Pikmin 3 was one of my favourite games on the Wii U. It took the classic series to new heights while taking advantage of both the ill-fated Wii U gamepad and the secondary Nintendo Wii Remote controller options. Ultimately, Pikmin 3 gave players a robust selection of input and control options for enjoying the game.
Thankfully, most of the control options found in the original Wii U release have translated over to the Nintendo Switch port of the game, and for the few missing elements, such as the lack of a dedicated secondary-screen, the portability of the Switch more than makes up for its absence.
At its core, Pikmin 3 is the same great game that released on the Wii U, with an added epilogue in which players assume the role of Captian Olimar, the protagonist of the first two entries into the series, and one of the late-game characters of Pikmin 3. For those who missed out on Pikmin 3 on the Wii U, in essence, Pikmin 3 and its predecessors is a fun twist on the RTS genre.
Instead of controlling soldiers or any other typical, RTS character permutations, Pikmin 3 instead gives players access to the titular Pikmin, which come in various flavours that determine their unique skills, strengths and weaknesses. Pikmin 3, in particular, introduces two new Pikmin types to the game, a stone/rock Pikmin and an airborne, white Pikmin.
Pikmin 3′s narrative sets up the primary goal of the game, repairing the ship and securing enough food to bring it back to the native homeworld of Koppai, which has been plagued by famine. One of the selling points of the Pikmin series is the scale in which the worlds are presented. Both the player avatars and Pikmin are pint-sized heroes that are more akin to insects, such as ants, while the world itself is inhabited by flora and fauna much larger in scale. For example, fruits, the main resource in the game, such as grapes and pears, are massive colossal-sized collectables that require the deployment of Pikmin.
Each level can be explored multiple times to find all collectables and secrets, with a time limit of 13 minutes making up a single day. This hard-time limit forces players to micromanage their Pikmin and squad leaders in the hopes of collecting enough fruits and resources to convert into juice which are then rationed into the ship. Running out of juice will end the game, with a maximum of 99 days to complete the base game.
This may sound difficult, but Pikmin 3 does a good job in balancing itself, which should make it more than doable for the vast majority of players that play the game. In terms of new content, Pikmin 3 mostly rehashes the DLC found in the original while adding new elements such as co-op and a new epilogue starring Captain Olimar which remixes old stages with new objectives.
My favourite way of playing Pikmin 3 Deluxe when docked would have to be with the detached joy-cons, as they feel similar to the Wii remote controls found in the original release. Unfortunately, however, I did notice several instances in which the accuracy of the controls felt off, sometimes, to the point where the controls would get locked to to angle until I paused the game and recalibrated them.
Playing in handled also felt great, with the game looking pretty decent, masking most of the aliased image quality thanks to the smaller screen of the Switch vs the TV. Overall, Pikmin 3 Deluxe looks fantastic, especially considering the original game came out almost a decade ago on hardware that was fairly dated even for the time.
The addition of co-op is likely the biggest new draw to this version of Pikmin 3, making Pikmin 3 Deluxe best reserved for owners of the original Nintendo Switch with TV-out capabilities, as the game does not offer online co-op, making the prospect of split-screen rather unpleasant if not impossible for Switch Lite owners. Despite this, for those who may have missed Pikmin 3 on the Wii U, Pikmin 3 Deluxe is a great port and should be tried for anyone looking for something a little different that still has that distinct, first-party, Nintendo charm.