Pikmin 3 Deluxe

Pikmin 3 Deluxe

With its third game, Pikmin received the sort of quality-of-life sequel that most franchises have as their sophomore effort. I tend to view such titles less favourably than the originals, as I value creative ambition and discovery over mechanical polish, and Pikmin 3, with its major new feature being two slightly redundant new Pikmin types, was no exception. But the Deluxe rerelease adds so many improvements to the improvements that I’m confident in calling it at least better than the first game. This is to say nothing of its sheer volume of content: all previous DLC, new side missions, and the co-op story mode that should have been there since day one. In addition to its quantity, the extra content plays to the game’s strengths and subsequently clicked for me much faster than the original campaign did.

Ironically, the campaign’s major flaws may be traced back to the greater ease of use at the game’s core. Automating the movement of the three leader characters is an incredibly useful ability that you will never truly need in story mode, because the limited number of in-game days isn’t limited enough, so the other leaders just get in the way more often than not. They do so in dialogue, too, as part of the game’s unfortunate habit of unnecessarily tutorializing everything into oblivion. I’m not asking for a return to the cutthroat world of the first game, but there’s got to be a middle ground. The improved controls also defang many of the game’s threats without introducing anything else to compensate. It’s not hyperbole to liken the difference to jumping from Goldeneye to Metroid Prime, but that means the strategy for some enemies is now to literally hold a button at them until they’re dead.

The campaign does eventually pull itself together into a decent experience, particularly during some excellent late-game boss fights. Some of Pikmin’s non-gameplay hallmarks make a welcome return as well – the worm’s-eye-view setting is as fascinating as ever, and the terrific sound design makes the wildlife radiate an oddly believable cartoon charm. I did find the music and atmosphere surprisingly lacking, however. Lastly, the game’s multiplayer capabilities could only feel more complete with four-player support. Co-op gameplay has always been a perfect fit for the series, and the new-ish Bingo Battle mode (it’s Pikmin 2’s competitive mode with some bells and whistles) is more entertaining than it has any right to be.

7/10
7/10

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