nintendo and the mind of Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto.
“…the best way to play Pikmin 1+2 on modern hardware.”
Pikmin follows the exploits of Captain Olimar, a Lilliput-inspired astronaut who crash lands on Earth (or a very Earth-adjacent planet), tasking the player with fixing his ship within 30 in-game days before running out of air.
Of the two titles, Pikmin 1 can be considered the more challenging title with its time-sensitive requirements, which require the player to get around 25 pieces of Olimar’s ship to complete the game. Thankfully, Olimar isn’t alone due to the inclusion of the titular Pikmin, plant-like bipedal creatures that sprout from the ground and allow the player to control and take on larger-than-life flora, fauna and all manners of super-sized obstacles, ala a typical strategy-game style approach.
With Pikmin 1 offering the player access to 3 varieties of Pikmin and Pikmin 2 bumping that number to 5, both games and the series proper, as a whole, can be considered a lighter take on the RTS genre. While Pikmin 1 tasked the player with gathering enough ship parts to leave the planet unscathed, Pikmin 2 expands on the formula, introducing the player to exotic treasures that must be earned instead, including batteries, fruit and other pedestrian, everyday objects.
Pikmin 2 also spices things up by including a second playable character, Louie, who has his own set of Pikmin between Olimar and himself, making for levels requiring both parties to work together in Pikmin 2’s expanded environments.
As far as changes and improvements go for Pikmin 1+2 on the Nintendo Switch, both titles run at a solid 30fps, which can be a little disappointing, considering the hardware. Still, for a series like Pikmin, the lower framerate doesn’t hinder the experience in any significant manner. Additionally, most textures in Pikmin 1+2 are largely as they were in their GameCube releases, with the exception of branded items, such as the Duracell battery, now featuring a brand-new, albeit generic, graphic.
“The biggest change in Pikmin 1+2 is the bump in resolution, with both games now playable in full HD and 720p when in handheld mode, making both games look razor-sharp.”
Expired licenses aside, the biggest change in Pikmin 1+2 is the bump in resolution, with both games now playable in full HD and 720p when in handheld mode, making both games look razor-sharp.
UI elements have also been altered to accommodate the 16:19 aspect ratio with button prompts that accordingly reflect that of the Nintendo Switch. Finally, some small but nice quality-of-life improvements in Pikmin 1+2 include the ability to hold a button to automatically pick up groups of Pikmin as well as improved controls for sorting different coloured units and the ability better to throw individual types of Pikmin in both titles.
Priced at $64.99 for both games together as a bundle, Pikmin 1+2 comes in at a reasonable price and gives newcomers or series veterans the perfect way to experience where the series got its roots before the release of Pikmin 4 later this year.