Pikmin 3 Deluxe review – buried treasure given a buff

Between its dusty plant pots and dew-laden leaves, Nintendo’s cute take on the strategy genre has always been more than the sum of its parts. Whether those pieces were the spaceship components you rushed to recover in Pikmin 1 or the household items you found littering the landscapes of Pikmin 2, your route to those hidden treasures was always about more than simply hoovering the map of its goodies. Pikmin’s charm lies in the gradual growth of your dinky armies, the act of plucking new creatures from the ground to replace their fallen forebears, the battles where you must attempt to protect them from harm.

And so it is in Pikmin 3 Deluxe, Nintendo’s latest Wii U game to get the Switch re-release treatment, this time courtesy of Japanese support studio Eighting. For your money this time around you get a relatively straightforward port of the original game, now with its extra challenge mission DLC included from the off, plus a suite of all-new extra levels set before and after Pikmin 3’s story that give a little more time to the series’ original protagonist Olimar, revealing what he was up to while Pikmin 3’s main story took place elsewhere (and a little bit of what happened after that…)

I generally enjoyed the original Pikmin 3 – though I mostly remember simply being happy Nintendo was continuing the series after such a long wait for another instalment (a similarly long wait to the one fans are experiencing now for Pikmin 4). So, as far as Pikmin 3 Deluxe’s main campaign is concerned, many of the same positives and negatives remain present. Both of the game’s debut Pikmin species – the pebble-like Rock Pikmin and the mosquito-like Flying Pikmin – are brilliant additions, though the fact they supplant rather than complement Pikmin 2’s Purple and White species in the main campaign is a bit of a shame. The addition of a third playable character to let you keep three different plates spinning at once adds a real leap in mental complexity to the proceedings, though in reality it’s rare this really adds much of a tangible advantage. And while Pikmin’s overworld areas have never looked prettier or been more intricately put together, the removal of Pikmin 2’s challenging cave mechanic feels like a step backwards, while the lack of a few fan-favourite creatures (no Bulbmin! no Bulblax!) leaves its enemy roster feeling slightly incomplete.

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