Pikmin
Game Info
Platform(s)
GameCube
Publisher
Nintendo
Developer
Nintendo
Genre
Strategy
Official Website
ESRB Rating
Violence
 
Grade
The Good

• Excellently realized world
• Easy to pick up real-time strategy
• Great learning curve

The Bad

• Short length
• In-game camera is challenging to use

 
Grade
A-

Pikmin is an unusual blend that works magnificently: the characters and even the enemies have a certain "cuteness" to them, but the fatalistic struggle is placed in a realistical environment and pulled of with a deepening strategy that will make any gamer glad they played it. In Pikmin, you play as Captain Olimar, whose starship is struck by a meteor and crashes. He soon discovers that he needs to piece his ship back together before his thirty days of life-support is up. He finds an onion-shaped pod that produces his first Pikmin, a flower-like worker that does whatever you tell it to do. From that point, you must use your Pikmin to take down barriers, destroy enemies and solve environmental puzzles in a real-time strategy.

Graphically, Pikmin is a wonderful amalgam of style. On the one hand, you have the simple, gleefully designed space captain, Pikmin and their ships. On the other hand, you have a well detailed environment that is covered in excellent, believable textures. Except for the pods you pick up to gain new Pikmin, you would think that the world was taken straight out of real life. Every aspect of the games graphics are well thought-out and fully realized. You won't find a rough edge or unfinished surface in the game.

The gameplay for Pikmin is based on multitasking your Pikmin to find pods to make new Pikmin, so you can break down barriers and remove potentially dangerous enemies. Each new aspect of the game is introduced with a pace that makes getting into the game easy. You won't have to sit around wondering how to do things for too long. But, this doesn't say that there is no challenge to the game. In fact, the environmental puzzles do take a bit of intellect to figure out. At first, you'll need to just gather enough Pikmin to move or knock down a barrier, but later on you'll need to manage your various types (red are strong in combat, yellow can carry stuff, and blue can travel across water) to locate the missing pieces of your ship.

With so much going for it, Pikmin does manage to suffer from a case of shortness. With a thirty-day time limit, the game does seem to finish a little soon (at around 15 hours), but those who like keeping score can replay the game to try and get better stats than before. The only other problem I found with the game was the challenge that the in-game camera presents. Often, you will find yourself using the camera buttons a lot to move the camera so you can see everything in the environment, and since the camera views are limited (the L-button only puts the camera behind the player and the R-button only scrolls through a handful of pre-set distances).

Pikmin has a wonderful quality that everyone should play at least once. Much like ICO for the PS2, the game's short lifespan may turn away some gamers, but the quality by which the title is brought to the public should warrant a play by most everyone.

- - Kinderfeld

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